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31 things that will definitely happen to you when you move to San Francisco

31 things that will definitely happen to you when you move to Sa
Photograph: Shutterstock

San Francisco is an amazing place to live, though it definitely takes some getting used to—not least going about your business in a cityscape so picturesque that even modes of public transportation are tourist attractions. But you'll settle in, we promise. And to help smooth your transition, these are the things you should prepare yourself for. You’ll feel like a native in no time—and agree that SF kicks our SoCal counterpart’s ass.

1. You will be socially shamed into becoming a hiker/biker/runner/triathlete, whether you're athletic or not.

2. You will learn to love the medicinal kick of Fernet.

3. You will start making hummus from scratch, culturing yogurt, pickling vegetables, brewing beer, roasting coffee, baking bread or infusing spirits.

4. You will experiment with commuting by bus, Muni Metro and BART before realizing it's faster in almost all circumstances to bike.

5. You will realize that "notes of peach nectar, cherry cola and retro-nasal floral" is describing your coffee, not your wine.

6. You will wear a winter coat, hat, and scarf to the beach. In July.

7. You will scoff at tourists taking photos of the Transamerica Pyramid, Full House house, and Ferry Building—but you'll still take endless pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.

8. You will post artfully composed Instagram photos of your farmers' market haul. #bounty

9. You will go to a party, then realize you've stumbled into a cult of strategy board-game enthusiasts.

10. You will struggle to remember which of your friends are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, Paleo, dairy-free or pescatarian.

11. You or your significant other will be granted a medical marijuana license for a made-up affliction.

12. You will befriend, date or find an apartment through a Lyft driver.

13. You will develop strong opinions about burritos.

14. You will cease to be shocked when encountering full-frontal nudity or human feces before breakfast.

15. You will wait in line for 20 minutes for a single cup of artisanal, single-origin, pour-over coffee at Blue Bottle.

16. You will fetishize It's Its.

17. You will date 30-year-old bloggers with five roommates and 20-year-old Googlers with three-bedroom bachelor pads.

18. You will wear heels to a house party and feel like you wore a ball gown to a barbecue.

19. You will grow a beard or a man-bun.

20. You will recognize strangers on the street because you follow them on Instagram.

21. You will spend an outsize percentage of your income on rent. You will consider moving in with the person you're casually sleeping with just to save money.

22. You will freeze up in front of a row of black, blue, and green bins, unsure where to throw a piece of trash. Recycle....wait…compost?

23. You will donate to a friend's Kickstarter out of guilt.

24. You will buy edibles from a stranger in Dolores Park.

25. You will carry totes everywhere to avoid the ten-cent paper bag surcharge.

26. After pedaling up punishingly steep hills for months, you will learn about the Wiggle.

27. You will get an ironic tattoo.

28. You will envy a drag queen's outfit.

29. You will give your pet its own hashtag.

30. You will realize that everyone in your friend circle has slept with one another.

31. You will insist that San Francisco is the most beautiful, innovative city on Earth and you will never, ever leave.

Been here a while? What happened to you when you first arrived? Let us know what else should be on our list in the comments section below.



Rose M

None of these things are true for me and I lived in SF for 24 years... 

Yes Dan G I'm a native, but I don't think that I'm awesome because of the fact I was born and raised here. In fact I could care less that I'm from this place. I also believe that the people here are dull and are lacking in the fashion department, which is why I had moved to New York.

Also, when I moved to NY I immediately realized that it's the the city you will never, ever want to leave. Definitely not SF. Although 2 years later I find myself back in SF because my boyfriend relocated here for work. If it wasn't for that I would have never come back to this city.

Dan G

You will IMMEDIATELY learn to recognize a "native"....because they won't stop f*cking telling you that they were "born and raised here".  As if that was some personal achievement when their momma popped them out in a certain zipcode....and then they never went anywhere else, or did anything else.  Except tell anyone who would listen about how awesome they are because they were born. 

Guess what?

Nobody (and I do mean nobody) is impressed or even remotely gives a sh*t.

They actually think you're pretty dull.

Yeah, I'm talking to you "ALL-CAPS BRANDON H".....


YOU WILL NEVER BE BETTER THAN A NATIVE IF YOU'RE FROM OUTSIDE OF SF LIVING IN SF. #13 & #19 resonated with me and why no mention of Giants? /ENDOFSTORY

William R

I guess that's the difference between people who move here and people who have lived here all their lives. I have never done any of these things. But I completely agree with #31. Personally, I think its the fog. It gets into your skin and you can't ever leave without turning into a dried out old prune.

Doug F

Yes, all of those things will indeed happen to you when you move to San Francisco. But should you decide not to become a hipster, you can scratch about half of those things off that list, relax, and just be yourself instead of a spineless lemming who's trying to be cool.

Lois L

I realize I've only lived here for 6 years, but it says to those who "move" here - none of these things are true for me, and probably all are true for no one (except, of course, the last one). Some might be more joking in tone, but come on, couldn't you come up with anything better?? (or perhaps a different title/framework... people you will encounter?)

Alison M

You will write a pet resume for your cat in order to secure a lease in a "pet's considered" apartment.

Robert A

You will discover this is where gets all those lists it uses.

Joanne M

When I first arrived I ate at Doggie Diner around the corner. It was the only place to eat nearby, and I was watching for my things to arrive in the moving van.

when you are here for while and have a car, you have lots of friends, and you know how to get everywhere without ever using a freeway.

Michelle L

You will feel like a rock star when you get a parking spot in front of your destination on a busy street.

One of your favorite articles of clothing or accessory will be vintage or thrift. 

You will encounter amazing building murals that you didn't know about.

Dan P

Someone will try to carry a disagreement solely because he or she has lived in town longer than you.

Julia J

You will meet native San Franciscans who will laugh and call untrue, some of the things in the list you just read...

David Y

Also discovered that SF Bay Area is a Sausagefest for the 21-45 crowd.

anne w

You will get tired of the pompous tech workers and their idiotic version of the world.  (its worse than the film industry in LA and less connected to reality)

You will continue to be amazed at weather reports that calculate rain to the 100ths of an inch.  (what would be called "mist" in any other place except LA)

You will stand in line for coffee at Blue Bottle once, and then buy an Illy machine for a better cup of coffee and less tedious conversation.

You will wish that BART banned bicycles during the morning commute after getting your clothes ruined again by some inconsiderate cyclist.

you will wish there were actual grade  separated bike lanes -- like you see in Vancouver BC or Seattle.

You will send bragging emails to friends that you've got the top down on your car... in February.

You will find fresh flowers all year around .. at rates that you can't find anywhere else in the country.

You will get involved with the Giants... again