San Francisco Through The Eyes Of A Local

Red bridge across blue water. Things to do in San Francisco

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Diversity and open-mindedness. San Francisco is a special city like no other around the world. Not only because of its jaw-dropping landscapes, but also because of its lively atmosphere. And that’s why I’m so happy to say that this week’s interview is about San Francisco!

Lindsey will share with us a bunch of tips and insider’s recommendations to fully enjoy the city! Curious about other cities around the globe? Then check our archives for many other interviews of the “Through the Eyes of a Local” series.

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?

Black woman smiling at the camera. Things to do in San Francisco

What’s up all! My name is Lindsey (blogger at Adventures of a Lostgirl) and I am from San Francisco or as the locals like to call it “the city.” In my spare time I write, paint, travel, talk to my cat and enjoy a good beer with good company. I am here to tell you some important facts about my beautiful city, San Francisco – a USA bucket list destination for many people out there! And this is not the normal, run-of-the-mill touristy places to check out. This is information from a local. So if you are looking to have the insiders guide to San Francisco keep reading.

What do you like about San Francisco?

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. It has friendly people, some of the best restaurants in the world, and maintains fairly unchanged weather, which is perfect for travelers all year around.

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Which 3 places do you highly recommend paying a visit in San Francisco?

In an effort not to give you the obvious Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Union Square, the three places I recommend for you to visit are:

Ocean beach

It’s a beautiful place to hangout and to watch the blue Pacific ocean. Flying kites, surfing, bonfires are some of the many things you will see on the farthest side of the west coast. I warn you, bring a warm coat, it gets windy.

Cliff House

Nearby there is also the Cliff House restaurant. Established in 1858, it is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area since 1977. This place serves really great San Franciscan food! The Cliff House features two restaurants, the casual dining Bistro Restaurant, and the more formal Sutro’s. So whether you are looking for a tasty and affordable or classy and high-end this is a great spot to experience the SF coast and food.

House on a cliff and sunset. Things to do in San Francisco
Cliff House Restaurant

Giants Game

When visiting San Francisco, between March – September you can go to a Giants game.

This is a great way to really get to see the American culture, as baseball is considered to be the “great American past-time.”

Tickets are priced as low as $25.00 for bleacher seats placed behind the outfield. Although baseball isn’t everyone game, the real experience is getting to eat a hot dog, and drink a cola as you watch the fans cheer for their team. Some games even have a big firework show at the end.

The food and drinks in the stadium are admittedly on the expensive side. For example, a beer might cost about $10.00 and a hot dog about $13.00 but the food is good and the atmosphere fun.

Did I mention the stadium is strategically placed right on the bay waters? So if you head to the west side of the stadium you can watch the passing boats on the Pacific ocean waters.

If you bring children with you there are a few areas in the stadium where they can hangout and play. Kids 14 years or younger can check out the Coca-Cola Superslide – with four slides (two 56 feet and two 20 feet long) – or play ball at the “Little Giants park.” Another cool feature to the park in the Garden. Two restaurants can be found in The Garden, Hearth Table and Garden Table which offers a healthy menu with fruits and veggies. In addition to a unique food experience, it is also a hands-on place of learning for kids to understand the importance of eating healthy.

Haight and Ashbury

This is another great place to check out some for some vintage shopping and local restaurants. This historical location for hippies and free love folk of the 1960’s is now a high-end neighborhood with lots of fun San Franciscan things to check out.

Fun fact: on the corner of Haight and Ashbury there is a clock placed that the time 4:20 pm (16:20), has become known as the designated time for the consumption of marijuana. In fact, throughout the United States, 420 is a well-known number to signify consumption of this herb.

Bikes parked near wall covered in graffiti. Things to do in San Francisco
Graffiti in Haight and Ashbury

And which place should people avoid?

The Tenderloin district located between the Union Square and Civic Center is reported to be a dangerous place in the city to visit, especially at night. Even during the day, it is the one area in the city that should be avoided just to be on the safe side.

What is the best way to get around San Francisco? Is it easy to reach nearby cities?

BART – Bay Area Rapid Transportation.

An underground line that connects people to different areas of the San Francisco and the East Bay. Where the BART has its limits, you can take Uber. An alternative “taxi” system.. Just download the application. With one click of a button you can call an Uber driver directly to your location, and with GPS navigation you can watch as you ride arrives.

How travel-friendly is the city?

San Francisco is an international city. People from all over the world come to live and work it’s an amazing atmosphere. English is the native language if the United States and Spanish as its second most used language in California.

The airport is most easily reached by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) which has several stops in San Francisco and reaches across the bay waters to the East Bay which includes stops in Oakland, Berkeley and more.

