The San Francisco Tourist Guide

I was quite intrigued by an article [now long gone] which talked about what are apparent commonalities that all guide books must share about New York City as all tourists stick to these guidelines. In looking around, I was astounded to see that apparently the same is true about San Francisco and as is follows:

  • San Francisco is often called “The City” by locals in the area. Unknown to many, “Frisco” is the actual preferred name. Call it that often. You’ll find yourself blending in faster this way.
  • There are four tourists attractions in San Francisco: The Bridge, The Crooked Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Cable Cars. Sometimes they are incorrectly called the “Golden Gate”, “Lombard Street”, “I never go there”, and “Much slower than any other actual public transportation”. In common conversation you may need to resort to this lower class vernacular in order to communicate with your taxi drivers as to where you want to go.
  • Once you have seen these four attractions, San Francisco offers a wonderful array of Irish Pubs for the weary traveler to sit back and enjoy.
  • Walking. Whoa, whoa, whoa! This isn’t Los Angeles, is it? People really like walking here and it can be quite sickening to those not accustomed to it. Take a pedicab along the Embarcadero once you are done with the four main attractions and have had your fill of tipple at the Irish Pub.
  • Make sure to take a taxi or airport shuttle for approximately $25-40 from the airport, especially if your hotel is at Powell and Market. The BART metro from the airport to Powell and Market is only for locals and you will be incarcerated immediately if seen attempting to use it!
  • By advised that you are better off taking a taxi to the Golden Gate Bridge instead of the 28 bus. You could very well encounter what every tourist hates on that bus: other tourists.
  • Stay out of the Tenderloin at all costs. You could quite easily be killed! There are no delicious Vietnamese, Thai, or Indian restaurants there at all!
  • Make sure to take a picture standing next to one of the heart sculptures on Union Square. No one has done this before, so you need to make sure to focus your camera for 5-10 minutes to get the shot just right. Repeat as many times as necessary and stand as far in the middle of the sidewalk as possible to get your perfect shot. The locals will understand.
  • If by chance you find yourself on public transportation (this is highly unadvised), when taking the escalator, make sure to block the entire escalator step. The locals always step right, just in case tourists need to get past. They’re really nice people that way.
  • Despite the size of Chinatown, there is only place to eat Chinese food, which is House of Nanking. This establishment knows how to cater to the tourist well, ordering their most expensive dishes for you and charging accordingly.
  • Likewise, there is only one place to eat Italian food in all of North Beach which is the Stinking Rose. The name is so incredibly clever. Hilarious even. Genius. The name to end all names. Something to comment on forever and ever as you belch yourself in to an Irish pub induced sleep.
  • Taxi drivers are incredibly helpful in San Francisco. No matter how short the distance, they will always take tourists the longest way possible to give them the chance to show off their magnificent city.
  • Do. Not. Buy. A. Transit. Pass. Or. Clipper. Card. The convenience of being able to not hold up a bus or train while you board, nor have to remember to take any money for the fare, nor having to remember to get a transfer is far overshadowed by the fact that if you will actually have to use the pass to get your money out of it and why do that when there are so many friendly taxi drivers.
  • Make sure to tip at least 25% in restaurants and 50% in bars. While this may seem steep, it challenges the locals to tip higher and they’re the type of people who thrive on challenge. Plus, it balances out the meager 10-15% that they leave, thus providing servers with the comfortable existence they deserve for writing down an order and then walking back with it; getting it right most of the time.
  • Pick any hill in the downtown. Walk one block of it. Stop. Then ask “How in the heck do all these people do this all the time?” An option is to have your travel companion take a photo of you on the hill, but be advised that San Francisco hills are full of gay magic/wicca and appear flat in photos.
  • Rent a car if for no other reason than to drive down the Crooked Street while filming it on your camcorder.
  • Take the Cable Car, stand at the front and use your camcorder to film all 3.4km of the trip. Each moment will grow ever more precious upon consecutive viewings at home.
  • Skip Alcatraz Island. It’s just a prison and let’s be honest, we saw all the best parts in “The Rock”, especially the underground mine which the authorities don’t let you see anyways as it’s a conspiracy.
  • Wear shorts. All the time. San Francisco has a reputation for being cold, but it is surprisingly warm year round. Short pants are an excellent choice of attire for your outings. If for some reason the weather unpredictably changes in the afternoon, there are always helpful merchants waiting to clothe your in the latest Alcatraz fashions for your enjoyment.
  • View the gays in the Castro with special care, preferably from the safe confines of a moving vehicle. Actually setting foot in the Castro could very well give you, “the gay” and force you to live your life in as “fabulous” a manner as possible, which could very well kill you.
  • There are approximately 30 museums in San Francisco. Likewise, there are approximately 50 Irish Pubs. Obviously, you should visit all the Irish pubs and not the museums because if locals thought the museums were better they would have built more of them and less of the Pubs.