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10 Ways to Win Over San Francisco Natives

San Francisco
by Alex Bresler Feb 23, 2018

San Franciscans are an interesting breed: equal parts artsy and outdoorsy, high-energy and low-maintenance. We appreciate the finer things in life, which to us means everything from eating at world-class restaurants to sharing meals with friends and family. (Yes, we’re food-obsessed — even our airport has Cowgirl Creamery cheese and vegan burgers on Acme buns.) At the end of the day, we love nothing more than meeting new people and consider ourselves worth getting to know as well. Refer to these tips next time you encounter an SF native, and you might just make a friend for life.

1. Bribe us with burritos.

San Franciscans are usually hungry and always in the mood for Mexican. We eat tacos like Tic Tacs and swap carnitas spots in lieu of small talk, but above all else, we share in a constant burrito craving. Sure, we argue about which Mission taqueria does the district’s signature burrito best, but one thing rings true for us all: once we start on about our city’s unofficial culinary mascot, the only way to shut us up is to shove tortilla-wrapped goodness down our throats. And we’ll absolutely adore you for it.

2. Recommend a good bookstore.

Even more than we love a good book, SF natives love a good bookstore. We grew up around the corner from local institutions like City Lights and Green Apple Books, venturing as far as Marin’s Book Passage for weekend literary events. Just be warned: if you turn us on to someplace cool, we’ll more than likely enlist your company for the inaugural visit.

3. Show us your favorite trails.

Hiking is a way of life in the Bay Area, which comes as little surprise given its location between the Pacific and a string of national parks and forests. San Franciscans have even mastered urban hiking to assuage our post-work urges. Whether we’re in our backyard or yours, maintaining a mental map of the nearest trails is not only guaranteed to impress but will also increase your chances of running into us in the wild.

4. Introduce us to your pooch.

Dogs truly are our best friends, and they’re welcome just about everywhere in SF, from our beaches to our bars. Most of us compulsively pet every pooch we pass on the street and simply melt in the face of canine cuteness — not to mention anyone as puppy-crazy as we are — so you can always count on your four-legged friend to break the ice.

5. Sip Fernet with a straight face.

No one loves the biting Italian spirit quite like a San Franciscan, for reasons even we can’t understand. In fact, one of our favorite pranks to pull on a night out is recommending shots of the ironically hard-to-stomach digestif to unsuspecting bar-goers. The bittersweet news: if you can make it through your first shot without wincing, the next round is most definitely on us.

6. Ditch the dress code.

You can wear jeans to the War Memorial Opera House without fear of being side-eyed by those dressed to the nines. Our easygoing attitude in the Bay Area at large is definitely reflected in our style, which generally ranges from casual to casual chic. For the best chance of a yes when extending invitations to SF natives, avoid suggesting anyplace we can’t rock denim.

7. Talk Animal Style to us.

The sooner you admit that Animal Style is the only way to eat fries, the sooner we can be friends.

8. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

This pro-environment pledge was uttered so often in my elementary school classrooms, it could have been mistaken for our school slogan. We go green whenever possible in San Francisco, be it by driving hybrids in the carpool lane, riding fixies in the bike lane, or bringing our own bags to the grocery store. As a rule, we’re always down to talk about sustainable produce and water-saving measures, so you’ll always have a handy conversation starter.

9. Go all out in costume.

San Franciscans love to get festive, and we always dress the part. Costumes are non-negotiable when it comes to local celebrations like Bay to Breakers and the Haight Ashbury Street Fair. To the untrained eye, even weekdays in certain parts of the city probably look a little bit like Halloween. Our favorite getups fall into three categories: neon or rainbow-colored, clever or creative, and nearly nude or straight-up naked.

10. Be tolerant. Better yet, be kind.

We do one better than the Golden Rule in San Francisco: we treat people the way they wish to be treated. We were born in a progressive bastion and raised to accept everyone who accepts others, which means that, more often than not, the easiest way to win us over is as simple as a smile.

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