80 San Francisco Quotes That Capture the Beauty of the City

These San Francisco quotes will inspire you to travel to this gorgeous, historic bayside city.

San Francisco is an exciting and beautiful place to either live or travel.

This city is full of historical landmarks, thrilling attractions, and natural bayside beauty.

Read these San Francisco quotes to gain a new appreciation for the Golden City.

Have you visited San Francisco yet?

The culture and atmosphere of this city is like nowhere else in the world.

Whether you’re drawn to the foggy weather, delicious food, or creative people, there’s something here for everyone.

This collection of the best quotes about San Francisco will help you understand why so many people cherish this city.

If you’re planning to visit Northern California, make sure you take the time to explore San Francisco.

Ride a historic cable car down to Fisherman’s Wharf and try some famous clam chowder in a bread bowl.

These incredible San Francisco quotes and sayings will make you feel like you’re standing right there by the bay.

Don’t forget to also check out these New York quotes as well as these California quotes that will make you want to pack a bag for the coast.

If you like this article, we suggest you explore our most popular quotes article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily encouragement. 

Read more related content on our inspirational quotes category page.

San Francisco quotes about the historic bayside city

1. “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

2. “Anyone who doesn’t have a great time in San Francisco is pretty much dead to me.” – Anthony Bourdain

3. “One day if I go to heaven … I’ll look around and say, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.’” – Herb Caen

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4. San Francisco is the only city I can think of that can survive all the things you people are doing to it and still look beautiful.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

5. “San Francisco has only one drawback: ’tis hard to leave.” – Rudyard Kipling

6. The Bay Area is so beautiful, I hesitate to preach about heaven while I’m here.” – Billy Graham

7. “San Francisco is a city where people are never more abroad than when they are at home.” – Benjamin F. Taylor

8. “I don’t think San Francisco needs defending. I never meet anyone who doesn’t love the place, Americans or others.” – Doris Lessing

9. “Los Angeles? That’s just a big parking lot where you buy a hamburger for the trip to San Francisco.” – John Lennon

10. “Leaving San Francisco is like saying goodbye to an old sweetheart. You want to linger as long as possible.” – Walter Cronkite

San Francisco quotes that will lift your mood

11. “Money lives in New York. Power sits in Washington. Freedom sips cappuccino in a sidewalk cafe in San Francisco.” – Joe Flower

12. “East is East, and West is San Francisco.” – O. Henry

13. “San Franciscans are very proud of their city, and they should be.  It’s the most beautiful place in the world.” – Robert Redford

14. “I love San Francisco so much. I call it the Emerald City and have been coming here since 1992. I have a few old friends that live here, and my aunt and uncle live in Oakland. I think it’s a magical city — it’s big, sexy and very ‘cosmo’ with a small-town feel.” – Andy Cohen

15. “I can walk down the streets of San Francisco, and here I’m normal.” – Robin Williams

16. “It is a rich, lusty city, rippling with people, with movement, with girls in summer dresses, with flowers, with color; one of the great and wonderful cities of the world — the great seaport of the Pacific now, one of the great naval bases. Through it have poured a million men… And the sea is always just on the other side of those hills.” – James Marlow

17. “It is a good thing the early settlers landed on the east coast… if they’d landed in San Francisco, the rest of the country would still be uninhabited.” – Herbert Mye

18. “I’m just mad for San Francisco. It is like London and Paris stacked on top of each other.” – Twiggy

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19. “As the years went by, San Francisco became not only my city but also my way of life. From the time I was a boy, I wanted to live in a place like my father’s theater world, a magic box filled with lavishly made-up women, extravagant gay men, and other larger-than-life characters. I wanted a world that could encompass all worlds. I found something close to it in this soft-lit city in the ocean mists.” – David Talbot

20. “San Francisco is one of the great cultural plateaus of the world — one of the really urbane communities in the United States — one of the truly cosmopolitan places and for many, many years, it always has had a warm welcome for human beings from all over the world.” – Duke Ellington

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San Francisco quotes that will make you smile

21. “Every man should be allowed to love two cities, his own and San Francisco.” – Gene Fowler