Tram going up street in a city. Things to do in San Francisco

How safe is San Francisco? Is it ok to walk around with your camera or alone at night?

While the overall city is not a particularly dangerous place I would advise not to go walking around by yourself at night. As in most cities, there are particularly bad areas, such as the Tenderloin,  that have more riff-raff. But in groups of three or more, you are less like to have issues.

What is the most characteristic aspect of your culture?

I would say the most famous characteristic about the San Francisco culture is that is home to the largest LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) community in the world.

Can you tell us where we can find the best view of the city?

The Twin Peaks, placed geographically in the center of San Francisco, is probably the most well-known place to view the entire city. You can also get a lovely view of San Francisco at night from the top of Lombard street with a nice view of the Coit Tower.

You can also get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Golden Gate Bridge Viewpoint, the first exit off the bridge as you leave the city.

Lined houses and building in the background. Things to do in San Francisco
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What is the most traditional dish in San Francisco?

I would have to say the King crab legs are the best! You can also check out the clam chowder bread bowl at Boudins, or a Lobster sandwich from the street cars at fisherman’s wharf. Seafood, in general, is the best edible representation of San Francisco with so many different and tasty dishes to eat. And so many places to dine.

Could you recommend a local bar and a restaurant?

Whenever I have friends or family coming to visit I love to take them to a local pub called Johnny Foleys. With the lovely feature of comedic dueling piano players.

If you are looking to get a really tasty hamburger, I really enjoy going to Super Duper Burger on Market Street. It’s not a fancy place, but the burgers are good and they made their own pickles! Yummmy!

What is the biggest tourist trap of San Francisco?

Houses and some trees next to the sea. Things to do in San Francisco

The biggest tourist trap would be Pier 39. It is a small amusement park of rides, stores, and restaurants that are, frankly, overpriced. However, taking a stroll around the area to check out the shops and rides it could be a fun stop to make.

Can you tell us a memory that you have in this city?

I took some of my girlfriends out to the city for a night of girl power, and cocktails. We took BART to a fun nightclub where we danced until 3 in the morning. At the end of the night, we headed to the station to take us back to our neighborhood.

Only to find the station was closed.

We decided to walk to the next station hoping that only a few lines had closed down. No such luck. One after the other, each station was closed, at which point the girls were tired, freezing cold and with sore feet. Since we were a group of ten there was not enough space in one taxi.

With no other hope, I had to wake and call my boyfriend to come to get us.

The lesson of this story? Be aware that the underground closes at midnight every night. If you find yourself out past midnight you will have to find an Uber or a taxi. It wasn’t funny in the moment but looking back I can giggle at the image often women dressed in cocktail dresses hobbling down the street for two hours looking for a way to get home. What a sight we must have been.

Could you describe the people of San Francisco?

The beautiful thing about San Francisco is that it is such a diverse city. Such a mix of people, cultures, cuisines, and lifestyles. Diversity is most definitely the best experience we have to offer for travelers looking for a city of open-mindedness.

Tell us a fun fact of San Francisco.

According to sftourismtips.com, “San Francisco is only seven miles long by seven miles wide. Due to its small size, it makes it really easy to see a lot in SF in just one day”.

What piece of advice would you give to readers who want to visit your hometown?

Blue houses next to each other and blue sky. Things to do in San Francisco

With the intention of keeping it real. It’s hard to visit San Francisco on a budget. Finding a place to stay in the city for less than $80.00 a night is difficult. You can always try couch surfing but make sure you do your research before committing to a couch.

Is over tourism a problem in your city? If so, could you explain why and how?

Because San Francisco is such an international city, it may seem like it is saturated with tourism but it’s really just a busy city. Places like the Golden Gate Bridge or Pier 39 you may find those parts of the city to be filled with tourist. Outside of those iconic spots, the city runs as normal as expected.

What is the biggest misconception other countries have about the USA?

To avoid planting the seed of prejudices or misconceptions I will refrain from commenting on them.

Can you tell us a book based on the United States?

While I am an avid reader, most of my literary adventures happen in countries and worlds outside of the US. Although I can recommend a few of my favorite historical movies, that are based on books, which are based in the United States.

That’s all I have for you! I hope you do get to visit my amazing city. It is unlike any other place in the world. So much history, diversity, art, and food.

Get to know Lindsey

Lindsey is the founder of Adventures of a Lostgirl. She writes about her adventures to connect people to their most desired destinations. She wants to show that travel is possible for everyone. Those with jobs, families, or other obligations can have their own adventures. And this lostgirl will show you how.

Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Interested in more interviews? Then check our archives of the “Through the Eyes of a Local” series to read a bunch of tips about many cities around the globe.

You might also want to read: Guide to Monterey Peninsula, a great day trip from San Francisco

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