Eugene Cho

most beautiful city in the world: san francisco?

As we embark on a new year, I’d love to ask a simple question to my readers in hopes that many of you would join in on the blog community.  In addition to “regulars” sharing their answers, I am especially inviting the lurkers and quiet blog readers to chime in and de-lurk. This is your chance to join in.  So, here’s two simple questions:

Question:  What’s the most beautiful city/place you’ve visited thus far in your life and why?  And share one place in the world you’d like to visit at some point in the future?

My answers:  Future visit – I’m excited that I get to visit one of the places I’ve always wanted to travel in the next couple weeks.  I’ll be flying to South Africa to do some research, praying, and relationship building for our poverty organization. 

As for one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to, San Francisco is on my short list thus far. I grew up in San Francisco but as a younger kid, I had no idea how beautiful SF was.  When I visit SF every other year or so, I am absolutely amazed by its beauty, diversity, and culture.  Can’t get enough.  Here are some pics from my family’s recent trip to San Francisco over Christmas and check out the video below that I found on Vimeo.  So nice to have several days in the 60s temperature range.








Filed under: travel, ,

56 Responses

  1. dean says:

    So cool you’re going to South Africa. Where exactly are you going in SA? Some of my favorite places is trekking through Europe and specifically love the cities in Italy.

  2. amanders says:

    I love Vancouver, BC! I spent all four years of high school there and it still feels like I go home every time I return!

  3. Lex says:

    Hi. I’m new here, so I’m not a regular or a lurker, but I think I’ll be back so I’ll just jump right in.

    Been: The Midwest. I live in the Midwest. I used to hate the Midwest and then one day it was like scales fell from my eyes. It’s beautiful here. If I could paint, I’d paint Midwestern landscapes all the time.

    Hopeful: I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand.

  4. Rick in Texas says:

    So many beautiful places I’ve been – San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Grand Rapids. Capetown and Johannesburg too. You’ll enjoy that I know.

    Where would I like to spend some time? Stockholm and Rome. Been both places but too briefly to appreciate them.

  5. so funny that you posted this- i’ve been weird ever since coming back from visiting san fran a few weeks ago- that city absolutely captured my heart and I find myself longing to go back. driving on the bay bridge was crazy- that thing is gargantuan and then some.

  6. Tom says:

    Having done justice oriented mission work for a lot of years I’ve had a chance to see cities in about 35 countries.

    The bad news: most mega cities around the ‘developing’ world are just plain ugly though most have charming smaller districts.

    It’s a cliche, I know, but Paris wins the ‘most beautiful’ pageant hands down in my book. Doesn’t have the stunning natural surroundings of a San Francisco, but the city itself is in a league of its own. Having said that, SF is in my world top 5.

    Most beautiful outside US other than Paris: St. Petersburg, Prague, Riga (Latvia), London, Cape Town (because of natural surroundings), Marrakesh (Morocco), Dakar (Senegal), Rio de Janeiro, Vancouver BC and Montreal. Never been to Barcelona, Florence, or Buenos Aires, but friends say they’re pretty impressive.

    In the US: SF at #1 (of course :^), Chicago, NY, Boston, Charleston, Portland and Seattle. I’d include Denver on the list for the combo of lovely city/natural surroundings but that would be too much of a ‘homer’ pick.

  7. eugenecho says:

    Vancouver is also one of my favorite cities. Being in Seattle, we’re only 3 hours away and our family tries to go up there 3 or 4 times/ year. The currency rate and gas prices made that a little difficult recently.

    @tom: wow. i thought i’ve been to many places.

  8. Ben C says:

    monaco’s pretty hot though barcelona is a lot more rustic and fun to live in

  9. Randall says:

    Even though I was born and raised in Hawaii and only moved here about two years ago, I think Seattle is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. When I first moved here I thought my initial sense of awe at the place would wear off but it’s been the opposite. The longer I’m here, the more I see, the more amazing this city is to me.

    As for where I’d like to go? I’d love to visit England and Ireland.

  10. chrismarlow says:

    Cape Town. I love it. San Diego weather with a SF vibe. I got connections there that are working with orphans and such.

  11. Jim Chen says:

    My wife and I really like Seattle. It’s not so crowded, clean, and the people are really nice. Someday I’d like to visit London and Paris. I went as a kid with my parents but forgot it all.

  12. rexhamilton says:

    Having livied in the Bay area as well (Burlingame) I too love SF, but would have to say my favorite city to repeatedly visit would be Capitola. It’s not much of a city…more like an ocean village near Santa Cruz. It’s absolutely beautiful!

    I was in South Africa and Swaziland last year and it’s incredible! But would have to say that if I could visit anywhere in the world, Fiji and Greece have always been on the top of my list!

