San Francisco had been near the top of my to-do list of American cities for a long time. It gets a great reputation and I’ve not really heard too many bad things said about it. As a tourist, I found the place uninspiring, soulless and nothing like how I expected.
The first thing that was evident was the rich/poor divide. I did not expect to see so many homeless people. Another thing that was unexpected, I have never been harassed in broad daylight anywhere else as much as I was here. The hotels I stayed in; the Hilton was AWFUL and possibly one of the worst hotels I’ve ever stayed in. I booked it because of its location but it ended up being in a very dodgy area of town. I moved onto a second hotel, which I had spent a lot of money on (begrudgingly) because San Francisco seems to have the worst standard of hotels for the highest price.
My best day here was doing the Vantigo tour which takes you to different places in a VW camper van. Fantastic experience and I would recommend it to anybody. The nicest place we went was the Sutro Baths area. There are a lot of beautiful houses in SF, that unfortunately I can’t imagine anybody I’ve ever met being able to afford. Where do all the rich people come from and how do they get their money? I don’t even want to imagine. Sadly I don’t think it’s just make us lovely tech products to enrich our daily lives.
I can’t think of a reason to visit this city over any other. There are better cities for every type of person so why SF is so popular, I can’t understand it. Is it the big hills? Or the Golden Gate bridge? Fisherman’s Wharf? I wasn’t blown away particularly by any of it. Sure I got my picture in front of the bridge, but… Nothing here really made me love the city. The Castro area was pretty nice, with more interesting shops and some sense of important history that was being preserved.
All in all, San Francisco was a good place for photos but not an enjoyable city. I think if you said this was your number 1 choice for a vacation I would try and find another place to recommend you depending on your interests. I thought I’d love this city for it’s history of more liberal political views and the ocean, mild weather, interesting architecture and foodie culture. It did have some of that, but I was shocked to find it to be a city I disliked so much.