Photo: Ekaterina Pokrovsky/Shutterstock

23 Things That Suck About Living in San Francisco (and 5 That Make It Worth It)

San Francisco
by Victor Beigelman Sep 3, 2013
1. Rent

Let’s get this one out of the way. Rent is high.

2. Peter Shih / start-up bros

Oh Peter Shih. We love you. You took a stab at a satirical blasting of San Francisco and fell horribly, terribly flat. Thanks for giving the city a chance to unite in glorious fashion to crucify you and your pretentious complaints. You’re the loudest proof that start-up / tech folk need to spend less time whining about their surroundings and actually contribute to the city in which they’ve skyrocketed rent.

3. 2am last call

It seems like 2am comes earlier and earlier every time you go out. This may have something to do with not arriving at the bars until 1am. Nevertheless, 2am last call seriously puts a damper on a good time. There has been some recent talk about getting this extended to 4am like a normal, civilized metropolis.

4. Never getting to wear shorts

The coldest winter Mark Twain ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. Sad, but there’s never been a more accurate and potent description of the city’s weather. Living in SF gives validation to the unreasonable amount of time you spend searching for the perfect pair of jeans.

5. Bandwagon fans

The recent upswing in Bay Area sports has breathed significant life into the city. This is good for the most part, until you have to start putting up with new fans who don’t know a baseball from an avocado (just kidding, this is California, everyone knows what an avocado looks like).

On the real though, going to AT&T Park on a Friday is like a sports-themed frat party. Bandwagoners throw on a hat and drink $9.50 beers until they throw up on the season-ticket holders actually watching the games.

6. The lack of jobs actually in SF

An unreasonable number of people are making the reverse commute every day — Silicon Valley and the fleet of Google buses are the dead giveaway why. Not that we need all the tech companies to cram into the city (nor do we want that to happen), but that’s not the only industry underrepresented in the city.

Part of keeping the “small big city” feel means keeping the businesses out — consider yourself extremely lucky if you both live and work in San Francisco.

7. 16th and Mission

Although gentrification is in full swing up and down Valencia, parts of Mission remain terrible black holes. None is worse than the 16th and Mission Bart station. ‘Culture’ is fine and everything, but let’s find a way to promote it without pissing everywhere and shouting gibberish at people trying to go about their daily lives.

8. The unreliability of Muni / Caltrain

Might as well delete your Transit / iNextBus / Google Maps public transport apps, because they aren’t going to help you get anywhere on time.

9. The creeping fear of an earthquake

Let’s not jinx anything.

10. The new Bay Bridge that will never be finished

We’re using over six billion taxpayer dollars and can’t get the nuts and bolts right? Come on.

11. People in Oakland who think they’re cooler than you

Just because living in Oakland is more alt than San Francisco doesn’t make it better. You can still live in San Francisco and not be pretentious.

12. Dating

While OkCupid, Grindr, and Tinder are great sources of entertainment, forming actual, meaningful relationships in San Francisco can be tough. If you do find someone worth splitting a Netflix account with, they more than likely have either a boyfriend, girlfriend, or murder charge.

13. Paying $8+ to take Bart to SFO

This actually makes sense, but it’s still a pain in the ass to pay over twice the amount you pay to get anywhere else on Bart just to get to the airport.

14. Waiting at least an hour to be seated for brunch unless you go at 10am

Brunching is a competitive sport in San Francisco, and it’s not for the weak of wallet or heart. Like a strip of bacon, you can really get burned out here. The key is being prepared to wait. That means the two most common reasons to brunch — being hungry and being hungover — are not encouraged.

15. Leaving the Mission when it’s 75 degrees to go to the Richmond where it’s 60

See #4. If you want any chance at warm weather, don’t venture toward the ocean. Be wary of dressing lightly even if the sun’s shining downtown. Once you move west and the fog grabs you, it’s not going to let go.

16. Taxi drivers complaining about Lyft

Honestly, why are you mad at us? We like convenience. The customer is always right. When someone comes in and disrupts your market, you adapt. Quit complaining and stop taking the long way with the meter on. We can see what you’re doing.

17. The End Up being the only place to go after 2am

See #3. The End Up is fun, but we don’t need to group all the people who like staying out past 2am in one place. Let’s get a few more options and avoid this strange mixed bag of night owls.

18. Parking

Doesn’t matter if you had the best day of your life. 20 minutes of looking for a spot around your apartment will get rid of that, no problem.

19. Biking up hills

Like that bead of sweat inching its way down your back, biking up hills is a terribly disgusting and slow process. If only there were a Wiggle for every daunting hill.

20. Neighborhood stereotypes

Yeah, the Mission is full of hipsters. Yeah, the Haight is full of hippies. But this isn’t a complete representation of either neighborhood, despite what bourgie restaurants and vagrants will suggest on the surface, respectively. Stereotypes exist for a reason, but it sucks that you get slapped with a label immediately when you move into your apartment.

21. The beach that isn’t the beach

In a hostel in Europe, you will tell four French girls that you are from California and they will ask if you surf every day. You will show them the scar from when you got your appendix out and tell them you wiped out on some rocks back in ’07.

The beach in SF isn’t the beach, and it’s time we accept this.

22. $5 coffees

I once read in a history book that coffee used to be a complimentary drink given away for free. What a novel concept.

23. You can’t get Chinese food in the Mission, or a burrito in the Richmond

The food in the city is incredible, but often you’re limited by the neighborhood you live in. Sure, San Francisco is only 7×7 miles, but it all becomes relative. Who wants to make the trek to go get amazing dim sum in the Richmond if you live in the Mission? Yep, fourth burrito this week.


And the 5 that make it all worth it


1. The food

Despite neighborhood restrictions, you really can’t go wrong with food in the city. The gourmet cuisine from all around the globe will almost make you forget there’s a bill coming.

2. All the different people

Sportos, motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, and dickheads — for better or worse, you will find all walks of life in San Francisco. Each of them contribute a unique aspect to a city overflowing with culture.

3. The outdoors

The city is one big photo opp. Whether it’s going on a bike ride in Golden Gate Park, taking a hike up Twin Peaks, or getting down with the kids in Dolores Park, the city is one of the best places in the world to spend time outside all year long, shorts or no.

4. The apps

You can’t count the number of apps created just to improve your social life in San Francisco. Sosh, Nextdoor, Grouper, UpOut, Spoton.It, the list goes on. And of course, who could forget Lyft.

5. Progressivism

There is progressivism and there is San Francisco progressivism. San Francisco is the most forward-thinking place in the country, and we’re mighty proud of it. There isn’t an alternative lifestyle that isn’t accepted here — as long as you recycle.

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