5 Unspoken Rules about San Francisco

Updated: Jan 17, 2020

Did you know these unspoken rules about San Francisco?

Post written by Grace Kim (@gracefkim). Check out her travel blog www.gracefkim.com!

California. Also known as the city of dreams. But wait, which part of California?

California, the second largest state in the United States, not only holds some of the most scenic beaches along the west coast, but also notable cities that encapsulates the city for what it’s known for. San Francisco, the most known city within California, stretches only 7 miles long and wide as it holds unique, established neighborhoods and districts.

Montara Beach

San Francisco, also part of the Bay Area, holds some of the country’s most authentic

food, iconic bridges, beaches, and neighborhoods that will have you exploring weeks at a time as you will always find something different to do. The number of scenic walks will make you need to catch your breath because of how different each neighborhood is, as you will constantly catch yourself taking your phone or camera out to capture these moments.

View from Twin Peaks

If you’re debating on how long you should visit the city for, let me tell you that it all

depends. What’s great about San Francisco is that it has a little bit of everything – nature, city, food, hikes, etc. So before making the jump, let me tell you that there is no one definite answer as to how long you should visit the city for. I’ve lived in the Bay for about a month and wish I had more time to explore. Every district within San Francisco presents different pockets and personalities to them that it’s hard to give a holistic answer on what to expect. But as an outsider, let me share five rules that I’ve picked up that you should keep in mind when visiting San Francisco.

Cypress Tree Tunnel

1. When you are in the Bay, the city is only referred to as SF, or obviously, the city

When I first arrived in San Francisco, I had no idea that people referred to the city as SF. There are different pockets of the ‘Bay’ that people live in, such as South Bay, East Bay and North Bay. But if you live in the city, refer the city to as SF, or obviously, the city. Note: there is no such thing as the West Bay either. I questioned that out loud and was looked at like an idiot!

Golden Gate Bridge

2. Leave your nicer shoes at home and get ready to walk up killer hills

You better get your legs pumped and rocking before visiting the city. Stretch as often as you can before and after the day is over because you’re going to be walking up and down hills just to visit some of the most beautiful, iconic spots within the city. Want to go visit the Painted Ladies from Hayes Valley? A quarter of a mile is nothing, but once you realize that it’s a quarter mile uphill, that changes up the story.

Painted Ladies

3. Never leave your stuff in your car

If you’re planning on renting a car, please get in the habit of bringing your bags around with you everywhere you go. If you don’t want to pay your car rental a broken window fee, please do me the favor and carry your bags around with you. I don’t care if it’s five pounds or fifty pounds, there are people on the streets who shamelessly break into cars all the time to see if there are things they can potentially take. Even if you feel like you’re in a safe area and don’t think that you’re going to get your car broken into, at least put your stuff in the trunk. Trust me. You’ll save yourself a big headache when you come back to your car.

Cable Car

4. Don’t ever refer San Francisco to ‘San Fran’ or ‘Cisco’

The first day I got to San Francisco, I kept on referring San Francisco as ‘San Fran’ and

experienced nothing but stares throughout the day. I thought it was acceptable and short for San Francisco, but I was completely wrong. So, please do not refer to San Francisco to San Fran or Cisco. What is acceptable, however, is SF.

5. Watch out for aggressive homeless people on the streets

Within most major cities, there are bums and homeless people who roam the streets. Growing up around New York City, I never had a problem with the homeless people. I could be out in the streets at 4:00 AM and would feel safer than ever. However, in San Francisco, there is a huge influx of homeless people who would gather in groups. The first week I was in San Francisco, I got a little nervous walking around the streets by myself at night because I’d come across aggressive homeless people in groups taking drugs and verbally fighting with one another.

Please note that especially if you’re walking alone at night, walk on the roads if there is in an influx of homeless people hoarding the streets. It can get a bit intimidating trying to avoid them at night, especially in areas that you’re not familiar with. If it also means to walk a little extra to avoid alleyways and shady streets, get a little bit more exercise in. You’ll save yourself more than just an adrenaline rush.

Sutro Baths

So, is San Francisco the right city to visit for you?

Before traveling over, would you have picked up some of these unspoken rules about

San Francisco? You sure may have but living in the city for a month taught me to follow these rules. As a solo female traveler, it’s important to consider these small, unspoken rules that will help you get by, no matter which district you’re venturing off to in the Bay.

So remember that if you’re visiting the Bay, refer to the city as SF or the city. Haven’t

worked out in a while? Get your legs ready to walk up strenuous hills as you’re getting up to

picturesque spots. Please do me the favor and never leave any of your belongings in your car, or you may come back to a broken window. Remember to follow up with San Francisco

acronyms and lingo, and last but not least, remember to avoid the aggressive homeless people by walking just a little bit more for your safety.

Ocean Beach

The city of San Francisco will slowly grow on you quicker than you know. There are so

many pockets within the city that it’s almost impossible to check off every single thing off your bucket list. But when you do visit the foggy city, save yourself a headache or two and follow these five unspoken rules to outsiders that I’ve picked up during my digital nomadic journey out here in the Bay. I definitely have so much more that’s still sitting on my bucket list of things to do in the city, but I guess that means I’ll just have to plan another trip out here.