Most Aragon students live only thirty short minutes from one of the country’s most famous cities, San Francisco. The city is known across the globe and visited by tourists each day, but what is it like for those of us who live only a stones-throw away from the City by the Bay?
“I see [San Francisco] as the center for the arts,” says senior Meredith Charlson, who works at Oberlin Dance Company in San Francisco everyday. One reason for San Francisco’s artsy reputation may be its abundance of well-known museums. “There’s like five museums within five blocks of each other,” says junior Charlotte Braxton. Senior Allyson Kiefer says, “I usually go to the museums [in San Francisco], like the MOMA [Museum of Modern Art], the Legion of Honor…The de Young is my favorite.” But, according to junior Katie Barnes, San Francisco isn’t only about indoor art. “There’s a lot of graffiti,” she says, adding that it isn’t the average curse-word graffiti that one might find in a Taco Bell. “It’s colorful. It has people and monsters…it’s really cool.” In addition, San Francisco is full of opportunities in the performing arts. Senior Kathryn Miyahira, who is active in Aragon’s theater department, says she often visits San Francisco to see plays at the Orpheum Theatre, such as Hairspray and Wicked.
Many students see the differences in San Francisco compared to other major U.S. cities. Although Los Angeles is close in proximity to San Francisco, some students do not see many similarities between the two.“[San Francisco] seems older,” says sophomore Candelaria Beltran-Moreno. “[It has more of] an old-fashioned city vibe.” Some students think it’s the occupants that are different. “I think the people are a lot happier in San Francisco,” says Charlson. She also makes note of the differences between San Francisco and what many people consider to be “the capital of the world,” New York City. “New York City is really big and exciting, but it has just has a very different vibe from San Francisco. San Francisco is very laid back,” says Charlson. Senior Ricardo Tovar, who has also visited New York, agrees that it differs from San Francisco. “It was big and it was just too crazy. I didn’t like it; I prefer San Francisco…It’s the most famous in the West Coast and probably the top ten [in the United States] and it’s well deserved.” He adds, “You see a lot more diversity [in San Francisco]…it’s a great place.”
Miyahira agrees that San Francisco’s diversity separates it from other cities. “One area covers so many different religions and ethnicities and beliefs,” she says. “The Mission is kind of Hispanic and the Castro is kind of gay friendly.” Junior Alyssa Jang says, “San Mateo is beautiful, but it doesn’t have strong characters.” Barnes says, “In San Francisco, there’s hipsters, there’s hippies, there’s business people, and there are families.” According to junior Alexis Harrington, “San Franciscans tend to be really accepting of everything. There’s not a lot of prejudice or bias.” Brittany McOmber, also a junior, agrees, saying, “People there are so much more diverse and open-minded…[They are] very liberal and open to change.”
However, not all students hold the neighboring city in such high regard. “It used to be more important than it is now,” says junior David Koshy. “It’s actually pretty small compared to other cities.” To sophomore Adilene Sandoval, San Francisco is “kind of just there.” Braxton says, “I actually don’t really like the city. It’s really too crowded and it’s really grey and very dirty.” Koshy agrees. “It’s disgusting,” he says. “There are homeless people everywhere… San Mateo is so much better and cleaner.”
Although “Everyone’s Favorite City” may not be every Aragon student’s favorite city, most agree that it is pretty special to have such a unique and well-known city so close to home. In fact, some even have pride. “When people ask where I’m from I don’t say San Mateo,” says Harrington, “I say San Francisco.”