What to Know Before You Go—San Francisco Part 2

Now that you know that the home of the Golden Gate Bridge is not made of Rice-a-Roni and that you should never utter the words “Frisco” or “San Fran” in the presence of locals let’s review some other helpful tips that will ensure your next visit to San Francisco is a pleasant one.

No Smoking. If haven’t kicked the bad habit before you visit the Bay area you are going to have a hard time keeping your cancer sticks lit. Finding a legal place to light up a cigarette in San Francisco is next to impossible. Smoking is banned in city restaurants, shops, bars, and in the seating areas at local baseball or football stadiums. In addition, you are not allowed to light up in parks, public squares, city-owned outdoor spaces, or within 25 feet of many office buildings. And you’re at risk of getting slapped with a $100 fine if you get caught smoking in your vehicle anywhere in California if you have passengers under the age of 18 with you.

Dress Appropriately. Here’s a lesson I learned the hard way: Summertime doesn’t always equate to shorts weather in San Francisco. If you think wearing a tank top and shorts is a good idea in July you’ll be in for a rude awakening when the fog blows in. The city’s climate can change from hour to hour and area-to-area, so it’s best to dress in layers. Believe me you will be glad you brought your sweater if you plan to catch the sunset at Ocean Beach. If you want to remain in shorts during your August visit head over the Golden Gate Bridge, where the temperatures are easily 10 degrees warmer.

Ditch Your Car. Not only because it will spare you the aggravation of deciphering the twisted roadways, but by doing so you will not have to deal with the frustration associated with parking. Finding street parking anywhere in town can lead to major migraines, but in tourist-packed areas such as Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf, it can cause coronary arrest. Parking meters there will cost you a quarter every 10 minutes. You’re better off leaving the driving to the pros. Public transit in the city via bus, streetcar, and cable car is an efficient means of getting around. You can also buy an all-day passport for $11, which offers unlimited rides on cable cars until midnight.

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San Francisco Zoo

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.