Updated: Apr 30, 2020
All you need to know about a beautiful city that costs a bit more than its worth.
So as a NYer, I have to admit, there was a lot about SF that really pissed me off. Basically it's more expensive, and less fun that NY, the people don't walk as fast (or with purpose), and no one knows how to dress. When you do meet a woman with style, they are usually a snob from the North Shore who hates their lives because they are forced to date tech bros.
Regardless, there were some things I absolutely LOVED about SF, and even though it's not NY, there were a few experiences that one would simply never find on the East Coast.
Best Things About SF
1. Legal Weed
As of the beginning of 2018, weed is completely legal. Like not just medical, you have to have a card, trash government regulated BS, I mean legal as in smoking a cigarette. There are even lounges that are basically Starbucks, but for strands of weed. And they are basically just throwing it away. I had a favorite place to pick up in the Mission District called Purple Star where you could buy an eighth for $20. Fucking Incredible.
Honestly and truly, this is a beautiful city. I had the privilege to live in SOMA, close to the Giants stadium (which they take FAR to seriously, bc let's be real, baseball is garbage), and running along the Embarcadero was one thing I will greatly miss. Golden Gate Park is absolutely stunning (although it is no where near Golden Gate Bridge), and it ends at Ocean Beach. The bridge is obviously beautiful, but I'm sure you've seen it in pictures (there are actually 3 major bridges connecting all of the Bay Area), but literally almost all of the city was beautiful, and the weather changes depending on the neighborhood.
3. The Mission
The mission is basically the Lower East Side, but with a working class Mexican background. It is one of the places in the city with the best/most reasonable restaurants, definitely the best night life, and its where you go if your young, broke (broke in SF is like 60K/year), and want to have a good time. This is also where you find the best women in terms of good looks/down to earth combo. If you are going for the better looking women, of far less substance, check out North Beach and the Marina District. Polk street is also fun and worth mentioning for bar hopping and the SantaCon bar crawl. Overall though, there's nothing like The Mission.
4. North Beach
SF is kind of a weird city in the sense that it is never really that hot, but it is never cold either. I guess this is a good balance for those who don't mind a constant, often wet, 60 degree climate, however for those who thought this place would be all about sunshine, please prepare for a surprise. On the occasions when it is a nice and sunny day (they actually happen every once in a while), one of the best neighborhoods, and easily one of the best places to spend your day is North Beach. There are piers, a boardwalk, games, delicious food, souvenirs, and on top of that a great lawn near Ft. Mason that is perfect for relaxing and day drinking. The whole lawn essentially becomes a post-college tailgate on Saturday afternoons in the Indian summer (mid September-October).
Love Life = Club Life
If I started a list of complaints about the nightlife in SF, this post would be ridiculously long. As an entitled, party loving NYer, to say that the nightlife in SF is lackluster would be a bit of an understatement. My biggest issue in general was the fact that with such great weather (hardly ever drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit), why in the world anyone would imagine closing a club down at 2am is beyond me.
That being said, there are some fun spots that on occasion will stay open until 4 (like normal people in NY), and there are even a few hidden gems that are so much fun, that you almost don't mind a 1:30am lights on policy (yes, I know that sounds atrocious).
1. Bissap Baobab
Now in my opinion, this is by far THE BEST CLUB in all of San Francisco. It's actually a restaurant during the day that converts into a dance hall at night. Located in The Mission, next to tons of good restaurants and bars, this place stands out with its Afro-Caribbean themed music, cheap drinks, and crazy dance floor antics. I've got to say, I met some of the best looking women in all of SF at this place. Definitely my first stop if I find myself back in this city.
2. 1015 Folsom
This place is great because it gets really good DJs quite often. This place also breaks the 2am rule, and I've on occasion partied here until 4am. This place is huge, multi-leveled, and definitely easy to get lost in, but the crowd is usually nice, open, and fun. They tend to have different vibes for different floors, so be sure to explore all of this place.
This venue has multiple rooms, with a large, airy, art gallery feel. I have a biased love for this place because the only time I actually went there, I had VIP for Bonobo through one of my roommates working the front door. It was a great experience, this place is huge with tons of good looking women, and although the drinks aren't cheap, it is definitely a good experience, especially if there is a good DJ.
4. Temple Nightclub
I almost hesitate and laugh to put this place on the list, but they try so hard to be a good club, and they have all of the makings of one, but for some reason they just seem to fall a bit short. This place has multiple levels, an outdoor section for smoking, a room dedicated to deep house, a restaurant, and two large dance floors. This is the place to go if you like hitting on Asian women, especially on Thursday nights. One good thing about this place however is the fact that they have free entrance most nights before 11pm (I know, thats early af). For the area that it's located, its actually a pretty good time.
While I was living in San Francisco, I definitely wasn't the richest person in the world, and so every place I'm going to suggest to you is both delicious and affordable. In a city where the average cocktail starts at $15 and a $6 Bud Light counts as their "happy hour", its important to note which places are actually reasonable. This is a list of some of the best places in the city to eat
1. LUNCH AT SAFEWAY
So if you are running low on funds in the SF area, these places are gems, especially for lunch. Literally 3 options from the deli (a smile goes a long way) will run you about $8. At times for this price I've been given enough food to split into two meals.
2. Goat Hill Pizza
Its a whole in the wall almost under a bridge, but their crust is amazing. It's not the cheapest pizza in all of the city, however for a NYer who is used to ordering by the slice, this place is affordable, with slices ranging $3-6 (depending on toppings) and whole pies in the $20-30 range.
This is one of the only places in the city that serves stuffed pitas. Sure, anyone can make you an $8-13 gyro, but when its stuffed, it just tastes better. This place is a bit of a cluster fuck at lunch, because they are so good, but if you go between 2-4pm, you'll find the lines short and the food delicious.
4. The Market on Market
Now, I'll warn you, this place can get expensive depending on what you order (like picking out of the buffet section at Whole Foods), but this place is absolutely immaculate. Some of the best pizza I've had in the city, a bar on-site, and one across the hallway, located in the Twitter Building on 9th and Market. The area around this place is a nice contrast of tech bros in offices and filled with crazy people on the street level. Truly an SF experience.
5. Taqueria Cancun
Located in the heart of the Mission, this is the perfect spot to grab a quick bite before going out. Night life starts in the late evening in SF, so this place is a must. Decently priced, authentic Mexican food, with burritos ranging from $8-12. I've even brought my own beers here, so def come to chow down and turn up.
All in all, San Francisco, Oakland, and the Bay Area in general is definitely worth a visit. Depending on your pace, and the depth of your pockets, you might even consider making the place a permanent home. The weather is decent, the scenery is beautiful, the cost of living is preposterous, but weed is almost free, the women are beautiful, and you never have to deal with snow unless you choose to go skiing in the mountains. Oh, and there's wine country as well, just a short drive away.