To be honest, I had a great trip. The weather was nice, the coffee was great, and I appreciate any place whose top two foods are bread and avocados. Now I have three things to share that I didn't know about San Fran and they are going to sound like I am complaining, but that is just my way and you will have to take it with a grain of salt because honestly I did like the city in general.
1. The public transportation system goes all over, but it is a hot, hot mess.
The Bart (the subway) is not connected to the other modes of transportation, governmentally, but it is physically. The buses and street cars have a different card, and there are multiple ways to pay and transfer. It made my eyes water in frustration when I tried to figure it out. Joe had to talk me off a few ledges.
2. No one sent SF the memo that they don't have to hand-paint their signs.
Perhaps this is leftover sentiment from being hippie central, perhaps it is a newer concept brought from Mexico. Perhaps it is maintained by hipsters and independent shops. But my word, San Francisco has a lot hand-painted signs.
They are also really big into hand-painted murals. There was a page about this in my Touristy Tourism book but I forgot to read it and then left it with Joe. So the murals are still a big mystery.
3. When you walk out the door, bring more layers than Joey wearing Chandler's clothes.
Could he BE wearing any more clothes?
I'm sorry, you think the weather in Chicago is unpredictable? Just because it rains once a week? In San Fran, you walk out the door and it is chilly and overcast. By noon it is sunny and warm. By evening a frost has settled upon your nose. So I walked around with a cardigan, hoodie AND fleece on--AT ONCE--and gradually stripped them off and then put them back on again throughout the day. If you are at the Golden Gate bridge you will want some kind of parka. And if you are at the Bay Bridge, a bikini will do fine. And keep in mind that the two are a FIFTEEN MINUTE DRIVE FROM EACH OTHER. Microclimates are WEIRD.