San Francisco is one of the most beloved cities in the United States. If you ask people what their favorite city in the country is, there’s a one in three chance they’ll say San Fran, the other two being New York and Chicago. I don’t know if everyone has been brain washed by reruns of Full House or what but not liking San Francisco is more stigmatized than telling people you hate babies. Whenever I work up the courage to admit that in public, I’m always met with aghast faces or outright dismissals. “You don’t know what you’re talking about; San Francisco is amazing.”
Well, I happen to disagree. Sue me. My visit to the city started off on the wrong foot after my plane landed close to midnight. Since their public transportation system has essentially an early curfew, I had to take a $65 cab into the city. To add insult to injury, after specifically asking the cab driver whether he accepted credit cards, when we got to my hotel, he told me to take out cash across the street because he needed the money. That’s definitely not how I want to start any trip, arguing with a stranger at nearly 1 am over cab fare. But I wouldn’t fault an entire city for the actions of one person. The city has plenty of suck to go around. Here are the main reasons why I wasn’t impressed with San Francisco.
It’s not walkable
I blame the geography on this one. I like cities where I can get around by foot and take everything in. We stayed in a fairly central location and as such, when I looked up directions to the pier and saw that it was a mile and a half away, I was excited to take a nice stroll. The problem is that Google directions don’t account for incline. A mile and a half almost anywhere in the world is a pleasant walk. In San Francisco, it’s a death hike uphill, and when you’ve finally gotten up the top of the hill and you think it can only go downhill from there, you somehow end up continuing uphill in another direction. It’s exhausting and it’s not fun, especially after you’ve had a nice meal. You might as well sit down and digest for 3 hours before going anywhere. It wouldn’t be so bad if there were other ways to get around, like a good subway but…
The public transportation is horrible
The BART serves the entire Bay Area, so you can venture into Oakland and surrounding areas. You can also take the BART from the airport to a select few stations in San Francisco. You will likely still have to walk quite a way when you arrive at your destination stop. Unless you’re like me and you arrive after the midnight cut-off; then your only option is an expensive cab ride. To get around within San Francisco your best bet is the Muni. You know when you see stock footage of San Francisco in a movie or TV show, how they always show those cute little cable cars? That’s the Muni. They run the cable cars, buses, and light rails that you see all over the city. It’s a huge network of transportation and somehow it still manages to not get you anywhere you want to go, unless you really wanna get assaulted on 16th and Mission. The rails are slow, always off-schedule, and always packed. It’s an uncomfortable ride that makes you feel like just buying hiking boots and going it on foot.
It’s always foggy and cold
The weather in San Francisco is downright terrible. I love each of the seasons for different reasons. San Francisco doesn’t have any. It has the nastiest day of the year where it’s chilly and damp but not rainy, not snowy, and not clear all 365 days of the year. Everything is just a wet haze. One of the reasons I was really excited to go there was to see the Golden Gate Bridge. I’m a huge fan of bridges and the Golden Gate is the most iconic bridge in the country. In the entire time I was there, I didn’t see it once because it was always covered by a dense fog. To be honest, I can see why this is a popular spot to kill yourself. When you walk around at night, especially if you’re going uphill, you won’t see more than five feet in front of you so sometimes going out in SF is like being in a horror movie. Because of the humidity in the air, your hair and makeup are going to look like shit. This probably accounts for the fact that no one in the city really cares about how they look. Why would they?
It’s full of crazy homeless people
I have nothing against homeless people. But I have everything against a city that is so prohibitively expensive that it creates a very large homeless class. If I lived in San Francisco, I would probably live on the street, too. And I would be smelly and pissed off and crowding the Muni rail, so I sympathize. The problem is so common that San Fran actually has private bathrooms in the middle of the street to prevent the homeless from shitting all over their beautiful city. Though it has nice areas, many parts of the city are run-down and vandalized and more densely populated by the city’s homeless. If you take a Muni bus in the wrong direction, you just might end up there.
There is a line for everything
The one thing I won’t argue is that SF has world-class food and as the birthplace of Yelp, you can find out exactly where the best restaurants in the city are. The problem is so can everyone else. Every single meal we had in SF came with at least a 45 minute wait. And it’s not even the kind of wait where you can put your name down and they’ll call or text you when your food is ready so you can sit comfortably on a bench or go to a shop across the street. No, in San Francisco, you wait in line with 50 other people like you’re at a mess hall waiting for your ladle of slop. It’s super annoying and it happens for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And you know what? I don’t have time to wait in line for every meal of the day. After two or three days of that, I want to go to the first place that will treat me like a human being instead of a number in a line and give me a decent warm meal.
So I’m taking a stand. I don’t like San Francisco and I’m not sorry about it.