San Francisco

7 Reasons I (Kind of) Hate San Francisco

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me San Francisco was his or her favorite city in the United States, I could retire comfortably, like, yesterday. The backdrop to ubiquitous 90′s sitcom Full House, San Francisco’s image in popular culture is just as overwhelmingly positive as its reputation among travelers.

I took my fifth trip to the fabled “City by the Bay” a few weeks ago, and I was shocked, upon arriving to the boarding gate for my flight back to Austin, how relieved I felt to be leaving, the personal circumstances of said trip notwithstanding: I kind of hate San Francisco.

Here’s why!

1. The novelty wears off quickly

Hills, row houses and the Golden Gate Bridge, oh my! Part of why I loved San Francisco so much the first time I visited, back in 2004, is because I felt so excited to see iconic sights such as these in flesh after years of having only experienced them via the ether. After a few trips, however, the charm I feel upon hopping onto a street car is no match for the shade the driver throws on me when I ask him to make change for a $5.

2. San Franciscans are rude and snobby

And in San Francisco, bad attitudes among public employees are just the beginning. Nearly everyone I’ve encountered in San Francisco has had some kind of chip on his or her shoulder, from waitresses, to Airbnb hosts, to random people I’ve met on the streets and asked for information. Remember that South Park episode RE: Prius-driving San Franciscans getting high on their own farts? It basically sums up my feelings on the matter.

3. It’s too cold!

With an average yearly temperature of just 59ºF (15ºC), San Francisco is just too fucking cold for me, which says nothing of the perpetual fog, lack of sunshine and cool breezes that tend to blow through. Yes, I know that San Francisco has “micro-climates,” that Oakland and Berkeley are warmer and that the cold is part of the experience. Whatever. Bite me.

4. It’s too expensive!

Pricing data for San Francisco isn’t as readily available as climate data, so in this instance I’m going to have to rely on anecdote, rather than hard facts. But whether you’re being sassed by a spiky-haired waitress at a pretentious breakfast joint, taking a scummy public bus across town or being levied a surcharge for an extra person in your Airbnb apartment, you’re going to pay significantly more than you would anywhere else in the U.S., a premium that may or may not actually be worth it.

5. San Francisco has a major homeless problem

I am not a classist person, and I don’t have an inherent problem with the homeless. But in many areas of San Francisco (I would actually argue most areas) there are more homeless than non-homeless. Now, I’m not sure if that’s to do with San Francisco’s consistent (if cold) climate, freeloader-catering public policy or some other factor of which I’m not aware. But if I’m going to pay $16 for a half-assed eggs benedict, I don’t wanna watch someone shit in public while eating it.

6. The rest of Northern California is much more pleasant

Whether you cross the Golden Gate to Sausalito, head south to bohemian Santa Cruz or drive inland to the Napa Valley, Northern California is a veritable paradise for travelers, which says nothing for the rest of the Golden State. If San Francisco were located in, say, Oklahoma, or South Carolina, I would probably like it more, because it would be the best thing around by a long shot. But part of why I find myself hating San Francisco, the more I travel there, is that it’s really not all that RE: California.

7. The personal circumstances of my last trip to San Francisco

Remember how I shrugged off the circumstances of my recent trip to San Francisco in the intro to this article? Well yeah, I can’t really shrug them off – San Francisco is where I said goodbye to the Australian boy I fell madly in love with when he was passing through Austin, a relationship whose cosmically-tragic unraveling I lamented in a recent blog post. I will forever associate the cold, expensive, homeless-infested streets of San Francisco with the fact that I may never see him again.

About The Author

is the author of 491 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!

  • Robert Schrader

    I know your comment comes from a place of dissatisfaction, but your writing is so humorous!

  • CJ in Texas

    I’m moving to San Francisco next year. I’m a gay dad of an autistic son, and California has awesome services, and the bay area seems to have the best services of them all. So in that respect, I’m glad to be moving.

    However, I’ve been trying to just make conversation with people online who live in the area. My experience with all but one of them (more on that in a bit) is summed up by the following conversation:

    Me: hey dude. I’m movin your way next year. I saw the pics of your dogs in your profile and was wondering if you know if there’s any dog parks in the area that welcome big dogs.

    Him: You have nice pictures, but we’re not a match.

    Me: I wasn’t hitting on you, man. I truly wanted to know if you know anything about the dog parks there.

    Him: I’m not interested, I said.

    And as alluded to before, there was ONE person who was willing to talk with me: but he wanted me to do a 3way with him and his boyfriend.

    And it would be different if it was just a few people. But it was EVERYONE I talked to. And more than one site. And just two of them were “dating” type sites, the rest were just social networks. Half responded: rudely, with “i’m not interested” and the like (I wasn’t even REMOTELY flirting with these dudes), and the other half just ignored me altogether like one would a beggar asking for spare change.

    After moving it’s obvious I’m going to go dateless, as it’s been expressed to me in various forms that I’m some kind of unsophisticated rube. And I can go through life dateless. But it’s becoming more and more obvious that I probably won’t have any friends there either unless I go to speech therapy to lose the accent and get a makeover by the Queer Eye guys.

    My fave comment of all was the guy who told me I was lying when I told him I was a Michigan grad.

    I have a feeling my social life is going to revolve around my computer talking with people WAY far away, my dog, and HBO. If this is what guys are like there I’m not too keen on hangin out with them, either.

  • CJ in Texas

    Hey Nina! AMEN. And this is sort of a “P.S.” to the comment I wrote above, and yeah, I’m WAY late to this post.

    Here in Texas people think I’m pretty much a communist because of my political views. But in San Francisco they act like I’m Sarah Palin’s speech writer. It’s almost like they try to “out left wing” you.

    I was once berated for being a fan of Rachel Maddow because she’s a “sell out.”

  • Robert Schrader

    Good luck with your move! Eek.

Previous post:

Next post: