S.F. Nicknames / Pride, San Francisco
The great Chronicle gossip columnist, Herb Caen wrote a book in 1953 with this title, yet even Caen lamented that the nickname had a long tradition among gritty longshoreman and sailors. One problem with the Frisco nickname is that it was used by Frank Sinatra in his song, "Hello, Frisco, Hello". San Franciscans percieved Sinatra's Palm Springs and Las Vegas roots as mob inspired, while contemporary Tony Bennett's signature song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" was viewed as more appropriate for the city.
A more serious problem is the false linguistic amalgamation from the longer name San Francisco. In general, San Francisco artist are inclined toward lengthier names, not shorter ones. Leave the bubble gum for impulsive LA, the thinking goes. The labyrinith of streets, painted ladies, and the mystical fog suggest a preoccupation with reflection, such as is found in longer names "The Grateful Dead", "The Jefferson Airplane", "Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks" --a sharp contrast with bland blond headed beach twank of the "The Beach Boys", for example, or other famous bands of southern California with more terse names--"The Doors" or the "The Byrds". The name Frisco implies the cool foggy climate of the city, but for those that live in Northern California, most also know that the city is actually warmer in winter than surrounding Bay Area and Central Valley cities, often as much as twenty degrees warmer on a still January winter night.
For those who prefer to remain in tune with the sophisticated side of San Francisco, simply refer to it as "the city" and everyone local will know where you are talking about. Folks from NY and London think this nickname is a joke. But, the City deserves this nickname for more than it's complex romance, the cable car transit, a good aged bottle of wine, and fine dining with a view of the waterfront. San Francisco was for more than a century the ONLY CITY in the western United States. San Francisco was an island of urban entertainment and culture. Closest big cities were St Louis, Chicago, and New Orleans, and it rivaled these in sophistication early on. Meanwhile LA, Portland, and Seattle were by contrast hard to locate on the map, mere pueblos lacking any of the sophistication that makes a city. Thus, "Frisco" is cheap street language more familiar among tatoo parlors and B-rated Hollywood movies, where a margarita is more likely to be consumed on impulse than a bottle of wine. "The City", in contrast is the off handed reference locals have used for nearly two centuries.
When you refer to San Francisco as Frisco or San Fran, you're marking yourself as an outsider. No one here calls it that, and those abbreviations grate on our ears. We say San Francisco or The City.
And while we're on the subject, the name of our state is California. Absolutely no one calls it Cali, and Cal refers to the University of California at Berkeley.
The people of San Francisco are a very proud bunch to the point that some may think them snotty. I don't think that myself but rather that the natives are proud of the rich heritage of the area, its history, beauty, and diversity. That said they rather don't like it when people refer to their home in the abbreviated "Frisco." It is seen as a great slight and cheapening of its reputation of one of the great cities of the world.
If you feel that San Francisco is mouthful, it is acceptable to refer to it as "The City."
I heard a comedienne once describe it thusly; "there's a huge rivalry between San Francisco and Los Angeles........ it's just that only San Franciscans know it exists!" I don't know if it's really essential to know this, but there is animosity between SF and LA, or, more accurately, Northern and Southern California.
The most obvious manifestations of this are in baseball. Giants v. Dodgers games are always sold out, and chants like "Beat LA!' and "LA sucks" echo through the stands. I remember in the 80's when normally deserted Candlestck Park would get 50,000 fans on a chilly Wednesday night for SF/LA games. They could, and often did, get violent - fights in the stands were common. After one paticulaly nasty game (which I had the misfortune to attend), The Giants banned beer sales completely for nearly a year! The rivalry between Oakland and Anaheim is not quite as heated, but the 2002 world series between the Giants and the Angels fueled this rivalry anew!
Besides baseball, the rivalry exists in other sports as well - particularly college football. Cal vs. USC games are always intense no matter how poorly the teams are doing.
