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When in San Francisco | Culture, people, things to do and memorable brands
When in San Fran
Cultural Currents

Despite being so close to Silicon Valley – home to technology and social media giants – San Francisco presents a stark contrast to the ‘technology is king’ mentality. Embracing the outdoor and recreational lifestyle is a huge part of the city’s culture. Its 200 parks – one within half a mile from any point in the city – are home to some of the city’s best events. In line with San Francisco’s community feel, groups of like-minded people gather at a local park for yoga sessions, group volunteering activities, art projects, music festivals and more.

If you’re in the Bay Area you may hear language that doesn’t immediately make sense, such as ‘whip’ and ‘stunna shades’, referring to cars/vehicles and sunglasses (sometimes worn at night) respectively. Known as Hyphy or Bay Area slang, it originated in Oakland, just outside of San Francisco, and has been widely adopted across the Bay Area. Unlike Southern California where slang is generally the result of location/demographics (surfer dudes and valley girls), Hyphy centres around hip hop culture in the Bay Area and its origins are associated with rapper Keak da Sneak.

 
 
 
 

Despite being so close to Silicon Valley – home to technology and social media giants – San Francisco presents a stark contrast to the ‘technology is king’ mentality. Embracing the outdoor and recreational lifestyle is a huge part of the city’s culture. Its 200 parks – one within half a mile from any point in the city – are home to some of the city’s best events. In line with San Francisco’s community feel, groups of like-minded people gather at a local park for yoga sessions, group volunteering activities, art projects, music festivals and more.

If you’re in the Bay Area you may hear language that doesn’t immediately make sense, such as ‘whip’ and ‘stunna shades’, referring to cars/vehicles and sunglasses (sometimes worn at night) respectively. Known as Hyphy or Bay Area slang, it originated in Oakland, just outside of San Francisco, and has been widely adopted across the Bay Area. Unlike Southern California where slang is generally the result of location/demographics (surfer dudes and valley girls), Hyphy centres around hip hop culture in the Bay Area and its origins are associated with rapper Keak da Sneak.

an interesting thing to do

If you’re going to San Francisco, make sure to visit Alcatraz Island – home to the notorious, now-abandoned federal prison. Considered the ‘supermax’ prison of its day, it’s most infamous inmates carried out an elaborate escape in 1962. For visitors today, the audio tour is narrated by former inmates, bringing the prison experience vividly to life. The island is also a bird watcher’s paradise – it was originally named the island ‘de los alcatraces’ (strange birds) by a Spanish explorer in 1775.


If you’re going to San Francisco, make sure to visit Alcatraz Island – home to the notorious, now-abandoned federal prison. Considered the ‘supermax’ prison of its day, it’s most infamous inmates carried out an elaborate escape in 1962. For visitors today, the audio tour is narrated by former inmates, bringing the prison experience vividly to life. The island is also a bird watcher’s paradise – it was originally named the island ‘de los alcatraces’ (strange birds) by a Spanish explorer in 1775.

One local brand

Boudin Bakery is at the heart of San Francisco’s cultural heritage. The city’s oldest continuously operating business, it’s been bringing the distinctive flavour of their sourdough bread to San Franciscans since 1849. When you walk into their flagship location (Boudin at the Warf) you’re hit with the sweet smell of sourdough. And, for the full experience, you can watch the whole operation through a 30-foot observation window!

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With thanks to Allie Ritacco for her unique, cultural insights.