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.

Leave Your Daily Hell   Filed under: USA

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is the author of 795 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!

 

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

LeighG April 6, 2016 at 11:12 pm

SRO Managers give people filthy & infested chairs.

smluca July 9, 2016 at 4:18 pm

I’m so glad I came across this post. I loathe SF. Everything you said was ON POINT!!! Can we also talk about the fact of how people here hate people from LA? When I tell people I came from LA I am greeted with a sneer and a “I’m sorry.”
Seriously?! Every time I came across someone who moved from SF to LA I never reacted that way! In fact, I was welcoming! The weather BLOWS (yes pun intended.) i miss my legit 76 degree weather where the sun feels so great on your skin! But here you are greeted with a 15 mph gust of wind that you feel all the way to your bones. If I hear the word micro-climate again I think I will scream!! For once I’d like to eat some ice cream outside when it is actually warm enough.
I moved for my husband and believe me when I tell you I cry about moving here almost every day. I’m an extrovert who makes friends so easily (I’ve lived in various places around the world and made friends) but here – rudest people ever and completely pretentious! Even while living in LA I never met pretentious people – ever! Here they are everywhere. I am a part of a fashion group (and let me say I also think the women here are not pretty and no fashion style except for wearing black) and all they talk about are $100 t-shirts, $500 ballet flats, and $12k watches. WTF?!?
SF and Karl the Fog I HATE you!

Swagkid 2000 July 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm

If Craigslist is any indication, this town that used to be at the center of true progressive values has become nothing but a center of elietest, snobby, snooty, racist, class separating clowns who care nothing about anything except what kind of wine do you drink and bouncing new tech ideas off of each other. I’m from NYC. I’m retired and have been thinking about going out there to hang out for a while, just to experience it cause I have always loved San Francisco, during the late 60’summer &
70″s & even the 80’s, but that town has turned into the epitome of greed, classism, & snobbery. The Warriors basketball team deserve better to represent! I’ve taken my ad of craigslist to room with somebody. I would never want to live with these snobs. I think I’ll stay in my 3 bedroom house in the Poconos of Pennsylvania outside NY, where my mortgage is minniscule compared to a San Francisco studio apt that is the size of a shoebox!

Oh San Francisco. What has become of my town?

Robert Schrader July 20, 2016 at 1:10 pm

How sad 🙁

Leigh Goodwin July 24, 2016 at 4:27 am

Interesting point.

Leigh Goodwin July 24, 2016 at 4:35 am

Sad.

Leigh Goodwin July 24, 2016 at 5:04 am

Hypnosis can help you forget (thank goodness), or at least come to positive, detaching terms of a nightmarish experience.

Leigh Goodwin July 24, 2016 at 5:09 am

Interesting post.

Leigh Goodwin July 24, 2016 at 5:13 am

Last paragraph really interesting.

Leigh Goodwin July 24, 2016 at 5:14 am

Deep quotation.

Leigh Goodwin July 24, 2016 at 5:28 am

@ 100 miles distance, with no helicopter or small aircraft, ain’t nobody going nowhere! It’ll be akin to sitting in what you make after all.

Ralph Winfield August 10, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Very serious anti-white sentiment by many,many non-whites; gang-bangers left, right, and centre; a kind of law against hiring Straight White Males as they’re almost nowhere to be found in the civil services and many businesses of practically the entire Bay Area; over-rated restaurants; very dangerous, gang-banger-ridden buses, subways, and trolleys driven sometimes by hateful people who openly hate white folks plus tonnes of other rude, very over-priced, and hostile public employees, especially in the libraries and hospitals; loads of rude and superficial-to-the-max locals who despise those who are not on the political Far Left; tacky-looking, garish even, flats and houses that only the over-paid techies, foreign drug lords, Chinese, Laotian, and Vietnamese Communist Party members and money traders seem to be able to afford; the dearth of professionals who can communicate adequately in Standard English and who don’t have a grudge against whites; only two more or less safe areas -Sunset and the adjacent ‘hood; faeces everywhere even on the sand at the beach; a city hall run by a Chinese quasi-mobster who gave un-tendered contracts to his friends and relatives in COMMUNIST CHINA!: dangerous,weapons’-holding meth addicts left, right, and centre; and crappy public schools with weapons and ethnic gangs. So,if you don’t care about being in a crime-ridden, racist, filthy city where it costs a arm,leg, and neck to even rent, then come on over!

Ralph Winfield August 10, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Trust me,even the very best neighbourhoods in San Fran Flakey are not very good.

Ralph Winfield August 10, 2016 at 6:49 pm

Wow,your posting is spot on! The Bay Area is a political Far Left nightmare revved-up on drugs like Meth, Crack, opiate-based pills, and Heroin.

