The area around Union Square in San Francisco has been a sort of No Man’s Land to me, or at least was before we moved into our new offices there this week. Previously, I’d cross the threshold near the Gap, the cable cars, and the Ferrari theme store only to get off the 8X and hop on the Muni, or to bring in my broken MacBook to the Apple store, mewling like a stepped on cat because I couldn’t get my shift key to type.

Typically, my complicated relationship with this area of the city is as follows: I like to avoid it. Why, you may ask? Up until now, the only time I was able to go was after work and on weekends when everything is concentrated and magnified. Sidewalks are crowded with slow walkers (grrrr…. slow walkers….), sketchy folks nearly outnumber the wide-eyed out-of-towners, and high quality San Francisco restaurant fare hides between the reeds of chain restaurants, Walgreens, and stores containing purses worth more than my life insurance.

Problem is, Union Square contains some pockets of awesome: my wonderful dentist Dr. Serdar has an office overlooking the concrete park, high above the bustle with cleanings hastened by personal TVs playing 30 Rock reruns. I get my brows done (GIRL ALERT) at the Benefit brow bar, unless I can’t fathom the hour and a half long wait. The Burritt Room serves a kickass cocktail, and I really enjoy a zinfandel at Press Club, and Jasper’s Corner Tap Room has negronis on tap…

The jaded “local” (ooh, look at me, I’ve lived here three years, I know everything in this city so well) would rather turn her nose at the chain stores and crowds, but the pragmatist in me is excited to get to shop over lunch (hellloooooo Madewell, pleasure to make your acquaintance) and be able to pull together my errands without renting a Zipcar.

So as I walked in to work, as pricey designer shops send out their bouncers and a plump man in overalls hoses down the post-New Year remnants, I prepared myself for a new adventure – becoming familiar with an area I’ve always attempted to limit my time in.

I’m excited.