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Why I Choose to Raise my Family in San Francisco: Jason Barton

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

It was a Sunday morning and my then four year-old son, Connor, was getting restless. I offered several of our regular parks – Jackson, McKinley, and Potrero Recreation Center – but Connor wasn’t interested. Without thinking, or checking the CalTrain schedule, I asked him, “you want to go on a train ride?” He jumped up and yelled “Yes!”

We hurriedly got on our shoes, grabbed our coats and ran to the 22nd Street station. We just made it in time to board a train heading north. Connor climbed up the stairs to the single row of seats above and inquired about every sign and sound. Before he could take it all in, we were at the King Street Station.

“Now what?” Connor asked. I didn’t have an answer.

Clearly I hadn’t thought this through. I looked up and saw the N Judah. “Let’s catch that train!” I yelled. We ran to the Muni and took it underground to Powell. As we exited Connor inquired about the different smells, but before I could answer he yelled “cable car!!”

The line to board went around the block. I threw Connor on my shoulders and walked a few blocks north to a stop where we were able to jump on. We got off at Fisherman’s Wharf, and headed to Pier 39 to check out the attractions and stop by the sea lions to say hello.

Afterwards we went to the Player’s Sports Grill and Arcade. Connor played several games. I rewarded myself with a beer at the cheesy Tiki Lounge at the back of the arcade, which is right on the water with an amazing view of the Bay Bridge. Don’t tell anyone.

We concluded the adventure by taking the old F line train back along the Embarcadero. It’s this kind of spontaneous adventure right outside my door that makes me love raising my family in this City.

Jason Barton lives on 22nd Street with his wife, Becky, and two kids. He’s a program manager for Varian Medical Systems. “Why I Choose to Raise My Family in San Francisco” is the brainchild of the Potrero Residents Education Fund, a nonprofit committed to helping create a stronger, more vibrant San Francisco by ensuring that families from a diversity of income levels raise their children in the City. Submit your response to

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