After the first Minerva winter break, Class of 2021 students may feel at home. Either returning from travels or having stayed in Fog City the entire break, Minervans have returned. Having travelled from more than 60 countries, M2021 now has a new home: San Francisco.
Luckily, M2021 is not alone. They are the third official class of Minerva students to call the City by the Bay their home, and their predecessors do not plan on letting the newest class forget it. For many upperclassmen, San Francisco quite closely resembles home after spending eight months there. For some, it is home. For others, it is their first home away from home, and of course for others merely a single pit stop in their brimming passports.
After each class spent their respective school years on Nob Hill and Market Street, each came away with their unique experiences. Whether an SF virgin or NorCal native, Minervans found their own home away from home outside of the residence halls.
Within hidden alleys, inside small and large buildings, throughout courtyards and gardens, under porches and verandas, we found home. Take it from us, 2021. We called the city home long (in Minerva years) before you, and want to show you our unique and individual feelings of home and belonging in San Francisco.
What fog city spots do Minervans value after calling the city home for eight months? The possibilities are endless.
What would Minervans do with just one more day in the city?
We’ve gathered their answers for you here, including a map at the end.
“Trolley car through the Financial District to Chinatown to Fisherman’s Wharf.” (Maggie Hartigan, M2020).
“The Saturn Stairs in the Castro: watch the sunset. It also has a perfect little garden. It’s a perfect place to sit and talk with your friends.” (Vũ Chu-Lê, M2020)
“Go to Pho 2000.” (Max Teh, former M2020)
“Walk down the Embarcadero just as the sun is setting. The point is not seeing an awesome sunset; the point is that as light becomes lesser and lesser it shines through the palm trees and on the road and creates a very eerie and relaxing feeling of the place. And, because it’s on the opposite end from the setting sun, instead of getting sharp light it’s the opposite- smooth and nice; hence the feeling.” (Vesi Nedelcheva, M2019)
“While at the Embarcadero, go to Crossroads Cafe and get some amazing food! I’d go on long walks along the Embarcadero and then end up getting food here. What’s nice is that they didn’t have wifi, so it was a great environment to relax and think about things.” (Namrata Haribal, M2019)
“Watch the sunrise at Twin Peaks. It’s very chill. Go with friends, do whatever.” (Sonia Milanoi, M2020)
“I would go to my favorite cafe, Gallery Cafe, during the afternoon and then bike/walk along Embarcadero.” (Mayzie Allswede, M2020)
“Skateboard the piers from the Embarcadero to Pier 39 and grab an avocado sushi roll looking over Alcatraz.” (Zane Sand, M2020)
“Walk to Lands End with a couple of friends after stopping by Japantown and eating some delicious food, then watch the sunset at Lands End, eat and drink and talk. Better if windy and cold.” (Ben Imadali, M2019)
“For Minervans who pray for a better cup of coffee, St. Frank is the answer. Their housemade macadamia almond milk is the highlight of my tastings in San Francisco. Über friendly staff, minimalist vibes, and lovely drinks to be found here.” (Emma Kendrick, M2020)
“Go down to West Portal and stop at the old-fashioned candy store, high-quality bookstore, bizarre and slightly distressing antique store on my way to the huge forest with a beautiful open meadow in the middle of a neighborhood.” (Kristin Hudson, M2020)
“Angel Island: because I never went.” (Nikesh Shrestha, M2020)
“Go to the park that I have decided Belongs To Me (Koshland Park, don’t steal it please) and sit and observe people and think about good memories and maybe bad ones too, because they’re both worth reflecting on.” (Dana(Pax) Bakke, M2020)
“Alonzo King Lines Dance Center: I would go and sweep the floors and wipe down the mirrors and get a free hour of class. I would definitely go take one more Horton class.” (Marlette Sandoval, M2020).
“Kitchen Story: the menu is kinda quirky and the vibe is very chill and calm.” (Mai Nguyễn, M2020).
“Don’t forget to visit the Holocaust Memorial just outside the Legion of Honor. It’s small but one of the most moving memorials to the Holocaust I’ve ever seen.” (Louis Brickman, M2019)
“Down a trail in Presidio, all around are tiny yellow flowers, and trees have red ribbons. And in between the field of flowers are patches of clovers. There’s a road on the hill but this patch is hidden. This spot makes me feel like a kid again.” (Lavanya Aggarwal, M2020)
“Go to Ghirardelli Square and see if you can get all four chocolate samples two times each.” (Tyler Pincus, M2019)
“One of the hills at sunset.” (Uyen Nguyen, M2020)
“The Mechanics’ Institute in the Financial District.” (Gabriella Grahek, M2019/FC)
“It’s Tops Coffee Shop – I go there for the awesome food, especially on days I want to treat myself, and I have amazing conversations there till late in the morning. It was the only place in SF where I was friends with a staff member.” (Precious Enahoro, M2020)
“Buena Vista. Then go to get Ice Cream on the corner Frederick and Clayton.” (Devora (DD) Klionsky, M2019)
“Walk down Ocean Beach, past Sutro Baths and Lands End, walk to Golden Gate Park and across the bridge, hike in the Marin Headlands, eat food, laugh with friends.” (Colette Brown, M2019)
“Hike through Mt. Sutro Forest, to Sutro Tower, cross over to Twin Peaks, then down through Glen Canyon Park to Noe Valley where there are cute coffee shops and also a transit station right there. Amazing experience in the middle of the city of just peace and the scent of eucalyptus.” (Esther Wenger, M2020)
“I’d get a fresh mozzarella and salami sandwich from one of the little shops in Little Italy and head to Washington Square Park and lie in the sun and read for a few hours, barefoot and happy.” (Chris Hagan, M2020)
“Wicked Grounds in SOMA. I used to take class there and the porn pictures were visible in the background. Plus, the Furiosa milkshake, chai and espresso, got me through many early morning workdays.” (Sunshine Bouthiller, M2020)
“On a Saturday, go to the Taqueria on 18th and Valencia and get a huge tub of guacamole for so cheap and fresh chips and go to Bi-Rite and get a nice cone with your favorite flavors and then go to Dolores and kick it with your friends for the day. (Definitely bring speakers and a frisbee).” (Natalie Kanter, M2019)
“All Star.” (Alexandru Hutu, M2020)
M2021, take this as motivation, curiosity, cross-Minerva-class-hand-me-down-nostalgia.
This was our first Minerva home. These places were where we laughed, cried, and studied. Where we ate, drank, and stayed up too late. This is the city where we not only found home in the crevices of brick walls and grassy parks, but found home in each other.
Minervans of 2021, I encourage you to visit these places that became home to us in San Francisco, and recognize them for what they meant to us. Make them yours.
But, do not just rely on where we felt drawn.
Find where you feel home.