We all know the state capital of California is Sacramento. But if we’re being honest, there are two other unofficial capitals, one for each side of the state. The unofficial capital of Southern California is undoubtedly Los Angeles, while the one for Northern California is – you guessed it – San Francisco.
Other than being two major cities in the same state and both being hotbeds for progressive politics and cutting-edge industry, LA and San Francisco couldn’t be further apart. They’re two sides of the same coin. With this in mind, Angelinos planning to head up north need to know a thing or two before leaving.
The following are seven tips for LA residents planning a trip to San Francisco:
Bring at least one jacket and one sweater
The Southern California climate is perennially dry and sunny, while the Bay Area is frequently foggy and brisk. With this in mind, it’s imperative for Angelinos to pack accordingly before heading for a trip to San Francisco. The good news is a light jacket and sweater are probably enough if you’re visiting in the summer. Those planning a trip in the fall or winter should also pack warm socks and a hat. Doing so will keep your SoCal-acclimated body from freezing in the relatively chilly air of Northern California.
Book your hotel now
In case you didn’t know, San Francisco is a very popular destination among world travelers. People fly in from all corners of the globe to see and experience what the Bay Area has to offer. As a result, the best hotels in San Francisco fill up fast during the summer travel season. With this in mind, Angelinos planning a trip to San Francisco need to book accommodations as soon as possible. The good news is that given the high number of quality hotels in the Bay Area, finding a great room at an affordable price shouldn’t be too difficult if you do so now.
Reconsider the cable car
How bad do you want to ride one of the iconic cable cars in San Francisco? We ask because doing so will likely involve an hour-long wait or longer. It’s a bit like a theme park roller coaster – the number of people who want to ride far exceeds the number of seats, requiring would-be riders to patiently wait in line. If you’re willing to do so – then by all means – but those expecting to use the cable car system as a reliable form of transportation are better off seeking alternative options.
BART beats Metro…but not by much
Angelinos know that when it comes to getting around, the car is king. The Metro – while not bad – is no New York Subway. Unfortunately, Bay Area Rapid Transit – the mass transit system for San Francisco and Oakland more commonly known as BART – isn’t much better. It’s more accessible and efficient than the LA Metro, but not by much. With this in mind, those headed to the Bay Area should consult a BART map, compare it against their planned itinerary, and plan accordingly.
Walk for the win
Those who like to count their steps throughout the day might be happy to know that walking is one of the best ways to get around San Francisco. While getting from the Fillmore District to Downtown Oakland might require more than two feet, most of the popular tourist destinations in San Francisco are all within walking distance. With this in mind, remember to pack a pair of walking shoes.
Many folks visiting San Francisco are content with observing Alcatraz from the mainland without actually visiting the island. We insist on taking the trek across the bay to see up close one of the most fearsome prisons ever to exist. With that said, the history of Alcatraz goes beyond the notorious federal penitentiary that was there for nearly three decades. Prior to becoming the site of the toughest prison in America, Alcatraz was a comparatively modest wartime prison and fort during the Civil War.
Check your politics at the city limits
San Francisco is considered by many to be the birthplace of modern American liberalism. While LA is certainly not a bastion of traditional American values, the personal politics of Angelinos might be considered a bit conservative by comparison. With this in mind, we encourage you to keep an open mind and keep your politics to yourself during your visit.
Los Angeles and San Francisco are two very different places. Those who call one home need to be mindful of what distinguishes them from the other. With that said, we’re all Californians in the end – and having a great time during your stay in the city by the bay is not as hard as some might think. It just takes a little bit of planning and preparation.