25 Things I wish I knew before moving to San Francisco

I moved to San Francisco 9 months ago from the East Coast bastion of Boston. Despite having experience living in a major US city, I found quite a few surprises coming here.  Some have been great, while others not so much.

If you’re planning the move here, I hope this will help you know better what to expect. And if you already live in SF, this should give you a laugh or two and hopefully inspire you to leave a comment with anything I missed. Consider this the guide I wish someone had given me when I moved here.

It gets cold at 4pm.

On the east coast I got used to it staying warm on a nice day til 10pm. If it was 70 degrees in the morning, you could rest assured that the temperature would be about 70 when you left work that night.  That is not the case here.

Working in SoMa, I’ve found that somewhere around 4pm the temperature starts dropping and so by 5 or 5:30pm it’s 10 degrees cooler outside. A lot of this is due to the fog that seems to roll in around then.

Pro Tip: Be prepared to always have layers with you. A light jacket is your best friend in San Francisco.

Neighborhoods define you.

People take the neighborhood you live in pretty seriously. It’s often a quick way to figure out a lot of what a person values most as SF is a city with something for everyone. Each neighborhood has a unique set of offerings, and pros and cons.  Like any stereotype, it’s not always true, but you will find that yes, there are a lot hipsters in the Mission, bros in the Marina and families in Noe Valley.

Pro Tip: If you’re moving here, spend some time in different neighborhoods before you get locked into living somewhere. (See one man’s opinion here and *update* this is another set of stereotypes for the trendy neighborhoods

If you’ve ever lived in SF, you’ll totally get this, and if not, it’s a pretty good idea of the stereotypes & diversity of neighborhoods:

Bikes of SF by Tor Weeks

Rent is insane.

The first thing you’ll notice when you get here is the sticker shock on rent. This is the most expensive city to live in now and only Manhattan is in the race with them. A studio is now over $2,000 a month in most parts of the city and even with roommates you’ll end up paying $1,000-$1,500 a month for a place pretty much anywhere in town. I just looked up the building I moved into April 1, 2012 and as of January, 2013 the rent is up $700 a month for a 2 bedroom apartment. If you’re wondering why that is, this PandoDaily article does a good job explaining why.

Pro Tip: Finding an apartment is a full contact sport. There’s a lot of important advice on finding an apartment in San Francisco here.

Lovely, an apartment listing site, did a great infographic on SF rent prices:

Rental rate rises by Lovely

Update: Here’s a Mid-2013 Look at Pricing of Apartments per Priceonomics.

Cost of living overall is sky high.

Of course these high rental prices are just part of the challenge of living here economically. The cost of goods in my experience have been as high or higher as anywhere else in the country. I’ve solved much of this by moving to buying more online, which is a shame because that means not supporting local businesses.  The most crushing aspect I saved for last though. Taxes here are significantly higher than I’ve experienced anywhere. This means you’re squeezed both on your take home pay and your expenses.

To put it all in perspective, I used to take home about 75% of my pay in Boston and here it’s only 65%. Meanwhile, my monthly expenses have risen almost a third from $2,500 a month in Boston to $3,300 here. This combines to mean despite a significant pay raise when I moved here, I live less comfortably here. I have no idea how anyone who isn’t working in a high tech role that pays an above average salary can live here.

Pro Tip: If you’re moving here for a job, take into account the added costs so you’re sure you get paid a salary that won’t dramatically hurt your standard of living.

There are crazy and cool things always going on.

One of my favorite things about coming to San Francisco has been this fact. It is truly amazing to me how often there are festivals, concerts, and just randomly awesome cultural events going on. From SantaCon to Fleet Week, Yerba Buena to the Academy of Science, there’s not just something for everyone; it’s impossible not to get drawn to something you didn’t expect.  I give huge credit to the city of San Francisco for how often they let streets get shut down, allow for impromptu performances and try to make it easy for people to participate by adjusting public transportation accordingly.

Pro Tip: There’s quite a few great sites out there to find things to do. The best I’ve found are UpOutSF, and Thrillist. Finding something exciting on one of those sites and asking people to go with you is the fastest way to make friends.

Costumes are a way of life.

“Is that a costume, or is that how you always dress?” is a legitimate question in San Francisco. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thought that question when I look at a fellow passenger on the bus or a group of people walking down the street.  San Francisco takes costumes so seriously, we even make up extra occasions for it as Bay to Breakers is essentially a second Halloween for SF.

Also, as a forewarning, some people choose the cheapest costume of all, their “Birthday Suit”, on some days.  As one friend told me, “You’re not a true San Franciscan until you see a naked guy walking down the street.”

Pro Tip: Don’t fight it. San Francisco is one of the most creative cities and it’s because of the self-expression that comes from events like this.

This is a drunken costume party, err, race, across the city:

Lots of homeless, beggars and crackheads.

This is definitely part of the uglier side of San Francisco. Unfortunately, the worst parts of the city for crime are the Tenderloin and Civic Center (as well as some areas of Western Addition and the Mission), which are right in the middle of the city. Market Street and Union Square, which are areas filled with startups and great shops, is unfortunately on the border of those areas. Due to this, going to work or going shopping you’re likely to have multiple people hit you up for money and probably meet a crackhead or two. Luckily, most are harmless, so you’ll find it humorous after while as evidenced by this Yelp thread on “Favorite Crackhead Moments.” 

Unfortunately, this means there are some unpleasant scents in those areas.  Walking down the street you may find yourself playing the game “dog or human?” (note: this is unfortunately referencing what kind of feces is on the ground…or in one case a high heel on the sidewalk in SoMa).

Pro Tip: Learn the streets that include the Tenderloin and don’t walk there at night and avoid any Muni buses that will take you through there on your trip. (See map below and learn about crime in San Francisco with this great site.)

Don't go inside the dotted lines

Don’t wander inside the dotted lines alone

PBR is pervasive, but microbrews rule.

No matter what bar you’re in or store that sells beer, you will always find a hearty supply of PBR, usually in cans. Even Whole Foods sells 30 racks of PBR while only selling 6 packs of everything else.  Of course, being SF, startups have gotten into the game as well with recruiting pitches including a “year’s supply of PBR”:

PBR Recruiting bounty

Now, if you’re not into PBR, never fear. There’s actually a vibrant homebrew community and a number of great beer bars including Toronado and the Monk’s Kettle. California is home to tons of microbreweries so there’s always new beers to try. I personally prefer the microbrews but still see PBR everywhere I go. And if you’re not into beer, the influence of Napa is felt strongly with plenty of great wine options.

Pro Tip: When you’ve spent all your money on rent, you can still afford a beer thanks to the many happy hours and cheap cans of PBR.

An extremely pro-dog city.

If you’re a dog lover or have a dog, this is an amazing city for you. Every neighborhood has one or two parks in it and every one I’ve seen has had sizeable dog-friendly areas. No matter the time of day, you will always find people out and about with their dogs and socializing with others with dogs.  A number of bars I’ve been to have even let owners bring their dogs in when it’s not too packed.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of your dog living in SF, this article captures it better than I ever could:

“Living here has been a revelation when it comes to my dog.

I’m not just talking about the fact that there are hundreds of acres scattered in and around the city where he can romp undeterred by a leash. I’m talking about the fact that the people of San Francisco love their dogs. Where else in the country is there an active dog owner Political Action Committee?”

Pro Tip: Not all landlords allow pets, so if you’re bringing a dog with you, be sure to look into it when searching for an apartment.

Divisadero is the fog line.

San Francisco is known for many things, and one of the most notable is the fog.  It’s a big contributing factor to the temperature drop I mentioned before. The Divisadero is a street running North-South across the city effectively cutting it in half. If you live West of the Divisadero, you’ll see the sun a lot less than your East of the Divisadero counterparts.

Now, this isn’t to say that the whole city doesn’t get blanketed in fog, but if you’re on the West side, right around the time the sun has burned off the fog in the morning, the evening fog is rolling in.

How the Fog rolls in SF

How the Fog rolls in San Francisco

Pro Tip: Don’t let the fog discourage you from checking out the West side of the city. The Golden Gate Bridge, Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park are all awesome places on the West side.

Palo Alto and Mountain View are farther away than you think.

When I first moved to San Francisco, I was excited to know I had a number of friends who lived in Palo Alto and Mountain View. I figured I’d definitely make trips down regularly for work and pleasure.  I also figured they would come up to the city regularly. In the 9 months I’ve been here, I can count the number of visits on 2 hands. Meanwhile, I do see them in the city on rare occasion mainly because the center of the Silicon Valley universe has shifted back up towards San Francisco.

The Caltrain actually is pretty reliable, and most things in Palo Alto and Mountain View are within a reasonable distance of the stations, but when you look at your phone and realize it’s a 90 minute to 2 hour trip each way, it suddenly feels a lot less appealing.

Pro Tip: If you love living in an urban environment, don’t even consider living in Palo Alto or Mountain View. There’s a reason Google, Facebook and other Valley powerhouses have shuttles for their employees living in SF.

The 3 things you need to know about MUNI.

The MUNI is the bus system in San Francisco that most San Franciscans have a Love-Hate relationship with.  Learn these 3 tips and you’ll avoid some of the biggest pains.

1) Google Maps is never right about what time the bus will come.

– If you need to figure out the best bus(es) to take to get to your destination, Google Maps is great, just not for telling you when the next bus will arrive. Use Rover or NextMUNI for time of the next bus arriving.

2) Half of the buses require you to step down into the steps to get the back door to open. 

– Failing to do this will get the whole bus yelling at you. Avoid the rookie mistake.

3) Chinatown is a bottleneck on any route going through it

– If your bus passes through Chinatown you can be sure that the bus will stop numerous times while passing through, usually delayed by a horde of people either cramming on or fighting to get off. If passing through Chinatown, add time to your trip.

Pro Tip: There are tons of great alternatives for any budget to MUNI & BART: walking, biking, cabs, SideCar, Lyft and Uber.

There are tons of amazing views.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk to your destination. This is because there are so many amazing views in San Francisco. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve looked around while walking the city and seen a truly breathtaking view.

You can learn where there are particularly great views in this awesome video (Corona Heights and Buena Vista are my favorites):

Of course, the views aren’t limited to the city sky line. There’s incredible nature all in and around the city from the waves crashing on the rocks on Ocean Beach to the sunsets on the Embarcadero to the Presidio view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s definitely one of the best things about this city.

Pro Tip: Alcatraz is not just a cool destination in and of itself, it has some incredible views of the city. Bring your camera and hope for a clear day.

Startup Central is in SoMa.

If you’re interested in startups, the center of all the activity is SoMa, which stands for South of Market St.  With all the public transportation (MUNI, BART and CalTrain) criss-crossing Market Street and SoMA, it makes it super convenient to get to from most areas of the city.

Someone told me that there are over 1,000 startups in the area, and from what I’ve seen, it would not surprise me. Everywhere you look, there’s a sign for companies big and small. It’s not uncommon to find out an entrepreneur you’re going to meet with is in the same building as you.

For those that don’t have offices, many of the coffee shops in the area are notorious for great startup chatter and founders hacking on their laptops at EpiCenter and the Creamery or investors and partnership meetings at SightGlass and Blue Bottle.

Pro Tip: San Franciscans are a heavily caffeinated group that takes their coffee seriously, so try them all and choose your coffee meetings wisely.

SF is a super fit city.

One of the first things I noticed when I visited San Francisco a year ago was how fit everyone was. It literally seems like the population as a whole weighs 10-15 pounds less than their Northeast counterparts. There are a number of reasons for this.

First, the weather is virtually always nice enough to be active and go outside. While the Northeast is freezing and cooped up in their homes buried in snow, it’s sunny and in the 50s here. This makes it easy to stay active year round and helps avoid the dreaded “winter weight” many fight off every spring in colder climates.

Access to healthy food here is also pretty amazing. There are great farmers markets all over the city and with so much agriculture in California, the produce in grocery stores is also super fresh. Restaurant menus are also generally tailored to healthy eating as well. What surprised me most though was that even the Walgreens has produce, so you’re always within reach of something better than a candy bar.

Finally, with all the great weather, everyone seems to find some way to be active whether it be rock climbing, surfing, running, sports, yoga or the gym. Just Google your favorite activity and you’re sure to find a group for it.

Pro Tip: Joining a league or taking a fitness class is a great way to make friends. I made quite a few quick friends from the soccer team I joined and the ultimate frisbee league I play in.

If you’re a foodie, welcome to heaven.

A friend told me San Francisco has so many restaurants the entire city could eat out at the same time and be seated.  From what I’ve seen, I’d believe it.

Seriously check Yelp. It’s truly stunning the wide variety of food available. With so many options, there’s little reason to eat at the same place too many times.

A few of the tasty things you’ll find in SF (via Let’s Eat SF)

Pro Tip: Great places to eat and drink are a great conversation topic for any San Franciscan. If you want to move beyond Yelp and Foursquare Explore, just ask a local for a recommendation.

The 3 hour time zone difference is a big deal.

Having lived on the East Coast my whole life, I got very used to how much life revolves around the EST time zone. Sporting events, major news (like the State of the Union) and most television is optimized for EST. Being 3 hours behind can be difficult.

Being a big sports fan, this was a big adjustment. The first time I realized a Celtics playoff game was starting at 4pm was a sad day as there was no way I could watch the game until at least half time because of work. Meanwhile, NFL Sundays will never be the same as 10am kickoffs is something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. For those of you playing Fantasy Football, you may find yourself setting an alarm to make sure you’re awake in time to check injuries and set your lineup before the 1pm EST games.

Most importantly though, is the adjustment with family if they live in another time zone. I used to call my parents at least once or twice a week, especially to talk to my father if I needed business or life advice in a pinch. Unfortunately that’s a lot harder when you realize that if you wake up at 7am, it’s already mid-morning for them. Meanwhile, after work, if it’s 7pm here, it’s already 10pm and my parents are getting ready for bed. Bummer.

Pro Tip: Build a routine around connecting with anyone you want to keep in touch with on the East Coast. It will help fill in for all those moments you’re about to call someone and you realize the timing won’t work.

Watching sports matters a lot less.

With such great weather, so much to always do and the time zones throwing off game start times anyways, it’s little surprise that sports aren’t the center of conversation like they are in much of the Northeast.  In Boston, even women that hate sports have to pretend and wear pink Boston gear and watch the games. That definitely doesn’t happen here.

The good news is, if you have a team you love, there’s a “team bar” for just about any team in any sport. As a Steeler fan this has been great as I know there’s a place to go clad with the black and gold and the game on.

Pro Tip: If you’re used to bumming around inside on Sundays watching football, expect for that routine to change to brunch (a SF favorite activity) or any number of outdoor activities.

Everything is taken to the extreme.

San Francisco is a city with something for everyone. The interesting thing I found is how that is taken to the extreme. Whether you’re a hipster who will ride your fixie with your year-round (not just Movember) mustache or a bro in the Marina hulking on creatine, it seems everyone in a group tries to take it to the furthest point. In the most extreme case…look up the Folsom Street Fair (NSFW warning: graphic / sex-related).

In my daily life this has led to me noticing polarity like:

  • In fashion, either you’re super dressed up or you try very hard to look like you’re not trying at all in your skinny jeans, sandals and a t-shirt you wear every day.
  • Either you wear a jersey of your favorite team and go to the team bar to watch and talk about the game, or it doesn’t matter.
  • If you have a startup, your pitch probably includes how you’re going to not just build a cool business, but change the world in a massive way.

Pro Tip: Use this to your advantage and take one of your interests to a deeper level when you get there. You’ll likely meet others with the same interest who can teach you new things and be a friend. 

You’ll turn into an early adopter even if you weren’t one before.

As a city, San Francisco is at the forefront of a lot of innovation. Even our trash program is progressive as it tries to set us on a path for zero waste by 2020.  More specifically in your day to day though is all the new products gaining new adoption and hype every day here.

A common topic of conversation whether at work, at a bar or just out and about is always the latest the apps people are using. You’ll try them out and have an opinion or be left in the dust. All this adoption has an added benefit of meaning that San Franciscans often gets the first look at apps other cities can’t even use yet (exp: Sosh, Lyft, SideCar, etc).

Your iPhone screen may start looking like this after a few months:

Pro Tip: Try a couple new apps every week and if you’re looking to spark conversation, ask someone if they’ve tried any great apps lately.   

All the best tech startups are at their best here.

With all this great early adoption, it’s not that surprising that most of these startups are at their best here.

The most impressive to me is definitely Yelp.  It’s amazing in SF. I always use it and hear tips constantly after never using it in Boston. It seems like every store and restaurant has hundreds of reviews and there are a crazy number of Yelp Elites.

Pro Tip: If you tried apps like Foursquare and Yelp in other places and weren’t impressed, they’re worth another shot here.

Working in tech is the norm, not the exception.

Coming from Boston, startups feel almost like a secret society that flies under the radar; most of the city has no idea the hundreds of early stage startups there nor realize giants like Constant Contact, Kayak, and VistaPrint are all Boston companies. Meanwhile, here, no matter what you’re doing, those you meet will almost always be in finance or startups.

Like in Hollywood a few hours South, if you’re trying to “make it” (in our case, in startups, not writing/acting/directing), this is the place to be. There’s a 98% chance the person next to you in the coffee shop with the laptop open is working on their own startup or someone else’s.

Pro Tip: If you listen carefully to the conversations around you at the coffee shops here, you’ll hear tech gossip without even having to read TechCrunch.

A common sight at San Francisco coffee shops

People love novelty and new experiences.

This was actually one of the most surprising adjustments I had to make in common to San Francisco. In Boston, people are all about routine; you go to your favorite bar or restaurant with a certain group of friends like clockwork. If you find something you like, it quickly becomes the old standby and everyone is excited to recreate that experience.

In SF, it’s all about trying new things. Just because the last place you went was awesome doesn’t mean you’d like to go back. Instead,everyone looks for unique things to do and the fastest way to make friends is to suggest something unique & awesome to check out.

Pro Tip: With great weather pretty much year round, you can safely assume every weekend you’ll be able to get out of your apartment and experience something new. Cabin fever is a foreign concept in San Francisco.

Tons of awesome lies just beyond SF’s borders.

It’s easy to get lost in exploring San Francisco, but what really makes the city great is what lies just beyond. No matter what you love doing or your favorite climate, there’s great places to visit within a few hours drive of San Francisco.  You can snowboard or gamble in Tahoe, taste wines in Napa, rock climb or hike in national parks, mountain bike in Marin, or sail the bay.

Pro Tip: Oakland gets a bad rap, but there’s tons of great concerts and other events there worth checking out.

Come with an explorer’s attitude.

San Francisco is a city for new adventures and boundless opportunities. There’s great websites, apps and friendly locals who can help you take advantage of all there is to offer. With all the personality of the city and each individual neighborhood, there’s new things to discover and appreciate every where you go.


San Francisco native? What advice do you have for newcomers?

Update: Jacob, a native San Franciscan wrote a great post from a veteran’s perspective that’s well worth the read: http://sfloveaffair.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/34-on-things-you-should-know-about-san-francisco/

Special thanks to Zach Cole for help with this blog post. 

688 thoughts on “25 Things I wish I knew before moving to San Francisco

    • Having lived in both Boston and SF for extended periods of time (a decade at a time), I’d say they are both very overrated. Bottom line is that living in SF if your job is in Palo Alto or Sunnyvale is stupid, just as living in Boston if you work out between 128 & 495 (where all the high tech is) is just plain stupid. I don’t hire people if during the interview, I find out they plan on doing that kind of thing. It says that their judgement is poor.

      • Some people can have valid reasons for needing to make that commute, so you shouldn’t generalize so harshly. If you don’t hire someone just because of that, you are an awful Manager.

      • Poor judgement? That is ridiculous. Speaking from a young person’s perspective who did the commute from SF for a year before leaving for business school- NOTHING compares to living in the city during your early to mid twenties. Period. To bias your hiring on that fact is completely obtuse.

      • Actually Tyrone, it matters little if you do or do not hire said people as they’ll always find a job elsewhere which shall prove a better fit. Your presumption speaks more of your character than the quality of theirs. A pity, the person(s) you chose not to hire might have proven a valuable asset to your organisation but alas…

      • People that commute are often on time more than people that live close by. They have to account for delays and therefore, plan ahead for them.

      • really?! WOw! I used to commute from SF to San Jose by bike and CalTrain just to make $12/hr……and my boss always invite me to go back. The hour ride in the train with my iTunes collection and the nice view and the cool riders were just fine….

      • wow … if i knew the company i applied to had a person like you as part of the hiring process, i would retract my application right away. if the company’s business practices is anything like your guideline to hiring a potential candidate, they best to let you go right away before you hurt their bottom dollar. if you’re the CEO/Owner then, bwahahaaha … chapter 11 !

      • Fuck these haters Tyrone, keep excluding people randomly. Most folks get jobs by chance in the first place. Who cares. I tend to agree with you, I just got a job in Redwood Shores, and Im living down here around Belmont / San Mateo / Redwood City area because it doesnt make sense to commute in my mind. Im in my mid-20s, I love city life, but I already had Manhattan city life, so… while SF is awesome… it just aint Manhattan.

        In fact I might argue that since the bay is so outdoorsy in general, living in the city is kind of counter-intuitive. We dont have much nature back in NYC/Jersey, so it didnt really matter. Now im in this badass south bay suburb and fuuuuuck commutes.

        I will say that the caltrain is awesome though. Absurdly cheap compared to NJ Transit for the same distances.

      • Um, so, Tyrone: how stupid do you think it is to tell people that living in SF and working in a neighboring city is stupid when what you’ve said will likely be heard, no only as a comment about their decision-making ability, but about them? Doesn’t seem very smart to me. One good thing I can take away from your punitive arrogance here though: it reminds me to warn people that there are a few employers out in the Bay Area who think they are THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ or something granting you from the bounty of their voluptuous clemency the IMPERATIVE exclusive opportunity to be associated with the reputation of the area in exchange for working for them.

        Please try to remember you are talking about adults; and just because you got yo ‘lil business doesn’t mean you are in a position to dictate where people live. Come down. Oh PULEEZ come down. You as an employer, just as some of the landlords out here are not all of that just because you have a little piece of something in desirable area. Makes me wonder if you’re also one of those dumb asses who want to welcome yourself to a potential’s Facebook page during the interview too. You’re the one whose judgment is poor dear sir; you are permitted by law to go as far as, “Do you have reliable transportation?” and leave it at that, also you could be asking for a lawsuit if you find out after they are hired, decide you don’t like where they live and terminate them. Better ask somebody; maybe they’ll give you a clue on credit.

    • Agreed, PBR is most certainly NOT the office drink. If you are too poor drink water and save your chips for a good beer. PBR is a novelty item that tastes like shit.

      • Agreed. Fernet, Jameson and Fireball are the official drinks. As far as beer I’d say Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada or Blue Moon.

      • PBR is definitely the drink of choice in the hipster-ridden Mission and perhaps SOMA. But California (and the West Coast in general) is the center of the beer brewing universe these days. Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, etc. are all basically back-up beers (to be consumed when you end up in a place where they serve Heineken and the domestics) now, because they’re ubiquitous.

      • So I used to live in SF at back in 2000ish and can provide some hopefully helpful historical context here. PBR underwent a huge and wildly successful rebranding campaign nationally. In SF this manifested itself as a the company giving away unlimited PBR to art openings at places like Upper Playground. These things turned into epic drunken shitshows, but they also cemented the relationship between PBR and crazy times in the show-goer’s minds. The net effect was that the “cool art kids” got used to drinking PBR socially and that kind of set the tone for what the art scene drank for quite some time. This became mainstream and you could get PBR ANYWHERE no matter how high-end. It even was available in the can at the aforementioned Monk’s Kettle snooty beer bar where they charge $12 for a 6 oz pour of a $5 bomber bottle of Rodenback Grand Cru. It has been a long time since that campaign ended and the effects are wearing off. However PBR played a huge role in any “hipster” scene of the early 2000s because of this.

      • Anchor Steam is brewed in Portrero Hill (and the brewery has tours), so any self-respecting SF dweller will drink that when there is little else.

        I think that PBR is an imported by people from the East Coast/Midwest, particularly new arrivals – 5 years ago you would have struggled to find it anywhere in SF…

      • I totally agree that PBR is an import. As a native San Franciscan (gasp!) I never saw or heard of PBR until the hipster community took over certain neighborhoods (guess which one). I still hate the s**t, and would prefer Anchor Steam or any other decent IPA over it, but hell, if your broke go get yourself a $2 dollar pabst. That is if you can even find one for that cheap anymore ;)

      • Or hasn’t been here long enough to really know whats up. First impressions are simple and shallow.

    • I’ve lived in San Francisco for 12 years – most of them in the Mission/Castro area – and I’ve never once had a PBR. I’ve never been to a party where it was served, and I’ve never been out with a friend who ordered one.

      If you’re friends are drinking PBR, you probably need a better class of friend.

    • I lived in SF for 9 years. PBR was fine but Tecate always won if there was the choice. Even in the “hipster-ridden” Mission, where I lived. Before it was hip. Which makes me uber hip. Or just poor at the time and it was still the ‘hood. In any case, Tecate, the PBR of Mexico!

      • PBR is for bicycle messengers and the hipsters caught on. I like the history of PBR comment from D Ryan, since all messengers know where to get free beer of course. Tecate is more true, since living here for 14 years, but for after hour parties only. When out, folks drink Anchor, Sierra, or Lagunitas, most commonly. Speakeasy, Fat Tire, & Big Daddy are close seconds…lets not forget Racer5.

      • It’s true though. After 30+ years I have never had or even seen anyone else drink that PBR. In fact if there hadn’t been a photo I would have been puzzled about what I was missing. Otherwise an excellent description of a SF overview. I marvel that I can actually afford to be in the area. Thank goodness I arrived so long ago to get a toe hold in the economy

      • Who are you you to call anyone stupid or any names at all?
        Bottom line, people like whatever they like, prefer, or can afford.
        Respect that.

    • I was drinking PBR in Chi town in the 90’s. I
      t was the midwest “hipster” thing WAY before this. BTW, have lived here for 14 years. Compared to Chicago and NYC (lived in both) this is a TOWN, not a city.

  1. Thank you for this interesting post. I enjoyed reading it very much. I’ve been to SF a couple of times and would love to live and work there by the end of the year as a software engineer from Germany ;) Thanks a lot..

