How to P*ss Off Someone from San Francisco


Tourist gather on Lombard St. (Photo: Ralf Naegele/Flickr)

I get to live on one of the most touristed streets in San Francisco—Hyde Street in Russian Hill, near that curvy block of Lombard.  I’m mostly honored by it, even when I can’t drive to the grocery store without almost running over some visitor standing on the road, clicking pictures of Alcatraz.

But we San Franciscans live in a unique city, which means we have some unique pet peeves. However, if you avoid these annoying out-of-towner gaffes, you’ll be sure to make friends here. The following is a list of what not to do:


Stop using “San Fran” or “Frisco” (Photo: Quite Peculiar/Flickr)

Call our city “Frisco” or “San Fran”

We’ve been griping about these lazy perversions of our name for decades (just try calling Los Angeles “Los Ang”), but no one seems to listen. San Fran just sounds like something a tourist would say, and Frisco sounds like a drunken slur. If you want to get on our good side, it’s either the full name, the initials S.F., or if you really want to sound local, “the city.” OK? Let’s move on.


It’s just a hill, get over it! (Photo: Steve Calcott/Flickr)

Complain about the steep hills

Keeping fit is a way of life for San Franciscans. Rather than party until last call on the weekend, many of us go to bed early so we can wake up and surf the mightiest waves, hike the steepest trails, and strike the toughest yoga poses. Even the less adventurous of us, like me, walk up and down these hills every day. So don’t complain to us about your calves hurting just because you’ve lugged yourself up a one-block incline to get Swensen’s ice cream? Feel the burn, my friend.

Related: San Francisco Cheat Sheet


Crowds of people on a MUNI light rail (Photo: torbakhopper/Flickr)

Act weird about taking the bus

To people from a car culture, getting around on our Muni system may seem beneath them, but when parking here is a Game of Thrones-type bloodsport, you adapt to it quickly. It’s actually acceptable to take your date on the bus here. So stop acting so smug and say hello to the crazy guy sitting next to you.


In San Francisco you always need a light jacket. (Photo: Latteda/Flickr)

Presume it’s warm here in the summer

The simple things make me laugh, like watching a cable car full of tourists wearing San Francisco hoodies they obviously picked up in Union Square because they didn’t know that summer here is foggy and chilly. Every year. At the risk of sounding like a company man, get the Yahoo Weather app and plan ahead, will ya?


U-Lee restaurant in Russian Hill (Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr)

Tell us you want the “real” San Francisco experience, then insist on Fisherman’s Wharf and tourist-trap restaurants

Places like the Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, and the Full House Painted Ladies were clichés 20 years ago, and I wouldn’t wish them on a Dodgers fan when we have such fresher options. While many of us are conflicted by the gentrification of San Francisco, the good news is that you can take your mom to gritty-turned-upscale neighborhoods like the Mission and SoMa, take your kids to gleaming new museums like the Exploratorium, and take your honey to a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant in Russian Hill that’s better than other cities’ Michelin stars (it’s called U-Lee, if you’re curious). Our calendars are full of quirky, stimulating social events every day of the week. So be open to something new.

Related: How To P*ss Off A New Yorker in 12 Easy Steps


How much do you pay? I bet we pay more (Photo: Kevin Dooley/Flickr)

Tell us you’re thinking of renting an apartment here

Say this out loud and watch the face of the tech employee making six figures contort into a pained expression. Why? Because they’re having to fight 20 other tech employees for a puny room at an open house like it’s Black Friday at the mall. You know it’s more expensive here than Manhattan, right? Please don’t make it worse.


(Photo: Shutterstock)

Say anything nice about L.A.

Is our collective disgust at L.A.’s superficial celebrity culture, tacky fashions, and healthy skin tones completely rational? Not really. But if you’re going to talk about which beach is better, we suggest taking Baker over Venice.

Related: How to P*ss Off Someone from Los Angeles


Fresh cup of joe (Photo: Protographer22/Flickr)

“Starbucks is just as good as any other coffee, right?”

We just spat out our organic, single origin Blue Bottle espresso.

This applies to all kinds of drinks for us – microbrews, a Russian River pinot noir, local cocktail ingredients, you name it. People really care about the details here.


The Mission District (Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr)

Take sides in the Mission vs. Marina feud

Like the Jets vs. Sharks, or Montagues vs. Capulets, you’re best off staying neutral or risk offending someone. To the Mission and their acolytes (Potrero Hill, Dogpatch), the Marina is really just a sleeper cell embedded by Los Angeles to secretly turn our city into one giant frat party. To the Marina and theirs (Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights), the Mission is full of aloof, above-it-all hipsters. Stick to talking up the Giants, whom we all love, and you’ll be fine.

Get too close to us on your Segway or GoCar tour

We’ll promise not to point out how cheesy those things look if you promise not to take out our kneecaps.


You’re weird for not wearing a costume at Bay to Breakers (Photo: Bhautik Joshi/Flickr)

Laugh at our costumes and call them childish

Halloween is just a warm-up out here, with grown adults wearing costumes for 12k races, Santa conventions, pride parades, random themed house parties, and sometimes just because it’s Wednesday. But think twice before you mock that guy who spent months putting together a transformable Optimus Prime outfit – he’s probably the CEO of the next Instagram.

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