  13. kate says:

    ohh this is tough…my top few:

    cinque terre, italy
    san sebastian, spain
    playa junquillal, costa rica
    jinja, uganda

    would like to visit:


  14. Matthew says:

    Most beautiful city I’ve been in? Guilin, China, by far. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous – parts of it are kind of touristy, but the section along the Li River is stunning. Other nice cities: San Fran, Denver and Oulu, Finland were nice places to visit, and Norwich, England has some amazing history and architecture. Note: if you go to Norwich, make sure to visit the castle if you like really old stuff, like I do.

    I would like to visit Central Asia, though I’m biased as that’s where the Peace Corps are planning to send me.

    God bless,

  15. eugenecho says:

    @randall: this quote from someone last night after the 5pm service: “when i moved to seattle, i didn’t sign up for this…” amazing how we got 3 inches of snow in 2 hours.

    @kate: i’m stunned how much you’ve already traveled. when i was a college student, i hadn’t even left the state [with the exception of nevada].

    @matthew: i spent several weeks in Uzbekistan. Beautiful and dark at the same time…at least for me.

  16. Chris Scott says:

    Agreed! SF is the greatest city ever. I’m so happy.

  17. Rachel says:

    The most beautiful city in the world is a little village of 200 people called Whittier, Iowa. It’s where I grew up and it’s peaceful. It has a little Quaker church and a community building where people still gather. People know each other. Yeah, bad things happen there, but community resides there.

    I want to take my kids to Russia. For some reason, I really want them to see it. I spent a month there with a host family and it was so eye opening.

  18. Ben says:

    My vote is Capetown too. Paris in a different kind of way is probably second.

  19. katie says:

    Urumqi, Xinjiang, China.

    A town in the far northwest province of Xinjiang, this city felt surreal in so many ways. When I exited the triple decker sleeper after 43 hours, all of my senses came alive: the architecture is middle eastern (the mosques are gorgeous), the air was crisp and clean (in stark contrast to Bejing), the terrain was breathtaking, and the people are so diverse. We traveled to a lake high in the mountains and hiked up to an observatory where we could see into Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia. Later, we were invited to spend time with a Christian couple out in a high mountain Kazakhstani yurt village and rode horses with the children. I’ll never forget it.

    I would love to backpack in Norway and Sweden. I was only in Sweden for a few days this fall, and it was not enough…an amazing place in so many ways.

  20. chad m says:

    i’d have to say Stockholm, Sweden. we went in March 06 and it was wicked cold. it was beautiful, but i want to return in the summer sometime to actually enjoy the outdoors!

  21. Tyler says:

    ill go with jackson hole, wyoming. those grand tetons just pop out of no where.

  22. hopewanders says:

    @PE – yeah, my wanderlust was inherited from parents who were brave (or crazy) enough to take me around the globe as a toddler. very, very blessed by it for sure.

  23. SF is my ultimate favorite US city. i love the laid back attitude, open to my LGBTQ community, stylish, Asian people and Asian food, art, architecture, Golden Gate Bridge, The Castro. i have only been there a few times, but it feels like home to me. We will be moving there sometime this year. i am looking forward to exploring and getting to know this fascinating city on a more intimate level.

    The MOST beautiful city i have traveled to in the world would have to be Paris. i do not speak a lick of French, or any other language except for English, but i adore French culture – It’s romantic, cinema, architecture, the sound of the language, Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, wine, the metro, Francois Truffaut, art, and more. i love walking around the city for a day of strictly photographing.

    The ONE place i want to visit in the future is Japan during the Cherry Blossom Season. i read a great book by a Christian missionary who traveled by bicycle from the bottom island up following the Sakura, or cherry blossoms. i especially want to visit Tokyo. i love Asian cultures, sushi, modern architecture, busy cities, except for places that are way overcrowded, like India. i have never been to an Asian country and experienced an Asian culture outside of friends in the USA.

  24. JEN WALTERS says:


  25. Just Meee~ says:

    I’ve been all over, and the best place in the world and I think one closest to GOD… is the “Garden of the Gods” in Colorado Springs, CO. I think that is where GOD goes to think…. it’s peaceful and beautiful… and GOD is there !

  26. D C Cramer says:

    As a midwesterner, I’m partial to my home away from home, the second city, the windy city–Chicago. I know objectively it probably doesn’t qualify, but in its own quaint little way, it holds some charm. If nothing else, it makes a great backdrop for the Batman movies!