  2. Just curious about the dogs. Are the dogs allowed to go inside the restaurants and the offices? Of course the answer is a percentage. Just an aprox please.

    • I would not consider the city dog friendly because it would be MUCH more difficult to find a rental with a dog especially a medium or large sized dog. If you think finding an apartment in the city is tough already, having a dog makes it nearly impossible!

      • Agreed. I moved in Sept., impossible to find a dog friendly apartment. As far as taking the dogs in places, the workers at Precious Rainbow Grocery told me that there is a loophole in the law that basically allows you to take your dog anywhere just by stating an emotional need. Serious.

      • More difficult, yes…but try offering an exorbitant deposit amount to people who say “no pets” and magic happens.

      • The city’s dog-friendliness is vastly overstated by those who don’t have dogs. 80% or so of rentals are closed to dog owners. It’s a huge obstacle to moving when you add that to the high prices and competition for rentals.

      • There are a population of dog owners who lose their minds if even questioned as to their conduct/behavior, let alone contacted by law enforcement. And most of the time it’s not the dog who present the danger, it’s the owners. Oh yeah, then there’s the dogs.Be sure to comment in february as the DOG nuts will be all over this, we need to rain in these dog nut idiots that are ruining the GGNRA including Crissy Field.
        Crissy Field is not “an area where dogs are allowed to run loose.” Crissy Field is an area open to all, especially to the Park Police supervising it as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Officially Crissy Field is an area where dogs must be ON LEASH, unless they are under VOICE CONTROL.

        Voice control means the dog comes when called, not just if it has nothing better to do, not just when it feels like it, but reliably, all the time.

      • I’d say the dog thing cuts both ways. There are a lot of dog owners who push the limits of acceptable behavior with their pets and there is a palpable pushback from many. If you want to really see SF at its worst, ask someone to put their dog on a leash.

      • Friggin dogs are everywhere and there’s more shit on the streets here than there was in NYC before they came up with the pooper scooper laws. You can’t go to the beach without a dog sniffing your ass, you can’t walk down a commercial street without a brain dead texting dog owner forcing you to either kick their dog or wait on the curb for their clueless ass to pass. Now just imagine if rentals let everyone have a dog (and think about that for another god damn second – dogs of single apt dwellers who work???? True dog lovers don’t live in cities). And lastly, if you’re a chick who lets her dog sleep in the bed with her – get used to being single. You’re a dime a couple of dozen and its clear you need therapy.

    • Guillermo – I’ve seen dogs in many offices (including my own), in bars, in restaurants, on public transit. Basically anywhere humans can go in SF, so can dogs. Save some apartments that are not pet-friendly.

      • Hangemhi – you sound like you’re jealous of our friends on leashes. I’m sure there is a thriving subculture for you in our fair city.

    • California State law prohibits animals inside restaurants, unless they are service dogs. Due to HIPPA, you do not have to show proof if your pet is a service pet. Thus, someone can state even their purse chihuahua is a service pet (and it may be, but the ones I’ve seen? I doubt it).

      Bars that don’t serve food generally allow dogs. There are workplaces that allow dogs, but I would say they are in the minority.

      Finding a place to rent if you have a dog is definitely more difficult, but once you have one, this City is really great. A friend who just moved here once remarked, after walking around with me & my pooch, that this City is 10x more friendly when you have a dog. And it’s true.

      • Annie, I’d like to see where HIPPA prevents someone for asking for your dog’s service status paperwork. I’m pretty sure the Service Animal guidelines say you are supposed to carry it with you. More and more restaurants are starting to happen way more often because of the hipster losers who think they can abuse a right some people need merely for their convenience.

        If this is you, then stop. There are great reasons why animals aren’t allowed in food establishments. We all are happy to make compromises for people who truly have disabilities, but if you want to game the system, I hope karma bites you someday.

      • It’s not “HIPPA” but “HIPAA,” the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Service dogs have nothing to do with HIPAA. The relevant law is the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is indeed prohibited – by federal, not state, law to demand proof. What can be asked is whether the dog is a service animal and what the dog is trained to do. Only narrow types of services qualify, e.g., guide dogs for the blind, yes; emotional comfort dog for anxiety, no.

      • I’ve been in contact with my local pd about this very issue. It basically comes down to the owner. The owner can refuse admittance, and the only recourse the dog owner would have would be a law suit. They would stand little chance of winning however, if they can not or refuse to show proof of their dog being a service animal. That being said, as this enforcement responsibility usually falls on the waiters, they claim ignorance/ADA/”look it has a service dog sticker”. My advice – report dog-in-restaurant incidents to the health inspection service (part of FDA, NOT pd/code enforcement).

        Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has a problem with this blatant disrespect for the rules.

    • No restaurants, office depends on your job. They are aloud in lots of bars though, thank god.

      • Holy shit “aloud?” Nice suit; hope the interview doesn’t have a written portion. SF snobs who can’t navigate their own native language are the best.

    • Would you ever really want to return to a restaurant that had dog pee on the floor? My dog Dribbles is very good about such things but …

      • I am from Spain, living in Germany, and I can go to almost any restaurant with the dog. I do it daily, and never had a single problem. Never saw a dog pee in a restaurant. Now I am thinking if move to SF is a good option or not.

      • Guillermo, worry not. I eat out regularly in San Francisco and have been doing so for over a decade. In that time I’ve never seen nor smelled a hint of urine in any restaurant I, or my friends, have frequented. it’s obvious that SC’s pulling your chain. Dog urine in a restaurant…seriously….

    • Every restaurant I know of where owners would actively look the other way have been reported to the health department. However, I’ve been told by the owners in more places than one if you have a service dog you do not have to provide proof it is a service dog. Those owners will tell you this with a wink.

      Also, from what I understand it’s relatively easy to get your dog declared a service dog in California, although I’ve heard that there’s talk of tightening regulations soon. I see more “emotional support” non-traditional breed service dogs than I do guide dogs in SF.

      As for offices, in my experience most traditional office buildings in the Financial District have no animal policies, it’s more building-based than tenant-based. I can’t speak for any other area from experience, but I see a lot of dogs in offices in SOMA.

      Dog shit is a real quality of life problem. I’m a native and have seen SF get more dog-friendly to my delight, but as it has, there is so much more dog shit everywhere. Duboce Triangle’s nickname is “Dog Shit Park” but when you mention that almost everyone will reply, “Every park is San Francisco is dog shit park.” And that’s with the city cleaning up a lot of it. Take a walk the morning after a city holiday and you’ll gag at how much more shit is everywhere because no one was paid to clean it up that day. Gives those of us who pick up after our dogs a really bad name.

      The “Here Be Monsters” subtext to Oakland in the original post cracks me up. Oakland’s awesome, particularly the North Oakland/Temescal area, it’s starting to remind me of what San Francisco was like when artists could afford to live here. If you’re into animals and the creative sort, I’d recommend looking into Oakland. It’s cheaper and the architecture is still compelling. There’s plenty of good food and drink. It’s more animal friendly, the population’s more relaxed on the whole and Macarthur BART is a transfer hub. And it is still within the realm of possibility to buy in North Oakland if you make less than $250,000 a year.

      • Duboce Triangle is a neighborhood, not a park. Duboce Park has a large off-leash area but the vast majority of owners pick up after their pets. I don’t think the poop problem is any worse than any other park, including those which are not off-leash areas.

        That nickname for Duboce Park goes back to the days before the poop pickup law was passed in the 70s. Never heard anyone use it in the last decade.

        Dogs are illegal inside restaurants unless providing an essential service (guide dogs for the blind, etc.) and I personally think it’s rude to bring your dog into to restaurant. If nothing else, most dogs shed copious amounts of hair, who wants that in their food? I have a legal service dog and wouldn’t think of bringing him into a restaurant. Outdoor seating areas are generally okay though.

        Dog owners who don’t pick up after their animals should be fined heavily and banned from dog ownership. It’s only a small minority that are cretins, but they give the rest of us a bad name.

    • Obviously you haven’t been shopping at the small, overpriced SF supermarkets with no parking and few sales.

      • Who shops in supermarkets? We buy food from the farmers’ market in SF to support organic local farmers!

    • My buddy and I wanted steaks for dinner, but figured eating out would be too expensive. So, we went to Whole Foods and bought 2 steaks, mushrooms, green onions, garlic, and a bottle of wine….. $95…. could have had someone else cook me a much better steak at Ruth Chris for less. May just be WF though

      • Try Molly Stones & double that price. Used to be a lot of really good, affordable, & local grocery stores in this town but they are all gone now.

      • It’s all in how you shop. I’ve been a stay at home dad for many years and I used to cook professionally. You could give me $20 and I could make you a fab meal (with steaks and wine). At Whole Foods.

    • Pretty much not true for most San Franciscan’s taste who don’t eat ramen or anything from a package and buy only organic, grass fed, with no hormones. Cheaper to eat out than whole foods or even trader joes.

      • So I’ve found two hacks to save money on food:
        1) Safeway: It’s the only grocery store I’ve found with reasonable prices.
        2) Amazon prime: If it’s a dry good, I’m buying it there. Nothing in the city can compare to the prices Amazon hits. I’d rather buy local, but little choice.

      • Try local ethnic specialty food markets I like the Mission small markets they have fresh produce and seafood and meats a more reasonable prices than the big chain stores. Diversify your options and anyone can win this battle , takes effort but is wonderful to explore SF , well I’m a foodie so I know how to find this sorta deals. Nothing is easy in the city including food

      • Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are expensive, and a lot of their stuff is ridiculous. The one time I visited Whole Foods, I saw Organic chocolate-coated pretzels. I regularly see sugar-infused dried fruits from Trader Joe’s. I defy anyone to tell me that those are real food.

        What I do is:

        1) Rainbow Grocery: For raw grains and similarly durable products.

        2) Smart and Final: Whatever both Safeway and Smart and Final have, Smart and Final has a lower price. It’s useful for generic staples like eggs. But Safeway has a bigger selection.

        3) Costco: If you are buying a lot, then the membership is worth it.

  3. Hey.. the weather in Mountain View rocks compared to SF .. and the foodie scene is off the charts.. 300 restaurants within 10 blocks of myhouse.. and it’s a walking place.. *AND* you can park. Clubs, jazz, music, etc.. and very fun culture on Castro St. Don’t knock it til you try it.. and you won’t be slitting your wrists over yet another foggy day down here. You live like moles up there.

      • Sorry. I lived in Mountain View for 2 years when I moved to California. Been in SF for the last 6–never looked back. To each their own, but I’ll take history, culture, community, diversity, and walkability any day. You can have your big parking lots and “weather.”

    • I live in mtn view and I cannot agree more! If weather is a main point, SF is foggy and cold. Even in the summer it sometimes stays cold and cloudy. Also, the start-up scene is still quite vibrant in neighboring Palo Alto. Full disclosure….I have never lived in SF, only visited. Still, mtn view and PA are not all that bad. The night scene in PA is also vibrant.

    • Just Don’t. Mountainview may be nice, but it’s not The City and you can’t compare the two.

      • SF isn’t “the city” either. Moving here from NYC – “the city,” SF was just a pale comparison. All the detriments of “the city,” but not nearly all the benefits. Total tripe about Silicon Valley moving to SF – that’s what all the hipster, my app is a business, 20 year olds want to think. The real tech happens in the valley, which is south of SF.

    • It really depends on your age and situation. If you’re looking for “the one” or a one night stand, San Francisco will offer more opportunities to meet people, but if the urban vibe is a bit much for you, there are other options. My husband and I ended up in Alameda because you can take the ferry to work and it has the benefits of a small town with easy access to the big city. Rent is a lot less and you can (gasp!) afford to have a car without the monumental hassle of car ownership in San Francisco. The island is flat, so even a less than stellar athlete can make their way around on one easily. Of course, because of the livability aspect, Alameda is known as the place you “go to breed.” It’s also really safe and loaded with Victorians and cottages so you can get something really charming at a better price. We’re much older than most of the people posting here so I’ll add this “voice of experience” bit: Acquire an appreciation for good wine early and invest in futures. We mucked around with the beer far too long and missed out on some amazing opportunities. You guys have the time for it to be worth your while.

  4. I just fell in love with SF all over again! This was a fun post and very thorough. Thanks for sharing your insights. I agree on most fronts except PBR (microbrews are huge here)… and you should totally give Oakland more credit than a 1 liner!

    • No way! The weather is way better in SF then in PDX. My friend is dating a guy there and flies to PDX about every 3 weeks for the weekend. This has been going on for over a year and she said she has NEVER been there when it is NOT raining.

      No thank you!

      And you Mt View folks if you lived in the city in the Mission, SOMA, Dog Patch, Potrero Hill, etc all those places are sunny. Yes they are not has warm as Mt View but what is a few degrees. I was raised here and the whole Bay Area is way too cold for me, all year round.

  5. Great blost (blog post). I would add two things though. First, there is definitely two San Franciscos. One that you have described which is filled with transients. The second San Francisco is old SF. People that grew up in the City (dad’s probably a cop or owns a business). If you know what the Bruce Mahoney classic is then you are old (and some would argue legit) SF. The second thing I might add is that you are 100% right about people being into the newest thing but sometimes the best things about the City are the things that have been around for awhile (drinks at the Big 4 for instance – or even the Riptide).

    • I love that you brought up the Bruce Mahoney. The basketball game just happened a week or two ago!

    • Amen, from a fourth generation San Franciscan. In the current state of San Francisco dogs have replaced children, restaurants which serve tiny over-priced plates of very overpriced food have replaced fine old restaurants like Caesar’s, Interstate Brands has destroyed Parisian and Toscana French Bread, the “Castro” has replaced the wonderful old Scandinavian delis in Eureka Valley, and folks who have been here three-four years consider themselves to be definitive San Franciscans. Old San Francisco, like old single malt, must be learned; takes time to enter that group; once you do, and are accepted, you can call yourself a true San Franciscan. San Francisco was in large part a middle class family working town; that still exists, but, again, you need to find that San Francisco. And, yes, Oakland, in parts, is more like the old SF than downtown SF is today.

      • Amen. I might add that everyone/families ate fish on Fridays because whether you were Catholic or not, it was de rigeur. There were old rituals that tied us together. It’s as Jason states, what’s the newest and that is not Frisco (I’m old, our family & friends used it when the city was tolerant).

    • One of the few reading this that was actually born in SF, Mt Zion.
      There are 2 Cities for sure; mostly a tale of transients pricing out the locals. Oh well, at least he/they don’t call it “Frisco.”

    • Amen – I don’t even have a cell phone (gasp!) Did you know such natives existed, young Jason?

  6. Don’t neglect to learn about the history of San Francisco and environs in any epoch or era or subject. This place has always been unique and uniquely different from anywhere else or at least comparable to other unique places in ways that inform and explain, and contribute to the wonder of it.

    • And the reason super high rises should never be built to make us a Tokyo or Manhattan as young Jason suggested.

    • You’re right. I couldn’t find a picture that fit as well as that (minus the dated phone). Let’s just pretend he’s making an app for the 40% or so of the market that has a non-smart phone still ;)

      • You could’ve just had someone take a picture of you with your laptop & iphone and use that. :)

  7. Don’t EVER call it ‘Frisco’, that’s a town in Texas (and you know how we feel about Texas) – DK, San Francisco Born + Raised

    • Not true. All the old-timers call it Frisco. It’s only the yuppies who came here in the 80s who took offense at calling it Frisco. Why do you think the Hells Angels here are called the Frisco Charter? You may be born and raised here but I’m guessing relatively recently ;o)

      • Actually it is true. I’m a 4th generation San Franciscan and no one I know who grew up here would EVER call it that (people from Marin or other parts of the bay area, sure but not anyone who was born and grew up here). It’s The City or San Fran – and actually the umbridge was talked about by Herb Caen absolutely ages ago.

      • Come on. in 1872 Emperor Norton proclaimed “Whoever after due and proper warning shall be heard to utter the abominable word “Frisco,” which has no linguistic or other warrant, shall be deemed guilty of a High Misdemeanor, and shall pay into the Imperial Treasury as penalty the sum of twenty-five dollars”

      • Yes, no self-respecting native San Franciscan would ever use “Frisco”. Also, I actually don’t know any natives (myself included) who would say “San Fran”. It’s either “SF” or “The City”.

      • My family has lived in the Bay Area since before the Bear Flag Revolt – and ever since I was a little boy, I have always been taught it is an abomination to utter “Frisco” as it is disrespectful to a very popular saint – this custom goes back to Mexico and Catholicism and the Californios who saw their land be stolen from them – it has absolutely nothing to do with the 80s (not even the 1880s!) or yuppies!

      • I’m a fourth generation San Franciscan; if I’d ever called it Frisco, my mouth would have been washed out with soap. If you wanted to anger my great Aunt, who went through the 1906 Quake and spent several weeks in the emergency campgrounds, you used that word.

      • You are right, it’s only been about 50 years since people became intolerant of calling it Frisco (about the time of that maudlin song, ‘I Left My Heart in ‘Frisco’ overtook the proper ‘San Francisco’). Call it Frisco and if a person does not get their panties in a wad, you have found a REAL native.

    • Only Filipinos are allowed to call The City Frisco. Plus also too, the fog may end at Divisadero but originates from our cousins rice cookers down in Daily City. *hellafunny*

    • You betcha. I was born in San Francisco and one of my pet peeves is when people refer to this city as “Frisco.” It is The City to me and it will be forever. I am 4th generation.

      • Geri – One of my pet peeves is people who are intolerant of calling it Frisco – I’m from a native family here since 1814. I’m too old to change and there is no reason too. Besides go out of the city and call it The City and no one knows which one. Call it Frisco, and people don’t think of Texas.

  8. Lived in SF for 3 years after 7 years in Boston – this post is 100% on point! Nice work.

    • And yet, my male friends who come in from other parts of the country are always astonished at how attractive all the ladies are. Clearly, you’re not walking with your eyes open.

      • Nope, I’ve been here for 2+ years, there are very few attractive females and they all have boyfriends. It’s real bad. In fact I know of 4 good looking guys who have moved to the east coast primarily for the female issue.

      • I must admit, there is some truth @NYC>SF comment. I moved here from NYC (i’m a NYC native) a year back and I’m hardly impressed. I live in Oakland and commute to SF daily for work. Womenwise there is absolutely no comparison to NYC. Not even a close second. I have come across very few ladies here that have sparked my interest, and its depressing. If you like ‘fly’ women, SF is not the place for you. There is also a very serious lack of ethnic diversity in SF, which transcends into the culture (it could use some soul) and the style here sucks. And, if you want the slightest bit of diversity go to Oakland. The style and presentation is unbelievably worse in Oakland but you can at least get a lil taste of ethnic diversity if you have an appreciation for that which is why I prefer to live in Oakland. As agreed with my NYC friends the style here is uninspiring and I feel like I’m letting my self go (while the folks here think I’m so fashionable) because there you feel like there is no need to make an effort. Ladies, I really appreciate how fit you are but where is the presentation? Where is the flava? And too be honest its not just the ladies it’s everyone. I apologize in advance for my ranting.

      • @Gemma Tate – I highly doubt you are being serious, more like insulting. If you have to ask what “flava” is then I can’t help you.

      • Believe it or not, I prefer not to assume what other people mean online. I was genuinely curious to hear what “flava” meant from your perspective. But, feel free to feel insulted instead.

    • Interestingly, it’s worse for women. I love to travel if only to remember not all fit and attractive men are gay. It is impossible to find a hot guy in SF who is straight.

    • SF is the worst as far as attractive women go. Plus the ratio totally favors the ladies. We used to call it Man Francisco. Born and raised in the Bay, but have lived in NYC for the last 12 years. No comparison. Diversity, culture, food, women from literally all over the world : NYC > SF by far

    • I lived in the Bay Area for awhile, moved to New York for a few years, and then came back to the Bay Area. I like it here more.

  9. I live in San Mateo and which has a decent number of restaurants, better weather, and parking. I can get to SOMA faster than people in SF living in Sunset, Richmond or North Beach. The crime is way less too.

  10. PS, no one says “the” Divisadero. Divisadero. Or Divis. And that is not the fog line. Fog comes in past Masonic.

    • Fog lines happen:
      1. Park Presidio Ave
      2. 19th Ave.
      3. 9th Ave.
      4. Mid Haight at Buena Vista Park
      5. Alamo Square (near Divis but Divis is not the break point).
      and ongoing pretty much anywhere there is a big hill to slow it down. You know its taking over the City when it hits Dolores Park.

  11. Welcome! We’re also ridiculously picky about how you refer to streets and landmarks. For example, don’t call it “frisco” and “Gough” is pronounced like “cough.” On that note, it’s “Divisadero,” Divisadero Street,” or “Divis.” I’ve never heard anyone refer to it as “THE Divisadero.” It makes me think of this: http://www.theonion.com/articles/google-launches-the-google-for-older-adults,5850/

    Although PBR is ubiquitous, I would say Northern California craft brews are the thing, like Lagunitas, Russian River, Anchor, 21st Amendment, Drake’s, Almanac, etc.

  12. Great post! As a 15-year veteran of this amazing city, I’d say you nailed it. Excellent introduction for people coming from the East Coast.

  13. Pretty sure SF is a pretty big sports town if I’m not correct. I’m pretty sure I saw hella people in the streets when the Giants won the Series (both times), and its going pretty loco with Niners Fever right now. Pro-tip, watch more ESPN man.

    • Nowhere close to the frenzy people get into over basketball and football in the Midwest and on the East Coast though. Makes us even better, it’s not the MOST important but hell, we got some good teams and we are NOT afraid to support and love em both.

      • You nailed it, TKSF. People in Boston live and die by their sports team. A 3 game losing streak in April is a disaster and any big Patriots loss is the end of the world. People talk about it regularly even when the team isn’t winning championships. I’ve seen similar passion in other East Coast cities like Philadelphia.

        So San Francisco certainly has great fans, but trust me, it’s taken to another level in some other cities.

    • We are a big sports town but what he said is correct – you can not follow our teams and not be ashamed or put down because you don’t watch sports. That said Go Niners!!

    • Natives tend to be pretty good sports fans (hell, my gradeschool had spirit rallies whenever the Niners went to the Suberbowl). But, a LOT of transplants (especially ones in more trendy areas) tend to not give a sh*t about sports. It’s like The City’s artistic reputation encourages kids who got beat up by jocks at home to come here to be free. ;) Also – there are a ton of fair-weather bandwagoners, too, as evidenced by the plethora of Giants and Ninets gear being worn by people who don’t know the difference between a force out in baseball vs. football.

    • No. Real sports fans suffer the team when it sucks. How about sitting through games at Candlestick huddled in parkas and sleeping bags? Were they Giants fans in 1987? Do they rue Atlee Hammaker’s contract until this very day? Or maybe they were there in 1995 when the strike happened and they mourned with all the hot dog vendors the last day of that abbreviated season? Or maybe they were in the stands in 2001 when all the overcapitalized start-ups had season tickets and the seats were all empty? Everyone celebrates when the team wins. Chicago gets that. Mets fans get that. Redskins fans get that. New SF doesn’t get that. Protip: Anyone who uses “hella” is probably from Hayward.

    • glad you caught that . I’m second generation, and NEVER ever heard “The Divis.” And I never heard “San Fraaaaaaan” without smiling and adding “-cisco”. “PBR” was never “ubiquitious.” I grew up here and never ever drank the stuff. I’d hardly ever heard of it until it started showing up in all the bars that the “art students” (nudge-nudge, wink-wink) hang out in. Anchor is the real San Francisco beer.

  14. Neighborhoods definitely define the experience. Venture west or south to places like the Outer Sunset, Forest Hill, West Portal, etc and you’ll find legions of extremely dedicated sports fans. In the winter, it’s all black and orange, and now it’s all red and gold. You’ll also sit at a bar and meet people with regular jobs. I work at a startup and I am not the norm in my neighborhood.

    I’m from New York and I think SF is more affordable. Again, venture outside of SOMA, Mission and those neighborhoods and you’ll see a completely different perspective.

  15. – it’s not called ‘the’ Divisadero.
    – i’ve been living here for 13 years and never had the ‘any new apps lately?’ convo.

    thanks for keeping the value of my place up tho.

    bonus: Boston girls having to ‘fake’ it and wear pink. lol. go home, dude.

  16. Great article, just one thing. Its Yerba Buena not Buena Yerba. Divisidero fog line is right on.

  17. Excellent list. I relocated from Boston to San Francisco 13 years ago at the peak of the dot-com boom. I expected to stay just a few years, but am still here today and not sure when I’ll leave. I’d add to your list:
    1. I think you are *much* younger than I am, hence the PBR comment. PBR is not the drink of choice in my circle. In fact, I would say people in San Francisco take their drinks seriously–so expect to learn a lot about wine and cocktails if you live here. I love that nearly all waitstaff in this city are pretentious about these drinks, just well informed and happy to share what they know.
    2. Take up hiking. Most everyone here loves hiking. Cross the Golden Gate bridge and within 30 minutes you are far, far away from the city and enjoying the splendor of the redwoods and amazing endless views of the Pacific Ocean.
    3. This city has rent control, so once you sign a lease, you’re rent is pretty much locked in. People have always complained about high rents in this city, which continue to creep up … so, if you plan to stick around, find a place you like and stay there (you do not want to know how low my rent is).
    4. The “extreme” attitude … ugh. It’s a downside, I’m afraid, particularly when it comes to dating. People here are generally more interested in being impressed by your list of “passions” and activities than getting to know you, your values, your friends, your family.
    5. People here do not care where you went to college. In 13 years I’ve only been asked a handful of times where I went to school and it was–of course!–by people originally from the East Coast. Don’t try to impress people by throwing your college name around (and if it’s a small East Coast school, you may get a blank stare) or ask about schools as a conversation starter (so refreshing to leave that BS back on the East Coast). You are who you are out here, not where you spent four year of your life.

    • I meant to say NOT pretentious, above re: waitstaff and drinks.

      Also, I’d add: I disagree about cost of living here. Dining out in SF is far cheaper than other cities (Boston, for example).

    • Re: #5 I find that a lot of people talk about where they grew up and which college(s) they attended. Although the primary purpose is not to judge but to find mutual friends and similarities – especially since a lot of people who live here (at least in my age group) grew up somewhere close to SF or LA/SD and went to a UC or Pac12 school. Then you get to use the “it’s a small world” cliché and tack on a “when you live in San Francisco.” =)

    • Very few buildings in the city are actually rent-controlled. If you live in a rent-controlled building, you’ll know it. If you don’t (and if you’re unsure, trust me, you do not) your rent is raisable by a maximum of 2% per year.

