Often when I travel, I try to avoid the typical tourist look. Not only does it help me to enjoy the city more as a local when I travel, but it helps to keep those who may prey on tourists away as well. I find that usually when I visit the more popular places in San Francisco there are some definite things that make people stick out as a tourist. I’ve consulted with a bunch of my local friends about how to blend in, and today I’m sharing a few of those tips with you.
- Dress for Fall in the Summer. The real Summer shows up around October when there is less fog.
- If you’re on a Blazing Saddles rental bike, you’re probably a tourist.
- No one local takes the Powell cable car regularly, but it’s fun if you have littles anyway.
- Don’t call it “San Fran”. People who live here call it “the city” or SF.
- Bring a jacket everywhere, even during the Summer.
- If you are wearing a San Francisco souvenir fleece, you’re likely a tourist.
- Very, very, very rarely are shorts appropriate in San Francisco.
- Wear layers! The city is full of micro-climates and the weather can change within a few blocks of walking.
- Don’t call it Frisco either. Shudder!
- Flip flops are a no-no. Nooooooo. Your feet will thank you later.
- Bring a reusable bag for shopping, plastic is illegal and you will pay for paper.
- Don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk, stand along the edge so you’re not blocking the flow of people walking.
- If you’ve never driven in a large city before, don’t bother.
- Parking is a nightmare if you choose to drive, but the Luxe app is a lifesaver. Get $20 off with the code “JESSICA149”.
- Back away from the selfie stick, this goes for everywhere.
- The fog’s name is Karl, and you can see @karlthefog on instagram!
- The yellow go cars are a dead giveaway that you are a tourist too.
- Bart will get you around some parts of the city, but taking Uber or walking is the best way to get around.
- If you only stay around the touristy areas, you will likely look like a tourist.
- There are a plethora of apps that work in San Francisco, look some up to make your life easier!
I hope this post doesn’t come across as negative, San Francisco is a great city, but those visiting might expect it to be like the sunnier version of California year-round and it’s not. For what it’s worth, here is my current SF Bay Area Bucket List and my San Francisco City Guide.
Do you have any tips for blending in with the locals in San Francisco?