From the Golden Gate Bridge to Silicon Valley, the Napa vineyards, and UC Berkeley, the Bay Area has no shortage of world-renowned locales. We boast technological innovation, a progressive arts scene, and unbeatable natural beauty (Half Moon Bay anyone?). But those of us actually living in the Bay Area–whether in San Francisco or the Valley–know our region is even more exceptional, diverse, and stimulating than the world believes. We get to experience and enjoy the lesser-known eccentricities of the people, culture, weather, and scenery every day.
We want to celebrate life in Northern California’s mecca, from San Jose to San Rafael. Here are 10 things only people living in the bay area will understand and appreciate:
1. Rain can bring everything to a halt.
Sure, the weather here is generally perfect for an outdoor lifestyle. It’s always 10 degrees warmer in the Valley without San Francisco’s ocean fog, but we all enjoy a comparatively moderate climate year round (unless it’s a dreaded El Nino year). When rain strikes, cars slow to a crawl, school kids stay home, and everyone has a strong reaction, whether they’re cheering or crying.
2. We’re all unofficial sommeliers.
The Bay Area is a top destination for wine snobs. Sommeliers from all over compete for jobs here, and we’ll shell out for their recommendations. With local wine tastings, classes, and tours at every turn, it’s hard to live here without picking up some serious wine knowledge. You ask for a well-rounded chardonnay with an elegant bouquet and complex finish to pair with your Halibut without batting an eye.
3. Speaking of wine, we bring our finest bottle of Everett Ridge Cabernet to the free outdoor movie night in Dolores Park.
4. Eccentricity is the new normal.
From Tim Draper to Haight-Ashbury to Castro kids, the Bay Area has long been a home for radicals and visionaries. We dress up for the annual Bay to Breakers run, fight to honor Emperor Norton, remember the Shoe Garden, host a bunch of Furries, and laugh knowingly at HBO’s Silicon Valley comedy.
5. We don’t “unplug.”
People living in the Bay Area know how to enjoy our near limitless access to mountains, forest, ocean, and even desert without disconnecting. It doesn’t mean we’re tweeting or answering emails every second, but we stay wired, swapping smartphones for Google glass or some rugged wearable tech as needed.
6. Only an hour wait for brunch? Is there something wrong with this place?
Brunch in the city is the best meal of the week, and people flock to their favorite brunch spots like religious devotees. Waiting up to two hours to order your organic pasture-raised eggs benedict is a totally normal experience. So normal, in fact, that if you get in without a wait you’ll be worried that the restaurant has gone down hill.
7. You’d sooner lose your ID than your Clipper card.
Your Bay Area Transit smart card is your indispensable key to the region. The reloadable transit fare card makes your daily commute a breeze, and lets you hop on and off AC Transit, BART, Muni, CalTrain, Golden Gate Transit and more. You’d be lost and immobilized without it.
8. There’s a parade or festival every weekend day of the week.
Seriously. Take your pick of free music, cultural street festival, or over-the-top parade almost any day of the week. You don’t even need to plan your outing, just head toward the nearest park, main street, or bridge and join the happy crowd.
9. You can eat cuisine from any and every part of the world.
It goes way beyond Mission burritos and Chinatown noodles. Take your pick from fine Italian cuisine at Perbacco, upscale French fare at The French Laundry, tons of killer Vietnamese food in Richmond, coastal Mediterranean joints, and Creole comfort food in Oakland. And if you can’t decide, you swing by SoMa StrEat Food Park for the daily mix of food truck fusion.
10. It’s easy to eat fresh, local, and organic–because it’s everywhere in the Bay Area
Not only are there more farmer’s markets than you can shake a stick at selling California’s bountiful produce, there are more and more services popping up promising to deliver the organic goodness right to your doorstep. Our restaurants use the freshest ingredients, and our kitchens are stocked with seasonal greens, foraged berries, and local cheeses.
We Love Living in the Bay Area
What else makes working and living in the Bay Area so unique and unrivaled? What have we left off the list that just screams Bay Area local? Share your additions to the list in the comments below, or tweet @UnitedLayer using the hashtag #BayAreaLife.