Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

9 Differences Between Tourists and Locals in San Francisco

San Francisco Insider Guides
by Karin Swanson Oct 2, 2014
1. Tourists complain about the fog. Locals: parking.

Everyone complains about the hills.

2. Tourists take selfies on the Golden Gate Bridge. Locals: bikes.

The Golden Gate Bridge is an Instagram hot spot. Captions usually include “#somuchfog” and “#loveSanFran.” But for bike-loving locals (of which there are many), the bridge is the main transportation artery leading to the wondrous routes of the Headlands and Marin County.

3. Tourists call it “San Fran.” Locals: The City.

Who needs NYC or LA when your home base is San Francisco.

4. Tourists conquer Lombard Street. Locals: Lands End.

Locals avoid Lombard like the plague. While tourists walk or, god forbid, attempt to drive the meandering street, locals can be found hiking Lands End, the coastal trail that proves San Francisco is the ideal mix of nature and urban landscape.

5. Tourists treat the Haight like a historical time warp. Locals: home.

Haight Street and its surrounding area is one of those rare places where tourism and functionality converge. The neighborhood has become a popular spot for young urbanites to live, while still maintaining the historic counterculture it’s known for. We’ll see how long this duality lasts though…

6. Tourists go out in the Marina. Locals: Polk.

True, there are plenty of locals milling about Stock and Trade on a Saturday night, but these are mostly of the finance-bro variety. The area particularly tends to attract visiting European men.

7. Tourists spend their Saturdays at Fisherman’s Wharf. Locals: Dolores Park.

Why watch the seals at the wharf when you can people watch during a picnic at Dolores Park?

8. Tourists ferry out to Alcatraz. Locals: Angel Island.

Don’t get me wrong, every San Franciscan has stepped inside the bone-chilling cells at Alcatraz. But most locals would rather ferry out to Angel Island for a weekend of camping.

9. Tourists take cable cars. Locals: Muni.

Though Uber and Lyft are gradually taking over as the main mode of transit, at least among local 20-somethings.

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