22. “The extreme geniality of San Francisco’s economic, intellectual and political climate makes it the most varied and challenging city in the United States.” – James Michener

23. “Once I knew the city very well, spent my attic days there, while others were being a lost generation in Paris, I fledged in San Francisco, climbed its hills, slept in its parks, worked on its docks, marched and shouted in its revolts… It had been kind to me in the days of my poverty and it did not resent my temporary solvency.” – John Steinbeck

24. “I prefer a wet San Francisco to a dry Manhattan.” – Larry Geraldi

25. “The cool, grey city of love.” – George Sterling

26. “Such was life in the Golden Gate: Gold dusted all we drank and ate, And I was one of the children told, ‘We all must eat our peck of gold.'” – Robert Frost

27. “The port of San Francisco is a marvel of nature, and might well be called the harbor of harbor.” – Juan Bautista de Anza

28. “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.” – Ang Lee

29. “I think San Francisco is the best place in the whole world for an easy life.” – Imogen Cunningham

30. “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

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San Francisco quotes to gain a new appreciation for the Golden City

31. “San Francisco is poetry. Even the hills rhyme.” – Pat Montandon

32. “Perpetual spring, the flare of adventure in the blood, the impulse of men who packed Virgil with their bean-bags on the overland journey, conspired to make San Francisco a city of artists.” – William Henry Irwin

33. “This is the friendliest city in the world.” – Joe di Maggio

34. “Fog spilled from the heights of San Francisco like the liquid it almost was. On better days it spread across the bay and took over Oakland street by street, a thing you saw coming, a change you watched happening to you, a season on the move. Where it encountered redwoods, the most local of rains fell. Where it found open space, its weightless pale passage seemed both endless and like the end of all things. It was a temporary sadness, the more beautiful for being sad, the more precious for being temporary. It was the slow song in minor that the rock-and-roll sun then chased away.” – Jonathan Franzen

35. “San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality.” – Paul Kantner

36. “You wouldn’t think such a place as San Francisco could exist. The wonderful sunlight here, 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

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37. It’s an odd thing but anyone who disappears is said to be in San Francisco.” – Oscar Wilde

38. It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.” – Jack Kerouac

39. 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

40. “As many of you know, I came from San Francisco. We don’t have a lot of farms there. Well, we do have one — it’s a mushroom farm, so you know what that means.” – Nancy Pelosi

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San Francisco quotes to brighten your day

41. “Growing up in northern California has had a big influence on my love and respect for the outdoors. When I lived in Oakland, we would think nothing of driving to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz one day and then driving to the foothills of the Sierras the next day.” – Tom Hanks

42. “San Francisco is really fun and liberal, and it’s my kind of politics. It’s like being Jewish in front of Jewish people.” – Elayne Boosler

43. “LA is like this crazy mystery to me. They don’t have good burritos. It’s so weird. It’s an hour flight, why can’t [they] have the same burritos as the Bay Area?” – Chelsea Peretti

44. “There is no logic to San Francisco generally, a city built with putty and pipe cleaners, rubber cement and colored construction paper. It’s the work of fairies, elves, happy children with new crayons.” – Dave Eggers

45. “I love this city. If I am elected, I’ll move the White House to San Francisco. Everybody’s so friendly.” – Robert Kennedy

46. “I never dreamed I’d like any city as well as London. San Francisco is exciting, moody, exhilarating. I even love the muted fogs.” – Julie Christie

47. “To a traveler paying his first visit, it has the interest of a new planet. It ignores the meteorological laws which govern the rest of the world.” – Fitz Hugh Ludlow

48. “San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.” – William Saroyan

49. Chicago is the great American city, New York is one of the capitals of the world, and Los Angeles is a constellation of plastic; San Francisco is a lady.” – Norman Mailer

50. “I have always been rather better treated in San Francisco than I actually deserved.” – Mark Twain

More San Francisco quotes and sayings

51. “Every morning in San Francisco was a bit like waking up on the edge of the earth: beautiful and damp and wild, full of the strange music people make, open-armed, into the wind.” – Elizabeth Percer

52. “San Francisco is an interesting place. It’s always been such a nice culturally diverse environment, which it still is, but there’s a lot of money there now and a lot of dot com’s so it’s a little different than it used to be.” – Les Claypool

