Words: Babak Haghighi
It is a beautiful, sunny Sunday in the Western Addition district of San Francisco. Bass is bumping and fists are pumping as a local house DJ puts on a show for his audience across the street from the Panhandle at the southern end of the Sunday Streets route. His unique, yet effective sound system comprises of no more than four boomboxes, each blaring his original beats.
Nearby, two young adults sporting shorts, sunglasses, and bare feet rest on an air mattress on the sidewalk as they sip on their Bud Lights and indulge in some people watching. A couple blocks away, an elderly woman, a child, and a college girl show off their best hula hoop moves while the crowd surrounding them does its best to keep up—just one of many hula hoop circles along the route. Further down the road, a teenager, accompanied by his garage band buddies, puts on a three-man rock show for his cousin, aunt, mother, and anyone else looking for some entertainment. His messy, dark hair swings from side to side as his fingers slide down the fretboard of his guitar. His 2010 San Francisco Giants Championship t-shirt occasionally sways in the calm breeze. Around the corner, a group of Western Addition residents and their families dance to The Sugarhill Gang’s “Apache.” Costumed rollerbladers are easy to spot, and cruising past all of them, at a modest pace, are countless bicyclists. But what brings these people together is the one thing they all have in common—the massive smiles on their faces. This is Sunday at its finest.
If it sounds like a normal day in the city, it’s not. It’s the ultimate hangover cure. It’s Sunday Streets in San Francisco.
Despite its hilly features, San Francisco is a bicycle-friendly city. At Sunday Streets, that friendship turns into a romance. Bicycles, skateboards, and wheelchairs alike take over the streets alongside pedestrians. A pre-determined route is turned into a no-car zone, and along the way there is all sorts of fun to be had.