      • The fact that there’s a limit on the percentage your rent can be raised means you’re in a rent controlled apartment.

      • You guys seriously need to look up what rent control is. Capping rent increases is NOT rent control. Rent control is arbitrarily setting the maximum amount that a building owner can charge in rent. That amount does not change even after one tenant leaves and another moves in.

      • Sorry, James, but it’s you who don’t understand rent control. ANY building built before 1979 is rent controlled in San Francisco. Which by local definition means you pay market rent when you first rent, but thereafter it can only go up by 40% of the annual inflation rate (essentially nothing these days). Anything built after 79 can have unlimited rent increases. Most rental stock was built pre-79.

      • Those of us who have been here awhile can tell you – Rent control applies to apartments built before ’89. Anything after ’89 isn’t subject to it. Rent control sets the highest percentage of increase a landlord can impose in a year after your original lease runs out. This may not be how the term “rent control” is defined by other cities, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have rent control.

    • Agreed people actually do care where you went to college. Had a friend who went on a date with a Stanford grad who’s friends are all Stanford grads and when she said where she graduated from (mind you, everyone is 15+ years post college graduation) and it was not Stanford (nor was her grad degree), he declared with extreme sarcastic patronization “oh, gosh, you’re a real self made woman, aren’t you?” Seriously? Sheesh. Been in SF 13 years and happens all the time. Plays into your #4 point, KT (which I 100% agree with.)

      • That’s on the younger generations. :-) I graduated from that university twenty-five years ago. In my 20s, I used to avoid mentioning it in conversation. Then I noticed that I met a lot of people who, when asked where they went to school, would hang their heads, mumble, and say, “Oh, in Palo Alto.” I came to realize that this specific behavior smoked me out every time. The bragging thing is new.

  18. Sports is actually pretty important here. We have two football AND basketball teams in the Bay Area and the Bay Area LOVES them both. You just have to go to the right bars (which shouldn’t be too hard to find this weekend, GO NINERS!!)

  19. FYI, Giordano Brothers is another Steelers bar. Their original spot is in north beach, near columbus & broadway. they have a new spot in the mission also – i think it’s around 16th & valencia. They have a decent beer selection and great food. The mission spot has a full bar, as well.

  20. I don’t entirely agree that the cost of living is that much higher here, than in Boston. Look at utilities — my winter heating bill there could top out close to $600 – $700 for a one bedroom, and AC was not the norm in any of my apartments, so I sweltered.

    In San Francisco, as well as Oakland where I now live, winter bills average $65 a month, or seldom more than $300 for mainly December and February. Go figure… January is usually very mild. It starts warming up in March, unless it’s an El Nino rainy season. AC in Oakland — using it less and less, never used it in SF.

    Cheap produce all year ’round — either in grocery stores or at farmer’s markets, and the variety is almost as good as summer. Compared to the only reasonable winter produce being carrots, lettuce, bananas, citrus, and apples. By April, my palate would be anxiously awaiting the first of the stone fruits.

  21. Things you should know:

    1) If you refer to the city as “San Fran” people will hate you and know you’re a transplant. Call it ‘The City’ or even ‘SF’. Your damned mid-western accents make “San Fran” too grating on the ear to tolerate.

    2) People here are not good at following up at making friends. If you meet someone you like, make sure to get their number and email. Try to put something on the calendar right away, or you’ll probably never see them again. I didn’t even know this was something people did until I went to the east coast in my 20s – most of us just expect to run into people.

    3) Don’t watch sports in the Marina or Russian Hill. Pretty much anywhere else, you’ll find true fans that can actually discuss sports – you might not be able to get them to stop though.

    4) If you move into a building that was constructed in the 1960s or earlier, it will be rent controlled – your rent won’t increase more than 3% a year. Yes, that means you will have to live somewhere other than SOMA, but it also means you won’t get priced out of your home.

  22. I’ve never thought about Divisadero as my stopping point but I guess that’s pretty accurate. Some days I am for Twin Peaks, some mornings I stretch to the Mission, and other evenings I’m content just hanging out in the bay. I like to change it up.

  23. Reblogged this on Renelly Morel and commented:
    A fantastic article that sums up my personal experiences of living in one of the best cities in the world, San Francisco. Jason Evanish covers some important topics that you must know if you’re considering moving to the city by the bay.

    • Fernet. Don’t miss that cheap Jaeger alternative. How can he forget the Fernet… :) and PBR??? Maybe for transplants. Not even close in my opinion. Give me Prohibition and some Boont Amber Ale please. … it’s not a Bear, its not a deer…its a BEEEER.

  24. Weekend Sherpa is another great resource for outdoor activities in and around SF.

    And let’s qualify the “great” weather…yes, it is temperate year-round, but great? Maybe compared to the extremes of the East Coast/Midwest, but you have to get outside of SF-proper to see really great weather. In SF it is often foggy & cold, especially in July…which is great for the I heart SF clothing industry!

  25. i moved to san francisco for school in august. so far i’m tired of being cold, tired of hobos, and tired of having to walk up huge hills or ride crowded buses everywhere. everything closes early. i would LOVE for someone to show me what more it has to offer.

    • If you can’t find a niche in this city, it’s on you, not the city. That’s like saying NYC or Paris boring when you stay inside sulking. Can’t help you with the hills or the cold, but walking up hills will warm you up.

      • NYC and Paris are awesome dude. You can’t even compare SF with them because SF is not even a real city.

    • There were a ton of sunny days in October and November. I was lying in the sun at Dolores Park the day after Thanksgiving. That said, when I first moved here it did take me quite awhile to get used to the city so don’t give up.

    • It’s a walker’s town. Find a used copy of San Francisco at your Feet, and read while you walk. Take Muni to outer neighborhoods — NOT Castro or the “hip” Mission — to explore the real City. 24th Street is great from end to end. So is West Portal. Downtown, walk the streets on Sunday and look up — the architecture at the tops of the buildings is often beautiful. Look for the quiet, upscale, older alleys and the bookstores or restaurants there. Maiden Lane is still worth a walk — there’s an art gallery designed by Frank Lloyd Wright which was “practice” for the Guggenhiem. Also, take BART to downtown Berkeley, walk uphill into the UC Campus, and it it’s open, visit the Faculty Club — designed by Bernard Maybeck. Excellent restaurant and bar, open to the public. And…but I could go one forever, so consider this a start.

  26. I really envy the people who think “SF is amazing!!!”

    If SF is amazing, what the hell is Rome? New York? Taipei? Istanbul? Tokyo? Paris?

    San Francisco is not a real city. It’s the biggest village of US.


    The streets smell pie and marijuana.

    Tenderloin is the shittiest places I’ve ever seen.

    Local poor people stick on tourists and try to rip you off.

    Go one street below of Market, you’ll see junkies injecting heroin to their arms.

    There is no street that can be called as “the heart of the downtown”.

    Cafes get close on 6 or 7pm.

    The ocean is fucked up by some industrial shit. and the people think “it’s ok”.

    The transportation is fucked up.

    Streets are big and straight. Nothing smells historical or romantic.

    Rents are crazy. I saw an apartment in a shitty neighboorhood for 1450$ per month and I even don’t leave a dog in that kind of small and unhealthy place with no sunlight!

    The city is full of shitty zombies making too much noise. There are a few great people, remaining ones are very sticky and they don’t know how to respect.

    There aren’t enough parks that you can go and peacefully enjoy clean and healthy environment.

  27. Traveling to MV or PA may not be a 90 min trip. I was lucky to live in SOMA, which was right by the CalTrain, and the bullet train was about 46min to MV (which is past PA). The short walk, followed by some quiet time on the train is one of the things I miss most. For a developer who works on their local machine, the spotty 4G signal while moving is really no big deal either. Getting off in MV led me straight to Red Rock Coffee for an espresso ;).

  28. I do love San Francisco. Probably the best city on the west coast, but I’ll never leave my Eastern Standard Time. Go Sox!

  29. Google Maps uses the MUNI schedule. Routsey uses the GPS on the busses, and is almost always perfectly correct. If you want to know when your bus or train is coming, you use Routsey, but that isn’t even all that necessary, because it never snows, so you can bike year-round. I’ve lived here 20 years (came from NYC) and have no idea what you are talking about with the PBR. Technology is certainly huge here, but there are people working in restaurants and bars and stores and making clothes and teaching school and selling real estate and everything else that happens in any other city. Your impression that everyone works in tech says more about your social circle than our city.

    • Inequality in this city is off the charts — no mention of the Outer Mission, Excelsior, let alone Sunnydale or Hunters Point. “Everyone works in tech” is ridiculous.

  30. Dear god this is well done. I’m born in raised in the Bay Area and from a native’s perspective, this is extremely on point. Great job!

  31. SF is most certainly NOT more expensive than Manhattan. Yes, SF is the most expensive city, but when you compare it to New York, you also have to count the other four boroughs, which brings down the average.

    Some quick Googling says the average rent in SF is $2663 while the average rent in Manhattan is $3418. I can’t find numbers, but I’d be shocked if Manhattan wasn’t more expensive per square foot, too.

    (Also, Tecate is clearly the official beer of SF, not PBR. PBR is, like, so five years ago.)

  32. Great list Jason! Right on point for all your points. One more thing I would add which is important about San Francisco is how its one of the greenest cities in the world. Things like the elimination of plastic bags, electric driven public transportation, required composting and recycling, and energy efficient building design make SF a leader in sustainability.

  33. 26th tip, the reason everything is so expensive is because of the flood of people moving in from the East Coast and everywhere else. Native San Franciscans don’t drink PBR either.

    One really important thing that most people don’t know is that Oakland is NOT Brooklyn. Bay bridge is 8 miles long and the last subway heading east leaves the final SF stop at 12:16. Oakland is an awesome place but not very conducive to going out in the city.

  35. Brilliant post Jason. I enjoyed every bit of it and could relate to what you’ve mentioned! Loved the image on bikes of SF and don’t wander into the dotted line area alone since I live pretty close to that area in the Nob Hill and always avoid venturing across into certain blocks. Thank you! :)

      • also incredibly shitty to make fun of people struggling with addiction, poverty, and mental illness. Of feel “inconvenienced” by real life, in all its socio-economic expressions, in a city. In fact, people actually used to move here specifically to experience that, and work toward making the world a better place. Not sure why they move here now, judging from this somewhat naive piece.

      • Sorry for the confusion. I’m referring to poop on the ground, not trying to put anyone down. Just a fact of walking through some rougher areas of town.

    • Um, no. I live in the Tenderloin. There is (actual) shit smeared all over my block’s sidewalk every day. Some of it is from dogs, and some of it is from humans. One of the escalators at Civic Center Muni/BART actually BROKE last summer because there was so much feces clogging the works. They had to call in a hazmat team.

      This isn’t “vibrancy” of a city, it’s a health risk. And God forbid the city do anything to actually address homelessness. Oh no, that might involve telling somebody what to do, and we can’t have that, can we? Someone might call us a big meany! Waah!

      If you have a dog and you don’t pick up it’s shit, you don’t deserve to have a dog. A pet is a privilege, not a right.

      If you have nowhere to use a bathroom, at least go into an alley or a gutter or on a piece of newspaper that you fold up and throw in the trash. Do we really have such low expectations for people?

  36. I was really impressed when I moved here about how smart and talented most people are. I came here from DC where most of the people I interacted with were not brain dead, but overall in comparison to DC I am very impressed while living in SF.

  37. I am going to diverge fro, everyone else and agree on the PBR front. While it is not the drink of choice, it is available NEARLY everywhere. Even in the Marina you can find PBR on tap. So, even though I do believe microbrews are more the “drink of sf,” I would agree that PBR is probably one of the most readily available beverages. I totally agreed with almost everything you said! To the people debating on the dog front, if you can get a note from your doctor your dog or cat could become your “anxiety” service animal. While this is a legitimate need, many people use this loophole to get their dogs into apartments that otherwise do not allow animals.

      • Move to Atlanta. We manufacture beautiful women here by the thousands. I visted SF in September for the first time. Yeah, its dirty and old, but aren’t all cities. We thought it was pretty cool and had a lot of fun there. The views are spectacular. Mission are was pretty rough looking like you said. We could have stayed for a month.

    • What rock or bar were you sleeping under? SF has tons of beautiful fit smart women. Just watch the flow on Marina Blvd, Crissy Field or Marina Green some weekend!

  38. FIRST OFF: you must live under a rock if you think sports don’t matter here. I’m a girl and i know MANY others who are die hard giants and niners fans. secondly, girls who wear pink sports paraphernalia shouldn’t be allowed to partake in sporting events anyways.
    Secondly, if you don’t have TVs at your work, you should get a new job. most start ups have tvs and important to SF games on or available. Celtics who?
    you must be walking to PA or MV, b/c it’s never in my 30 years of living here taken 2 hours to get there or back. and i’m from the peninsula.
    Thirdly, IPA wins heavily over PBR. maybe just not in the Mission…
    get back to us in another year when you’ve finally got it right.

    • FIRST OFF: Great tone, Rose. You sound like a peach to be around.
      Second, (see how I didn’t resort to all-caps there? ….I disagree with you wholeheartedly on the matter of sports. This is a city of US-Immigrants, meaning that, more than a lot of other cities, people come from every corner of the country (and world). So, sports opinions are varied at best, and potentially the most bandwagon of all. There are diehard Giants/Niners fans here, but there are more bandwagon fans than I’ve found elsewhere. I can’t tell you how many people around here have told me that their fav Giant of all time is Tim Lincecum or Buster Posey. You gotta be kidding me. I think you should try living in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, Boston or Philly, and then tell me that, comparatively, sports matter here.

  39. It’s really all about perspective I guess. While I agree with about half, the other half seems inconsistent with my experience here for the past year and a half. :) Some examples:

    “It gets cold at 4pm” – Its never really that cold here. 60 isn’t really cold for me. In fact 60-70 is absolutely perfect. I grew up in Portland, but I guess if you grew up in a hot location you’d have the opposite feeling.

    “Lots of homeless, beggars and crackheads.” – partially agree. There are a lot more crazy homeless people here, but there are almost no beggars. Ive lived here for a year and a half and have been asked for money/food/etc maybe half a dozen times. In Portland, just walking a few blocks you’d be asked.

    “PBR is the official beverage of San Francisco” – I don’t really think SF is all that much of a beer city at all. In fact, I used to drink beer exclusively as my alcoholic beverage of choice until I moved here. Everywhere I know here drinks whiskey mainly or other hard alcohol. Ive also only seen people drink PBR a handful of times.

    “An extremely pro-dog city.” – I can’t imagine many places being more dog unfriendly ;) 99% of the places we looked at dont allow dogs or cats. My friend had a similar experience and was the hardest thing for them to find. We ended up leaving our pet in Portland with family because we were unable to find a place that allowed them.

    But, as I said, it’s all about perspective :)

    • You’ve got to be fucking kidding RE: the homeless population. Have you never set foot in SOMA or the TL? I lived on Sutter for years and got asked 5+ times a day (often aggressively) for handouts. When I said no, I’d sometimes be threatened or cussed out. The “homeless problem” in Portland is laughable in comparison.

  40. Being that I was born and raised in the East Bay this post was really interesting to me. Love your outsider/insider take on it all. The cold thing has always been funny to me. People never believe you and they always compare it to their snow and what not. The need for layers every single time is no joke. I still carry layers and I’m in Southern CA, some habits you can’t break.

  41. You people are out of your mind saying there are no attractive women here. What insane standards have you set for yourselves. It’s sad, really.

    And you make the Tenderloin out to sound like Boyz-N-the-Hood-era Compton. Relax, it’s not THAT bad. I’ve lived there for over a year. Dirty? Yes. Annoying crackheads? Sure. NEVER GO THERE AT NIGHT EVER. YOU WILL CERTAINLY DIE? Not quite.

  42. I don’t know what you’re all talking about. PBR is everywhere, though it isn’t as prevalent as it was about 2 years ago.

  43. The sports thing is misleading too. Local indigenous people love the local teams as much as Bostonians do. It’s just that there are so many transplants here drinking PBR that don’t care. The fan base of course stretches all the way down the peninsula too.

    I agree that Fernet and Jameson are huge here, although I personally like scotch. Beer is either Lagunitas IPA, Anchor, or anything made by Belgina monks.

  44. How about just avoid MUNI and bikes altogether. MUNI is slow and unreliable. Bikes suck on all the hills.

    Best advice is to get a moped.

  45. I like your post, but the “dog or human” comment was totally out of place. Have some empathy and keep it on the up and up — homeless or addicted people are still human, and they certainly are not miserable by choice. Leaving this bit out would make for a stronger post.

      • I agree. I find his comments about the homeless to be totally dismissive and offensive. There’s nothing “humorous” about people with mental disabilities living on the street (they’re not on “crack” by the way, it’s 2013). Pull your head out of your ass.

      • Uh, Aidn? Some of them actually *are* on crack. I see people smoking it in broad daylight in the Tenderloin, particularly at bus stops. Crack never went away.

    • Good grief! Please stop acting like everyone is just poor down and out and it isn’t their fault man cmon…I’ve lived here for years and the pan handlers are ridiculous to the point where I’ve had to get physical!…A lot of times in SOMA especially it isn’t just the homeless and METH HEADS but drunken partiers and just people with no effing self respect who urinate and deficate like the streets are a toilet!…So miss me with that bleeding heart BS! Leaving this bit out would certainly keep the warm fuzzies for some of you but it’s reality so…uhm yeah there it is…

      • I agree with you. Seriously, there are geniune people who have had misfortune in their lives and then there are people who are druggies, alcoholics, or just plain crazy. I’ve noticed far more of the latter. I can recall a homeless guy who has a sign that reads (and this is verbatim) “Why lie? I want beer.” People who get offended from a poop comment need to take off their rose colored glasses.

        I’ve seen a guy peeing in broad daylight over near Rincon Park. I’ve also seen a woman squat (again, in broad daylight) and piss outside the Asian Art museum. She didn’t even bother to cover herself. Actually, on New Year’s eve I got to enjoy the sight of a drunken idiot pee against the roof of our apartment building… I was astounded that such people live in these nice apartments (or perhaps it was someone’s friend who lacks any sort of good judgement).

        That aside, I just moved here in August and most of what Jason posted is spot on.

  46. Having moved here a little over a year ago, I mainly agree with most of what has been written on this blog. However, I agree with many of the comments about PBR. I too came from Boston which has a couple microbreweries I love. In S.F. there are microbreweries galore! In and around the city you can find quality brews like 21st Amendment, speakeasy, lagunitas from up North, Racer 5, and Rogue–which is actually from Oregon but has a fantastic bar in North Beach! Oh and I can’t forget Russian Rivers Racer 5 and Bling Pig IPA. This city is strewn with great bars and brews!

  47. Very spot on with many things, but totally misleading about the sports thing. Sports is HUGE here. Giants, A’s, 49ers, Raiders, Warriors, Sharks, Earthquakes. There are many sports teams and fans. Also there’s the Cal/Stanford rivalry. And people are WAY passionate. Remember the Giants World Series parade? Buildings being lit orange through the playoffs? C’mon – I’m east coast and have been WAY impressed.

  48. When people ask what school you went to, they don’t care about where you went to college. They want to know where you went to highschool in SF. And if you answer with a college, they will immediately know you’re not from here. Sixth generation represent!

  49. Locals don’t drink PBR – they make fun of recent arrivals that think they have to order that to look cool (or hip). And you haven’t really been here long if you think Palo Alto is 90 mins to 2 hours away. More like 30 min to 45 on Caltran commuter trains and 35 mins by car outside of commute times when it could be a lot worse – then again if you’re in a start up, you ‘ll be working much later than commute times anyway so you’re good. It also depends on where you start in the city – it’s a long way from the sunset or the richmond district to the freeway, but the mission or SOMA is a fast jump onto 101 or 280.

  50. SF is actually not that large. Every district is about 15-20 minutes walking distance from the next. Even older people have more stamina up those inclines then the youngsters. You meet the crazy as you note, but you meet some very heart warming people. There is always someone drunk walking around.

    • I lived in the City from 1983-2006. Most of the time I didn’t have a car. Real SFs walk up all those hills, only pausing to light a cigarette halfway up.

  51. As a person from a quite cold country (it was minus 16 by Celsius scale when I left it in December), I would modify the first point to “It is warm here! Even at 4 pm!” :)

  52. I loved this article and, as a San Francisco native (I was born at Kaiser Hospital on Geary), I feel compelled to comment:
    A)See how I name the hospital I was born at in SF?A true native will always include the hospital or grammar school they went to/was born at, because there aren’t a lot of us.People say they’re a native but in reality were born in places like Pleasanton, Santa Rosa, Los Altos, etc…nice cities but NOT SF(and we native are just that proud that we have to tell you).
    B)Never try to be cool and refer to SF as “Frisco” like it’s a nickname we all use for the city.It’s not and when I hear it, it makes my head want to pop off…just don’t do it.
    C)We have a GREAT music scene out here…lots of talented, local musicians and you can pretty much catch some live music any night of the week.
    D)PBR-a good campaign to sell/buy cheap beer and still appear to be cool. I applaud the campaign for being successful but, personally I’d hope for a better tasting beer to represent us. Notice how I said, “personally”…San Franciscans really don’t care what you do or drink…really, we think “to each their own” (another cool thing about SF).
    E)You can travel from Mexico to China to Italy with just a 45 minute walk.
    F)It’s the best city in the world.I may be biased but I grew up here, traveled and lived all over the world (including Boston) and came back…the view from the top of Hyde and Lombard never gets old…never (and San Franciscans always appreciate what they have…they really do:).

    • That is so true! My husband always says that he was born at Saint Luke’s. His parents point out that they moved here as kids BUT they met at Mission High!

      • Yes — my pharmacist in Arroyo Grande called my dentist on Ocean Ave. When the dentist called me to discuss the call, he mentioned that they’d had a long talk: “He was born at St. Joseph’s!”

  53. You should have a special edition specifically for people who move to SF from LA. Most of what has been said still holds, but there are a few extras like:

    1) Many people in SF hate LA and believe that the two cities are locked in some kind of rivalry. Who knew?! Once you mention that you’re from LA, many people won’t hesitate to insult you to your face. Try not to take it too personally;

    2) San Franciscans love rules! Folks from more reserved parts of the country probably won’t get this, but despite its eclectic, outward appearance, SF is actually far less socially laissez-faire than LA. This manifests in 2 ways. i) Individual expression is encouraged as long as it fits within certain pre-ordained archetypes. You can be a hipster, a hippie, a punk, a biker, a yuppie, a pot-head, etc., but you can’t really cross over between these things, and you will get funny looks from all of these people if you present yourself in some attention getting way that doesn’t fit within these categories (see #3). ii) There’s a lot of, stand here, don’t stand there. Some examples: At one biker friendly SF bar, in one afternoon I was told not to put my beer on the edge of the pool table, not to stand in two different spots, and I watched them kick a girl out of the place for wearing patchouli. This was a palce where you could smoke weed openly. And I’m not kidding, they actually kicked her out; I can think of tons of other examples of seemingly laid-back people freaking out in public over any number of minor things that nobody in LA would give a crap about, but space is limited…

    3) Glam is bad! This is probably just a more specific offshoot of 1 and 2, but whereas in LA there is always a place for a more, shall we say, “fashion forward”, look/attitude, the same does not hold in SF. A fashiony appearance will get you lots of odd looks from people, many of whom are wearing clothes that would get them ushered out of most restaurants in nearly any other city. Homemade burlap overalls? Fine. See-through peasant-top with no bra? Sure. Waxed mustache that curls around like Captain Hook, worn with a pair of homemade, star-shaped antennae? No problem. (These are all real-life examples BTW) But walk down the street in a pair of trendy high heel boots, or a tailored blazer and you will get some funny looks.

    4) No kidding about that light jacket, SF is ALWAYS cold. I know this just reiterates a point that has already been made, but someone coming from a colder climate like Boston won’t feel this as deeply. If you have been living in LA for a while, you will find San Francisco downright cold and gloomy, most of the time. I never go out without some outerwear handy. NEVER. In my 4 ½ years in SF, I have never experienced more than a week or two at a time of what I would call consistently warm weather inside the borders of San Francisco.

    5) Be sure. Everyone I know who has moved from LA to SF has gone through an adjustment period where they felt disappointed with SF on some level. From the outside it seems like the perfect blend of California attitude and East Coast urbanism. But living here is very different from visiting, and though SF is a vibrant, unique city with a lot to offer, life here is often more expensive, less comfortable, and grittier than life in LA, and the attitude is considerably less welcoming. Though there are certainly cliquey elements to LA life, overall I always felt it was a “write your own story” kind of place. SF has always seemed much more to me like a club you’ve got to earn your way into. SF has its own story, and just living here is not necessarily enough to make you part of it. You are not necessarily welcome here just because you decided to show up.

    • Aaron, I grew up in the Bay Area. Piedmont Elementary in Oakland, and graduated HS at SSF El Camino High. Went on to live in Sunset District, worked DT just off Sutter and Montgomery, and also over on Market Street. You’re right, SF doesn’t dig LA. I recall LA co-workers looking down on No. Cal. like it was somehow “out of the loop”. Your comments brought back memories in which I used to wonder why people from LA moved up to SF and then talked non-stop about how much more cool LA was. I recall feeling on the defensive. Your points in 2) are very insightful. Even people who say they are open minded and believe in the ideals of “live and let live”, usually have a qualifier. IMHO, SF is a city that embraces being “out there”/ or “over the top” as holy. And as long as you fit in with The City’s definition (box) of counter-culture “kool” you’re accepted and embraced. And within the counter-culture, there are micro-counter cultures. Through reading this blog, I see there is greater diversity than what I grew up with, but suffice it to say, I left many years ago because I wanted to be more than the cultural norm of the city could accept.

    • I moved from SF to LA for a while (then moved back), and I agree with some of what you said, but…
      re: “Glam is bad!”
      You need to hang out with more drag queens, and/or go to Union Square and SFMOMA. My feeling about LA fashion is that it has its own look, which is louder than SF’s, but there is more fashion in SF than you realize.

      re: Attitude less welcoming than in LA.
      I eventually found some nice artistic circles in LA, but at first it seemed like if you weren’t into plastic surgery, there wasn’t anybody to talk to. And since everything is so spread out, it can be harder to find your place. I’m not saying you’re wrong about having to “earn your way” in SF–since I grew up in the area, I haven’t had to deal with that here–but I think LA can also be like that, to a newcomer.