It would be one thing if this was only about sports, but there are very real and pragmatic reasons as to why this rivalry exists. Water being a main reason. Water is scarce in this booming area, and more than a few NorCal lakes have been drained dry in an effort to supply the Southland with water. The drought of the 70's saw many NorCal areas close to water rationing, while the TV showed Southlanders wasting it with impunity.
This goes back to the very beginnings of the state. San Francisco sees it self - quite rightly ;) - as the real California, with the gold mining areas of the Sierras as its protectorate. When Los Angeles surpassed San Francisco in population in the 1910's, the politicians had to secure water rights for their new booming area. Much of that water would end up coming from Northern California. The environmental damage caused by this is still very evident today; the windswept, desolate Owens Valley was drained by SoCal, and Mono Lake very nearly met the same fate. The California "Water Wars" have been the subject of many books and TV specials, and no doubt will continue to be, as the population of California continues to boom - and the political and business interests of the state continue to do nothing but make the problem worse.
Northerners tend to look at Angelinos as wasteful, shallow, a-moral "use and be used" types. Southerners look at Northerners as elitist, stuck-up "player hating" hicks. Whatever. I only include this to point out that there are really 2 Californias - and it goes way beyond Bonds v Gagne.
San Francisco is a very proud city. Sometimes this pride borders on smugness. If there's one thing we San Franciscan's love to talk about, it's how great our city is (or was, if you're talking to a bitter oldtimer!). We're always willing to offer an opinion as to the best view, our favorite restaurant, directions (it's confusing even for locals!), and anything else about our lovely home town.
We only ask for one thing in return: never EVER refer to the city as "Frisco." If you want to instantly change a local's opinion of you from good to bad, try using the 'F' word! I don't know why this is the case - it just is. Don't do it!
Some hip-hop types try every so often to make "Frisco" an edgy, hip word. It just makes people hate them more.
San Francisco is universally referred to as "The City." If you say to anyone in Northern California that you're going to "The City," everyone knows you mean San Francisco. The term "SF" is acceptable, as is "San Fran," but they're rarely used. People from SF are called San Franciscans - or, rarely, "city-folk" - I'd like to see that one used more often!
A few more - Gough Street is pronounced 'Goff,' Geary is pronounced 'Geery,' Kearny is pronounced 'Kerny,' and Noe is pronounced 'No-ee.' Highways are referred to by just their number - as in "you take 280 South." Don't say "you take THE 280 South." Putting "the" in front of the number is the way SOUTHERN Californians say it - and, therefore, it's bad.
These gaffs are all excusable and trifling compared to the 'F' word, though.
The saying goes that, "Only thugs and bikers call it "Frisco." Whatever the case may be, most native San Franciscans find this nickname very degrading. Thus, when someone refers to the city as "Frisco," people immediately know that person is a tourist. Please just call it San Francisco or the City and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble!
Don't call it Frisco, San Fran or any other weird thing you've heard. People will point and roll their eyes.
Oakland, and eastern cities are called the East Bay. San Mateo and close cities are called the Peninsula. San Jose and close cities are the SIlicon Valley and Marin and close cities are North Bay. There is no west bay, as San Francisco extends to the westernmost point.
Every San Franciscan is very proud of his beautiful city. Don't ever criticise it - if you can find something to criticise it about.
The city has an air of small town, although the Greater SF is the 4th largest city in the US. People there enjoy hanging out at the many squares in town.
1) calling san francisco 'san fran' is the way tourists refer to this city; locals will know you're one right away. People from outside of san francisco call sf 'the city.' those who live right in the city call it 'San Francisco' or 'SF'
2) tax is a pain in the ass, it is 8.5%
This is indeed one of the most beautiful cities in the world and my own personal favorite. I have yet to meet someone who, after having returned from San Francisco, tell me they don't like the city. Never. You'll know what I mean when you come here. :-))
Don't call San Francisco 'Frisco'; at least when accompanied by a San Franciscan (not 'Friscoan'). It's insulting to them.