San Jose is run by a self-admitted anti-Whites and anti-USA La Raza Unida member, Sam Liccardo, who with his La Raza Unida member Chief-of-Police, Eduardo Garcia, ordered the city cops to not help any of the Trump supporters being beaten and/or harassed when Trump was here on June 2nd.

The public sector and much of the private sector seem like they’re seeking the meanest and least qualified. I also honestly wonder if it’s against hiring rules to employ Straight White Males as recent immigrants, Africa-Americans, Mestizo-Latinos, and other government-promoted groups almost totally make up, it seems, the work forces of the civil service and private businesses.

I’m politically middle-of-the-road and am at a loss when seeking intellectually-stimulating conversation because I have not had one yet in the Bay Area except with individuals from San Diego, L.A., Middle America, New England, Canada – anywhere but here.

Grrr! I’m a raving lunatic now. Thanks Bay Area! 😉 LOL!

jdizzl August 24, 2016 at 5:41 pm

Northern California is an incredible area of the country, but San Francisco itself just wasn’t that interesting and I found it pretty overrated, and I went in really wanting to like it. In the US, NY, Chicago (or Toronto/Montreal up in Canada) are way more “real,”, fun, and functional cities if you are the type of person who really likes city life. Sure the weather sucks and they don’t have jaw dropping nature, but you get a better city for sure IMO. I think most of the laid back SF crowd left 15-20+ years ago for more affordable and still liberal cities like Portland, Seattle, Austin, Denver…
I will say this about SF, it is probably NOT what you expect.

jdizzl August 24, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Wait, seriously? There are tons of world class cities with better transportation. SF’s transportation system is one of most people’s BIGGEST complaints. For a city it’s size, wealth and density, the public transit there is awful. Have you been to NYC, Chicago, DC in the US or London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, etc in Europe…? Or Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, etc. in Asia? They make SF public transit look like Sacramento’s. SF may have many things, but good transit is NOT one of them. Maybe compared to California, but you’re talking about the state that is home to car culture.

jdizzl August 24, 2016 at 5:57 pm

Well NYC and Boston are way better cities, people in SF think they are the west coast version of Manhattan and have often never traveled farther east than the Rocky Mountains… Yeah .. uh huh. SF is definitely a cool city, but it’s WAY over-hyped. All the big east coast cities and Chicago are better. SF is the only big dense city on the entire side of the country, so they have nothing to compare it to.

Funruffian October 19, 2016 at 9:24 pm

SF is so absurdly overrated that I truly understand why these once “Gung-HO” SF proponents have undergone severe Cognitive Dissonance having lived there for a while. Having lived in the East bay and Central Valley for 18 years (OMG) I usually only visit SF like 2 or 3 times a year. The outting usually lasts a day at the most. There are so many stressful factors to living here that if I were to name them it would threaten to become a very long list. I’m sick and tired of looking at nerdy hipster guys with really pretty girlfriends who outweigh their scrawny boyfriends. I’m sick of the PC brigade and the snootiness. I’m sick of the selfish and arrogant attitude they possess. They aren’t warm or friendly. The homeless is an entirely different issue that just adds to the overall horror of it all. They are here only to scare the shit out of the Middle Class. But the elitists Assholes will tell you it’s all part of the ambience. The homeless are scary are grotesque. I’m sure many women with half a brain are frightened of them. Whenever I took a date out to SF I had to expect to shell out at least $200 in entertainment expenses for one day. And that was a thrifty day.

I’m tired of walking around in public where I feel like I’m the only white guy (minority). It’s not worth the trouble living here. But hey, if you want to shave off about 15% of your total cost of living, you can jump over the bay to Crime infested shithole ‘Oakland’. Its got all the repulsive qualities that SF has, but without the natural beauty and charm.

Galle December 5, 2016 at 8:41 am

Great article that captures the essence of the Bay Area. Lived there for 30 years when there were actual neighborhoods and people were kind. Somehow it’s morphed into a narcissistic community rife with self-interest groups that can’t seem to convene on anything. You can feel all the atoms in your body being pulled apart. It’s an unsettling place, but good if you have no soul.

Gluluman December 15, 2016 at 7:43 pm

I came to San Francisco for my second job interview, and I am ninety percent certain I’ll get a job offer. I came with my fiancée to give her a feel of the City. Although we stayed for ten days, one thing is certain, I would NOT, I repeat, I would Not be accepting the position under any circumstances. Nor would ever set foot in this toilet hole of a miserable, unhappy, unfriendly, shit hole- “excuse my French” there is something depressing, unhappy and miserable about the city …in fact all over the bay area. East and south bay, San Francisco being the hellhole.