  54. Definitely a fun list for a recent immigrent, but there’s so much to this city. You meet new people and do new things that change your perspective about San Francisco every day. Number one thing I wish I knew about San Francisco before I moved here? It’s the biggest little city in the world, never stop exploring it.

  55. I’ve lived here for 10 years. My only gripe is that I’ve never heard Divis called “The Divisadero.” Oh and the photo depicting a common sight at SF coffee shops shows –GASP– a freaking flip phone! No self respecting techie has had one of those since the iPhone debuted in 2007.

  56. Re cost of living for average and less income households, I’ve wondered about that too. The best simple answer is rent control.


    “Yet rarely mentioned is that the estimated 200,000 San Francisco tenants in place — whose numbers greatly exceed the number of annual vacant units — are paying the lowest annual rent increases in the United States.”

    200,000 units paying substantially less than market in units whose rent increases are substantially slower than market. If the avg unit household is 2.5 people, that’s 450,000 beneficiaries, about half of the total SF population of ~800k people. Wow.

  57. Given the large amount of replies, I doubt you will even get to this one, but let me say: I dislike your articles headlines. I say this only because I did not take the time to read your entire article.

    Ummm, lets see what we learned from your writing: there are dogs, a different timezone and you are defined by what bike you ride. Also, I never drink PBR, in fact our beer kicks the east coast’s ass if you take Vermont out of the equation. Another thing, you apparently think we don’t like sports, but I never saw bonfires on the block when I lived in Charlestown when the Red Sox won the world series (for the first time in how many year? not a bostonian) but I did in the Mission.

    Not trying to be mean, but hey I didn’t belong in Boston and well maybe you don’t belong in San Francisco.

  58. Wicked Pissah Article!!!! Haha!

    I just moved here from Boston in August, and I think most of what you said is accurate and the advice is pretty good.

    ….Aside from excepting brunch instead of football on Sundays, nevah evahhhhh!!!!

    Thank for the good read,

  59. Always enjoy reading newbie comments about our City. San Francisco is an international destination/venue where one will carve out a niche if serious about being here. Many of the same things could be said about London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York. Are you simply following employment or is where you live important and a part of defining who you are? Living is an art and takes work; I have been in San Francisco for 43 years, taught public school and never made a lot of money, but have a comfortable life in a condo with equity near Mission Dolores with my wonderful husband. Public transport, creative shopping and being street savy make it a joy to still be here at age seventy. The only alternative to San Francisco for us would be living in an European City, and it wouldn’t that much of an improvement. Fortunately, San Francisco isn’t for everyone, but the right people seem to stick…

  60. Super Awesome Article – it put a smile on my face and really made my day… moved to the San Francisco Bay Area just a little over 19-years and am really impressed with the spot-on accuracy of this article. Bravo. Well done and kudos.

  61. Ive lived here for 7 years. I dont work in tech and make about 2,500.00 a month. Cost of living doesnt have to be high to live a really comfortable life in the city. But in order to do this you must be really really good at networking. That is one of the most important skills to live areally good life in SF. I have all kinds of access to aptartments all over the city. The kind that kick ass with quaint cool features that havnt seen craigslist for years and are not expesive because they are rent controlled. But in order to find your self on a position of choice like this you have to treat socializing like a job and dont expect it to happen overnight and be really good at connecting people with others. Dont protect your contacts share them. The biggest difference between manhattan and sf is the KIND of competition that exsists. In ny the competition is hostile and selfish. In sf the competition is about being bold with your skills and how much better can you augment other peoples lives. Help them and they will help you. If you try to undermine people to get ahead here you wont last.

  62. Great write-up. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As someone who also moved to the Bay Area from the east coast, there is one thing that I will add that is kind of unique to this area… In other parts of the country, people who have money, or some who think they have lots of money, like to “dress the part.” Not so much here in the Bay Area. People prefer to dress comfortably – wearing layers as you point out.

  63. I agree with Timothy Wells and Rose, and have more than a few offended reactions to your article… although I can’t be too surprised at some of it, considering spending 8 months in Boston several years ago was… well, 8 months of my life I’ll never get back. Primarily the reason for that was the painfully obvious and entrenched attitudes of so many of the middle and upper-middle class residents there. I almost forgive you for the (plethora of) elitist, priveleged views and observations you listed, but actually not quite. Good luck making friends with your “is it a dog or a human” mentality. This city prides itself on welcoming and accepting folks from ALL socio-economic backgrounds, and is non-judmental (by and large) toward folks that do not have the appearance you might prefer as a Bostonian; this city is a haven for those coming here for a better life and better opportunities in one of the most broad-minded cities in the country. San Francisco supports struggling folks in ways that other cities do not, because it has always been a city that believes in people achieving their own personal visions regardless of national background, race, economic status, sexuality or clothing style. Last (and least), I’ve lived here for 12 years, and it is NOT as overrun with techies as you mentioned; and neither have I ever heard anything whatsoever about PBR being the beer of choice here.

    • Hey song71 — just because the author lived in Boston, doesn’t mean he’s a “Bostonian”, which is evidenced by the fact that he’s a Steelers fan and his claim that Boston women only “fake” being sports fans — gimme a break. Boston has been my home for over 20 years and this is definitely as “broad-minded” place as any. As one example, we were the first place in the country that allowed gay marriage. What happened in 2004 when SF’s mayor tried to allow them? So you can take all your horseshit stereotypes about Bostonians and shove them right up your ass.

    • Well said song71. I do notice there are quite a few privileged, well educated (many east coasters) transplants that do carry a certain elitist and entitled attitude in SF. I make it a point to call these people out. They must pay attention that the diversities, inclusion, and the talents of our immigrants (including the author’s ancestors) are what made this country great. Do not let technology detach you from reality. If the census statistics and the Obama election results have not demonstrated the direction our country, our world, is heading then you are in trouble. I thought the blog was interesting at first glance but after reading all the comments and have not seen the author acknowledge and update some essential elements of the city it’s credibility is diminishing. I am beginning to side with some of Cabbie’s comments on the author.

    • Goddammit . . . I’ve been reading my way through the comments – most of which are snarky, unashamedly judgmental, righteously (but unjustifiably) indignant, or in some cases openly hostile – and a rare few manage to combine all four of these rhetorical elements in a single comment (see, e.g., song71). The more I read, the more I bit my tongue and tried to press onward, foolishly hoping that the next comment would be a substantive response to your blog post (in which you invited readers who already live in San Francisco to leave a comment addressing any subject you missed – an invitation that most commenters hastily ignored as they rushed to fashion a critical response more biting than the one before). But then I arrived at song71’s comment, where I found that my ability to suffer fools does indeed have limits. As song71 correctly stated, “[t]his city prides itself on welcoming and accepting folks from ALL socio-economic backgrounds, and is non-judgmental [sic] (by and large) toward folks that do not have the same appearance you might prefer as a Bostonian; this city is a haven [blah, blah, blah] . . . one of the most broad-minded cities in the country.” The aforementioned quote is an expansion on song71’s judgment regarding “the (plethora of) elitist, privileged views and observations you listed.” As best I can discern, the elitist, privileged observations to which song71 refers are: (1) Your quip about walking in the Tenderloin, wherein one might encounter something that would prompt a person to wonder whether that something is “dog or human” [this being an unmistakable reference to the question of whether it’s “dog shit” or “human shit” – which unfortunate though it may be, is an entirely reasonable and legitimate question]. (2) Your (unfortunate, and largely misguided) statement that “PBR is pervasive in San Francisco.” [This statement is not without some basis if we define “San Francisco” in narrow geographic and social terms (e.g., most Mission District bars, and faux-dive bars in other neighborhoods frequented primarily by hipsters). This sweeping statement is unwarranted when applied to San Francisco as a whole, without regard to neighborhood and/or clientele.] And (3) your observation (also overbroad) that “[w]orking in tech is the norm, not the exception” – or to paraphrase song71, that San Francisco is “overrun with techies.” [If you work and socialize in a fairly limited part of the city, then it’s understandable that you’d perceive the city as dominated by tech jobs. And to be sure, we have more tech jobs than most cities, but if we were to research employment sectors across the population, I suspect we’d find that tech accounts for a relatively small percentage of San Francisco residents, and that most residents work in one of countless other fields.] But while some of your observations seem exaggerated or misguided, or can be viewed as making unwarranted generalizations – it shouldn’t be surprising (and it’s certainly not shocking) that a relatively new resident might err in some of his judgments about the city – and to your credit, you make quite clear that your observations are those of a recent transplant. But neither the nature nor context of the three aforementioned comments justify song71’s decidedly judgmental and altogether hostile comment. Your first statement was entirely valid – that is, when one encounters sidewalk shit in the Tenderloin, it’s entirely valid to ponder the unpalatable question of whether it’s human shit or dog shit. The odds of one versus the other are a coin flip. As for the other two observations song71 found so offensive, they’re both overbroad, and suggestive of the narrow circles you run in – but neither warrants a venomous (and profoundly ironic) lecture on how nonjudgmental we San Franciscans are. Song71 should have blushed at the irony when he/she wrote that diatribe, because he/she was clearly not practicing a nonjudgmental, tolerant philosophy while accusing you of failing to meet San Francisco’s standard for same. And therein lies one of San Francisco’s most unattractive truths: we claim to be tolerant and nonjudgmental in shrill tones and with an unashamed lack of self-awareness – but in truth, like most other humans, we’re only tolerant and nonjudgmental of people whose opinions we share. At the precise moment that an opinion differs from the one we hold, that’s when you see precisely how tolerant and nonjudgmental we are – which is to say, not much more than anyone we claim superiority over.
      That’s my $.02, and I’ll say nothing more on the subject (no matter how much I’m baited by the predictable responses that this will elicit). For what it’s worth, I thought you wrote a nice piece about San Francisco. Overlooking a few generalizations, it was a reasonably accurate impression of our city. Thank you.

      • Thanks. I appreciate the breath of fresh air and grounded response amidst a sea of strong opinions both ways.

        I had no idea half a million people were going to read this nor that the comments would get so wild.

      • Much agreed. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Jason. I appreciate it as a fellow newbie to the city (most recently from Los Angeles, but I’ve lived in several US cities). Congrats on being pressed!

  64. After living in SF for 2 years I can safely say NEVER AGAIN!! A great city to visit and eat in but after living in beautiful,green,safe,cheap,friendly Portland,Oregon SF is a scum pit.It’s so crowded,so many scary people,so expensive,dirty and no one is that interested in anyone else.I’m not trying to be mean so if this offends anyone,well truth can hurt..

  65. Seems like folks are getting confused a bit: “dog or human,” would we call that offensive? I used to play the same game living in SOMA, especially on those long walks to the court house while reporting for jury duty…because SF calls you to serve every year. I believe this is in reference to a “fun game” in which you guess the source of defecation which has been presented in front of you on the sidewalk–not an actual comment on street beings, neither human nor dog for that matter.

    I’d also like to note that the Vodka-soda combo is missing from the popular SF drinks featured in the article. Am I just imagining that that’s a thing in SF? Maybe it’s just a Marina thing, and please don’t throw out everything I say because I occasionally hang out in the Marina…pretty please :).

    After five years of SF living (SOMA/start up style), I’m now two years deep into my residence here in sunny San Mateo, which is lovely and features Caltrain, grocery stores, the movie theater, a weekly Farmer’s market, and some hips bars too all within 1-5 blocks’ walk.

    Here, it’s warmer, there is parking a plenty, there is some culture, but it’s not San Francisco. Sure, I visit SF often, but the “oh I’ll just take CalTrain later, REMIND me that I HAVE to leave in 20 minutes to catch the last CalTrain” convo that quickly turns into a $60 cab ride home or crashing at a friend’s apartment sometime after 1/2am, both make hanging in SF less accessible. But it’s still so temptingly fun and there are so many interesting people pursuing interesting startups, hobbies, and activities to meet in SF compared to other cities I’ve lived in and visited.

    It seems like the best part about leaving SF for me is the following:

    1. I can fully fund my retirement accounts and save up a proper emergency fund
    2. I have a covered parking spot, and it’s not on the street
    3. I have a quaint one bedroom apartment (with a REAL separate bedroom) to myself

    Still, I miss SF, I miss walking out my door to meet friends for brunch, meeting up for a run to the ballpark or the Golden Gate Bridge, enjoying the building decorations during the holidays, going to the museums, frequenting the art shows, and for many, many more reasons.

    This article was a very fun read, delightfully included some infographics on rent which I enjoyed, and really captured some of the glaring impressions available in this wonderful city by the bay.

  66. Great article but one personal thing that irks me is that the TL gets suuuuch a bad rap. Yes it can be disgusting and wild to walk through but I have lived on Hyde & Ellis for 3 years and it is not a very dangerous place, even from a female perspective. Each block from Ellis until Civic Center Bart is more and more wild with tons of crackeads swarming the “homeless swapmeet” but you really just have to have your wits about you, not walk around like an idiot with your wallet bulging or yakking away on your iphone with no caution or awareness and you will be fine. Don’t stop to listen to panhandlers and don’t engage if it’s unnecessary. If you follow these steps you are in a central area of the city with tons of access to more fun, family friendly neighborhoods. In the meantime if you’re in to dive bars or good hole in the wall restaurants you’re in luck! Also rent is cheap and there are some secret hidden gems as far as apartment buildings go. Worth checking out in the desperate search for an apt. I have started seeing it refered to as the “trendyloin” recently as a matter of fact.

    Overall your article is very acurate, fun and enlightening. It will be shared with prospective SF citizens!

    • FINALLY, someone sticking up for the TL!!! It’s posts like these and the oblivious people who write them that perpetuate the supposed horrors of the Tenderloin.

      “Pro Tip: Learn the streets that include the Tenderloin and don’t walk there at night and avoid any Muni buses that will take you through there on your trip.”

      For someone who avoids the Tenderloin at all costs, how can you pass such resolute judgement?? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and blame it on your naivety. You clearly know nothing about the Loin. As a petite female who has lived (alone) in the TL for 2 years, I have never once felt in danger of being hurt or mugged or anything else crime related. And I walk through all those streets within your dotted lines constantly (and usually alone or at night).

      I don’t live in the TL for cheaper rent (sidenote: total myth, I pay $1600 for a mediocre studio), I live here because I love this neighborhood. Super convenient location and easy to get around to the rest of the city. Fantastic bars and restaurants. Great architecture. And a lot of fucking history; maybe read about it some time.

      All that said, the residents of the Tenderloin are overjoyed that people like you are avoiding our hidden gem. If you all knew how awesome our neighborhood was, you’d be moving in left and right and driving up our rents even more.

    • I’m seconding the TL shoutout. I lived on O’Farrell & Hyde for two years, and loved the TL (this was in 2002-2004). I had no problem going back to visit my favorite TL spots after I moved to the Mission. (Beautiful drag bars around the TL, and Lahore Karahi, yum.) And, really, once the people who hang out on the streets know that you live in the neighborhood, they will greet you daily, and watch out for you. OK, not all of them will, but smile at the ones who don’t look mentally ill or cracked out, you’ll see! A fave of mine was the Flava Flav lookalike! I wish I knew his name. He used to stop traffic for me. You know him. He wears the clock around his neck, and gold fronts. Plus, TL is super close to Chinatown and the theater district.

      The worst thing that ever happened to me in the TL was the day I rounded the corner and saw that someone had committed suicide by laying his head beneath the tire of the 19 Polk.

  67. What a great article. I moved here many moons ago 1978 (Maybe 79) I dated (now husband) a guy born and raised in The City (his father borned and raised in City) All his friends were native so it was especially fun to go places then and cab drivers to Waiter were amazed that the table was all natives (except for me). The City they grew up in was small and family orientated. Everyone knew each other famlies. It was three degrees (at most) of seperation. Music was the thing for them. My husband saw every major musican and most for free. We own rentals in the city (which is a story in it self) but our tenants in the past were 35 and up and would stay for 20 years. Now all tenants are rich 20 somethings… and move yearly.

  68. Welcome to the City. Thanks for your insight. It’s wicked cool. PBR innit the official drink btw-it’s Jameson. PBR is the official poor man’s cocktail of choice. Hide your maps, ask locals for directions, they never lie. Don’t trust IPhone maps. Shit changes. Tip your bartenders. NEVER, EVER refer to The City as ‘San Fran’ or ‘Frisco’. Natives, transplants who might as well be natives and cool folks all agree it’s sooo uncool. PS: Flip flops are for the beach not street. Worn in combo w/puffy jackets is extra douchie and if you’re inside take off your shades. You’re not Kanye. And if you were Kanye-we-don’t-care.

  69. I moved to the city 2 years ago. I came from Germany with my family and stayed a couple of weeks in Noe Valley (like you mentioned it). We moved out of the city, since we couldn’t find something affordable for a bigger family (6). I’m still working in the city, commuting with the BART (reliable) and enjoy my time there. I can agree to most of the ‘dark’ sides that you mentioned, but I think this is something that every bigger city around the world has to face. Some of them less, some more. Anyway, great write up!

  70. I’m from the Tenderloin and it is really knowing about WHEN to ride the bus and be out and about in the Tenderloin rather than avoiding it altogether. I find that staying out of the alleyways and sticking to major streets like O’Farrell with major bus lines is safer than less populated, less traveled streets. The more activity that is going on, such as concerts, movies, dining out, etc., the less likely the more “seedy” elements are going to bother you. Be street smart, keep your eyes open, and use some common sense and you will be fine.

  71. I moved to SF from Ohio a year and a half ago. I spent 6 mos in the Mission, which wasn’t the neighborhood for me, and ended up all the way out in Palo Alto. I agree with everything – absolutely everything – you’ve said. I would add a couple of things, including it’s hard to make friends out here because people are heads down in their tech (phones, ipads, etc) instead of socializing with the person on the bar stool beside them, people out here live in a weird bubble (esp in the Silicon Valley) where there apparently isn’t a recession of any sort and the only cars you see on the road are either the Prius or German luxury cars. :-) Oh, and the idea of crossing the water to the East Bay (or vice versa) is like going to another country beyond Oakland or Berkeley. Walnut Creek? Concord? Where?
    Again, I agree with every word you said. And I’m glad to know that other transplants have observed the exact same things. I tell everyone back home about the dog-friendliness of SF.
    Oh, and I make 3x what I made back in Ohio and I can pretty much say … I’m broke. Damned rent.

    • very difficult to meet anyone in California especially to start a relationship. best to import a love interest than to find one . the people in all those great and beautiful cars you see driving around are broke too. its still a better winter than any other place.

      • I met my other half at How Weird festival almost 3 years ago. Lots of peeps here looking for love, in my experience. L.A. is a different story though.

      • people love to throw down on L.A. just like SF but after living in California, then New York and then God forsaken Austin(wonderful to visit but summer lasts 8 months and there is no beach) and several other countries , I always come back loving my home state. its just beautiful and vibrant and accepting. starting a relationship is difficult for everyone in california, too many distractions and too many self help groups and self help book stores telling you to take your ‘me time” also i hear from folks who say they are worried to start a relationship cuz they are afraid they will miss something better if it comes along.

      • I just told you it’s not difficult for everyone. You and your circle of friends don’t represent “everyone” in SF. I’ve been in the SF bay area for 14 years, have been in 3 relationships that lasted 3 years or longer, and I have several friends that have met their spouses and married in SF as well. I think guys definitely have an advantage here for there are a lot of available, beautiful women in the Bay area waiting for right guy. Generally speaking, the bar is the wrong place to look for a mate, in any city. ;-)

      • no need to get yourself in a twist! i am happily married but i also happen to have been born and raised in California. there is no difference from SF to LA socially other than the weather and location …that is a myth and an excuse that transplants came up with…transplants with zero social skills. i think there have been enough badly made movies on the LifeTime network about meeting people in bars. just trying to share the positive aspects about the state as a whole.

      • Well, I’m a transplant from the east coast, am VERY social and friendly and had NO PROBLEM making friends in the Bay. Moved to LA for 6 months and made 1 meaningful friendship with my neighbor. Everyone else flaked out or was only interested in “making connections in the industry” (i’m a DJ/Producer). So I moved back to SF. That’s my experience, and I’ve heard others that have had similar experiences (including my other half)…maybe it depends on what neighborhood in LA you move to, I don’t know. Just found the general vibe there extremely superficial. All about image…

  72. the top ten view spots are those of one who has obviously not lived in SF for their entire lives and only focused on the touristy spots…some were on point but you should explore to find the more hidden gems of this fine city.

  73. I lived in SF for 10 years; it’s a magical land. I’m moved to CO for nursing school and I’m counting the days until I return. :) Fantastic article; you completely captured the essence of this amazing city.

  74. The San Francisco Giants sell out almost every game and have the best attendance in baseball. The niners have one of the best followings in sports, as do the Raiders. I wouldn’t say sports matter any less than elsewhere. Maybe in your circle.

  75. This article could easily be describing Chicago. Although Chicago is a bit colder and surrounded by nothing cool, its 10x cheaper.

  76. As a native San Franciscan born and raised and now having passed the half century mark my advise is….please prepare to fall in love forever! No other place like San Francisco.

  77. A few things…

    On the map of the Tenderloin…I would extend that dotted line south of Market street, and have it go from 7th st to 5th st, and down to Howard. That block of 6th between Market and Mission is NASTY.

    Also…Oakland more than just gets a ‘bad rap’. People in SF are scared of Oakland and will not go there unless they have to. And if you live in Oakland like I do, and tell someone in SF you live there, they look at you with a since of pity. And it’s really too bad. Yes, there’s a lot of crime in Oakland, but most of it happens in areas you would never venture to in the first place. The rest of the city is no more dangerous than any other large city in the US.

    Social life in SF is weird. It’s very clicqueish and very event oriented. It’s a tough place to make friends, and the ones you do make are centered around some event or activity you all participate in. You’ll only see these people at said event or activity, and when it’s over…you don’t see them again until the next event. It’s very different from back East.

    Other than that…SF is a fabulous city.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more about the friends section of your post! The entire post is EXACTLY how I feel about this city.

  78. You’re not a true San Franciscan because you smell human shit. You’re a true San Franciscan because you were born in SF. Period.

    Anchor Steam and Fernet are the official beverages of SF.

    And we don’t call it The Caltrain or The Muni. Just Caltrain or Muni.

  79. One other thing…if cultural and ethnic diversity is important you you, you will not like San Francisco. To see what true cultural diversity looks like you’ll have to come to…yes…Oakland.

    • I was wondering when someone was going to mention that…For all the blah blah blah touchy feel-good posts, the thing that a lot of skip over because they can, is that “diversity” doesn’t stop at having a larger than avg. Asian population…And I’ll take it a step further, I’ve experienced a LOT of that “secret bias” especially from the ones who go on and on and on and on about how “liberal” they are…I experienced more honesty on the matter living in Texas before I moved back here…

    • I lived in SF for eleven years before moving to Oakland, and when in Oaktown, I really missed Latinos. (I lived in the Mission while in the city.)

  80. Oh, and you forgot to mention that if you call it Frisco or San Fran we will set you straight. And not in a polite way.

  81. Jason, I love that this is getting so much traction around SF.. also glad to know you found Shanghai Kelly’s for Steeler Football.. I’m there (in the front) every Sunday, say hi!

  82. Travelling 90-120 MINUTES TO SEE YOUR FRIENDS?!?! The humanity! Just kidding, that is my one way commute into NYC on the daily. Same coming home. Maybe what they say about becoming soft in the west is true <3 I jest though, no sane person goes out of their way for a 3 hour round trip.

  83. Funny you mentioned the 3 hour time difference for sports broadcasts and not being able to adjust to it. As a lifetime west coaster from Seattle to San Francisco, I only know PST start times. And I always think how late the east coasters have to stay up to watch the game. And when it’s MNF, cold east coast weather and then your team loses and you have the long walk to the car and then the traffic getting home, well I am so grateful to be nice and cozy in my SF apartment.

  84. Close, but no cigar. I was born and raised here 50 years ago and am living in the Sunset in the house I grew up in. My parents are gone and let’s just say I pay less than $1200/year for a 4 bedroom house in property tax. That’s the only way to live here is to stay in the same place for a long time.

    1. I work from home so I see things others miss. When you leave for work there’s fog a lot of days, but by 9am it usually burns off and is sunny. Afternoons are cold and you’re spot on for that, but it depends on where in the city you live.

    2. I lived in the Mission for 6 years and that was long before there was anything called a hipster around. The closest to PBR was a PBJ that you made at home with something called skippy. The cheap beer we drank was Budweiser otherwise we’d go with Anchor or to one of the local brew pubs that started to pop up in the late 90’s

    3. Go GIANTS! We like our sports here even if you aren’t into sports.

    4. Spot on about the neighborhoods. They define the people who live there because the people who moved there wanted to be around their own people. In MY day the Italians lived in the Marina and North Beach, the Chinese lived in and around Chinatown, but not moving into North Beach and the Sunset was Irish and the Richmond was Russians and Jews. You always had to go to the Mission to get Mexican food. Even if it came from farther south it was still “Mexican food”

    5. Food, you missed something. The farther west you go the food gets cheaper, the people are hipper without dressing funny and only idiots shop at Whole Foods.

    6. You don’t have to work in tech. The people that you give all your money to at Whole Foods don’t work in tech nor do the people at the cafes or restaurants. While we have lots of techies, they still need other stuff to live here than Tech.

    7. Check out my blog about San Francisco, but don’t move here.

  85. This article is a great start to getting to know SF. My favorite comment so far is from John Weatherman (43 years ought to buy you some knowledge). Obviously judging by the comments people feel pretty strongly about San Francisco one way or another.

    My experience growing up in the Bay Area (Pleasanton, Petaluma, Walnut Creek) is one of sheer love for Northern California. Last year I lived in San Francisco for 6 months in the Castro….after spending 13 years in Dallas, TX. Wow – what a complete change of scenery and culture. Even though I spent my early years in California I wasn’t prepared for the coldness in both temperature and friendliness when I moved back.

    After actually meeting people and getting my social circle I began to see the city open up for me. The Castro is a seriously cool place and was not mentioned much in the article. I have met some of the coolest people & started a friendship that will last a lifetime. The gay community is one of the top things that set San Francisco apart in my opinion. I’m a suburban housewife but have a true openness towards diversity (as do most Californians).

