I have a pretty posh commute by Bay Area standards. I get on a bus two blocks from home and twenty minutes later I walk eight blocks to the office. Not bad. Well, except that I walk that eight blocks down Market Street in San Francisco, and in spite of laws banning smoking not just in buildings but around doors -- which means that smoking on most of the sidewalks along Market is also banned -- the sidewlak is essentially one long smoking section.
And that would not be so horrible in itself, except of course it's an urban canyon, so wind goes up and down the street, blowing the smoke right in your face. Combine that with bus fumes, car exhaust, cleaning fluids, and homeless people, and downtown is not exactly a great place to breathe in. Not that I can, either, because cigarette smoke makes my chest tighten up and I end up walking down the street holding my breath. For eight blocks.
On the other hand, the exercise is nice, and it really wakes me up first thing in the morning to go for a brisk, airless walk into a strong headwind. And when you get over the fact that you are in a crowd of tourists All. The. Time, downtown is a pretty good place to work. Lots of good places to eat that aren't even too expensive, good public transit access, and if you want to go to Bloomie's during lunch it's right there. Much better than past jobs in corporate wastelands, or even a job in Jack London Square which would like to be a tourist trap but simply doesn't have anything to attract tourists.