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San Francisco Quotables

Great quotes about San Francisco


Q: How much time do you spend in San Francisco, and what do you like about the city?
A: I've been there more lately than I have been in a long time, because I have a place in the Presidio. [San Francisco] is the place in my heart. That's the place that really I go to when I close my eyes. The real essence of San Francisco to me is tolerance. You're allowed to be anything you want there without judgment.
—Musician Pat Monahan of the band Train, Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2013 

Q: Favorite city for eating in the United States?
A: “Anyone who doesn’t have a great time in San Francisco is pretty much dead to me. You go there as a snarky New Yorker thinking it’s politically correct, it’s crunchy granola, it’s vegetarian, and it surprises you every time. It’s a two-fisted drinking town, a carnivorous meat-eating town, it’s dirty and nasty and wonderful.”
—Chef, author and television host Anthony Bourdain, New York Times, November 18, 2011

“Let me come right out and say it. I love San Francisco.”
—Anthony Bourdain

San Franciscans “are very proud of their city, and they should be. It's the most beautiful place in the world."
—Actor and director Robert Redford, San Francisco Chronicle, August 22, 2003

San Francisco "is one of my favorite cities in the world…I would probably rank it at the top or near the top. It's small but photogenic and has layers…You never have problems finding great angles that people have never done."
—Film director Ang Lee / San Francisco Chronicle, May 18, 2003

“You can’t have a bad meal in this town.”
—Emeril Lagasse, chef/host of “Emeril Live,” Television Food Network, September 28, 2002

"San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality."
—Paul Kantner of the rock band Jefferson Airplane, San Francisco Chronicle, February 9, 2000

“This is a user-friendly city. In a way, it seems small. You walk around the corner, go to the store, talk to people. It’s the combination of the people and the place, that’s what I like about it most. I jog on the Marina, no one bothers me. Had a woman come up the other day and say, ‘It’s true, you do run here.’ She couldn’t quite believe it. Like I was Bigfoot.”
—Robin Williams, Academy-Award winning actor and San Francisco resident. In Sunday, Oct. 4, 1998 “Robin Williams: Love in the Afterlife,” San Francisco Examiner

"The Golden Gate Bridge's daily strip tease from enveloping stoles of mist to full frontal glory is still the most provocative show in town."
—Mary Moore Mason, editor of British magazine Essentially America, July/August, 2000

"The ultimate [travel destination] for me would be one perfect day in San Francisco.  It's a perfect 72 degrees, clear, the sky bright blue.  I'd start down at Fisherman's Wharf with someone I really like and end with a romantic dinner and a ride over the Golden Gate Bridge.  There's no city like it anywhere.  And, if I could be there with the "girl of my dreams," that would be the ultimate!"
—Larry King, award-winning talk show host. In Jan. 1997 "Travel Your Way" supplement to the New York Times

"I don't know who decided to paint it (the Golden Gate Bridge) orange, but God bless them. When you drive up over Nineteenth Avenue and see the bridge rising before you, it's like seeing the towers of Chartres when you're driving out of Paris."
—Author Susan Cheever

"I don't know of any other city where you can walk through so many culturally diverse neighborhoods, and you're never out of sight of the wild hills. Nature is very close here."
—Gary Snyder, Pulitzer prize-winning poet and essayist

"Leaving San Francisco is like saying goodbye to an old sweetheart.  You want to linger as long as possible."
—Walter Cronkite, 1990, Former newscaster

"A mad city -- inhabited for the most part by perfectly insane people whose women are of remarkable beauty."
—Author Rudyard Kipling

"San Francisco has only one drawback -- 'tis hard to leave."
—Author Rudyard Kipling

"If you're alive, you can't be bored in San Francisco. If you're not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life."
—William Saroyan as a half-starved young, Armenian writer during the Great Depression

"No city invites the heart to come to life as San Francisco does.  Arrival in San Francisco is an experience in living..."
—William Saroyan

"I have seen purer liquors, better segars, finer tobacco, truer guns and pistols, larger dirk and Bowie knives, and prettier courtesans here in San Francisco than in any other place I have ever visited, and it is my unbiased opinion that California can and does furnish the best bad things that are obtainable in America."
—Hinton R. Helper, 1855, Land of Gold: Reality vs. Fiction

"It is as if the entire city came from common parents -- Scott Fitzgerald and Isadora Duncan."
—Unidentified Hollywood writer

"You know what it is?  [San Francisco] is a golden handcuff with the key thrown away."
—Author John Steinbeck

"When I was a child growing up in Salinas we called San Francisco 'The City.'  Of course it was the only city we knew but I still think of it as The City as does everyone else who has ever associated with it."
—John Steinbeck

"Your city is remarkable not only for its beauty.  It is also, of all the cities in the United States, the one whose name, the world over, conjures up the most visions and more than any other incites one to dream."
—Georges Pompidou (2/70), Former President of France

"It is impossible to reminisce about San Francisco without thinking of food.  As an international overeater I would not hesitate to take any European gourmet and invite him to lean his paunch against the tables set by the restaurants there."
—Author Paul Gallico        

"It's simply a very romantic place.  Just one look at any of those streets, and you couldn't be anywhere else -- it's so beautiful, and there's that location, and the sense of the free spirit. ... Who couldn't become ravenous in such a place?"
—Julia Child, Chef

"What I like best about San Francisco is San Francisco."                                           
—Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect

"The extreme geniality of San Francisco's economic, intellectual and political climate makes it the most varied and challenging city in the United States."
—Author James Michener

"In all my travels I have never seen the hospitality of San Francisco equaled anywhere in the world."
—Conrad Hilton, Hotelier

"Of all cities in the United States I have seen, San Francisco is the most beautiful."
—Nikita Khrushchev, Late Soviet President

"I never dreamed I'd like any city as well as London.  San Francisco is exciting, moody, exhilarating.  I even love the muted fogs."
—Actress Julie Christie                                        

"I prefer a wet San Francisco to a dry Manhattan."
—Larry Geraldi, Composer

"To a traveler paying his first visit, [San Francisco] has the interest of a new planet.  It ignores the meteorological laws which govern the rest of the world."
—Fitz Hugh Ludlow

"You wouldn't think such a place as San Francisco could exist. The wonderful sunlight there, the hills, the great bridges, the Pacific at your shoes. Beautiful Chinatown. Every race in the world. The sardine fleets sailing out. The little cable cars whizzing down the city hills.... And all the people are open and friendly."
—Dylan Thomas, Poet

"It is an odd thing, but everyone who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world." 
—from a character in Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray

"I didn't realize until I grew up and went to New York and Los Angeles that we had such a safe and clean city."
—Barbara Eden, Actress

"What fetched me instantly (and thousands of other newcomers with me) was the subtle but unmistakable sense of escape from the United States."
—H.L. Mencken, curmudgeon & writer who came to San Francisco in the 1920s

"The cool, grey city of love."
—George Sterling

"Everybody has a favorite city.  I have two, London and San Francisco...This fortuitous mating of marine grandeur and terrestrial snugness is what makes the place, to me, the most individual and engaging of American cities."
—Alistair Cooke (11/72), English-born journalist and television personality

"It has been said that all great cities of history have been built on bodies of water--Rome on the Tiber, Paris on the Seine, London on the Thames, New York on the Hudson.  If this is a criterion of a city's greatness, surely San Francisco ranks in the first magnitude among cities of the world.  For never was a metropolis more dominated by any natural feature than San Francisco by its bay."
—Author Harold Gilliam, San Francisco Bay

"When you get tired of walking around in San Francisco, you can always lean against it."