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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Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother. I love all the free amazing views in our Evergreen State. #RattlesnakeLedge

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