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11 Habits You Pick Up Living in San Francisco
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11 Habits You Pick Up Living in San Francisco

Picture of Deanna Morgado
Updated: 30 November 2017
When you live in a city long enough, you find yourself picking up a few habits unique to the area. It’s no different in San Francisco; stick around, and these habits will become ingrained in your DNA just like every other local San Franciscan.

You Layer Everything

Even though you just bought a brand new dress or outfit, you have no choice but to throw on at least one or two more layers to battle the San Francisco chill. Everyone has accepted having to hide their show-stopping ensemble, and you will too.

Weed is a Way of Life

This essentially encompasses all of California, but San Franciscans really take their cannabis seriously (as well as responsibly). It’s on the brink of becoming completely legal in the whole state, and there are dispensaries throughout the city. If you haven’t indulged before, you probably will in once you’re here. It’s unlikely to turn into a “habit,” but the topic—and opportunity—will definitely come up frequently.

Weed is a way of life | © nyuhuhuu/Flickr

You’ll Order Kale All the Time

This superfood has taken California by storm but has stuck around San Francisco indefinitely. Forget ordering that salad with iceberg lettuce. Kale will become the word you look for while scouring the menu at any restaurant.

Your ETA Will Always Depend on Traffic

San Francisco traffic has steadily increased in last decade or so. Nowadays, the constant rush-hour even rivals New York and Los Angeles. You might have every intention of getting to your lunch date at 1 p.m., but when you send your ETA, you’ll still automatically follow up with, “depending on traffic.”

Bringing Your Own Bags to the Grocery Store

San Francisco outlawed bags at grocery stores, so you can either pay the 10 cents per bag or simply buy reusable (and less wasteful) bags just once. You’ll get in the habit of bringing them with you everywhere.

You’ll Become a Coffee Snob

City dwellers take their coffee very seriously (even more so than cannabis). The history of coffee in San Francisco is a lot more rich and interesting than you might expect. Once you visit a couple of the numerous cafés and coffee shops, you’ll turn your nose up to the cruddy stuff in no time.

San Francisco coffee | © Faruk Ateş/Flickr

Hills Won’t Phase You

With so many steep inclines in so few square-miles, you’ll no longer dread walking up and down hills. You’ll find yourself scoffing at your walking route through the Russian Hill or Bernal Heights districts. That screaming in your thighs will just become your new normal.

Steep decline in San Francisco | © Joe Ross/Flickr

You’ll Support Mom-and-Pop Shops

Local businesses are incredibly important to San Franciscans. It’s even become a bit taboo to shop at major franchises or large companies. It’s only a matter of time before you also start heading to locally owned spots for all your needs.

Going to the Farmer’s Market

When the local grocery store gets a little tiresome, you’ll start to notice all the wonderful farmer’s markets that take place throughout San Francisco. The city’s farmer’s markets have some of the most beautiful produce, and you’ll never want to go to the store again. You’ll soon find yourself walking through them without even thinking and picking out some lovely strawberries and eggplant.

Crocker Galleria Farmer’s Market | © davitydave/Flickr


It’s completely inevitable. You can’t fight it. Live in San Francisco, or anywhere in Northern California, long enough, and you’ll be using the local slang term “hella” in no time.

Looking for Ways to Make More Money

San Francisco is extremely expensive, but you surely knew this before moving here. That said, looking up small ways to bring in some extra dollars will constantly be on your radar. Whether you’re scouring Craigslist ads or asking your local shop if they’d like some extra help during busy months, you’ll sniff out extra income like a money bloodhound.