San Francisco is a glorious city.
I hope everyone gets a chance to visit it some time in their life.
While there’s much more to LOVE about San Francisco, there are some things I really didn’t like about this city.
Here’s my top 10 things I didn’t like about San Francisco
10 Things You Won’t Like About San Francisco
1. There are a LOT of homeless people and they aren’t avoidable
I had read homelessness was a problem in San Francisco, but so what, doesn’t every city have this problem?
I didn’t realize how BIG of a problem homelessness was though.
I was introduced to San Francisco’s bums immediately, while walking through the subway when I got there.
There was maybe 8 bums sleeping in the subway station.
I am pretty well traveled and have seen a bunch of stuff. So it takes a bit to make me uncomfortable. And I actually felt a little uncomfortable walking past them.
It wasn’t a bright introduction to the city.
If you stay anywhere near Market Street, or even Union Square, you will come across homeless people or just crazy people in general 100%.
Even walking around nicer neighborhoods, you’ll walk by people who scream things or chatter to themselves. You just kinda walk by quickly and avoid eye contact!
But the good thing is that NOBODY bothered me. Not once during my 5 day stay in San Francisco.
Oh yeah, also, on the BART (subway) arriving from the airport, a homeless guy walked into our cart, and held up a sign (probably asking for money but I didn’t read it). He stood there for a bit then walked to the window and blew his nose on it, and then rubbed his snot in the window and looked at it like it was a mirror. I have no idea what he was doing. But he was right beside me and it got weird fast. My stop was the next one thank god. This guy was probably a bit crazy.
2. It’s surprisingly chilly and gets cold, even during a sunny day
You wouldn’t know it, but San Francisco is a cold city. It always seemed windy no matter what time of day. The only time I felt warm was in direct sunlight.
It’s cold during the day and even colder at night. You always need to bring a sweater or light jacket with you whenever you head out. It’s a little annoying to have to carry it with you. But you need to, because you WILL get cold at some point during the day.
San Francisco is not a city you go to for the weather. That’s for sure!
3. It’s a very hilly city
This is a double edge sword. Hills give San Francisco it’s beauty but it also makes it extremely annoying when you have to walk up a steep hill just to go down a steep hill 2 blocks later.
If you’re not in shape or hate walking, you’re going to hate getting around by foot – which is the main way people get around here btw.
On the bright side, if you need to get in shape, living in San Francisco would help you tremendously.
4. Many streets smell of urine (and there’s a lot of it)
This is one of the biggest things I hate about San Francisco.
Because there are so many homeless people pissing in the streets, you smell urine everywhere.
No joke, when you’re walking through neighborhoods where homelessness is present, you’re looking down to avoid wet spots. They’re everywhere and you’re just doing your best not to step in it. That’s how bad it is.
Cleaning crews come out at night, after midnight some time and clean the streets.
It helps A LOT. But a few hours later you can see wet spots and also smell it again. I think it’s a huge problem and really takes away from the beauty of San Francisco.
5. There’s a lot of trash and litter in many neighborhoods
Maybe it’s the wind blowing everything around, but I noticed a lot more litter in this city than most cities I visit.
Especially in areas where things aren’t as wealthy, there’s a lot of trash lying around.
It’s not a huge deal to me but isn’t so pleasant either. Because many of these neighborhoods / places are great places for tourists to visit.
6. San Francisco is a very expensive city
There are many things to do for free, because San Francisco is like an outdoor museum of free things to do.
However, outside of those things, it’s a very touristy city (tourism is the #1 thing here). And that means you pay for EVERYTHING. And it’s not cheap either.
Hotels are priced on the higher end. Bike rentals are expensive. Food in popular locations cost a lot. Basically, anything touristy is going dig into your pockets.
This isn’t anything new for a city that attracts as many tourists as San Francisco does.
But if you’re looking for a cheap getaway in San Francisco, I don’t think it exists. You can manage your money well here, but it won’t be a cheap getaway.
A quality hotel in a good location begins at $200 or so. Just this alone makes it difficult to keep a vacation to San Francisco low budget.
7. The quality of people “looks-wise” is far below average
If you’re going to San Fran to enjoy the touristy things and all the city has to offer, then this won’t apply to you.
But if you’re hoping to mingle and meet with quality locals, you’re going to find the selection sub par (guys and girls).
I had heard San Francisco didn’t have the best looking people, and it’s completely true.
To compare it to all the places I’ve been in the world, San Francisco is near the bottom when it comes to the amount of good looking people.
The people here are SUPER friendly and nice though. Just not the most good looking.
Again, depends what you’re looking for in a vacation. It’s not a place I’d visit if meeting people was your main priority.
8. Driving can be difficult and parking is incredibly hard to find
If you’re not used to driving up hill, downhill, driving through lots of one way streets, driving around busses, trams, and lots of cyclists, then San Francisco will likely be a challenging place for you to drive in.
Also, parking is literally non-existent. It’s so hard to find parking anywhere. I spent a lot of time walking around the city and I hardly saw ANY available parking.
Also, I saw a lot of angle parking, sideways parking, uphill and downhill parking. That’s San Francisco! So if you’re renting a car, I hope you’re parking skills are up to stuff!
9. Very few grocery type stores where tourists spend most of their time
Something really weird I noticed was the lack of grocery stores in the core areas of San Francisco.
I thought to myself, where do people go to get groceries and stuff? It seemed like they would almost have to venture far out to get stuff.
There was a Walgreens close to Union Square. You can get some basic things there but it ain’t a grocery store.
I think if you Airbnb’d a place or have your own kitchen, it might be challenging to find a place nearby to get food. At least I never came across any real grocery stores when I roamed around.
It’s super convenient when you have a place to buy things nearby where you’re staying. For me, it was Walgreens near Union Square. I stayed in a Hilton hotel called Parc55, and didn’t need to cook anything – so Walgreens was good enough.
I guess Chinatown is pretty central and they have grocery stores. Other than that though, I only saw small convenient store type places.
If you’re going to be cooking your own foods or staying for an extended period of time, try and stay somewhere near a supermarket/grocery store.
10. Lots of traffic and crowds for everything
Well, when any city is as touristic as San Francisco, it will have lots of crowds and lots of traffic.
I did a big bus tour (I love these things!) and we moved really slowly.
Whether we were waiting for a cable car to go through an intersection, going across the Golden Gate Bridge, or driving through any main street, it was always slow moving.
Walking through Fishermans Wharf and Pier 39 specifically, there are people everywhere. It reminded me of how busy Disneyland is.
A lot of people come to San Francisco for a lot of reasons beyond tourism, so there’s just people everywhere.
You just have to be patient in this city!
Do you agree with this list?
What are your thoughts on things you don’t like about San Francisco?
Tell me in the comment section below!