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Unmistakable Traits of a Typical Bay Area Native

Updated: Jun 23, 2023 09:07
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Anytime I step out of the Bay Area, I’m struck with one simple fact; you can take the Bay Area local outta the bay but you can’t take away my weird Bay Area quirks. It’s fun to ask yourself “What qualities give a Bay Area local away when we are outside of our bubble?” Thinking about it, there are some strong Bay Area only traits that are unique to us. Whether you have lived here most of your life like me, or you’ve lived here for just a few years, I think you’ll relate to some traits I thought made us different than other areas of the country.

Here are some typical traits of a Bay Area Local.

  • We don’t wince anymore at the astronomical prices for food. For instance, I’ve seen folks pay $10 for avocado toast without batting an eye.
  • We insert hella into a sentence casually.
  • We tend to immediately judge other Bay Area locals based on which city or county they grew up in. Whether you’re a Marinite or a San Franciscan, where you grew up in The Bay says a lot about who you are, if you like it or not.
  • When you give a tour of The Bay, you often point out where things used to be. I’m sad for years after something moves or shuts down. I still point out where Rasputin Music used to be in Union Square and note that you can still go to their East Bay location. Locals are also historians of The Bay Area’s past.

The Marina Green

  • We grew up thrifting on Telegraph in Berkeley and The Haight.
  • We all have a Loma Prieta Story. For me, I was playing Duck Hunt mid-earthquake (or should I say earth-quack?).
  • We likely have a 415/510 area code. We might potentially run out of 415/510 phone numbers according to some. If you run into someone with one of those area codes, you can easily determine that they are from The Bay.
  • We cringe if someone who isn’t from here calls The City – “Frisco”.

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  • We know to bring layers to any summer activity in The City.
  • Bay Area locals rarely, if ever, go to Alcatraz. Honestly, the number of locals I know who have never been to The Rock might shock you. The only reason I’ve ever gone is that I was able to spend the night in a D-block cell.
  • We remember when there were people working the toll booths at The Golden Gate Bridge (GGB) and The Bay Bridge. I used to love checking in on my toll booth lady and always used the same lane in hopes I’d run into her. Wonder whatever happened to her?
  • We take public transit as option #1 because we know Muni is the GOAT.

  • We remember when it was weird to see people from The Marina at bars in The Mission. Is it all just blended in now or can you tell what neighborhood folks are from still?

    Broke-Ass Stuart, Editor in Cheap, says, “I used to joke that I dated girls who looked like they lived in the Marina but acted like they lived in the Mission. That really has no meaning anymore.”

  • You know what 6 Degrees of Separation from Robin Williams means.
  • “Yay Area” is a term you’re all too familiar with.
  • We have strong feelings about where to get the best burrito. I’ve even heard folks discuss whether there should be rice or not in Super Burritos.
  • You grew up listening to Live105 and KMEL. Does anyone else miss KFRC?
  • You remember in the 90s when it wasn’t safe to drive through Richmond with your doors unlocked.
  • Some of us know pager code. Well, I do. In the late 90s most of my friends had pagers and we used them to “text” each other in class.

Bay 2 Breakers crayon costumes for the win – photo from 2014 B2B

  • We will still complain about inflation even if we’re emptying our bank account for foodie goodies like Ube donuts, lavender lattes or locally caught oysters.
  • Your costume closet includes at least two Bay to Breakers costumes. If you don’t have an epic story about B2B, are you really from here?
  • We will reminisce about how things used to be often.
  • When you’re traveling, people can automatically tell you’re from The Bay. I dunno if it’s our style, our attitude, or what. Something just screams Bay Area about each and every one of us. We’re somewhat atypical which makes us all typical Bay Area locals.
  • We dream of leaving The Bay Area but also at the same time can’t dream of anywhere else we’d rather live.

Note: I’m pretty sure this list is incomplete but it’s a pretty solid list nonetheless. What I know for sure is that we’re all unique in our own way here and that’s part of why The Bay Area is so great.

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Katy Atchison

Katy Atchison

Katy is a professional smiling machine raised in The Bay Area since the age of 3. While other kids were attending summer camp & soccer practice, she was raised selling wares at craft shows with her working artist parents and spent vacations in a small 1920s Montana log cabin. This has all given her a unique perspective on the ever-changing texture of San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area. Currently a blend of all that is The Bay Area - she's a web designer at a tech-company, artist and DIY teacher.