I don't have a problem with tourists - good grief - I really enjoy being a tourist. Marc and I love to travel. When we go, we (well...Marc actually) researches the location and activities to death so that we know what we're doing when we're doing it, and how we're getting there. I know that the tourist I see on a daily basis are just excited to be in San Francisco. They paid money to get here and they should have a good time.
But there are a few things I wish tourists would know before they come. It would make my life easier. Like the other day when I was headed to a job interview and I was almost late because a group was too lazy to look up the bus schedule and so they spent 10 minutes arguing with the bus driver about where his bus went and why no, this bus does NOT take you to Fisherman's Wharf.
So here's my list of things tourist should know, do, and not do when they come here:
-- Please do not call it "San Fran." It's San Francisco.
-- Don't make snide comments about gay people here. You're visiting a city with a different culture. Insulting people is not the way to have a good time.
-- Buy a map or download one offline before you come. Read it on the plane, study it in your hotel room. Don't read it on the street - you become a target for pickpockets. The highest crime rates in the city are in the most heavy tourist areas.
-- Get the public transit schedule and learn it before you come. Don't ask the bus driver for directions or if this bus takes you to X. You can download an application on your cell phone, too.
-- Don't talk to the bus driver while he's driving. He's not your friend. He's working.
-- Bring a bag you can put across your body or a wristlet you can put in a zipper or snap pocket. Hold your purse or bags in front of you on the bus. Don't become a target.
-- Be kind to tour guides. They work hard - tip them.
-- There are a lot of homeless people here. They typically are not aggressive. Just don't stare at them. Don't stop and talk to them. Do not give them money. Some of the homeless are career homeless - like, they get in their SUV and drive away when the day is over. Many of them are mentally ill. Don't try to reason with or convert them. If you want to minister to them, go volunteer at a shelter.
-- Don't stand in the middle of the road to take a picture of a view from a hill, a cable car, etc. It may seem like common sense, but I see people do this almost daily and almost every time they nearly cause an accident.
-- Bring a jacket - it's cold here!
-- We have good food here - forget the chains!
-- Don't stare at gay people. Don't stare at people with purple hair. Don't stare - it's rude!
-- If you have kids and you bring them on the public transit, put them in your lap or ask someone if they can sit next to them. The other day I had a lady ask me if her kid could sit in my lap - NO.
Just be aware of your surroundings. You'll love San Francisco!