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Culture Shock Moving to San Francisco

Culture Shock Moving to San Francisco
March 15, 2019

The Weather Changes

Most regions in the United States offer varying types of weather throughout the seasons. San Francisco manages to offer varying types of weather based on what street you’re standing on.

Start on one street and the weather may be cool, dry, and sunny. Go over a few streets and you might get caught in a rain storm that somehow lowers the temperature by ten degrees. Try to escape the rain by crossing over to another street? Sorry, that’s near Ocean Beach and the gusts might remind you of Arctic winds.

But if you truly want to understand just how strange the weather can be in San Francisco, look no further than the Golden Gate Bridge. And we really do mean “look no further,” because some days you won’t be able to see it because of the fog. That’s right; the fog in this city can be so thick it can obscure a giant, bright orange landmark that’s usually visible from miles away.

Quick note: Apparently the fog in this city is so famous it has a name (Karl) and a Twitter account.

Our advice about the weather? Wear layers and be prepared to swap them out more frequently than a model at a fashion show.

It’s Expensive

Really expensive. But it’s pretty. And look on the bright side, you probably saved some money with your DIY moving trip.

At Least the Monsters Aren’t Real

If you’ve been to the movies in the last decade, you may have noticed that San Francisco has become the preferred location for the numerous fictional Ground Zeroes of many a disaster and monster movies. It seems like every big-budget action movie features scenes of San Francisco being destroyed by something, be it earthquakes, giant monsters, super-intelligent apes, or just Mother Nature having a bad day.

Truth be told, earthquakes can present a potential danger for living in San Francisco, but it’s the kind of danger that comes from living in the area, sort of like Floridians facing potential hurricanes, or Midwesterners dealing with heavy winter snows. Earthquakes notwithstanding, you can take comfort with the knowledge that Godzilla will most likely not rise up from the Pacific.

And if he does, just point south and tell him how wonderful Los Angeles can be.

Nude Ain’t Rude

This may sound familiar: You’re dreaming, and in the dream you’re walking down a public street only to realize that you’re stark naked.

For you, that was (hopefully) just a dream. But in San Francisco, it can be a reality.

The city of San Francisco has had a very public back-and-forth on the legality of nudity, and while current rules state public nudity requires a parade permit, a number of clothing-optional events occur on a regular basis, including the World Naked Bike Ride and several nude beaches.

We bring this up not to scare anyone, but merely to advise that given the right circumstances, you could turn the corner and encounter someone in their birthday suit. There ARE rules about lewd acts, of course, but they may not apply to someone walking down the street and minding their own business in the buff. They could even be standing on a street corner and spinning those signs while being nekkid.

The beaches will at least have signs informing anyone of clothing-optional fun in the sun, and most events will let you know if they’re clothing optional (most of them are). But don’t lose your head or your underwear just yet; San Francisco also enjoys costumes at many events, and not just Halloween. You’ll encounter groups out for a pub crawl on a Saturday night dressed up in themed costumes or see individuals participating in a race sporting superhero costumes as they go by. Maybe it’s the frequent changes in elevation with all those hills, but San Franciscans love to get dressed up (or down).

But naked or clothed, you’ll find people accepting of whoever you are anywhere in this city. Unless, that is, you say…

San Fran and Frisco (Shudder)

Every American city has at least one nickname, some of them so well known you don’t even have to ask what city they’re referring to: The Big Apple, the Second City, the City of Angels.

San Francisco has two acceptable nicknames: “SF,” or “The City.” God help you if you say “San Fran” or “Frisco.”

As a new San Francisco resident, you may be tempted to have some fun with this information by going into a crowded place, saying the Forbidden Nicknames loud enough for people to hear, and then sitting back to watch and see if their heads explode.

Don’t Ask for Tex Mex Here

Mexican food is extremely popular in The City, but if you’re used to Tex Mex-style Mexican, you’ll be in for a shock. That means no queso for the chips and you’d better get used to burritos over tacos and fajitas.

Make sure to have everything that you need in order to move to San Francisco.


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