Why I Choose to Raise my Kids in San Francisco: Jessica Holmes
Updated: Apr 18
I choose to raise my kids in San Francisco and specifically Potrero Hill because I value access to natural spaces, engagement in the public realm, and community. I love being able to walk down the street and enjoy the privilege of a spectacular meal or entertainment in Potrero Hill, the Mission, Mission Bay or Dogpatch. I equally love being able to turn and walk another direction to enjoy natural, wild spaces at our beautiful recreation center or Starr King Open Space. One of my favorite new additions is the waterfront access now available at Crane Cove Park and the future blue greenway that will provide a wonderful respite and access to our bayside location.
There’s always something fun to do in the neighborhood whether it’s a schoolyard playdate, live music in a neighborhood plaza, or celebrating art, creativity and philanthropy via a neighborhood festival. I seldom plan weekend playdates for my kids as we tend to run into and see playmates organically. Even something as simple as opening the door and playing on our deadend street typically results in a few kids passing by and joining for scooters and sidewalk chalk. There’s something energizing and spontaneous about being in public spaces. Moments of connection that can’t be planned - a passersby visit with an elderly couple, a young adult and an adorable dog, my kids befriending a young toddler, the connections that take root in being known and seen – and the knowledge exchanged.
Living in San Francisco for 13 years and having kids for 9 of those years, I believe nothing makes parenting easier outside of building your community. While well intentioned family members or consumer media may tell you otherwise, but a larger home or the newest tech-enabled smart gadget will not make parenting easier long term. Seasons of a child’s life and their needs are constantly changing. Now that I’m on my third residence in the neighborhood I can attest that every home footprint has pros and cons. What I can recommend is being in a location you love with enough space for your family and, if you can, leaving the neighborhood better for having been there. The children are looking to us adults as examples of how to live a meaningful, contented, adult life and I believe social responsibility, joy and connection to others is at the crux of it. I hope that in sharing our stories we can make urban child raising more normalized, joyful, meaningful and connected for fellow parents and for those who may be parents one day.
Jessica Holmes works in digital & experiential marketing and lives on Connecticut Street. In her free time she roller skates, enjoys pastries and serves on the PREFund.org Board of Directors, preferably all at the same time.
“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.