16 Things People Miss When They Leave San Francisco

San Francisco Cityscape
San Francisco Cityscape | © Kevin Stanchfield / Flickr
Deanna Morgado

Locals will swear by the uniqueness and remarkability of San Francisco, and they love its quirks, including those that may even sound strange to others. And when San Franciscans leave, there’s a number of things that they will deeply miss.


San Francisco has some of the best tasting Mexican food that you’ll find outside its motherland. If you want some authentic tacos but can’t make it across the border over 500 miles away, San Francisco’s taquerias have got your back.

Adventures in the parks

There are numerous wonderfully pleasant parks in the city. And nothing can beat a rowdy afternoon in Dolores Park or an enjoyable, quiet picnic in Golden Gate Park. Countless festivals and events also take place in San Francisco’s green spaces; there’s always something to do. Everywhere else just doesn’t seem as fun.

Numerous farmers’ markets

Farmers’ markets are everywhere, running year-round. It seems that every neighborhood has its very own and unique street vending extravaganza. San Franciscans are truly spoiled when it comes to farmers’ markets, making it that much more difficult to leave it behind.

Peppers at the Ferry Building Farmers Market, San Francisco

The sourdough

Nothing beats San Francisco’s country-style sourdough bread. The one-of-a-kind taste and spike of the sourdough is something that should be on everyone’s food bucket list. It’s like San Francisco in a bite.

Everyone’s heightened sense of liberalism

San Franciscans pride themselves on their liberal ways of life and thinking—maybe even to a fault. But ultimately, it’s just as endearing as it is pretentious. It’ll surprisingly leave you longing for the politically correct and ways of progressive-thinking.

The public art

You can virtually walk down any street of this city and catch a glimpse of the funky street art scene. Public art is not only a norm in San Francisco—it’s a staple. All the colors and textures and images give the city a vibrancy that can’t be found anywhere else.

A mural in San Francisco

Catching the sunset over the Sutro Baths

The century-old bathhouse is a perfect place to watch a Bay Area sunset without actually leaving the city. Nature’s imagery reflecting off the ruins’ seawater pools is an experience only San Franciscans can understand.

Sunset at the Sutro Baths

And, of course, there’s Karl

This foggy city has endearingly named its spraying mist Karl the Fog, and no one can ever forget him. Though you may not have always been happy to see him in the middle of summer when the sun should be shining, Karl blanketing the city streets sets the poetic scene that has won over millions of hearts. But no matter what, you’ll always follow Karl the Fog’s Instagram.


The strong LGBTQIA community

San Francisco is considered the gay capital of the world, with a rich history that doesn’t just stop in the Castro District. There is so much to explore throughout the city that will educate and submerge you into the culture. Nowhere else in the world can you find out how to paint the town red—and orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

The other deeply rooted heritage

San Francisco has the oldest and most established Chinatown in the country. Its iconic Dragon Gate takes you to another world.

Chinatown, San Francisco, California

Mandatory brunching

One of San Francisco’s unspoken jewels is the brunch options. Each mimosa will seem boozier than the last. No matter what district you’re in, you better believe there’ll be many brunch spots. In San Francisco, brunch is an absolute must that no one is complaining about.

Bridges for days

There’s not just the famous Golden Gate Bridge to marvel at in the city. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on the other side of the city is the Golden Gate’s more monochromatic counterpart. The bridges in San Francisco make for jaw-dropping photo ops and inspiring sites.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Hearts in Union Square

Love always seems to be in the air thanks to the Hearts in San Francisco. Inspired by Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” heart sculptures are visible in places such as Union Square, San Francisco City Hall, and AT&T Park. Various artists have contributed to painting these hearts; it’s a San Francisco staple of love.


Hills, hills, and more hills

Another one of San Francisco’s quirks the locals love to hate is the hills. Inclines throughout the city leave drivers with their foot to the floor and the legs of walkers burning. But what can we say? San Francisco wouldn’t be itself without Twin Peaks and Corona Heights.

Crazy hills of San Francisco

The “secret” hideaways

San Francisco can feel small at times, with no escape from the buzzing metropolis. But that’s certainly not the case. There always seems to be a new place tucked away and so secluded that it can make you feel like the city is yours.

The Bay’s diversity

The Bay Area’s diversity isn’t really like anywhere else. One weekend you’re hiking to see some shipwrecks at Land’s End, and the next you’re touring the modern grounds of Twitter on the Embarcadero. F.O.M.O., or Fear Of Missing Out, runs rampant in the city. There are so many activities and events to choose from that you will want to do them all. And no other city makes it possible like San Francisco.

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