  27. jason says:

    Chattanooga, TN was nicest place I have lived

    would love to spend time anywhere in scotland

  28. steph says:

    Before moving to the midwest, I thought Seattle’s waterfront[s] were the epitome of gorgeous water. Now that I’m deeply embedded in the Midwest, I’d have to say that Ludington, Michigan has become one of our favorites (a 3 hr drive). It is amazing. Our other favorites are Makena, Maui and Cadiz, Spain. I’ve always wanted to visit Hanoi.

  29. Patrick Stark says:

    I’ve been fortunate to trave a bit, both before and after kids-BEFORE: Perth Australia on the west side-unbelievable whit sand beaches, incredible islands and rock formations, fun loving people and the Aussie rules football…crazy. Cairns (great barrier reef) on the east side-Karen and I snorkled in some of the most beautiful waterever. Insbruck, Austria…breathtaking mountains and beautiful city. Berlin-just after the wall came down, some of the most epic museums I’ve ever seen, history of east Berlin, checkpoint Charlie museum, wow!AFTER: We try to go to Telluride, CO (8 hours from PHX) every other summer to stay in a cabin on a lake. Love that the town doesn’t allow ANY corporate stores AT ALL, plus the mtn range is unreal. London, history and the city is amazing, except for the Sbux on every cornr…sheesh. Accra, Ghana….wonderful people (who actually dig Americans!!) rugged terrain, amazing natural beauty. I would love to be in Costa Rica one day, and Fiji or anywhere in the South Pacific. Dream on.

  30. elderj says:

    I’ll be po-mo and ask the question: Beautiful in what way? By whose standards? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Having said that, of the cities I’ve visited Paris and Cape Town top the list. But there are so many more places to visit before I can make the final list

  31. Terri says:

    it’s not much of a city, but the most beautiful place I’ve been is Big Sur, CA. there is nothing more amazing than driving down Highway 1.

  32. mary says:

    I have been to so many beautiful cities and locales, but am currently in London and love the history and diversity here. It is truly an international city, with so many different cultures and peoples in this one place.

  33. tanya says:

    Most beautiful place: Playa Rincon in Las Galeras, Dominican Republic (7 miles of deserted, gorgeous beach complete with coves, rocks, rolling green hills in the background, and all the beauty of a tropical beach.

    Most beautiful city: Capetown, South Africa was the most beautiful and most horrific. Just a couple miles from the breathtaking shoreline and backdrop of Table Mountain lies swaths of townships cluttered with trash and filth and the countless number of impoverished.

    Where I’d like to go: Ecuador/Peru/Chile

  34. Wow. I love and miss SF so much. I agree that it is a devastatingly beautiful city in many ways.

  35. Ooh… and another. I was in Budapest a few years ago. It is gorgeous, and I loved the people and the culture.

  36. Obvious Man says:

    Princess Louisa Inlet, British Columbia, Canada

  37. Tyler M says:

    Cheater, thats not a city, thats where Malibu Club is. But yes that is the most beautiful place in the world.

  38. jan owen says:

    The most beautiful place in the world. For a girl who can’t pick an ice cream flavor this is hard. Perhaps for place I’d say the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. Breathtaking and humbling – I literally cried as we sailed by it.

    As for a city? Hmmmmm… are right that San Fran is gorgeous. Charleston is probably my favorite because the architecture is so beautiful and it’s accessible – Much like Paris it’s a city to see while you walk. (Paris is also beautiful)

    Where would I like to go? Just one? come on! I’d love to go to Italy and Ireland. That’s as good as I can make it!

  39. elling says:

    Lot’s of nice places around, but the one I just can’t get out of love so far is simply London. Churches, soccer, pubs, arts. And the whole culture. It’s amazing!

  40. Emily says:

    Hm, the place that comes to mind is Bamiyan, Afghanistan. It’s a tiny town in the mountains with tons of history that has been scarred by war. My favorite was looking at the beautiful green fields surrounded by the rocky mountains, and seeing the peasant women in their brightly colored head-coverings ducked-down and working in the fields. In this area of the country the women’s clothes are bright and colorful, and I loved seeing hot pink and blue head coverings dotting the landscape. It was such a breath of fresh air after some of the bland and dusty cities I had been to.

  41. Ann says:

    Boy, it’s tough to narrow it down! I agree with many previous posters’ nominations, but here is my short list.

    Sequoia National Park, CA
    Florence Italy
    Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
    Kleine Scheidegg/Eiger, Switzerland
    Weimanalo Bay, Oahu
    Any horse farm early in the morning, Lexington/Versailles KY
    Anywhere in the northeastern USA when the leaves turn!

    As far as places I would like to visit in the future, that’s a pretty long list: the Grand Canyon, Australia, Alaska, and Sweden.

