SF Personality: Alexandra Kenin
By: Dan Rosenbaum
What do you love about your neighborhood? It has great energy, and an eclectic mix of people. From Mexican families, to hipsters, to small business owners, you never know who you’ll run into on the street.
Native or Transplant: Transplant, but I’ve loved San Francisco for a long time.
How long have you lived in SF: I bought my one-way airplane ticket and landed on August 6, 2007. This summer will mark 6 years!!
Gig: I run Urban Hiker SF, an urban hiking tour company.
SF is…the cool, grey city of love!
What's your favorite neighborhood to hang out in (other than your own)?
I like NOPA - probably because of its similarities to the Mission. The New York Times agrees, and says this close-to-the-park hood is poised to become the new, leafier, more laid back Mission.
Where AND what would be your last meal here in SF?
If I could combine dishes from all over the city, my last meal would be as such:The Platha dipper at B Star Bar for an appetizer. Anything at Millenium for the main course, and for dessert, the Red Hawk cheese from Cowgirl Creamery.
What restaurant have you been meaning to eat at, but haven't?
I love Japanese food, so I’d like to try Nojo in Hayes Valley.
What is your go-to drink spot?
I’m not much of a bar person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a good cocktail. I find that Range has excellent cocktails and creative bartenders who are great with cocktail-improvisation. Range is not only my go-to drink spot, but it’s also one of my favorite restaurants in the city. The Michelin-recommended food is not to be missed.
"The New York Times says NOPA is a close-to-the-park hood is poised to become the new, leafier, more laid back Mission. And I agree."
Where do go in the city to take in arts and culture?
With the San Francisco Symphony, a serious dose of culture is just a BART stop away. The SF Symphony has been extremely innovative with their musical program of late. They have a new film series, where you watch a movie while the symphony plays that movie’s score. This series includes shows like “Hitchcock! Greatest Hits” and “Fantasia”. They have a bunch of bite-sized one-hour concerts for children, and they have concerts for big kids too.
What is your favorite spot to snap a photo in SF?
It’s a little off the beaten path, but I love visiting the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps in the Inner Sunset. After you visit the steps, check out aptly-named Grand View Park for panoramic city, ocean, and park views.
What is the one celebration in the city you look forward to every year?
Bring Your Own Big Wheel! This is the event where adults (and some kids) hop on children’s Big Wheel bikes of all kinds to careen down the curves of the other curviest street in San Francisco, Potrero’s Vermont Street.
What is the one thing everyone should do at least once here?
Bike over the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s exhilarating!
What is the one thing you have yet to check off your bucket list in SF?
I'm Alexandra Kenin and I’m the founder of Urban Hiker SF. Originally from New Jersey, I've lived up and down the East Coast in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. While living in New York in 2004, I took a vacation to San Francisco and realized I didn't want to come home.
It took three years, but I finally moved to San Francisco in 2007. When I bought my one-way ticket out west, my father bought me a copy of Adah Bakalinsky's Stairway Walks in San Francisco. At the time, I worked an hour outside the city during the week. On weekends, inspired by the Stairway Walks book, I would take off to explore my new home on foot. One fateful day, a native San Franciscan friend brought me on a walk to the Embarcadero via the Vallejo and Filbert Street Steps. I loved the views afforded by the stairways, I loved the exercise I got from climbing them, and I loved how they seemed to be a secret to most. From that moment on, I was hooked on urban hiking.
Since then, I have fallen into an entire band of urban hiking enthusiasts. A group of us now goes on monthly day hikes - up to 30 miles in distance. We love finding new secret spots in the city and now I want to share our findings with you!
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