I have completely changed my mind about this coarse, unfriendly, rude, exceptional dirty, old, worn out infrastructures, worn out City. The last update must have been done in 1880; no wonder rent is damn high. Oh no thank you….

San Francisco is by far the most miserable city in California. I have been to L.A, San Diego, Santa Barbara, the OC, the IE, even Imperial County and various other cities and small towns and by far San Francisco is the hellhole Mecca. It does not even feel like America to be quiet honest. It feels more like a third world shit hole coupled with the rudeness, appalling stench, colossal homeless population, some openly urinate and defecate in public, while others practically walk around half-naked. Most socking is the unfriendliness, the old and dirty housing, simply the esthetically awful coupled with the exceptionally and brutally unattractive women. without doubt was an eye opener.

My whole concept of San Francisco has changed. I read some of awful stories prior to going for the job, but I thought the negative rants were simply people ranting… oh No!!!!
Believe me, I am the most holistic positive person you’ll ever meet and without doubt San Francisco is No place for a normal American much less a human being. Frankly I am still shaken; this toilet hole is America liberal – intelligencia Mecca. I doubt it!!!!!….

This toilet pit is far from the City of Conscious Mind. This is clearly the result of … when the socially awkward nerds rule your City, zero Social, interpersonal or human skills.

I would not accept the Job under any, any circumstances. Good Riddance.

Gluluman December 15, 2016 at 7:53 pm

I could not have stated better. precise and to the point. thank you .

stay away from a hell Hole called San Francisco.

Nettie July 1, 2017 at 1:10 pm

There are so many reasons that I dislike San Francisco that I would not even know where to begin, and I live in the Bay Area and have for about twenty years. I’ve also lived there on and off. Literally almost any other city in the world is more pleasant.

For one thing, there is little street life. In most cities, you can walk around and actually see other people also walking around. No matter where I go in SF, I feel like I am walking through a suburban neighborhood with no one there, no outdoor cafes, no unexpected sights (except endless homeless people — which is because the city does not permit them to be placed into mental facilities, or really even have any). This isn’t due to the weather; Stockholm is one of my favorite cities in the world, is cold, and has plenty of street culture and life. So does Reyjkavik, another very cold and wet city I’m oddly fond of.

Combine this with literally no parking and terrible public transit, and the fact that it’s not a walking city because it’s filled with steep hills. I think people are kidding when they say it’s walkable. NYC is walkable. It’s flat. New Orleans. Walkable. Flat. SF? You’re going to be exhausted after walking serious hills in the freezing cold and wind very quickly. Everyone says it’s a great city for outdoor activities, but these all involve freezing to death. Sincerely, I spent two weeks in Iceland that were warmer and more fun.

So you have to know where you are going. But there really isn’t anywhere to go. Once you have seen all of the good tourist attractions, most people hang out in their houses with small groups of friends. There is no nightlife in most of the city. I’ve had more fun in two dozen major US cities, easily, at night, than in SF.

Finally, it’s violent and dangerous, and this is not based on sensationalism. In the time that I’ve lived near SF, I have been: sexually assaulted in broad daylight on Haight Street, mugged at gunpoint in the early evening (in a normal neighborhood), physically attacked and had my purse wrestled from me at Fisherman’s Wharf with my family (the police shrugged and said the man was mentally ill and recommended not pressing charges), had my car broken into twice, and have had bottles thrown at my car windshield while driving on Market Street, not even in the city but just driving through the city. I can’t even count how many times I’ve simply felt ill-at-ease. I lived in NYC for some years and never experienced anything like this.

San Francisco has some beautiful sights and cultural attractions. I do love Golden Gate Park, the SF Zoo, the main museums are excellent, and both Japantown and Chinatown are fascinating. Haight Street can be fun to shop (when not being wrestled to the ground at the McDonald’s). But yes, it smells like feces and is generally a boring city with no parking and nowhere to go, and even if you find a place to go, it’s likely cold, hard to get to, smells like feces, and costs too much.

I will give it this: because of the cost, I’ve never been anywhere in the world that I’ve found too pricy, which is a minor consolation, since going to Scandinavia didn’t leave me with sticker shock.

In honor of this post, I would like to recommend the following cities as being absolutely awesome for a wide variety of reasons:

Istanbul, Paris, New Orleans, New York, Boston, Toronto, London, Stockholm, Reykjavik, Honolulu, Portland (OR), Tokyo, Rome, Merida (Mexico), Miami, Montreal, and Los Angeles (yes, I actually like parts of LA; there are things to do at least).

Robert Schrader July 14, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Thanks for your detailed comment! While I’m glad you agree with my perspective (and am grateful you’ve added to it so extensively), I do feel sad that you’ve had the experiences you mention.

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