Welcome to Summer in San Francisco

You’ll be wearing layers in the Outer Sunset come daybreak, shirt-free in Dolores Park by the afternoon — and, at some point, find yourself wiping ash off your window

When there’s a pop-up restaurant concept opening every Tuesday or Thursday or Saturday — each one promising a new spin on $14 cocktails and $17 pasta dishes. Something will be infused with CBD. Guaranteed they’ll be long introductions to hyped superfoods and sustainable farming practices.

When you look forward to basking in the sun penetrating through the Conservatory of Flowers (a glow you can experience for free on the first Tuesday of every month) just as much as you do get stoned enough to distinguish UFO-like formations in the cloud coverage above Twin Peaks. Or atop Coit Tower. Or through a clearing at the Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve.

When your out-of-town friends, from the suburbs, come to visit — only to complain about shit on the sidewalks and reiterate that you’re crazy for paying so much for your studio apartment. The same one that hasn’t been remodeled since 1929. But it’s rent-controlled, and you’ve already been there for seven years; you can’t afford to leave, quite literally. It’s your home, after all. And also the place where your body will be found.

San Francisco is queer as absolute fuck in June. The Castro teems with twentysomethings (and thirtysomethings and fortysomethings and fiftysomethings) sitting atop the Lookout, nursing a watered-down vodka-soda — opening up Grindr or Scruff to see what fresh trade has entered the grid. Drag queens become the city’s foremost event planners and philanthropists, organizing hours-long day functions in Polk Gulch or near all-night benders around SoMa. One of the largest Pride parades anywhere in the world goes down Market Street and will inevitably carry a display by a moderately homophobic corporation that paid to be included. Because “rainbow-washing” and “pink money.”

It’s a seasonal span of time usually synonymous with wildfires, blazes that create widespread chaos and blanket our cars with ash and occasionally turn our skies orange; the aftermath of family photo albums, plastic vacuum cleaners, well-used furniture from IKEA and Facebook Marketplace burning into the atmosphere.

We’re assured by the happenings around us that the climate crisis is here… that California will forever oscillate between varying degrees of drought. We’re faced with the reality that temperatures will continue to climb and threaten our agriculture; our infrastructure; our air conditions; our quality of life. That San Francisco’s microclimates can unwittingly alienate us from the greater environmental catastrophes unfolding on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Nevertheless: Karl the Fog comes into her full regal, omnipresent glory near August. Rather: Fogust. And we’re afforded another excuse to dress down, don sweatshirts, and wax the autumn vibes that have yet to come. Karl, too, has a particular knack for making a drive down Skyline Boulevard a sheer act of courage after midnight this time of year.

Large music events — Stern Grove, Fillmore Jazz Festival, SF Jazz Festival, Union Street Festival, North Beach Festival, and of course the juggernaut of them all, Outside Lands — fill our social calendars. They also elicit texts from loved ones asking to crash on your twin mattress or small couch over a long weekend. But it’s fine; they’re responsible for covering the cannabis goods at Grasslands.

“The City by The Bay” really does whistle a sovereign tune and beats to its own non-binary drum in June, July, and August.

Welcome to summer in San Francisco.

Summer hikes around Mount Sutro just hit differently. (Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@naomijulia)

1 Comment

  • Peter Jacob Heiderich

    Sounds like you have not lived in The City a long time. Summers in the City can often start in September. Across the Bay on the east side to the inland areas, summer is in full force. I lived in San Francisco for over 2 decades and spent the Summers at the Russian River as well as my Cabin on the Klamath River close to the Oregon Border. These areas can be fairly hot during the day yet evening are usually very mild. Russian River has been very gay friendly for many decades.

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