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November 11, 2017

San Francisco: A Tourist in One’s Hometown?

The Embarcadero at twilight

More than 30 years of my life have been spent in the San Francisco Bay Area. When asked by people overseas where I’m from, I usually say San Francisco. But that’s not really the case. Living on the San Francisco peninsula or in Berkeley for 30 years is not quite the same thing as living in the City.

It is a convenience to tell outsiders that I’m from San Francisco, as most everyone knows the City. Nevertheless the truth is that I am not really from San Francisco. I can say I’m from San Francisco and mean that I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area. But I cannot say that I am a San Franciscan. I don’t have the residential resume to make that claim.

This quirk of hometown identity confusion means I’m able to be a tourist in the town I tell people is home. That’s not a bad thing. San Francisco is a good place to be a tourist.

San Francisco’s skyline viewed from Mission Dolores Park.

The Golden Gate Bridge is iconic but the Bay Bridge has a larger impact on the typical San Franciscan’s life.

The streets of San Francisco


  1. Though my town may not be as interesting as San Francisco, I do enjoy being a tourist in my own city. There is more than anyone can see in a lifetime, if you look for it.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Bill Chance — November 11, 2017 @ 10:41 pm

  2. Early next year, we’ll be heading back to Pittsburgh and New York City, two places we’ve lived in the past. We’re excited to see our old homes with new eyes and be tourists.

    Comment by twobytour — November 12, 2017 @ 3:34 am

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