    My fav things about San Francisco: The bridges….all of them. A city that is apx. 7 miles x 7 miles is so easy to get around in and become familiar with. Nightlife in the Castro, gay or not. The Ferry Building and the most delicious seafood ever besides Japan. But hey….just visit Japan-town and your there. The Presidio….awesome. The food and drinks at Absinthe. The diversity and culture. I could go on, and on, and on.

    BTW – always have a jacket and learn to dress warm. Wool is your friend – and so are scarves. Appreciate those gorgeous sunny days when the fogs burns off and you get to run around the city without a jacket while walking your dog.

  86. The best piece of advice I can give to new transplants is to chill out and develop a bit of aloofness. There is so much going on in this city that you have to make an effort not to let it become overwhelming.

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  88. my advice to people coming to SF? DON”T FUCKING COME HERE. Too many financial assholes from the East Coast and SoCal already.

  89. As a native, remember when you move here where you come from. When someone asks you where you’re from, they know you’re a transplant, tell them there you spent most of you life before you came to the City. Being an SF native, hearing people say they are from San Francisco, with a thick Bostonian accent gets on out nerves. There are very few natives that still reside in The City, and when someone says they’re from here we immediately want to know where they went to high school to determine if we have friends in common.

    Also, its The City or San Francisco. A good way to stand out as a transplant is to call it SF, San Fran, Frisco, etc. It’s The City, no matter where you are in the world or San Francisco, or if you’re into the hip-hop/rap scene its the YAY area. But that is it. End of story.

  90. Great piece! Extremes section should include political extremes. Beyond SF should include going past the hills in the summer to escape the cold and sit pool side in comfort!!

    • That’s so true. People here take their liberal politics WAY too personally. I’ve learned that if my point of view is different from those whose company I’m in…I just keep my mouth shut.

  91. Love this post!! I completely agree with pretty much everything written here. Also important to note, BART shuts down at midnight. That blows and would be blasphemous in NY. Favorite tip: Half of the buses require you to step down into the steps to get the back door to open.

  92. Of all places in the world, SF is the one place/story/people/culture/food/attitude/onand/onand/onand/on I miss the MOST. I spent 3 years across from Pac Bell and would move back in a heartbeat. Some of these opinions are accurate and make me smile, but who cares what this resident thinks? SF IS INCREDIBLE. Move there. Do it. Stop worrying. Boston is NOT nearly as expensive and SF is not as expensive as NY. Not. Even. Close.

  93. This is great – agree, wish I had this when I moved here, although you really don’t “get it” till you get here. Two tips; we love sfcityguides.org – loads of history walking tours for free. We have learned so much and had a blast doing it. Also – don’t wait in line for blue bottle, there are a ton of cafes that serve it and serve it well.

  94. Dating here could use some work. As a guy, I found a lot of cool women, but way too many were stuck up for no good reason. Learn how to have a short conversation with a guy and learn how to end it in a way that is clear but polite if it’s not working out or if you just want to be left alone. And women, please stop dressing like boys! Jeans and sweatshirts are not hot, at all. Standards here for dressing and looking nice are loooowwwww,,, I think warmer weather would help, but one can still look good without a sundress.

    • You’re going to the wrong places and It didn’t used to be that way 10 years ago. House of Prime Rib would let men in who weren’t in a suit.

      • Going to the wrong places? Walk down the street – look around! Compare SF to so many other cities in N America, let alone Europe and Latin America. You shouldn’t have to go to the “right” place to see people dressing decently and making half an attempt to take care of their hair and look good. And I should have added that men have similar responsibilities to look presentable and stylish. Everyone – step it up! And improve the ‘tude. Your sh*t does stink – like everyone else’s – and passive aggressiveness has got to go. Signed, a Sunset District Native, now Western Addition resident.

  95. What is this “good weather” you speak of?! I’m from Florida and have been living in SF for two years now and I think the weather is complete shit! It’s foggy and cold 65% of the year!

  96. Having lived on the west coast for 3 years (SD), I can definitely say that 10am kick-offs for football is BY FAR, a better option. Your football day starts at breakfast and ends just after dinner. You can catch every game without having to stay up past 11pm.

  97. This is a great thread. I used to live in SF for 4 years for med school. Met plenty of Stanford grads that are swell people. I didn’t hang out with any tech people and rarely got south of market. There are very few hot chicks unless you’re into Asians then there are one or two, and they definitely have a boyfriend that makes money. There may be a couple hot chicks in the Marina but is that really SF? C’mon. I’m from Illinois and used to live in the East Village in NYC. I liked Oakland way better when I first moved to the Bay Area because it was more real, more raw, and had more character. I moved out of SF in 2010 and am in residency in Texas. I miss SF almost everyday and would love to go back, but don’t look forward to being a doctor there and living like a middle class chump. PS they need to kick those damn bums out of the Tenderloin and GG Park!!!

    • BTW, I drank PBR in the early 2000’s at the Coyote Ugly in the East Village (back when there was only one CU in the world and it was a shit-hole bar) and hipsters were just being born in Williamsburg and they drank Brooklyn Lager. In the tendernob where I mainly hung out in SF I drank Widmer and Maker’s Mark neat and Anchor Steam or Sierra if the Widmer ran out. Racer 5 is really the shit in the East Bay, though. There aren’t enough cabs in SF and the public transit sucks at late night.

  98. Can’t read through all the comments to see if anyone else wrote this, but it’s Yerba Buena, not Buena Yerba.

    A former SF resident

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  100. Palo Alto and Mountain View are not really that far away! I love living down here. It’s SUNNY and WARM!

  101. Great post. I’d put foodie and biking at the top, for sure. I moved here from New York. I like SF, but have to say that the art and design scene really isn’t much to talk about. If you love galleries, design studios, high fashion, and amazing shows be aware that SF (which has good art and Opra) has a fairly small and closed scene of cultural arts. I find that 2-3 trips to NYC a year keep me satisfied and happy in SF!

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  103. Fantastic post! I went to school in Boston and recently left San Francisco after 3 years of living there. I literally burst out laughing when I saw the bike poster. It’s so true! I noticed they didn’t have a “Panhandle” bike listed. I guess we get lumped in with Haight. Also, very true about the 3-hour time difference. I lived in China for 3 years, but I found the 3 hour time difference between the east and west coast much more difficult to mangage (all my family is on the east coast and the company I was working for is based in NY). Loved every second of your post! Look forward to subscribing and reading more!

  104. Great article. I quibble with 1 thing. PBR is not the official drink of the city, not even remotely. Fernet is!
    I’d also add a few things:
    -If you’re driving anywhere in SF, budget extra time (and extra $) for parking. If you have a car and your residence only offers street parking, budget for at least 1 parking ticket per month. It’ll happen no matter how hard you try to avoid it.
    -You don’t need a car at all. But if you think you can just get around on a bike, you better have monster leg muscles, because these hills are intense.
    -Marijuana is far more socially acceptable than tobacco. People smoke weed all over the place all the time. It’s almost disturbing.
    -City politics are dominated by small vocal groups, and conservatives are treated disrespectfully. For such a tolerant city, expressing strongly conservative points of view in the wrong venue could temporarily damage you socially or professionally. But please don’t be afraid to express your views even if they conflict with the norm. You will find people who agree with you no matter how unusual your opinion is. And it only takes a few people here to make a difference or create change.
    -Be Open. Be Yourself. Be Grateful. You live in the most beautiful city in the richest nation on Earth. It is no coincidence that it is also a city of refugees. Some people who come here are running from something. Some people who come here are seeking something. Some people were born here and have uniquely valuable insight because of it. Everyone around you is lucky and blessed. You are lucky and blessed. Welcome home. After every single hard, weird, confusing, and unexpected day you will ever have here… Welcome Home.

  105. This was great! I just moved to San Jose from Philly six months ago. Another point about living here is that random people will start conversations with you. People are much more guarded and unlikely to engage with strangers on the East Coast.

  106. Good article. Mostly true!! Yeah I hate to beat a dead horse but PBR is most frequently drank in the Mission at Delirium..lol. And the fog line is probably closer to Van Ness and The Mission and Potrero Hill get the most sunshine. An important fun fact the 38 line is the mostly widely used bus line out of all the bus lines in the US due to all the different 38 buses that are always in route. Welcome to the most beautiful city by the bay. Really Fun article.

  107. That flip phone picture is from 7 years ago when Ritual still let you plug in laptops. When people had flip phones. Way before Jason moved to SF. And before I moved from SF to Irvine because the tech change the worldness made me need to go to school and read paper books again.

  108. Having just moved back to SF from Boston, I can honestly say the cost of living is not that distinct. That said, I don’t own a car and I have a reasonably-priced grocery store (Haight Street Market) a couple blocks away. I shop only locally (Sunset, Chinatown, Cole Hardware…) too.

    Word to the wise: don’t be so scared of the tenderloin, and definitely invest some time in the community, culture, and history of San Francisco. You’ve hit the surface level really well, but when you scratch a bit, the city opens up to you in a way you’ve never seen before.

  109. Forgot a few things: Bart is a fast, efficient, and clean mode of transportation. Hunting for parking spaces is a sport. You will parallel park like a pro in no time. Bring your own bags when you shop. Don’t even think about lighting a cigarette. Learn which bins are for recycling, compost, and garbage. Be prepared to walk a lot. Watch out for bushman.

  110. Most of these are pretty true. Love the Divisadero being the fog line thing. But I take exception to the sports matters way less thing. Look at the 49ers, and especially the Giants…people go absolutely insane over the Niners and Giants here, myself included (with the giants). Maybe slightly less fatalist than the east coast, but that’s more of a media thing than a fandom thing….#eastcoastbias

    • There IS NOT CITY IN THE UNITED STATES OR THE WORLD CALLED “San Fran,” and “Frisco” is in Texas (you can look it up). There is also NO state in the union called “Cali.” There is also no neighborhood called “Pac Heights” (it’s “Pacific Heights”) . Also, be aware that real estate agents are constantly making up neighborhoods that don’t exist. “NOPA” is one (if you want to make a native San Franciscan howl, tell them you’re looking for a place to live in “NOPA” — or that you’ve just rented a place in “Lower Pacific Heights.” “Heighs” means it’s on a HILL< folks — and Pacific Heights overlooks the BAY. So if you're not a hill that does that, you're NOT in Pacific Heights, though you may well be paying twice as much as you should because your realtor fooled you into thinking that you were. (Pacific Heights stops at Sacramento — if you are on Bush or Pine you are NOT living in Pacific Heights. You can find 20 people who will tell you you are — but that's because they're not from here — and the real estate agents started pulling this crapola aboutt 20 years ago…and they just keep moving the line further and further south. you want to make a native howl with laughter, tell one that you live in "NOPA"). Real estate agents have also, in the last 10 years or so, invented "central" Richmond and Sunset. It was Outer (west of 19th Ave in the Sunset, west of Park Presidio in th Richmond) or "inner" which is east of them. Agents came up with "Central" because it sounded better than "outer" and again, they wanted to find a way to get more dough. "Dogpatch" is also new — and not . No one ever called it "Dogpatch" until about 7 years ago because no one would admit to living there. But cities change, and someone found out that back in the last 1800s, that area was called "Dogpatch" – voila. And don't ever use "Tenderknob" — it's just too ridiculous for words. You want to speak like a moron, move to San Diego — we have far too many fools trying to sound cool and hip and "San Fran." We are a small city (7 miles square) and we've been here for a while. Trust me, the various parts of the City were all named long ago. Their names are just fine — it gets more than a little irritating to have every 23-year old who moves here decide that it's somehow their right and necessity to rename our neighborhoods, our city, as though they didn't exist before their arrival. Just — have a MODICUM of respect, eh? And do not even THINK of saying that you can't get a good bagel here. If you want bagels the way you know them — MOVE. We have sun, wine, sourdough, cable cars, amazing views. You want something else, leave and let someone who knows what they have here take your place. .

  111. SF Giants have sold out the last 165 home games and will sell out every game next year and for the forseeable future. Candlestick has never not been sold out for a 49ers regular season game as far as I know. Warriors sell out their arena or come within 5 percent every night, Sharks as well…Raiders and A’s is a different story obviously. Sorry to go on a vendetta…

  112. Quibbles:
    1. Yerba Buena. Not Buena Yerba.
    2. Going to the Tenderloin at night is not a death sentence. And there are some pretty rad things going on there if you’re brave enough to find out.
    3. Echoing the “PBR?!” war cry.
    4. Head down to the Embarcadero on game day and then tell me if you still think watching sports matters a lot less.

    Overall, you’re right – there are a handful of things about living in the city that would have been nice to know in advance. But I feel like figuring them out on your own kind of earns you your stripes. So welcome to the city by the bay! It’s beautiful and wonderful and full of amazing things and it never ever stops surprising you.

  113. Give or take a few years in either direction, your love affair with the city will last for about fifteen years. Then you’ll notice that the crackheads aren’t so amusing any more, that MUNI will never, ever get better and even at the top of your game and pay, owning is still a pipe dream and rents never go down. But while you are there, enjoy every single moment of it because it’s going to be one of the most amazing times in your life.

  114. “I have no idea how anyone who isn’t working in a high tech role that pays an average salary can live here.” Well, it’s called rent control, and thankfully it exists. Actually, the tech industry is one of the reasons I am leaving the city. SF used to be more creative and much more affordable. But it has become so self absorbed and unaffordable that it is losing its flavor and culture very quickly. Your writing is spot on.

  115. After reading this, sf sounds like an expensive, socially detached, techy, albeit less lazy Portland.

    • I think it’s the other way around: San Francisco has been one of the West Coast’s two preeminent cities since it’s founding in the early 19th century (it’s preeminence actually predates LA’s by more than a century). Nobody–except Oregonians–knew Portland existed until “Portlandia” became a cult hit.

  116. Most of this is pretty spot-on – though, somewhat generalized. But the one thing I don’t understand, which you mention more than once, is San Francisco’s great year-round weather. I find this incredibly confusing.

    As someone who’s lived on the east coast – and spent a little over two years in SF as well – one the biggest things that got me the hell out of the city was the horrendous weather. Maybe if you’re like me, and you love warm, sunny weather, then SF feels like a year-round freezing tundra. As opposed to what you mention above about not having Cabin Fever, I’d like to respectfully disagree: when the fog would roll in thick, when the winds would blow strong, and when that eery and freezing mist (sometimes full-on rain) would soak everything in sight…I’d definitely curl up in a blanket at home and avoid the great outdoors.

    So I’d definitely add the caveat that, from someone who’s experienced east coast winters (agreed, those are terrible), the weather in SF seems far less volatile. In fact, it’s rather consistent: always cold with occasional warm moments of mother nature’s delusion, oftentimes windy (that is strong enough to stop you in your tracks), and, generally speaking, somewhat unpredictable in how it can fluctuate from morning to night, changing multiple seasons in the span of one day. And that pretty much lasts year-round (with quite a bit of rain between January and April).

    But please, pretty please, let’s not forget that SF barely has a summer (unless you count that one week that inevitably pops up in September). Half the fun of summer is being able to enjoy warm summer evenings, have BBQ’s, and the like; not throwing on a jacket, curling that “summer scarf” around your neck, and shivering your way from bar to bar. I mean, how many places in the world have winter gear (jackets, flannel, scarves, coats, gloves, etc.) at major and boutique retailers during the summer months? That definitely puts it all in perspective. For me, at least.

    But I hear you, when I moved from New York, during my visits, I had nothing but stellar, sunny, warm weather to lure me to the siren of SF. I chalk it up to one serious dose of bait and switch. I managed to toss much of my winter clothes out before I moved, thinking that all the complaints about terrible SF weather were just myths from people who’d never experienced a real winter. Big mistake. I just had to go and restock all over again… (But see my point above – it wasn’t too difficult to restock.)

    Anyways, thanks for the cheeky recap on SF. It’s definitely a unique place – and you’ve captured a lot of what gives it its own flavor (that’s for sure!). But I’m glad I now live in sunnier and warmer pastures down south in that place most San Franciscans call the anti-Christ: Los Angeles.

    • Hey, some people like having the excuse to wear jackets and scarves all year round. My fashion is a little different. But, as long as you can stand the weather in your chosen outfit, then you can wear pretty much the same thing all year long.

      I guess I see Danielle Steele’s complaint, that people don’t dress up in San Francisco.

  117. A couple thoughts about living in SF (from a native of 29 years):

    1. Racial diversity is very different here. In the US, blacks are 12.6% of the population and Asians are 4.8%. In San Francisco, blacks are 6.3% of the population and Asians are 33.9%. As a half-Asian, this makes a very big difference. I actually feel a little nervous when I leave SF and go somewhere white, where “racial diversity” means black. But my Asian friends consider me to be white. :-/
    1.1. Oakland is 28.0% black and 16.8% Asian. I still haven’t had a good reason to go to Oakland. But that’s mainly because I’m really introverted.

    2. San Francisco is not fit. The rest of the country is fat. :-) Seriously, obesity epidemic, unhealthy. :-O

    3. There are no real seasons here. The temperature stays within a narrow band, slightly colder than comfortable. It’s possible to train your body to accept that as a good temperature, and then you can dispense with the layers and save a lot of money.

    4. A handy heuristic for calculating MUNI trip times is just to think of each transfer as adding an hour. There are a variety of reasons why I bike everywhere.

    5. Don’t leave your bike unsecured. Or chained with a weak lock. Or with any lights or quick-release parts. Because any and all of those will be stolen. Especially, don’t use a lock that can be broken with a bolt cutter, because that is almost as bad as leaving it unlocked.

    6. Some people don’t like new. Whether it’s the people who lobby against high rises, or the people who sued AT&T to prevent them from deploying U-verse high-speed DSL, there are times when it’s difficult to do major changes.

    • 2.1. Coincidentally, there are a whole lot of doctors in San Francisco. A bunch of the city’s hospitals are run by UCSF, a leading medical research school, and I personally know some doctors who studied elsewhere (e.g., UC Berkeley) and live in San Francisco. Besides UCSF, there are several other medical and dental schools in San Francisco.

      • I don’t quite understand your first comment. You get “nervous” when racial diversity means “black.” Why do you get “nervous”? The black population is actually a lot less than 6.3% in SF. When people tell me how “diverse” SF is, as a black person, I do not think diversity since this microcosm doesn’t accurately reflect the general ethnic / racial breakdown of the US as a whole. There is ONE shop where I can go to buy black haircare products. ONE. Why cannot racial diversity mean an actual smorgasbord of ethnic groups/races, genders, sexual orientations, etc.?

        The black and Latino population in SF has decreased considerably and continues to decrease as the rents have increased. The Latino population that has long called the Mission home is being forced out as the hipsters and techies move in. For some people this may be a good thing.

      • It’s not the “black” that makes me nervous. It’s how I don’t fit in with the whites, and how the white-black dynamic doesn’t apply to me. I spend most of my time surrounded by Asian-Americans, so I feel out of place where there are no Asians.

        Don’t blame me for the 6.3% number. I got that from the Census web site. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06075.html

        As for diversity, San Francisco is absolutely more diverse than much of the country. Black History Is American History, so even where you have a lot of “blacks,” you’re still Americans. Of course diversity means San Francisco “doesn’t accurately reflect the general ethnic / racial breakdown of the US as a whole.” San Francisco has a lot of immigrants and children of immigrants, not just Americans. Also, there is a lot of sexual diversity, which has nothing to do with race.

        To me, racial diversity means an actual smorgasbord of ethnic groups with their unique perspectives, and not just white Americans and black Americans.

      • Though, to be completely honest, my types of Asians don’t have a very good opinion of American blacks, except in sports. We work very hard for the best schools and the best jobs, but whenever there’s a racial quota, we end up competing with each other while any halfway ambitious black gets a free pass. There’s a reason Lowell High School turned into an Asian school when the courts forced them to drop their racial quotas, and it’s not my fault if that school doesn’t reflect the ethnic diversity of the city.

      • Oh wait, maybe it is kinda my fault. I tutor kids after school as a sort of hobby. All of the parents who sign up are Asian, and so far, at least 10 of the kids have gone to Lowell. Oops.

        Well, it wasn’t my fault back when I was in middle school and high school.

      • Uhm decade is there a reason you turned more than a bit smarmy in your last 2 comments? Something hit you out of the blue and you had to get it off your chest? Seriously, your comment about half way ambitious Blacks get a pass is probably the reason you get considered “white”…or if you act like a “banana”. Or if you’re half East Asian as I hear those are the lighter Asians and they love being honorary white folk!
        I’m being a light weight smart ass because in all honesty yours is one of the more honest posts I’ve seen regarding “diversity” in this town. Just curious, what do your white friends consider you? I was never Black enough or Asian enough! So I just got called half breed or people, usually Black school mates would make “ching chong” noises at me. Then again I was mistaken for “Mexican” a lot. The Flips were pretty cool but even some of my Chinese relatives call me hei guǐzi …

      • I was just a bit ticked off by Gemma and Gerry and Miss the East Coast Flava, with their, grossly paraphrased, “SF is not diverse because it has no blacks.” There’s more to diversity than filling an arbitrary quota of blacks and Latinos. In particular, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, political ideology, and socioeconomic background. I consider those to be more interesting than the tired white-black story, though I am sorry that Gemma has such a hard time buying shampoo.

        Also, I grew up with racial quotas. My year was the last group of freshmen for which Lowell discriminated against Asians. At the same time, the University of California was forced to drop racial quotas. My brother, just one year behind me in school, applied as “Chinese” against our parents’ wishes and got into Lowell. It’s sort of a sore spot for me.

        As you and Richard Walker note, “Asian” is not a real ethnicity. Most of the Asians are immigrating recently enough that they feel like they’re part of the specific country or province than “Asian.” Oh, what fun rivalry there is between the Chinese from Guangdong and the Chinese from the “mainland.” So, even with “Asians” being 33.9% of San Francisco, we’re really more diverse than that.

        The East Asians whom I know have a range of skin tones. The darker kids tend to be called “haak yan” on the playground (黑人; we speak Cantonese), even though they’re pure Asian. I don’t do enough ethnography to say what everybody thinks, but the ones I know like to be comfortably American, as in iPhones and Costco and Ikea. But still Chinese, as in speaking Chinese at home, shopping at Sunset Super, and vacationing in Hong Kong.

        I wasn’t trying to be smarmy. I was trying to get my biases into the open, so it’s possible to have a substantive dialog. In my opinion, if we don’t work with the hearts of the people, then we can’t produce substantive reforms. I like to think that I’m reasonable, and if I interact with more blacks then I’ll have a better opinion of them. I’m not sure if I’m that reasonable.

        I don’t know what whites consider me to be. My white cousins call me Asian, but I actually don’t hang out with white people enough to get a clear idea of what they think of me. With my white name and the awfully mixed up state of the American white ethnicity, I wouldn’t be surprised if I can pass off as white.

      • Kasey, biracial or “full” black, there’ll always be some silly arbiter of race who thinks they are the authority on what it means to be [insert ethnic group] (kinda similar to people on this thread thinking they are the expert on what SF is). I am a dark-complexioned Af-Am (technically not 100% of African descent, since I have more than one white great-greatx4 grandparent due to good ol’ slave times) and because I studied hard, spoke articulately and got good grades, I was called an “oreo”. I really couldn’t care less. I have a good job and hard work has afforded me great opportunities. So, if that’s what being an “oreo” gets me, great.

    • Decade, I was willing to engage with you after your first response. But, your racism is showing in your second and third.

      I’m sorry you’re tired of the “black-white” rhetoric.I am black, so I can’t really get away from it. It’s my life. The fact that you can happily sit around and say that has a lot to do with the racial equality a lot of blacks fought and died for for decades. Second, my haircare issue isn’t just about “shampoo” and it’s really ignorant of you to put it that way. Third, yes, you did “grossly paraphrase” what I wrote as I never said SF isn’t diverse because there aren’t black people. You know what they say about making assumptions.

      While it’s nice in theory to think that black history is “American” history, if that were true, we wouldn’t still need to have a Black History Month and you might have a better understanding of that fact. I wonder if you can name several pioneering black Americans outside of MLK, jr, Malcolm X or anyone alive today. If you can, kudos to you, but many, many Americans cannot.

      While you sit there and generalize and stereotype, this high-achieving, good-grade-getting, hard-working, put-myself-though-school black person has been working toward racial and ethnic equality. I am glad that my Asian friends do not come at me the way you do with latent racism and ignorance. But, based on your posts, I can see I and my organization still have a lot of work to do.

      • I agree, we have a lot to work on, individually and as a society. Maybe I need to do more than you, because right now, without consulting Wikipedia, I can name only George Washington Carver. To be fair, I can’t name any significant dead Asian-American leaders off the top of my head, unless you count Bruce Lee as an American (native San Franciscan!).

        The Black History thing is not my invention. I got it from Yvette Clarke via the Huffington Post. It makes sense to me, in that history is often written as the story of “great” people doing “great” actions, predominantly white, with side actions being done by random non-white people as needed for ethnic balance.

        I don’t know about you, but I found this to be alarming: The Christian history book that they use at Cornerstone Academy (mostly Chinese pre-K–12 school in the Excelsior District) has a bizarre skew on history. For example, on the Scopes Monkey Trial and its consequences, it insists on teaching the four great champions of creationism (Who?) including William Jennings Bryan (What?). What I thought could be racially offensive is how each chapter has great actions being done by great white people, let’s say World War II, and then a sidebar on some random African-American contribution, like the first African-American Marine. I think it reinforces the idea of African-Americans as grunt-work people, which is wrong. (The one Yelp review says it also calls Malcolm X “delusional and insane.” I didn’t read that part of the book.)

        But, you know, even though Barack Obama is the first black president, he is not a proper African-American. I don’t mean that because of the birther conspiracy. I mean, his father was the ambassador from Kenya, and his family was not involved in the fight for equality (over the centuries, actually. In many ways, this country sucks). Barack has overcome that difference, but I’d like to see more African-American leaders grow the normal way. I’d especially like to see more of them in science and engineering.

  118. Good write-up

    I’ve lived in SF since the Summer of 1995, btw…

    You forgot just how Gay/Queer-Alternative lifestyle friendly SF is.
    It seems silly to have to mention this, but I have overheard the most ignorant and bigoted things spewing forth from some newcomers over the years.
    Folks, if you come from a conservative/ Christian background, I’ll respect your beliefs,
    Please try and respect the lives and feelings of those who live in your new home-city.
    Be mindful of what you say. While I not gay/transgendered, etc, chances are that something you’ve said, or sneered at has hurt somebody. I’ve done it regarding hipsters, for instance, but I’m working on it.