53. “As a person of color from the South, San Francisco was the first city that really made me feel like an other.” – Barry Jenkins

54. “San Francisco is a breathtakingly beautiful city, with lots of great contrasts between dark and light, often overlapping each other. It’s a great setting for a horror story.” – Christopher Moore

55. “San Francisco is a wonderful city, but you do have housing issues. If tech companies don’t do the right thing, they can dislocate a lot of what makes San Francisco special. At Workday, we want to be on the right side of that.” – Aneel Bhusri

56. “I love San Francisco for the music culture. There’s this vibe there that I can’t find anywhere else in the world. Easily one of the best places on the sea coast.” – Tash Sultana

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57. “The good thing about being in San Francisco is it’s a city that seems to have the flexibility and undefined boundaries.” – Janet Varney

58. “San Francisco is a lot like Amsterdam – free, open-minded and casual – though I expected better weather.” – Marcel Wanders

59. “Access to quality early care and education is an important part of our efforts to make San Francisco more equitable, and ensure that every child who grows up here can thrive.” – London Breed

60. “I’ve always had a connection here in the city from the first day I arrived. I stayed in the city. I made San Francisco my home. I was seen in the offseason at a lot of different functions, and people liked that.” – Willie McCovey

San Francisco Quotes To Inspire Travelers 

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

62. “San Francisco values did not come into the world with flowers in their hair; they were born howling, in work and strife.” — David Talbot, 

63. “There is more grace per square foot in San Francisco than any place on earth.” — Fulton J. Sheen

64. “In all my travels I have never seen the hospitality of San Francisco equalled anywhere in the world.” — Conrad Hilton

65. “And you know what it is? San Francisco a golden handcuff with the key thrown away.” — John Steinbeck

66. “I left my heart at the Golden Gate in San Francisco.” — Tony Bennett.

67. “If you’re going to San Francisco, you’re gonna meet some gentle people there.” — John Phillips.

68. “San Francisco is one of the only cities I like to visit.” — LeRoy Neiman.

69. “If civil disobedience is the way to go about change, than I think a lot of people will be going to San Francisco” — Rosie O’Donnell

70. “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear a flower in your hair.” — Scott McKenzie

San Francisco Quotes To Assure You Its a Fun Place

71. “San Francisco is the place where most people were last seen.” — Ambrose Bierce

72. “I’m a huge fan of the Bay Area so I always love coming to San Francisco.” — Ezra Koenig

73. “There may not be a Heaven, but there is a San Francisco.” — Ashleigh Brilliant

74. “My parents were both from the East and had moved to San Francisco only so my father could go to law school there.” — Carre Otis

75. “I don’t like San Francisco. I love it!” — Dorothy Lamour

76. “My first holiday to San Francisco in 1998-99 was supposed to be a two-week vacation but I ended up staying five weeks and nearly didn’t come home.” — Johnny Vegas

77. “The best tattooists are in San Francisco, and they’re kind of like my family now. I’m always excited to come back to San Francisco.” — Margaret Cho

78. “I will sing in San Francisco if I have to sing in the streets, for I know that the streets of San Francisco are free.” — Luisa Tetrazzini

79. “I went to San Francisco. I found someone’s heart.” — Steven Wright

80. “I love San Francisco, and it offers spectacular scenery of the city, and it adds to the uplifting quality of the movie.” — Tommy Wiseau

Which of these San Francisco quotes most inspires you to visit the bay?

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful and beloved cities in the world.

Despite the notorious fog and gray weather, every day in San Francisco is bright and full of life.

Read these amazing quotes and get inspired to visit Northern California.

Whether you’re interested in nightlife, nature, or something in between, there’s something for everyone here.

Set your sights on the Golden Gate Bridge and indulge in the bayside air.

These San Francisco quotes are guaranteed to lift up your mood.

These awesome quotes will make you smile whether you’re a San Francisco native or a tourist visiting for the first time.

There’s an undeniable magic to this city that you have to experience for yourself.

Share these San Francisco quotes with your friends and family to brighten their day.

What are your favorite San Francisco quotes and sayings?

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