Lessons learned in San Francisco

August 5, 2008 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment

I’ve been to San Francisco about a dozen times over the past three years.  Over these trips, I’ve learned a few things about the city, but some of these were forgotten until this most recent trip.  Without further ado: 

Lesson #1: Just because it’s “summer” doesn’t mean it’s summer in San Francisco.

It’s August 5th.  I just left 80+ degree temperatures in San Diego and had my air conditioner on almost the entire way up here.  San Francisco, however, has greeted me with ~ 60 degree temps.  WTF?  I knew this could happen.  I don’t know why I didn’t think about it.  Mark Twain once said “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”  Oh well…let’s just say I came woefully underprepared (no jacket, only sandals aside from my running shoes…ughh).  I might be going shopping.

Lesson #2:  Nice hotels charge more for everything.

Even if you get a great price on a great hotel room like I did, remember that nice hotels charge more for everything.  Granted, I’m not too concerned about the $50/day for parking considering I got a room at one of the nicest historic hotels in SF for $100/day, but that price is ridiculous!  Frankly, I was a little shocked that the internet was free.  Everything else is overpriced.  Oh well.  

Lesson #3: Nob Hill is close to everything but easily accessible to nothing.

If you’re unfamiliar with Nob Hill, take a look at the picture above.  Now, add one more hill about that size.  The picture is actually towards Nob Hill from the Fisherman’s Wharf area, but when you get up this first hill, there’s actually a flat portion and then another hill which isn’t visible from this vantage point (trust me, I ran up them both today).  This is the second time I’ve stayed on Nob Hill, but for some reason I didn’t remember that everything is downhill from it.  Nob Hill lords over San Francisco and its peasants (restaurants, bars, shops, etc.) all bow loyally at the bottom of it.  Unless you plan on taking cabs everywhere or have some sick perversion for hills, stay in another area.


Granted, I may just be a bit tired and therefore a bit pissy.  Or maybe it’s the fact that I just walked about a mile downhill in the freezing wind to eat some Thai food.  Granted, the Thai food was well worth it, but still.  I do love San Francisco, don’t get me wrong.  The city’s views are amazing and the food is great.  When the weather is nice in San Francisco, I have no reservations in claiming that it is probably the most beautiful city in the world (and yes, I’ve been to Paris and Rome…the two other contenders for this title).  

On a side note, I do find it distressing that in every big city you tend to find a great deal of trash on the streets when you get out of the tourist areas and nicer parts of the city.  I can only guess that this is a combination of less street cleaning funds being diverted to these areas and more litter from residents.  I’ve experienced this phenomenon every single major city I’ve ever been to (NY, London, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, LA, SF).  I’m sure most tourists don’t see these areas so it probably never becomes an issue, but as a person who likes to explore all areas of every city he visits, I really hate the truth sometimes.


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