    The part about newbies on the bus Actuslky made me snicker out loud, Kudos.

  119. I do think some new transplants will appreciate your article. I did a word search on your page for the word “gay.” It came up twice in a comment. =) I am curious what your thoughts are on gays. As this article is about San Francisco and I suspect many people will read your helpful article, I feel obligated as a gay man, living in San Francisco, to assure that you first gain a good appreciation for the diversity of this city, if you have not already you (collectively) should, and second write competently about the gay community. I have two additional recommendations: 1. Perhaps you should re-evaluate your comments on the less fortunate people living in the city or anywhere else for that matter. You have an interest in building businesses. It is important to care when leading and building businesses. 2. Consider a section on income distribution / education level demographics in the city and what roles they play in SF’s culture both positively and negatively. No one is perfect and you have not lived here that long…I’m looking forward to seeing your updates, as you seem to have good intentions. Thank you.

    • Oops! RonB beat me to it and he wrote it much better and thank you Ron for reminding readers to not only respect diversity but to learn and grow from it. It would be a rewarding experience for all.

    • One thousand percent agree. And this reminds me too of your comments about how people dress… now that you are in San Francisco, think about opening your perspective/mind to the fact that your expectation of that, and conclusion of what types of attire are attractive and/or acceptable, are based upon the straight- priveleged mentality (perhaps especially of someone from New England; but I for one am not willing to claim this assumption as truth. AHEM). Many lesbians in San Francisco, for example, dress in certain styles that they find attractive, and could give a flying shit what you think of it. In fact, some of them dress in ways that are totally unattractive to you ON PURPOSE. They don’t WANT you to notice them, and reject the standard of straight women’s attire, as it the foundation of it is largely built upon the factor of male approval and admiration. Did you ever think of that?? Hmm… you should.

      • Hear, hear!

        I only felt unsafe in San Francisco when out-of-towners would come in on the weekends and hassle my queer friends and me. Really vile things, sometimes very frightening, were said. We used to walk to the police station on 17th and Valencia when we were being hassled, and just stand there until the jerks went away.

        Btw, so sad about the anti-public nudity legislation. I used to enjoy the outdoor gay cafe in the Castro.

  120. Manhattan is WAY more expensive to rent or buy than SF; it’s a complete myth to say otherwise.

  121. As a Bay Area nativewho moved away 25 years ago, it always strikes me when I visit how incredibly full of themselves San Franciscans can be.

    • This San Franciscan does not disagree with you, but wanted to point out that there are Some Guys & Girls who are not full of themselves in SF. Usually these great people are the ones that did not go to the best schools or the most educated, ironically enough.

  122. I’ve been here since the mid-’90s and it’s pretentious morons like you who are a huge part of why I’ve grown to loathe SF the last few years. You’ve lived here for 9 months, and *you’re* the expert?? No, you’re not. What you are is a high-income, heteronormative, white male. How dare you write this offensive, white-male-privileged, classist, racist, sexist mound of bullshit.

    1) You’re flat-out wrong about much of what you said, from the bigger (“…no matter what you’re doing, those you meet will almost always be in finance or startups.” – not true. I meet plenty of people, especially driving a cab, and *most* are NOT in finance or startups. While plenty of people are, there are worlds outside your own self-interested one.), to the smaller (it’s not “the Divisadero,” it’s Divisadero. Divis, if you actually knew anything practical about SF.)

    2) Drug addiction and homelessness are not “humorous” things for you to make games out of or laugh about. They’re serious problems that affect all of society, and we need to stop marginalizing them and start finding real ways to help fix them.

    3) The higher crime neighborhoods in SF aren’t just those “uglier” ones (Tenderloin and Civic Center) you’re forced to pass through while “going shopping,” but include ones like Bayview and Hunters Point, which you don’t even seem to acknowledge the existence of. But, I’m sure it’s just that you can’t be bothered to consider those areas actual parts of SF yet, at least not until you can get them good and gentrified, so you can have your finance buddies help open some startups and coffee shops there, too. Then, they’ll be your favorite “new” parts of the city!

    4) “Protip” – Women. Not “girls”. Women.

    5) “Is that a costume, or is that how you always dress?” is NOT a legitimate SF question. While people do indeed wear many costumes in SF, this is just another example of your privilege showing. Your judgment as to what looks like a costume is only that, and it’s apparently based on mainstream societal norms, which will (hopefully) dissipate from your brain if you stay in SF long enough – and would have been gone if you had waited a respectable amount of time before you decided you “knew” San Francisco.

    6) Oakland doesn’t get a bad rap at all. Far from it. In actuality, many of the coolest people who *used* to live in SF, moved to Oakland (and, for that matter, many super cool people have always lived in Oakland) to get away from people like you and all the higher rents/cost of living/etc that the mass influx of your kind has wrought on SF. Oakland is a pretty kickass place, for way more reasons than just “concerts and other events.”)

    7) The Folsom Street Fair may be radically different from anything you’ve ever seen, but calling it “weird” is offensive. I know you come from heteronormative land (and again, waiting a few years to adjust to SF before writing your screed would’ve helped immensely with this), but people expressing themselves and living their lives within the fetish/kink/leather community and events isn’t something “weird” to be looked down upon. It’s just different from that with which you’re familiar.

    I could go on, but I’ve spent too much time on this as it is. Basically, if you wanna tell potential newcomers to SF some things you think might be helpful to know, fine. Just maybe keep it to things you can fully grasp after your brief stint in the city (not much, not even the weather), reel in the know-it-all attitude and dial back the judgments before you post it.

    • Alright cabbie, chill out, for f*ck’s sake.

      I don’t like tech geeks either, and the fact that he is encouraging people to start a conversation based on what apps people use makes me want to shoot myself. But I will defend his right to free speech. You take yourself way too seriously my little taxista friend.

      ‘Heteronormative’ – wow, you really love that whole power privilege narrative. Yeah sure it’s there, but compared to civil war in Syria or occupation in Palestine it’s really not such a big deal, so get some perspective. And a sense of humour while you are at it. People in SF wear funny stuff. Like leather trousers with their butts poking through. It’s funny, weird, whatever… laugh about it, or don’t if you don’t find it amusing, but don’t impose your humourlessness on other people, that’s just as offensive, and considerably more boring.

      Women/ girls – get a grip. Who gives a sh*t? Not everyone is as readily offended as you, and those that are need to learn that they are their own worst enemies. As Sartre said (you’re probably too ignorant to know who he was – a French philosopher and activist), ‘Man is condemned to be free.’ Underpinning his existentialist theory is the notion of choice: we can’t choose how people treat us, but we can always choose how we respond. We can throw the toys out of the pram and feel sorry for ourselves, as you appear to do, or we can ignore it, or we laugh at the ignorance of others. Have a think about that.

      Tech geeks are losers, but your self-righteousness is even worse. If you intend to go around preaching respect and tolerance, you might try leading by example and practicing it yourself.

      The fat doc.

      Smug tech geeks are bad, but self-righteous losers like you are even worse. If you are going to go around preaching tolerance and respect, you might consider leading by example and practicing it yourself.

    • Thank you for telling it like it is, Cabbie. Doctor Shusinski, would you say “Wow, you really love that whole power privelege narrative” to someone black or Latino and expect not to get your ass beaten?? Do me a favor? Go ahead and try it out, to someone’s face and then get back to me… oh wait, you won’t be able to because you’ll be in a body cast in the intensive care unit of SFGH. Moron.

      • Why would he necessarily get his ass beaten for stating that? In criticizing Doctor Shusinksi (who I also disagree with), you seem to suggest stereotypically and offensively that any black or Latino is prone to violence in their defense. Have you forgotten who the main symbol of nonviolent social change is in our country? Martin Luther King Jr., a black man. Who else is known for nonviolence? Cesar Chavez.

      • Oh come on, give me a break. Cabbie doesn’t tell it like it is. I tell it like it is. Or at least, I am honest about the fact that there is no such thing as ‘how it is’, it’s all down to interpretation.

        For the record, I am not denying that being white has many advantages in the US. But mind is the forerunner of all things, and attitude basically shapes your experience. So you can whine about your colour or race or whatever and feel sorry for yourself, or you can deal with it and create a better future for yourself. Don’t tell me that’s not possible.

        There’s parts of the world where people look at you with disdain because you’re white (and fat and rude). Like Japan, or parts of Saudi Arabia. Well, that’s their problem, it’s not going to stop me being myself, or making the best of things. You won’t catch me whining and feeling sorry for myself, because then they would really have won.

        I’ve been beaten up enough times already, and I’ve usually deserved it. But for telling it like it is and refusing to indulge someone’s self-righteous and humourless whining? That would really piss me off.

        One more thing. Blacks and Latinos in America think they have it so tough, but that’s nothing compared to Indian migrant workers in the Middle East, or anyone in Brazil’s favelas, or South Africa’s shanties, or Tibetans in China, Palestinians under occupation, or Peru’s indios, or anyone anywhere really (apart from whites in the west). So open your eyes and learn to be grateful for what you do have, like schools and jobs, and soup kitchens, in case you screw up.

      • Doctor Shusinksi, it’s really disingenuous to compare experiences of different people and claim that they should just be happy it’s not worse. Can’t we say that about everyone? Somewhere, someone else has it worse. You think you’re poor, but somewhere else there’s someone with even less. That doesn’t make your problems any less real. If a black or Latino person gets turned down for a job because of prejudice, the fact that it’s harder for someone somewhere else isn’t going to change that, it’s not going to help them get that job.

      • Look, for a start, it’s not disingenuous, because I am being sincere.

        Yes, you are right, there is almost always someone worse off, and I think that is something everyone should bear in mind. It’ll stop the self-indulgent whining, and it’ll make people grateful for the things they do have, like the opportunity to apply for a job, and a chance of getting it. It’s a question of attitude, and people have more control over that than they realize. And the result is that you will lead a happier life.

        That’s not to say that injustice is ok because there is more injustice elsewhere. But don’t wallow in misery. I’ve done that and it didn’t help me. A victim’s mindset is self-defeating and impotent. As Ghandi said, ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ ie cease to think purely in terms of victimhood, and grow some balls. Paraphrasing Ghandi, that is.

        Honestly, how many blacks and latinos don’t get jobs in San Francisco because of their skin colour? If they are honest, and hard working, and don’t have criminal records, then not many. And if they still don’t get the job, maybe they are not the best person for it? Maybe they are less educated than a white applicant? But the victim’s mindset means that they will not wish to entertain those other reasons. No one wants to think of themselves as a less impressive candidate.

        Why are blacks and latinos often less educated? That’s the big question. It’s because what counts in America is money. I don’t like that one little bit (which is why I left), but so long as a college degree costs what it does, I don’t see that changing. That, more than skin colour, is what discriminates against blacks and latinos. After all, Californian universities are full of chinks. In the yellow peril sense, not the armor sense. In European countries, higher education is primarily state-funded, so it’s (a bit) more of a meritocracy. But America made its capitalist bed, and now you are sleeping in it.

      • I don’t think you can diagnose the causes of people’s problems so simply, Doctor Shusinksi.

        Other people being materially better or worse off? Irrelevant. What matters is the amount of Hope. With the intellectual freedom that comes from Hope, the great thinkers of Athens wrote philosophies that still affect us thousands of years later, even though they did not have indoor plumbing.

        Being free of criminal record? You make it sound like it’s their fault for being convicted. It’s not their fault entirely. You can’t have a criminal conviction without prosecutors, and blacks and Latinos are prosecuted for crimes disproportionate to either their rates of lawbreaking or their impact on society. I remember hearing statistics that white kids break laws just as often as black kids. Somehow a third of black males end up in prison while most whites remain free.

        In the most extreme cases, blacks can be killed by police for being black in the wrong place, but whites can be rewarded with huge bonuses for destroying an entire world economy. Subjectively, it’s hard to believe in your chances when the odds are so stacked against you.

        Money? Most Asians don’t come to the United States with a lot of money. For whatever reason, they haven’t had the Hope beaten out of them, so they work hard and earn positions in schools and business. I don’t know how we can reverse that in other races.

        There also seems to be a poison in the United States, some social infection. It seems to me that every race in America is becoming lethargic and excessive. I remember when the whites immigrated and were vital and hard-working, but now you’re sitting back behind your huge stomach, complaining about the yellow peril. What you don’t see is, now that we’re getting third- and fourth-generation Asian-Americans, that Asians are no more immune to the corruption than any other ethnicity. Immigrants are complaining that their grandchildren are turning out to be Americans, and many of them don’t like it.

        The problems with this country are complicated.

  123. I’ve lived in NY on and off for almost 30 years and spent a lot of time in SF (my brother lives there). It’s certainly not as expensive as Manhattan or even parts of Brooklyn in terms of rent or taxes. Comparing cities is tough — do you compare it with Boston (smaller, less cosmopolitan) or New York (enormous, unlike any other city in the US)? As a New Yorker, one thing I found living in SF for a short while is that it’s actually fairly sleepy — people get up and go to bed EARLY. That means there’s very little that’s open late or 24 hours, a huge difference from NY (I live in a mostly residential neighborhood and there are three 24-hour bodegas within two blocks of my house). You can’t get food delivered, which is a way of life in NY but not common elsewhere. Public transportation shuts down overnight so if you’re out late you’re out of luck in terms of getting home cheaply. And SF is a city of microclimates: for a while I lived in the Sunset and worked in the Castro and the weather would change dramatically on my commute from super-foggy and damp to dry, warm, and sunny within half an hour.

  124. Loved the article — well written and witty. Then I got to reading the comments. People arguing over beer, how to “correctly” refer to a street name, the outdated phone style in a stock photo, and my SF nickname is better than yours? Holy pompous, batman. I just find it so ironic that in a city that touts itself as a place where you can “be yourself,” it appears that “being yourself” has already been defined for you, and you must apply to the rules of your grouping of choice. How exhausting and limiting! I get being so defined by your ‘scene’ that you have to pick your wardrobe accordingly, but even the beer you drink and bike you ride? How silly! How is that any different than being some upper crust snob that can only wear Chanel and drink dry martinis? In a city so proud of its alleged free-thinking, its resident’s comments here seem anything but. I have always loved SF and have visited at least 50 times, but now I’ll think a little differently of its average resident.

    • Visiting is not knowing. 9 months is barely a visit. Wit is subjective. It’s always convenient to generalize but often a mistake. The comments are important – They are worth thinking about. There are some valid passionate comments here. =) The “witty” writer & “lifelong learner” / leader should take in all the comments as feedback and perhaps use the word “know” more carefully. As you presented in your other start-up presentation – It is important to know your audience. Your audience is letting you know in our comments. By audience I meant actual long term residents as well as transient “business developers” types, as they do make up a substantial population of the city, good or bad. My insomnia has worn out. Time for bed. The intention was good, I hope. Peace out! Don’t hate – Participate. =)

      • thanks for taking the time to reply. You make a very good point in that some of the comments are important and good learning tools. I was just overwhelmed by the whole “my liquor of choie is better than yours” and “you use the word ‘The’ so you must not know what you’re talking about attitude” that I did fail to mention the more intelligent reviews. Closest I ever lived was Santa Cruz, but I’m well aware it’s an entirely different planet :D.

      • I think one important thing some forget reading this: he’s writing a blog, not an article for the Chronicle. He’s writing about his personal experiences. So, if he hasn’t covered your neighborhood/clique/ethnic group/race/sexual identifier it’s not purposeful, I’m sure.

        I appreciate the perspective of someone new. I am new myself and sometimes reading about the history of SF or more intricate nuances of the city, doesn’t really help me as a newbie who is just trying to get settled and figure out where I fit in. Sometimes, generalities can be useful.

        If you want SF snobs, read the talk boards on SF Yelp. Those people had me thinking twice, three times and four times about moving here. Talk about snooty elitists.

  125. Need to venture out a bit more and mention the gay community and all the amazing international experiences possible. Did not mention Chinatown, North Beach, anything about the museums, architecture, the way commerce has changed the wharf area, etc. need also a bit of a historical perspective

    • Dear Gemma, he is writing generalization about the city, the city we all live in. A city with one of the most dense and outspoken gay population in the world. Do you realize the percentage of homosexuals living in the city of San Francisco? The significant civil rights history should at least be mentioned if not be proudly acknowledged in the blog. It makes no difference that it is a blog. Hundreds of people may potentially read this. If he had completely omitted the gay population can the article really be representative? If one moves to the city of San Francisco one should be informed of its important gay civil rights politics and histories, and at minimum, be able to live peacefully with homosexuals. It will be challenging to live in SF otherwise. My purpose here is to ensure understanding and inclusion. I was called a “fag” in the Fillmore District, unprovoked, as is usually the case, 2 months ago. He was lucky he was ironically running away while committing his hate crime. Hate or discrimination is not acceptable any where and especially here in San Francisco. All visitors and especially potential residents should be reminded of this.

      • as hate exists every where and so do gay folks …why must we be defined by a binary gender code? gay straight male female trans etc etc? which is why i watch PORTLANDIA ! i hear you about racists homophobe remarks but i think this kid is just trying to get acclimated on the west coast. baby steps ….

  126. Awesomely accurate. However, if your only transportation is public transit, then yes…90 minutes to 2 hours to get to Palo Alto. If you have a car, it only takes 45 minutes. Palo Alto is only about 40 miles from San Francisco.

    And as an FYI, if you go just 10 to 20 miles outside of San Francisco into the suburban areas, the temperature increases by 10 degrees. If it’s 65 degrees in San Francisco, and 75 to 80 degrees in Palo Alto.

  127. Thank you for this very interesting post. I enjoyed reading it very much. I have been several times to Boston and I am planning to move to there by June of this Year so if you have some post talking about your experience in Boston, would be great if you share. Thanks a lot.

  128. Pingback: 25 Things I wish I knew before moving to San Francisco | Robertodealmeida's Blog

  129. There are plenty of well-paid jobs outside of tech that allow people to live in this city. There are plenty of people who live in this city, particularly those of us who grew up here or in the region, who don’t work in tech. Also, dog PACs are not a good advertisement for San Francisco.

  130. One more thing I forgot to mention previously…. Can a SF resident explain to me how not wanting to see or walk through feces, whether human or animal-originated, is somehow not” being understanding to the homeless population or those battling addictions”? Sanitation and common humany decency (eg defacating in bushes or in gutters, etc as opposed to on the sidewalk) are key elements of co-existing in a peaceful urban setting. If pet owners or those who are homeless can’t respect these basic rules, then the problem does not lie in the writer’s attitude but rather in the person performing such acts. It is NOT ok to shoot heroin on the sidewalk, or to defacate on it, or to allow your dog to do so without picking it up. It has nothing to do with ‘classism’ or being a ‘white male.’ Are SF residents really so “understanding towards addiction” that they’re ok with walking by someone injecting drugs on their own doorstoop or taking a dump on their lawn because they can’t walk into an alley to do so on a newspaper instead? There’s a not-so-fine line between being understanding of the plight of others, and turning your city into a dangerous toxic dumping ground.

    • You make it sound like The City is neck deep in human and animal feces and every doorway in town is populated by a homeless junkie shooting up. It’s not difficult to spend an entire week in this town and not see anything like that… just like in any other city.

      • not disagreeing with you at all. I was just referring to all the comments that got on his back about him not being “sensitive” enough or whatever for pointing out how gross it is and instead turning it into a game of “human vs dog.”

  131. All very accurate! As a Bay Area native, it’s always weird to see transplants seeing everything for the first time. A lot of these types of articles are loaded with cliches and misconceptions, because it’s hard to truly know a place in a short ti, and people just get it wrong . This is pretty good! The only bummer about all the new people in town is that they will never experience the previous awesomeness of the city and only know a fairly new transplant culture.

  132. Tenderloin isn’t that scary at night. Sure there is crime, but all you have to do is watch your surroundings. Make sure a person doesn’t get too close to you. If someone is walking up to you, step the side, and let them pass. You don’t want someone walking behind you that close. Follow those rules, and you have nothing to worry about. I lived there for two years! :)

  133. Insomnia won. This is all too funny! SF is a city. By definition it’s complex. It will continually change — Don’t compare where you come from with any city you are moving to. Leave what you are comfortable with, observe, learn, grow, appreciate, and more importantly use your privileged education to do good things for humanity & our planet and it will be fabulous! Don’t be a douche. =)

  134. As a San Francisco native, still living here, I could quibble about a few of these, particularly the sports thing. Niners and Giants fans ARE serious sports fans. Most of those who brunch instead of watching a game are not from here.

    But the biggest truth about current day San Francisco I would impart to anyone is: tech is both defining and killing the character of this city.

    • Having lived on both coasts, one difference I noticed when it comes to professional sports is that if an east coast team is doing poorly, they get ripped to shreds in the local media. If a west coast team is doing poorly, the local media start ignoring them.

  135. I lived in SF from 1993-1995 while attending USF MBA. As I read your guide, I travelled back in time and had a smile on my face. Your comments are verry accurate. I love SF and still have friends in the Bay area and visit the city.

  136. I lived in SF for three years. I neither loved nor hated it, but I always thought it wildly overrated. A few surprises which echo some of the linked writer’s thoughts: I thought the weather was just plain awful, and I’m from Maine! In New England we have this idea that California is warm and sunny all the time. I found SF cold and damp and overcast all the time, or at least almost all of the time. I also agree with the writer’s assessment that the day/night swings are far greater than what we are used to on the East Coast, and really surprising.

    I found SF to be remarkably dirty, in stark contrast to what I expected. And I also agree that going back and forth to the Palo Alto area is a much greater hassle (either by car or train) than it looks it should be on a map.

    Finally, what really hit home for me was his observation on sports in the Bay Area. It is weird getting used to the idea of football games starting at 10am… it just feels wrong. Moreover, you end up missing a lot of televised games during the week due to time zone differences. Finally, SF has to be the least sports-conscious / sports-knowledgeable town in the entire country. No one seemed to know or care anything about sports, despite having several excellent professional and college teams.

  137. I’ve lived in the Tenderloin (TenderNob actually) for 15 years and love it. Yes, there are the crack-ier corners and streets that I wouldn’t walk down even in daytime, but there is SO much good happening in the TL!! If you completely avoid the TL, you’d never know about places like Little Saigon, the Exit Theater or Aunt Charlie’s to name a very few. You must be white because you left out Bayview altogether, which I’m guessing you’ve never stepped foot in. Regardless, if you ever want a personalized introduction/walking tour of the TL I’ll be happy to show you the flip side – I’m at Jonboysf@yahoo.com. :)

  138. Ok, you forgot one thing: Parking is a science. Curb your wheels, street sweeping, no parking times, 2-hour zones and meters on Sundays — there are so many ways to get a ticket in San Francisco and you’ll rarely get away with anything here. Don’t have a car unless you need one and, if you do, budget at least $100 a month for parking expenses unless you have a spot where you live.

  139. I think the author pretty much nailed this, everything he mentions is pretty true to me. I’ve been here since ’65. Things he didn’t mention:

    o parking is a constant battle and must be considered before making any plans
    o http://www.nextbus.com is a good MUNI tracking tool, but if it says no bus is coming you’re still screwed
    o there are neighborhoods where English won’t help you (upside or downside depends on your openness and bilingualism)
    o the liberalism of the City, its politics, its openness to the LGBT, BDSM and other alternative ways to live is deeply ingrained. If you’re not comfortable with a lot of variety you may never feel happy here.

    • Great advice, Jim and thanks for reading.

      I don’t have a car (I haven’t had one in 8+ years now) so it slipped thinking about the harrowing parking experiences I’ve heard and sometimes seen from others. Great point.

  140. The actual worst neighborhood for crime is Hunter’s Point, but I know that everyone likes to pretend that that neighborhood doesn’t exist or isn’t part of SF.

  141. I was born and raised in this City and the most important thing to know about us natives is 1) we expect people to have good manners and be kind and courteous to each other, 2) we are snobs about some of our long standing traditions and 3) you gotta love baseball. Its all about the Giants. Those are the games the natives come out for.

  142. I saw no mention of parking. You know you live in San Francisco when you’re on jury duty and call home to see if your spouse has found parking for street cleaning the next day.

  143. “Palo Alto and Mountain View are farther than you think” really should be re-titled “I am lazier than I expected myself to be.” It’s only your fault if you can’t make a 45 minute trip south to see your so-called friends.

  144. How did you find the ultimate frisbee league? I recently moved to the city and I definitely want to find people to play ultimate with!

    • Ultimate Frisbee is huge. A friend of mine from Puerto RIco just moved here and she was telling me there are all sorts of leagues.

      • So Ultimate is interesting here…there’s a ton of pickup throughout the city (literally show up and anyone can play) and there’s also a year round Hat League. Learn more at http://bayareadisc.org/ and the biggest pickup is at Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park on Saturdays from noon til 3 or 4 usually.

        I will say, I do miss the organization and depth of BUDA (the Boston equivalent). The bay area has a league for hardcore current and ex college players and everyone else only has pickup or Hat leagues. In Boston, there were 4 tiers, so if you were moderately athletic or had some college experience, you could find a team that doesn’t want to eat, sleep and breathe frisbee but still play regularly with a group of people you can consistently play with.

      • thanks for the reply! @Jason… thanks for the info. I’ll check out the site and try to find someone to play with :) also, excellent article! thanks :)

  145. Great article. Definitely bring your costumes to SF when you move here and tap into your friend and college alumni network for the best places to live and a friend base. When I moved to SF, I quickly realized that the city becomes a ghost-town on weekends during the winter when almost everyone is up in Tahoe. If you enjoy skiing, snowboarding or snow activities, find some friends to share a Tahoe house with (and Tahoe rides) during the winter.

  146. Little cheeky to call yourself a “pro” after just nine months here but most of your comments are spot on, so I’ll cut you some slack (of course, a “pro” would know that it’s never ‘the city” but always “The City”;)). And where you comment that the Tenderloin and Civic Center (as well as some areas of Western Addition and the Mission) are high crime areas, you neglected to point out that, for its size and population density, San Francisco has a relatively low crime rate–even compared to other Bay Area communities, like Oakland, Richmond, and San Jose. As for expense, I spent ten years away from SF, living in Denver, Atlanta, Boston, and Houston and all I can say, you get what you pay for.

