San Francisco fascinates me. When I hear people talk about it, they always describe it with equal parts reverence and enthusiasm. Some say it's the New York of the West, others say the Seattle of California, but I don't think any of those identifiers give The City (as it's called by the locals) any justice.
San Francisco is a standalone metropolis. There's no other place like it. It's funky. It's relaxed. It's competitive. It's full of people with brilliant ideas (Twitter's headquarters are located here after all).
Visiting this city by the bay a second time was like going on a long-anticipated second date with someone you really like. All the old feelings you had when you first met the person bubble up to the surface as you get to know them better, exploring what makes them tick. With nothing but a perfect first impression of San Francisco, I knew this date would be utterly romantic.
Looks are (almost) everything to me. Both in terms of dating and in exploring a new destination. San Francisco has some damn beautiful architecture lined up on its steep hills descending into the bay. It's almost like a chiseled jawline that leads to pillow-soft lips.
You would never guess what sort of businesses and organizations reside in this antiquated architecture though. The flatiron-shaped building on Montgomery Street holds The Church of Scientology, while a Beaux-arts style structure on Polk Street is actually City Hall. Each building has a story, making San Francisco a living historical library.
Swept up in the romance of this city, I made a life-changing decision in Union Square... to get my hair cut. No seriously, my hair has always been something I've been dying to change. I needed a fresh perspective so I headed to Patrick Evan Salon for a transformation. I revealed my new coif exclusively on Instagram.
A weekend-long date with San Francisco wouldn't be complete without strolling along Fisherman's Wharf, a tourist-heavy area with a few spots that never get old. Like the eerie view of Alcatraz from Pier 39 or the consistently-packed In-n-Out Burger. After eating a delicious Double Double, I was feeling just as lethargic as the sea lions sleeping on the boat docks.
A second date is all about getting to know the other person in a way that's less intimidating than the first date. Your nervous jitters have all but subsided and you can start to dive deeper into the beauty and complexity of someone else. Such was the case when I went to Golden Gate Park, where locals and tourists alike basked in the lazy Sunday afternoon sunlight.
My friend Kelsey and I explored the park's Botanical Garden and walked through the Music Concourse where Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey once filmed The Wedding Planner. This was a side of the city I had never expected to see, a populated park blooming with nature and wild beauty.
As far as second dates go, the one I had with San Francisco was honestly my favorite (sorry boys). I've moved beyond the point of curious attraction and towards the moment of catching feelings. What San Francisco and I have is real. Now I think I truly understand Tony Bennett's song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."