  42. joshbarton21 says:

    Favorite Places so far:
    I am in love with New York City
    I also really enjoyed Edinburgh, London, Boston, and San Diego

    I am traveling to San Fran next month, another place I really wanted to go is Italy

  43. Capt Ralph says:

    I would have to say BERGEN, NORWAY – and say “if you haven’t been there, you can’t vote against it” WOW. Clean and scenic. It has all of Seattle, SF and Vancouver features and more.

  44. Capt Ralph says:

    Oh, city/place…………………………….

    Place(s) would be
    1. Prince William Sound, Alaska
    2. Princess Louisa Inlet, BC
    3. the Fords (Fjords, ha ha) of Norway

    ….do you see a pattern here?

  45. Rachael says:

    My favorite places:

    * Seattle sparkles. I adore this city.
    * Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park
    * Devil’s Loop, Arches National Park
    * Whidbey Island: There’s a secret hike that leads to a lookout of the Strait of Juan de Fuca that is unbelievable.
    * Paris. Paris. Paris. There is no other city like it.
    * South Luangwa National Park, Zambia (Stay at Kafunta River Lodge)
    * Lake Malawi

    In the (near) future:
    For the second half of this year, I’ll be living in Northern Ireland and then traveling throughout Eastern Europe. I am positive that any and all of the 13 countries I’m visiting will knock my socks off!

  46. […] Christmas, our family traveled to San Francisco and it was good to take my kids to visit my middle school.  I was a student at Aptos Middle School […]

  47. Nicole says:

    Meteora, Greece.
    An incredible site where one of the largest communities of monasteries rests on top of high stone pillars towering above a majestic valley and surrounded by mountains. Check out some google images. amazing.

  48. Neil -United Kingdom says:

    I went to Florence at Easter 2008 and thought that could not be beaten , then San Francisco in autumn 2008 which has the edge for natural suroundings but not architecture , but this Easter just coming back from Prague I have to say that this is the most beautiful place you could possibly imagine go there if you can . Thats my top three in reverse order .

  49. […] My answer: Obviously, I live in Seattle.  We are moving on our 12 year anniversary in June.  It’s amazing to think that nearly 12 years ago, Minhee and I packed up our station wagon (about 5 months after getting married) and made our way to Seattle – not quite certain what the future would hold.  I shared more about why I love Seattle here.  Many of you also shared your answers for the world’s most beautiful city. […]

  50. d powell says:

    I just watched your San Fran vid. That bridge looks HUGE! Some impressive stuff there – it does look beautiful, I’ll hopefully visit her one day. I noticed the tour bus wasn’t a San Francisco one, it said Glasgow. That stuck out – why is that? San Franciso was always around 5th or 6th on my list of American cities to visit, but I think it just moved closer to the top.

  51. d powell says:

    p.s in response to your question, Edinburgh is a beautiful city with lots of history and architecture, as is Sevilla – I’d recommend those two. Possibly Brussels as well – it is huge and quite forbidding at times, but there is a wealth of things to explore and see.

  52. enya ndoma says:

    ah! your presentation is something of an ethereal nature,all the same ,i tip calabar a small city in south-south nigeria, because of tourism sites like;marina resort,tinapa,akwavista,obudu cattle ranch…

  53. […] most beautiful summer city Earlier this year, I asked my readers for their opinion about the “most beautiful city in the world.” There were many compelling nominations.  Having lived in San Francisco and having visited […]

  54. Shelbel says:

    Seattle, Seattle, Seattle. All I have to say. Although it is cloudy here a lot so don’t move here if you love sun.

  55. CaroleM says:

    San Francisco is absolutely gorgeous having been there and Rio looks amazing from photos.

    Been to Cape Town and found it and Table Mountain overhyped. Cape Town relies completely on Table Mountain. It is just a flat uninteresting plateau and although it is pretty enough, it is just not any more scenic than Hobart Tasmania, Seattle, Santorini, Rio de Janeiro.

    It is S Africans who hype it up. Went to Sun City which is one casino stuck out in middle of nowhere and then when I think of Vegas I have to laugh. No comparison.
    So San Francisco all the way and a very interesting place with so many facets and different spectacular views.

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One Day’s Wages

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Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. -

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

Did you know that every year of secondary school increases a girl’s future earning power by 20 percent.

Did you know that if all girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia had a secondary education, child marriage would fall by 64 percent.

We can't change the entire world but we can impact the lives of one, few, and in some cases...many.

#jeremylin #jlin #linsanity #onedayswages Don't be held captive to either praise or criticism.

Know who you are.
Know what you're about.
Know WHO you serve.

The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
In honor of Sahara...and so many other women who keep...keeping on. I have to remind myself of this every day...because I can forget every day:

Don't be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor. It's a sad reality but our society runs on the currency of fear. Don't feed into this frenzy.

Rather, invest in faith, hope, and love.

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