  147. –The first 45 minutes of every dinner conversation when you meet friends (whether at a restaurant or someone’s house) is about where you found parking.
    –You learn to always be on the lookout for For Rent signs, even if you aren’t looking to move.
    –You park in a good spot when you see it in some neighborhoods even if you weren’t planning on stopping there.
    – When your East Coast friends visit, they are blown away by your ability to park on slopes even with a manual transmission.
    –I am sure I have more, but those are the ones that came to mind…

  148. as a native, this really cracked me up. there are things that those of us who have lived here all our lives take for granted… like the weirdness and especially how “far away” the South Bay is. (The same can also be said for a lot of parts of the East Bay). It’s neat to see someone’s observations coming from outside. Our sports bars are diverse because we have so many transplants – go to any Giants game and you will see people from other places, who live in California who still root for their Cubs, Red Sox, etc.

  149. I’m a San Francisco Native – here’s my advice – read closely:

    PLEASE LEAVE. WE (people who are actually from here) HATE YOU. # Iamnotjoking #technology and its hordes of human tools has royally fucked up our once eccentric and special city.

  150. A couple of things:

    – I’m not sure you’re really taking Caltrain (not “the” Caltrain) if you think it takes 1.5 to 2 hours to get to Palo Alto. How is that possible?

    – I’ve never heard Divisadero referred to as “the” Divisadero” despite having lived 1/2 block from it for over 7 years.

    Otherwise, fun read. Although, PBR? No.

  151. “It is cold.” “Rent is insane.” “The cost of living is too high.” “There are too many crackheads.” I was a lifelong Boston native until I transplanted to SF six years ago, and I could see someone writing these same things about Boston. I guess the strange you know is different and doesn’t seem all that novel compared to the strange you don’t know.

    Also, while I agree that start ups are prevail here, and that you probably know someone or know someone who knows someone who is doing a start up, not everyone is involved in start ups or working in tech for that matter. (Also, tech != start up, or at least not necessarily, even here.) I understand that start ups is your passion, but it amazes me how pervasively it colors every single one of your posts. I bet you don’t have any friends here who are not doing start ups, which is a shame.

    And, finally, if I was moving to SF or somewhere else, I don’t think I would want to read your (especially one-sided) guide. I think just being here and finding things out for yourself is much better.

    • I totally agree with your comment. I don’t blame him for this myopia but I wish more people realized they suffer from it too.

  152. Love the article! So true… especially the cold part. I lived in SF for 3 years before I moved away literally because I couldn’t deal with the bone chilling damp cold during the summer. My ONE advice is for guys: Beware of is the “San Francisco 7″… yes, that is the ranking of most girls / women in the city. I lived there and I am a girl, so I hate to say it, but something about that city makes women turn from 10s to 7s. Maybe it’s the warm clothing, the outdoorsy culture, the lack of sunlight or all the good food, but all girls turn from hot to sevens in months. It’s sad. Most SF people don’t really believe the SF 7 until you move away and look back. Other than that it’s an awesome city!!!

  153. when i moved to SF from ATL in 2009, the timezone effect and taxes were what surprised me most. I also found out how much your neighborhood seemed to matter to almost everyone (I had no idea). Also, no mention of Fernet? Ask for Fernet in most places you get a confused look – ask for it almost anywhere in SF, out come the shot glasses.
    Loved reading it -thanks!

  154. People should just keep in mind that a bunch of these things are only true if you are demographically a lot like Jason Evanish. There are PLENTY of people in SF who don’t work for a start-up, don’t do yoga or rock climb every day, don’t ride bikes everywhere (fixie or otherwise), and don’t define themselves by their neighborhood, and there are plenty of sports lovers who act just like Pats fans – just perhaps not among the start-up working yoga-doing set.

    • SF is not dead my friend. We will call out douchebags one at a time until they leave! =) If they love the East Coast so much why did they move here? Stop comparing cities you amateur nomads!

  155. Your use of the term “bros” is unclear. If you’re referring to people of color, just say so. Otherwise, please explain.

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  157. You failed to mention the main point about SF: THE ASIAN INVASION.
    Everywhere you look and go you will find them. They are HORRIBLE drivers and invaded the MUNI/BART along with the guetto blacks from Oakland.
    The ones who were born there try to act cool by blending with the whites and wearing just as much make up while the ones who immigrated only stick between themselves.
    You also failed to disclose the Filipino vs Chinese rivalry. You will never see them together. They both try and fight very hard for the white people’s attention and jobs. And they absolutely hate each other. And then there’s the Indians who also fight violently with those 2 groups about the high tech jobs in Silicon Valley. Again, you will never see the indians mingling with the asians. Oh and the women are horrible in SF! No wonder it’s the gay capital of the world.

    Result: if you like beautiful white blonde/redheads women, go to Northeast. Do not do like me and go study in SF thinking that you will find them. You won’t. SF may think it is hip, but it’s more bleh than anything else.

    • Hey Richard Walker why are you still here? On earth I meant. I thought evolution had selected ignorant people like you to be extinct? For someone that hate non-white people so much, you sure are quite observant. I find it kind of ironic actually. If I didn’t know better you may secretly want all of us colored people and gays to get a long! You may even love us! See? SF did give you an education after all. Be thankful. You can’t even spell ghetto right. I am guessing English is your first and only language? It must have been challenging for you. Like Will Ferrell on the Golden Globe said: You! You get outta here you ignorant piece of shit!

    • Richard, Richard,
      Asians have been in San Francisco since the Gold Rush in 1849, they’re not going anywhere. In fact, they make up a good portion of the population and one is even Mayor! Remember that San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest on the West Coast, so to think that you can go anywhere in The City without seeing them is foolish!

      • Richard’s comments must be a joke – I can’t believe anyone would actually have such views and expect to be taken seriously. He must really struggle living somewhere as liberal as SF! By the way chug I’m auburn is that ok?

  158. as a native Californian 5th generation these were the rules i grew up with :
    1.always bring a sweater
    2.location , location, location is who you are
    3.there is always “tweeker alley around the corner” but dont worry they wont harm you…too much.
    4. 2 wheels are better than 4
    5. you need to make a lot of $ if you rent a place.
    6. you need to make a lot of money to live in California
    7.there is always something fun and new to do
    8. dont forget your costume!
    9. lots of other states give beggars and homeless folks a one way bus ticket to california. Tweekers have been around since the Spanish arrived in the 1500’s and then there was the ‘gold rush’ which created even more.
    10.PBR is cheap and gets you wasted
    11.Dogs welcome
    12. You still need a car even if you live in SF
    13.riding the bus is the best show in town!
    14. most diverse and picturesque state in the union!
    15.start up central cuz after it starts in California every one else follows
    16. everyone goes to the gym and takes it VERY seriously…for health reason(yeah rightttt!)
    17. its all about the joy of food and wine-we grow a majority of fruits and veggies because the climate is wonderful and the wine is yummy!
    18.the 3 hour time difference is the best excuse for not call back right away
    19. land of take your cause extremely seriously and with great passion-its a competion!
    20. networking is in the genes
    21working tech is a great way to pay the rent.
    22. no one judges you if you are a tech nerd…you are actually revered!
    23 take a chance marco polo did… always something new to try and something new to see
    24. open mentality is the California culture.
    25. only difference from Northern California and Southern California- n the south everyone has a tan ALL YEAR LONG

    Welcome to California!!!

  159. Boston, Boston, Boston, one of the most tight-assed cities on earth. No wonder this man is in shock; however, he’s only the lastest in a line of millions of people who have moved to the Bay Area, one of the great, wide-open fountains of New-ness. But to not do your homework before you move? Yikes! Don’t worry, though, if you leave there will be thousands more right behind you waiting to move to the American Land of OZ.
    Big advice from someone who lived in the Bay Area for more than 30 years: Open yourself. That’s what this city is all about.

  160. “First, the weather is virtually always nice enough to be active and go outside.”

    Not true. I’ve lived here for three years and on the rare days that it’s nice enough to go outside without a jacket, people flock outside like it’s the last day they’ll ever see the sun. Proof that it’s rarely ever nice enough to be active outside unless you’re determined to exercise outside.

    “Palo Alto and Mountain View are farther away than you think.”

    Mountain View maybe, but Palo Alto doesn’t take very long to get to if you take the 280. Also, never take the 101 anywhere unless you actually have to get off the freeway somewhere along the freeway.

    “With such great weather, so much to always do and the time zones throwing off game start times anyways, it’s little surprise that sports aren’t the center of conversation like they are in much of the Northeast.”

    The Giants and the 49ers are a big deal in this city, and you’d be hard pressed to find a bar that’s not showing a game when its on. Part of the reason it might not come up for you is that there are a lot of people in San Francisco who didn’t grow up in the Bay Area, Having lived in San Francisco and the East Bay for most of my life, sports have always been huge in my life and the same goes for nearly everyone I know in the city.

    “Neighborhoods define you.”

    That’s a generalization. Yes, lots of med school students live in the Inner Sunset, families live in the Outer Sunset, hipsters live in the Mission, hippies in the Haight, wealthy people in Seacliff, the Presidio, and Pac Heights, poor people in the TL and Bayview. But there’s also a huge mix of people everywhere. There are also so many residents who’ve lived in the city their whole lives who don’t even remotely fit the young, rich PBR drinking startup employee model at all.

  161. I LOVED this post! I lived in the Tenderloin for several months, so the bicycle info graph had me laughing!
    It’s true what you say about not walking there at night, at least not alone. But once you get to know the people that live on those streets, you’re pretty safe.
    Thanks for the blog!

  162. There is a lot of truth in this blog post.

    That said, I would not advise moving to SF. People are very provincial and snobby. Weather is mediocre by California standards. Way too expensive and dirty. And sad to say, there are way too many East Coast transplants who bring their East Coast tube (i.e. “which prep school did you attend?”) with them. SF is overrated.

    The real cool cities in Northern California are Sacramento and Oakland. Better weather, friendlier people, more affordable, and just as many, if not more, cultural and outdoor amenities.

    • Sacramento is too hot for me, but I was born in San Francisco. My best friend in college was born in Sacramento and he loves it there.

      • Oakland is waaaayyy too hot for me, after 11 years in San Francisco. Last summer, especially, nearly killed me with heat. I miss the fog, and the 4 o’clock winds, and feeling warm and snuggly in the blankets at night instead of sweaty.
        Cool-weather lovers take note: the East Bay is too hot.

  163. 1. Frenet an Anchor are the two drinks of SF.
    2. Yelp is horrible here. The people who post are mindless, attention-starved, morons. Not the best start-up to measure by.
    3. To all the idiots who say there are no beautiful women in SF, or that it isn’t a ‘;real city’….you’re obviously trolling and embarrassing yourselves. Just stop.
    4. The cost of living is manageable, if you know how.

  164. It’s a pretty good assessment. But I’d advise against the ‘decide who you are and find a neighborhood to match’ approach. Look at them all, live in whichever one you want and suits your needs and don’t worry about it. I spent 7 years in a weird part of the Mission and 2 in Russian Hill and I don’t fit the stereotypical profile of either, but loved every minute of both of them.

    Also, everything in the world is ‘Back East.’ As in ‘I came from Back East. I’m from Nevada.’

  165. Everyone already knows that SF is among the most progressive places on Earth. Go back to the East Coast, all you SF haters.

  166. Spot on, glad I lived there in the 80’s. 1bedroom in cole valley with a view of the golden gate for 800.00 now I live in Oakland, that’s the west coast Brooklyn. Better weather, but we have to sort out the crime issues. It’s Wild West shootem up time round these parts.

  167. Wow. This is why I think SF people are such hypocrites. They will make fun of Los Angeles ’till they’re blue in the face for being shallow yet there’s a HUGE discussion about what the hip/ hipster beer is and why. Is it really that important what BEER YOU’RE DRINKING? Is that how you show the world who you are? SF was good for a moment in the 90’s as far as I’m concerned. Now everyone thinks they are original for being a hipster or a tech geek and ironically they are ALL the same because they are trying so hard to be different. At least in Los Angeles those aspiring actors/ actresses work hard…take rejection and truly reinvent themselves. In SF I have seen some LAZY SMELLY people who think they look cool. This is an expensive city and something tells me there are more directionless trust fund babies in stinky hipster clothes than I care to know. I’m outta here.

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  169. I used to live there. Oh and by the way, are you going to watch the San Francisco 49ers take on the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday on FOX in the NFC Championship?

  170. sf is the city that created both the martini & irish coffee. it is a mixologist’s heaven. PBR is NOT representative of SF except for a pocket of recent hipsterization. also, learning that SF is tech-centric, novelty loving & expensive is about as shocking as learning that Boston has good clam chowder, brick buildings and a decent baseball team. just sayin’.

  171. Interesting post. After living in Chicago for 10 years, I spent a year overseas and returned with job offers in San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. I eliminated SF almost immediately because I just couldn’t see myself living there and this post pretty much confirms I made the right decision.

  172. Emperor Norton set the tone for San Francisco quirkiness, tolerance for eccentricity, and liberal attitude. It is like a giant social laboratory. A lot of things start in San Francisco and explodes to the rest of America and to the world. WHAT CHANGES IN SAN FRANCISCO WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

  173. I came out to SF from London 23 years ago, at age 27. It probably took me eight good years to overcome homesickness. I missed London terribly and had a love hate relationship with SF which i viewed as town rather than a city. Moving back to London was not an option for financial reasons so i stayed. I’m glad i did. I have come to love the City. I embrace its beautiful neighborhoods, cultural diversity (although would be nice to see it more integrated), liberalism and strong political ethics, good food, excellent wines and architecture. Folks here get to be what they want and who they are without question and are generally friendly. We also have all the amenities that the big cities have, all of which are accessible within 20 min cab ride (if you can get one). it’s even prettier than it was 20 years ago IE, vintage streetcars, palms on market, which i think was a positive move. Ugly double decker freeways gone transforming the Embarrcadero and Hayes Valley, On the downside it is expensive, especially rents, which is undoubtably changing the city (not always for the better). when it comes to wine i have developed an insatiable California palate, unfortunately, i cant say the same for the beer, I wont touch any of it, Stella Stella Stella for me. San Franciscans rave about the weather, 65 degrees is not what i would call warm and i hate the fog. So, summer weather is the main downside for me, i still miss the warm London summer nights. otherwise, its all good

  174. I moved to SF from Austin TX 25 years ago and have since then also lived and worked in Chicago, Manhattan and London, but I always came back to SF because it’s more my pace. All you haters from those other fine “towns” who claim your women are prettier, your culture is better, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! Stay where you are. You make your cities what they are and why I am back in SF. I have a few things to add to the list. 1) San Franciscans drink more Fernet than any other U.S.city and more per capita than anywhere in the world. I prefer Pliny the Elder and good Tequila. 2) Forget PA & Mtn.View. When I lived at 42nd & Balboa, it might as well have been Siberia to my friends East of Twin Peaks. When I lived in the East Village in NYC, it was a year before I made it North of 14th St. 3) Always look both ways for cars and bikes before stepping off the curb even with a Walk signal. Unfortunately, The City has become full of uncaring self entitled non pedestrians in a hurry and willing to almost kill you to get 10 feet further to wait another minute in traffic. 4) You will only find decent rent through your network of friends. Get out there and make some and keep them.

  175. Yeah I used to live there. Then I had a baby and can’t compete in the job market with you techie people taking over the city. IT’s changing. Thanks for kicking all the cool people out of one of the best cities one earth.

  176. You forgot to mention how once people have kids, they all flee to Portland. Much of the same ethos, with less of the hassle. (The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the afternoon I spent 45 minutes looking for a parking place when taking my infant son to a doctor’s appointment. I’d been used to that in my childfree life, but suddenly, it was like I woke up and realized that was untenable!) Fortunately, Portland is so much more kid-friendly. But I do miss San Francisco… or maybe I just miss my old life.

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  179. what an awesome article…I know I will never live there, but I may come out to visit.. I have relatives in frisco, san diego, and the OC…. But, thanks for the tips…Having lived only on the east coast, I know that every city or state has their personal allure…If I wasn’t born in NY, I probably would not be living here..but, who knows what will happen when my husband and I retire..Thanks for the tips, Debbie.. I enjoyed your advise and your humor.. Take care…..

  180. Many of us get around the ridiculous rent of SF by living in Oakland. I’m generally closer to the center of the city than most people in SF (I’m way closer to mission/SOMA now chronologically than I was when I lived in Inner Richmond). In addition you get to discover that San Francisco is amazing but there is also the entire bay area which can include things like amazing circus arts in Oakland, the Berkeley sailing club, ziplining in the redwoods in Santa Cruz to the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View.

  181. So San Francisco isn’t for everyone. Neither are New York, London, Taipei, etc. If you don’t like it here, then don’t live here. But don’t bash a place just because you don’t like what it offers you (or doesn’t) or if you think the weather sucks (I live in Glen Park and it is sunny most of the year) or you think it is too expensive. The world is huge, there is the right place for everyone, so stop “settling” for San Francisco if you’d rather be somewhere else.

  182. Despite your intro, I don’t think anybody pronounces Boston as “Bastion.” Once you master driving on our steep hills, it’s straightforward here. In Boston they have one-way streets that run into each other. Scary. And the law on right of way on those rotary things is “the car that gets there first has the right of way.” It’s like Thunderdome — two cars enter, one car leaves.

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  184. The entire Bay Area is amazing. SF is convenient if you work there and fun if you’re young. After that you’ve got the E Bay, Marin and the S Bay. There are hipsters in all these places, so you can skip the PBRs in the Mission (gross) and drink some locally brewed Linden St brew from Oakland!

  185. Please. Hamms would be the cheap beer of choice now. PBR is so 2006. And nobody talsk about “hipsters” anymore either. Also very 2006. SF appears to be behind the times….

  186. Parking! Everyone in SF has a parking story to tell. The “pro tip” is to be super vigilant about reading signs posting information about parking.

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  188. 1. We are an Anchor Steam city…the newbies from the Outerlands are the ones who come in with the PBR stuff. I see more absinthe than PBR. But no mistake, the City By The Bay has always been a drinking city.

    2. Foodie heaven. You don’t need a regular-sized refrigerator here, as you can subsist on fresh food, so no need for freezer or extra storage. Heck, we even have honey from specific neighborhoods, if you need help with allergies. Polish vinegar? Yup, sitting on shelves in the Outer Richmond. So righteous.

    3. No car needed. Public transport is all over and if you really need a car, just hook it up with all of the car-sharing organizations.

    4. Folks read. P-Books, E-Books, everyone reads. There is a love of learning here.

    5. We have real beaches, not the tourist ones in SoCal. Our Great Whites don’t mess around, so you better be serious out there.

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  190. Jason,
    I moved to SF with my wife and kids in 2010 from Philly. Your story is similar to ours. As I read your piece to my family, we laughed, agreed and smiled throughout. Thanks for taking the time write.

  191. item #26 – most people here in SF are generic and try way too hard… plus it’s filled with the most ageist assholes per capita of any US city.

  192. How does it compare to Vancouver downtown? Can someone who lived in both comment? I used to live in dt Vancouver (Howe & Davie) and LOVED is there (except for the rain).
    Right now I live in MV and work in PA, hate the semi-suburban feel of MV. Downside would be 55+ minute commute for work (we’re a bit off Caltrain, but I bike pretty fast) and even crazier rent.
    Can you reliably get a spot in the bike car on morning Caltrain?

  193. Apt description, brings me home again (living in Sydney now). Having lived overseas for 13 years, the thing that always strikes me in SF is how bloody hard it is to get a reservation or make plans on short notice.

    “Think we can sneak in a camping trip this weekend?”
    “Hmmm… were you logged into the national park campground reservation booking system at 9am on April 1 – last year – clicking away for your life, until you managed to make a booking for six months away that you have no idea whether you’ll be able to use?”
    “Uh, nope”.
    “Guess we’re not going camping then”.

    Think I’ve gotten spoiled living on a big island with a small population!

  194. Parking – depending where you live, paying an extra $300/month for a parking space in a garage is sooooo worth it! SF is a cut-throat parking city, and don’t make the mistake of sleeping in on street cleaning morning!

  195. Hey, buddy…Though I chafe at all y’all techies (not “creative people”, mind you, but business types and coders) taking over the city (again), I am ultimately ok with SF doing well and you are part of that. One thing: Can you stop bitching about taxes? This is a progressive city that believes in a social contract, and you need to be part of that if you want to function here.

  196. One more thing….this is the City of Champions. Following the SF Giants, we now have the Red and Gold in the Super Bowl. That’s right….we have the climate, the jobs, and the Niners!

  197. Good God, must we natives read your naïveté? You asked for advice from a native. Is a family gong back to trading furs with the Russians in 1814 native enough?

    My advice, call it Frisco, only in the last 50 years has there been a stigma as if it was a racial epitaph or something equally crass. You might find a native if you say ‘Frisco’ because when hearing it we know that we REALLY belong to the city (that is the start-up to the conversation of commonality) and why we belong (easy going, tolerant and not a snob. even though “just” a native).

    Another piece of advice: get rid of that damn, godawful, maudlin, syrupy, hideous monstrosity of a song foist on us, ‘I Left My Heart,’ and put back the real spirit of the city – ‘San Francisco’ (open your Golden Gate), as the one and ONLY song for the city. Many of us will NEVER forgive Cory & Cross for creating ‘Left My Heart’, Tony Bennett for existing and both Alioto & Feinstein were traitors who should have been hung on a Sunday with the Sidney Ducks. The Vigilantes would have approved, If only they had been around when THAT change was made (the city charter, as well as the state’s, is based on the Frisco Vigilante Charter, look it up).

    Get rid of that other literal monstrosity, the Chronicle Tower atop Sutro Forest, which tore down the Sutro Mansion. Total abomination, and you techies have no idea how nice the city looked without it. SOMA used to be full of affordable single room hotels for single men (WWI & II vets mostly), so that would be nothing new, but the reason we should all be against it is because Frisco has a penchant for building in the spirit of the most bland of Mid Century Modern – boring! Get over it and go back to Victorian Gothic or Beaux Arts, otherwise, it’s a no-go. We don’t WANT to be a Tokyo, Shanghai, or Manhattan, only a non-native would think such a thing.

    Plus all the dogs are relative newcomers, though there was Bummer with Norton. Then there is the type of woman who owns a parrot, as Twain noted when he was here. But cats have always been the mainstays of our flats and Victorians. There is a particular breed of fervid cat owner that is produced only in Frisco. My advice, visit one, especially if s/he uses the moniker, Frisco.

  198. Lots of helpful tips, but what you wrote about the “homeless, beggers, and crackheads” made me retch–especially because I have a family member who is addicted and lives on the streets of SF. It pisses me off to hear a gentrifying transplant write about the homeless as if they are a mere a eyesore, or worse yet, a form of entertainment. What arrogance and lack of compassion (and it has been repeated and reaffied in many of the comments)! I wish, instead, you all would use this as an opportunity to reflect about your privilege and the fact that many people’s experiences of the city are different than your own.

  199. #26: San Francisco dwellers are afraid of the East Bay. It may as well be the replacement set of Zero Dark Thirty as far as most San Francisco residents are concerned. People feel a sense of accomplishment making it across the bridge to go to Ikea or the Paramount Theater. Or it’s a right of passage to get to wine country or Cal. This of course is fine by me and others who enjoy/prefer our lives across the bridge and work in the city. It gives us the opportunity to enjoy all of the finer points of east bay living with relative ease and affordability.

  200. Yuck! Pabst Blue Ribbon? I had no idea. And yes, 4:00 PM means it’s time to shut the windows. To quote the article: “What really makes the city great is what lies just beyond.” It’s a nice place to visit but…

  201. From a Florida Girl to Sydney, Australia to now San Francisco– it’s amazing how moving to across the world to another country makes moving to San Francisco easy as pie. Three hours is nothin’– try a sixteen hour time difference combined with American football being shown occasionally on TV at 3am! Nice article, lots of very true and interesting info!

    • HEY! Did you work for a traffic management company when you lived in Sydney? I’m an SF transplant to Sydney, and met a girl from Florida on a job in Yennora – and wonder if it was you? If so, amazing Small World moment. If not, disregard and enjoy San Francisco! (and try not to miss the Sydney beaches too much!)

  202. In my experience, most men cannot tell the difference between a woman who wears make-up at all times and one who does not–hence the perception that there are no “hot” women in San Francisco. The reality is that, scrubbed clean, a lot of your so-called 10s would slip a few notches down the hotness index. If you come from a culture, like that in Texas for instance, where girls are schooled to always appear in public “properly made-up and well-groomed”, you might think the girls here are less attractive because girls here tend not to place as much importance on those things. Many deliberately shy away from the man-catcher school of dress because they find it demeaning and distracting from who they really are as people. A more natural style is popular–another source of friction with LA. It really comes down to whether you are interested in the whole person or just looking for some arm candy. One man’s hot is another man’s artificial.

    One more point, after reading most of the comments here, I’m going to make a real effort to erase the phrase “spot on” from my vocabulary as it appears here ad nauseum.

    • GREAT point about makeup. I hardly ever wear it, and perhaps to some, look merely pretty or average–but with makeup, I’m drop-dead gorgeous. I get enough attention in bars and at concerts, I don’t need to fend off any more fellas. ;)
      (& yes, I’m taken.)

  203. After 13 years in SF, I moved to LA 4 years ago. I love my new life but miss SF a lot. You’ve captured it well in your article and seem to be taking full advantage of all it has to offer. I hope you enjoy living there as much as I did!

  204. As a Boston guy who lived in SF for 3 months, you nailed it. One thing not mentioned prominently is how unbelievable the food was. And it’s everywhere. We lived in the Marina on Bay St and even though it was not the most unique place – a Trinity apartment building ($2800+/mo in rent uhg!) – we loved every minute of it. Also, you can walk the city easier and more enjoyably than any other I’ve been to. Just prep your calves for the hills of PAC Heights!

  205. extremely insightful…especially that it is expensive than NYC…never realised it could be so….
    and i completely agree to “Google Maps is never right about what time the bus will come.” – have suffered at its end ;)
    thanks for sharing!!!

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  207. Great post! I live here, moved from Austin in 2001. To this list I would add
    It’s very multi-cultural. 30% of its denizens are Asian, not really a correct terminology since that encompasses Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean etc

    Micro-Neighborhoods: there are tons of them, from Little Saigon tucked between Pacific Heights and Nob Hill, to Little Korea in the middle of Japantown, itself a micro-hood between Pac Heights and Western Addition.

    Cheap Eats – there are tons of low cost food options, and a whole SF Weekly issue devoted to them. Ike’s Sandwich Shop, the Wooly Pig, Saigon Sandwich, Pakwan come to mind.

    I don’t quite agree on cost of goods. For awhile I lived in both Austin and SF, splitting my time. Starbucks was higher in Austin, as was a pedicure or manicure. There are lots of cheap services here in SF.

    Neighborhood hardware stores – you can get everything from ten penny nails to a microwave to kitchen utensils at these little gems. The best ones are in Cole Valley, in Cow Hollow on Fillmore, and the Presidio on Sacramento.

    Mountain and water sports are huge. Just four hours from Tahoe, and Mount Tam, Mount Diablo, and the Marin headlands are right in our backyard. Trail running, mountain biking, and hiking are something you will learn to love. If not, you’re really wasting the opportunities of the landscape.

    Thanks again for a great list. When I first moved here I was constantly caught outside at 6p with no coat. As a result I have a whole wardrobe of fleece pullovers. If you’re going to be outside more than 3 hours, you’ll need to be prepared to go up or down a layer.

  208. I also want to add – Manuel is correct. Your lack of compassion in describing those less fortunate than you is stunning. You should be a little shamefaced and if you’re not you should be wondering why. SF is a live and let live city. Some of us live so much better than others, the wisest course is not to comment on them, if you’re not doing anything to help them.

  209. This great and perfectly timed since SF is one of the cities I’m looking at moving to later in the year. Although coming from up the coast in Vancouver I don’t think it’ll be too much of a change. Van is apparently the most expensive city to live in North America so I figure as long as I can find a job in SF I should be good. =/
    Great tips and insight though and Congrats on being pressed!

  210. This is a great post. I’ve lived in San Francisco and the (quite distant!) peninsula for almost 20 years and love your observations and tips! Congratulations on Freshly Pressed!

  211. Great post, and Congrats on being Freshly Pressed !!! I use to live in Santa Barbara California, now I’m here in Buffalo, New York, my heart will always be in California !! Thanks again for the great post.

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  213. Thanks so much for this! I’m moving to San Francisco within a month or so (yes, my husband is founding a tech startup). I loved this article! I’ll reference it many times in sure.

  214. Thanks for this! I’m moving to SF in a month or so (yes, my husband is founding a tech startup). Really loved this. I’m sure I’ll reference it again and again.

  215. Love the wealth of comments. Berzerkely is only 20 minutes away by BART, so it’s faster to get to the City from here than if I lived in the Avenues, plus there’s the Berkeley vibe….there is no substitute for living in SF, of course, but it can be enjoyed from the East Bay with relative ease. Nobody mentioned what happened when the last tech bubble burst in 2000-02–a lot of people moved away, some hot spots lost their vibrancy (South Park, for example) and rents dropped a bit.

  216. You touched on all points! Awesome post Jason! My husband and I haven’t been to SF in years, we had the best time. Your info was so enlightening… eek, how the rent goes up!! It seems like most people we spoke to worked more than one job… GREAT information, really enjoyed it!

  217. Even with all this, it still sounds like a pretty amazing place. I haven’t been to San Francisco since 1991, when I was 6 years old. There I ate my first hash brown, lost my newly-pierced earrings in a freezing hotel pool (it was February; what was I thinking?), and was in a minor earthquake.

    The cost of living doesn’t bother me – Australia is one of the most expensive countries in the world, after all, and recent hunting for a house in Perth (where nobody lives in apartments if they can help it) has been depressing. If I was to get an apartment, a studio would set me back $1700 a month; if I dare to want a bedroom that doesn’t share airspace with my kitchen, it’s more like $2500.

    San Francisco sounds like it has everything I want. Craft beers, sunshine, tech, enthusiastic people. I’ll keep this write up in mind in case I ever find myself there again, as an adult, probably with fewer hash browns.

  218. AWESOME post!!! Very well done, with excellent insights. I actually grew up about two hours from San Fran. Just moved back here from Hong Kong, actually (another amazing city, if you ever have the chance to check it out). I haven’t been to Boston yet, though. It’s really awesome to hear your perspective on differences between the East and West coast. And I understand the time difference thing, and the sports thing. I went to college in Tennessee and was blown away by all of the excitement about college football.

    Am following!

  219. Great post. I think that point about the rental prices is very important as how it affects the character of the city. I actually think SF has some demographic problems– with so many super rich, and at the same time so many homeless and poverty stricken folk in the TL. There is virtually NO working class here. I think every place needs to have a good scale of people at all ends of the spectrum in order to balance out the city. Unfortunately, I feel like SF is becoming more of a self-loving image-focused LA-type city, but with a hippie-ish creative spin. Down-to-earth people are becoming fewer and further between.

  220. So far so good…. been here only one month. I need to disagree about the cost of living adjustments (except for rent and parking). Coming from Hawaii, where the rent’s a little less, but cost of living is way higher… I’ve found prices for basic commodities about the same as anywhere else on the mainland. Yeah, you have to pick your stores, but it’s not so bad. Rent = bad. A car break in a day occurs around my area (soma), so I’m somewhat thankful I can afford a covered parking spot :-) Great read, BTW — Thanks :-)

  221. As a native San Franciscan, I totally got a kick out of this article. You nailed it! However, I would have to say SF is a city that very much cares about its sports. Some people would cry about bandwagoners that only care now with the Giants winning the World Series twice in three years and the Niners going to the Super Bowl, but the fans were definitely present and all out and about before that. Also, I would highly suggest both SF noobs and long-time residents to check out Funcheap SF for events and places to go. They always give great suggestions!

    Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  222. Pro Tip: Try a couple new apps every week and if you’re looking to spark conversation, ask someone if they’ve tried any great apps lately.


  223. Good outline! Not all these things you need to know before moving to San Francisco but they are true. One thing I would disagree is that cost of living is sky high because it is all relevant. Comparing to Boston? Perhaps. But there are many much more expensive places in the world. So it is all relevant to your past experience.

  224. Nothing captures San Francisco as perfectly as the set of comments to this blog! The degree of “inference”, reading between the lines and analysis paralysis is insane – nothing is more quintessentially “San Francisco” than the fact that everyone has a strong opinion about everything, and has no qualms about sharing it with everyone! I thought it would be nice to be “notified of follow-up comments by email”, until I saw 200 flame-o-grams clogging my In Box. How about everyone just takes a deep breath, puts their soap box away and accepts this blog for what it is: an out-of-towner’s perception of SF. Disagree with Jason’s views? You’re probably looking through different eyes…

  225. I can’t believe I haven’t seen a post about Burningman on here. Seems like people are in two camps. Either you’re a Burner or not. If you are, you probably spend hundreds if not thousands for tickets, costumes, theme camps, drugs. People all try to take off work at the same time. No rental car company within a 200 mile radius of the Bay Area will rent to you if they suspect you are traveling to the playa for Burningman, and they will ask. For the rest of us that choose to forego that trip into the desert, we have a peacefully depopulated city all to ourselves.

  226. I like that quote of a friend of yours – “You’re not a true San Franciscan until you see a naked guy walking down the street.” – this sums up the general liberal attitude of the city, but I’m not sure if you’re aware that it is about to change: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is pushing for nudity ban :-/

  227. You are a brilliant writer. Really entertaining. I’m British and hoping to come to San Francisco in the next couple of years to visit. I’ve heard wonderful things but thanks for the warnings!!

  228. Great post! I am following you now. My name is Carlos, if you ever want to know about Ocean Paddling, follow us back! Cheers

  229. I lived in sf for a bit and yes it’s like living in a different country. Great post! I hope in terms of beer you are drinking anchor steam I cannot get that on the east coast now. Also the muni tips were awesome. I remember the first time I forgot to step down. Always amusing. Thanks for the nostalgia.

  230. Thanks for sharing this! My husband and I have been curious about living somewhere on the West coast and we both had pinpointed San Francisco as an option. After reading the part about the cost of living and the rent, I’ll re-think our choice! And we thought living here in Chicago was expensive!!

    Courtney Hosny

  231. This should have been called, “A Hipster’s Guide to SF.” I found few of the culture/lifestyle/fashion observations applicable to those of us who do not embrace hipsterdom. PBR? Really? Never seen it consumed in SF. And most of us dress neither on the edge of fashion nor do we wear the same t-shirt for a week straight.

    You are who you hang with, and the author has clearly chosen to hang with folks who exemplify the traits he tries to plaster onto the rest of us.

  232. There are a lot of comments so maybe I’ve missed something but no one has really picked up on the issue of homeless people in SF mentioned in this article. As a backpacker at the time I was shocked at just how many people were sleeping rough with nowhere to go. When I asked someone at the hostel they told me that most cities do not tolerate homeless people in the US so they all end up in SF. Does anyone know if this is true?

  233. Interesting post overall, but the section on “homeless, beggars and crackheads” was really offensive. No mention at all of compassion nor any attempt at social analysis of why these people are on the streets. What happened to the San Francisco values of peace, love, and justice?

    • YES! Not to mention the really amazing community oriented programs and non-profits all over the city that work to bridge the gap.. and the attitude among so many of us that homelessness, drug abuse, or hard times doesn’t make you an “other” like the article suggests.

  234. Interesting piece. At the end of the day, I’ll always prefer the east coast to the west
    but SF will always be a great place to visit.

  235. Loved your post. A native (So.) Californian I’m looking to move to the Bay Area soon as a change of pace and getting out of my comfort zone. Yes, S.F. is a different world and I look forward to exploring all of it. :)

  236. MY ADVICE AS A NATIVE SAN FRANCISCAN (and a person who’s made her livingfor 20 years in San Francisco solely from writing): Put no faith whatsoever in anything written by a writer who doesn’t even that in the English language, subject and verb must agree. (“There’s” instead of “there are.”) This was taught in….oh, third grade?

  237. Now, after living in SF for awhile, write another post and tell me something I DON’T already know (and, no, I’ve never lived in SF) about the city.

    Come on, how does someone live in the US and not know most of this about SF?

    Sort of like moving to NYC, and writing, I wish I’d known how crowded it is…!

  238. This list is awesome and just warmed my heart! I lived in SF for two years and now live in Melbourne, which I think has similarities to SF plus its own Aussie flair, of course.

    List is spot on and I am reminded (kind of horrifyingly) of my time looking for an apartment and after handing in my application, arranging to drop off the deposit, only to get to the rental agency to learn that someone else had given them the money on the spot.

    Would only emphasize how truly close Napa is (hour’s drive) and that Yosemite is only about three hours away. I rarely ever spent a weekend sitting around in SF.

    Also, don’t miss out on Berkeley. The food in the gourmet ghetto is to die-for (Pizza Board, for cheap eats, and Chez Panisse for a splurge) and the views of the city and the rest of the bay are stunning from Grizzly Peak. Not to mention how many great people watching moments you’ll have there! :)

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  240. While I enjoyed his perspective as a new member of the city, it’s obvious that the writer has only barely scratched the surface so far. I don’t know what the deal is about everything being about the tech world and finance but it’s a really weird blanket statement- yeah there’s a lot of that here but LOOK AROUND. Half or more of this city is made up of pretty alternative hustlers who are juggling 5 different jobs to make it work, one where they work for a non profit, one where they do some kind of healing work, one where they do their craft and one where they teach. If you listen in a coffee shop, and your ears are perking up at every little bit of tech gossip, you are probably missing the rest of the artist/activist/hippydippy/avante-garde conversations that are around you at all times. This city is saturated with yoga, acupuncturists, other kind of holistic practitioners, doulas, herbalists, circus performers, dancers, muralists, musicians, poets, and even engineers who work in silicon valley by day have been involved with making super-awesome fire-breathing dragon-cars for their burning man camp for the last 5 years. People in these communities trade services all the time- making cost of living much more affordable. The higher the cost of living, the more creative people get at trying to find a way to live, and you don’t have to look that hard to see what I’m talking about.

  241. Don’t be afraid to venture across the bay! Berkeley is so much more than a super liberal college town, and Oakland (as you said) is so much more than its reputation.

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  243. West San Francisco favorites from a local: Hike to the top of Mt. Davidson or walk your dog in Stern Grove park. Eat at West Portal, bike the Great Hightway. Walk Land’s End trail and check out the Legion of Honor. Eat some Pho at PPQ, Fried Chicken at San Tung, Dim Sum at Ton Kiang. Jog around Lake Merced, count the roaming buffalo in Golden Gate Park, and explore the Sutro baths and caves. Grab a beer and shoot some darts at LIttle Shamrock or relax with a beer on the back lawn at the Beach Chalet. Rent a paddle boat at Stowe Lake, bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, and roller blade John F. Kennedy Drive on a Sunday. Explore. There’s life beyond The Mission and SOMA.

  244. For all those suffering from rent prices in SF, aren’t you basically paying the same as a mortgage? Why not buy? It’s the lowest mortgage rates we’re likely to ever see in our lives, and at least you’re building equity then. That is one of the key draws making me consider a return from Australia…

  245. I really liked your article. I moved here almost 5 months ago from Italy and I had no idea of how different SF can be compared to what you expect looking forward moving to California.
    Actually I think that it’s colder at 4pm than at 10pm in the Financial District. I don’t know how it’s possible… :)
    Wish you all a wonderful day!

  246. Jason, you are amazing. Move from Boston — where Fast Company called you the “king of networking” — to San Francisco, write a brilliant post, and get over 600 comments. Next they will be calling you the king of San Francisco. Well done. Des

  247. The author seems to view “Boston” and the “East Coast” as interchangeable. Not true! Boston is probable one of the most uptight places on earth, so it is no surprise SF is a revelation to you.

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  250. Jason,

    I can only thank you for your post about this 25 things !
    About the cost of living, honestly, how do you make it in SF if your net salary is $45,000 per year ?
    (I’m not a Software Engineer).



  251. Thanks for the post! I am a local, born and raised, although I have been living in SF, and commuting to Palo Alto (without a commuter bus–I’m a teacher) for 8 years. I do it because I love my life in San Francisco and choose to keep it separate from work. Some of my favorite things about San Francisco? That on a clear, crisp day, there really is no more beautiful place in the world. We might lack summer between June and August, but our Octobers, Novembers, Decembers and Januaries rock. We also have the Musee Mechanique , which focuses on pinball and mechanical arcade games from days of yore.

    Welcome to San Francisco, Jason!

  252. You wouldn’t possibly have remembered more than 5% of that inside information, if you’d had it before you moved. ;) It’s in any case much better to discover for yourself, even the disappointments. If you’re anything like me, if someone says something negative about a certain place or person, you’d wanna experience it yourself anyway because everything is relative. That is the general trait I see among people who do daring things, because other than that they speak the same language on the West coast (well, sort of, I imagine, because local slang can make a big difference), your move was like an immigration.

    The most important aspect of a place, I think – after several intercontinental immigrations – is whether the local populace is hospitable and open to newcomers/foreigners. It sounds like SF is such a place. I was embraced by the people from Johannesburg, but shunned by those from Quebec’s countryside. That can really be a make or break when it comes to feeling home in one’s adoptive city or country.

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  256. I have never been colder than the winter I spent in Vallejo. That includes winters I spent in Wyoming and visits to Harbin, China. -40F with low humidity is warmer than what I felt there in the fog and mists.

  257. Great post! SF native, I left about 15 years ago having only lived in the Bay Area. I thought the whole country worked the same way and boy, was I wrong.

    The thing that resonates the most with me is the sports issue and weekends. We moved to the Midwest from SF and it was complete Saturday/Sunday culture shock. I didn’t think anyone followed college sports (except the Big Game every year) and soon found that if I wasn’t following a team on Saturdays and Sundays, I just wasn’t living. It was hard to get anyone to break their routine on Saturday or Sunday which was something I never adjusted to (and one of the reasons I left).

    You are lucky to be in such a great place. It sounds like you are adapting well. Have some great sourdough for me and stay away from those PBR’s (their will always be PBR’s, but some microbrews will be gone tomorrow).

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  261. I absolutely love this post! I was in SF during the 2012 summer on a travel working visa and I absolutely fell head over heels for the city. It’s such a beautiful place, filled with beautiful people – and bountiful stuff to do of course!

    Also, your point about people shouting at you on the Muni made me laugh. Thankfully, I was one of the people who read the bus signs when I got there so I never got shouted at, but by the end of the summer I could feel myself becoming more of a native and getting irritated with people standing there looking lost as a little puppy :P

  262. Reblogged this on Screenshots News and commented:
    And if you choose to sun all things city, be sure to browse the top ten list of the world’s most dangerous cities under recent posts. I found this review of San Fran to be spot-on, handy for anyone planning to travel there.

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  265. Really like SF, been thinking if it would ever be a realistic place to move to. Nice to see a real life experience reflection on it!

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  267. Being from Napa, I often forget about venturing to the city to try all of the great things you’ve mentioned about SF. I totally agree about Oakland, though. The Fox absolutely rocks for shows, even if there are some shady neighborhoods in the area.

  268. Dude! This post is so dead on. San Francisco is one awesome city. The rent is definitely insane and it needs to come down so I can afford my hotel in the sky and live it up like the Jeffersons. Oakland does have some cool things to see and eat including the infamous Berkeley Bowl. Totally disagree on sports fans though. With the Giant winning two World Series in 3 years, the Niners going to the Super Bowl, and the Warriors killing it this year, I think Sports here are as big as they get. The one big difference is that not everyone here (especially the tech community) is fond of parading around town in their favorite player’s jersey. Nonetheless, we’re still die hard sports fans.

    If you’re considering moving to San Francisco, I would definitely read this awesome list of 100 Reasons to Move to San Francisco. You’ll find tons of hidden gems for things to eat, see, and do in SF:


    Randi Zuckerberg should have put you in her Silicon Valley TV show. Seems you got SF down.

    Cheers mate!

  269. I also moved from the East Coast (NH, just 1 hr from Boston) to the West Coast (San Jose) and am a Steeler fan. I find it so interesting that there are tons of Steeler fans here and you’re totally right about the sports scene. The 3 hour difference totally throws me off on Sundays. Great article!

    • i’ve heard that second only to the most local team(s), the steelers have the most fans in any region in the US.

  270. I’m a single guy in the IT Industry and am looking at areas like North Beach and South Beach in SF. What are your thoughts? Are these decent / safe / good areas? I’m looking for modern furnished apartments with parking and I’ll be working during the day?

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  276. Lived there for 2 years. Most of this stuff looks accurate from my limited viewpoint, but it surprises me this many people have a pretty good but not great post. I think I’m more impressed with your ability to get clicks to your blog. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It makes me miss some aspects of SF.

  277. @colouryourdream “Great post about SFO.”

    Don’t call San Francisco SFO. SFO = San Francisco International Airport. This blog post wasn’t about the airport.

    Another tip for TT’s (tech-transplants) don’t call the SF Cable Car a trolley.


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  282. I grew up in Boston, moved to SF weeks before the ’89 quake, and lived there all of the 90s. Returned to Boston just before the techies invaded SF, prices exploded ,and the quirky misfits who drove the city’s lovable weirdness for decades were forced out by money and PBR hipsters. (Thanks, Willie Brown!)
    There are things I loved about SF and some things I miss, including great friends. But the constant “isn’t-SF-awesome, aren’t-we-so-hip, animals-and-flowers-have-rights-too” attitude gets old. I prefer some East Coast edge and grit, not being 3 hours behind the main US clock, having four distinct seasons, and being a $15 bus ride away from New York and a five-hour flight from London. And I like wearing shorts in the summer, at night. Oh… and swimming in the ocean, which is impossible out there without a wetsuit.
    Some of the best times in my life were in SF. Breathe in the eucalyptus after a winter rain, and jasmine on a summer night. Good luck and enjoy and have fun.

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  287. Being an artist and living in this city is becoming impossible. I’ve finagled my way around, by finding rent controlled situations. But everything eventually comes to an end. The insanely expensive, or rather “priced for techies” rent is driving out artist to the eastbay, and other parts of the country.

    • Not to butt in but I have a couple of theories on the out of control prices associated with the bay area. Homes, that we all need, either to rent or own, have been artificially transformed into an investment vehicle in a way that is not unlike the mortgage backed securities, derivatives, or the trading of stocks. While this notion of owning property as an investment is true. It only holds true if one owns the land and then over time makes improvements to the land that are seen as desirable to potential buyers. See, in order for something to truly be an investment someone has to invest into it, with time, sweat, capital, etc. Then still the return that one can expect from a real venture is modest.

      The Federal Reserve banking cartel Has priced the homes out of yours and mine financial realities by holding interest rates below the rate of inflation making banks an expensive place to park wealth. Then they created a moral hazard for all the investment banks that happen to be the ones lending for the mortgages. If I will lend you cash at 0% and then you can turn around and write out a loan to some idiot for an undisclosed amount of interest that adjusts down the line after the house has been flipped and the banks and idiots are done with it. It’s win, win. Except that it wasn’t. They pushed the fraud that wealth could be made by taking on crushing amounts of debt until the prices ran out of room to grow and people started to see the whole thing was a shell game. Historically when this happens and the bubble pops they just got out of the way and then focused on grabbing up assets at rock bottom prices while still collecting interest on inflated fraudulent manipulated prices. This time they didn’t get out of the way, at least not enough to let the markets reach their natural bottoms. They instead have been purchasing the bad paper and fraudulent investments with newly created currency that is backed by nothing. That has allowed for some color of law in the millions of homes they have foreclosed on since 2008.

      Now they have embarked upon a mission to kill the USD, make millions of impulsive and gullible humans homeless, and turn as much paper notes into real assets as they can before the creation of 80,000,000,000/month + TRILLIONS already sitting off shore.comes back to the US and turns every dollar denominated asset that the people own worthless.

      So please excuse the rant but take heart in the fact that in very short time the whole country could find itself in worse shape than you see yourself now. Perhaps the laws of nature are just bias towards justice or fairness and not compatible with fraud, theft, and misdeeds towards ones fellows.

  288. i grew up in san bruno, just south of the city, for 16 years. the last two years of high school i did in petaluma, about an hour north of sf. sf and the peninsula are WINDY and COLD. Stinson beach has sand fleas. i went to college in socal and this is home. i would never go back. lots of hippies, tree huggers, etc. IT IS NOW SUCH AN EXPENSIVE PLACE, I CANT BELIEVE IT. i was born there in the early 60’s. weather and beaches cant be beat here. ya, there is a lot of attitude down here, but once u get past it, ppl r all the same. yes, there is tons of culture in sf, but i never cared for that.

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  290. I talk about wanting to leave kalifornia all the time but the truth is, where else can a man enjoy all the wilderness and vast open forests to the north, all the art, real food, and passionate people (hippies) that populate the region from Sebastopol to Monterey, and all in a way that is accommodating to Neo-Cons, Libtards, anarchists, and commies. Despite the super majority in Sac. there is all kinds that call this place home.

    Yup, I think the only thing left to do is to secede from the US, divide the state so as to leave So Cal with the independence they deserve and the water costs that come from desert living, and live happily ever after in the nation of Northern California. We’ve got everything a country could want. Natural gas, gold, silver, farm land, more weed than anywhere else, and a live and let live perspective on human dignity. Also we could control the cost of living by banning US funny money, and banking institutions. Relying instead on real money and barter. My great grandparents bought their first California home with $13,000 cash. Sure it was a matter of saving and prioritizing but they lived debt free their whole lives and never paid a cent in interest.

    So I will give this one warning about relocating to the great state of California. The housing markets are nonsense and the product of cheap money being dumped into real estate for lack of any more clever ideas to spend it on. When the bubble that began to blow in 2008 finally does deflate… Lots of Home “buyers”/renters will be in debt to a scumbag bankster much more than their house was ever worth and if criminals are still running things when it goes down, The police will be used again to effect baseless evictions that are illegal, immoral, and unamerican.

    One last thing about the police, generally, they do not work for the people that make up the communities. They work for their “incorporated” municipal corporation. Whether that’s The City of Santa Rosa, The City of Oakland, or The State of California. These are not governments but corporations that serve shareholders. If you wanna see who isn’t a shareholder then look at the folks who walk the thin line between a cage and an a ass whooping every time they encounter the police. You think I’m just smokin some paranoia? Do a google search for the state of california’s CAFR (Comprehensive annual financial report). This is a document that all corporations must make public regarding their assets, expenditures, and how they plan to provide a return to the shareholders that invested in whatever venture. Then look up the one for the city you live in, the school district your kids belong to, and the police department which rules over you. This costs you nothing as they are all on line and easy to find, but will answer many of the questions that one who thinks might have about the system he lives in. Not to sound too preachy but if you read this and decide not to investigate this massive fraud that infests every aspect of our lives, I think you should move to LA or somewhere else that caters to plastic, indebted, but seemingly content, serfs.

  291. A bit of compassion for homeless people and drug users in San Francisco would make your blog near-perfect.

  292. I moved to San Francisco from Utah in the early 90s and stayed 8 years. I was cold for the first 5 YEARS – inside or outside – before I acclimated. Even so…totally worth it. :) I lived near Dolores Park, then Upper Haight, and ended up in a sweet SWEET studio – huge – with eat-in kitchen with built-ins, including vegetable pantry, walk in closet that could fit a piano, computer desk and my clothes. For $600 in 1996. Ha ha! I liked all my neighborhoods but probably Mission the best – it was the warmest. Best of luck to you! Enjoy. It’s a fantastic Beeeyoootiful city, if you can handle no real seasons and no hot summer. (I need both.)

  293. Absolutely the best overview of what it’s like to live in SF that I’ve read yet! Used to live in SF from 2007-2009. Sending this to all my friends who are thinking of moving.

  294. Pingback: Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to San Francisco | The World According to Ellen

  295. if you think 3 hours is a hard time difference, try moving to korea for a year where its a 17 hour difference

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  297. Thanks! this is amazing:) I am planning to move in couple of months and I have to say these tips are very very useful.. Good job!
    Greetings from Switzerland.

  298. Pingback: 4 Tips From A Native San Franciscan | JulieTaeko

  299. I actually really really hate San Francisco and am glad I’ll most likely never see it again, since I can avoid it all together by crossing over the bay bridge. It is a very overrated cluttered cramped little city with irritating people. I must say who ever the genius was that thought running the 101 highway through it needs to receive a couple of lashings once they get to hell.

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