Lonely Planet Writer

76-Second Travel Show: 'Is San Francisco better than New York?'

The New Yorker cliche:

  • After college, move to a crappy downtown Manhattan apartment and aim to change the world
  • Enjoy the bars and frantic pace, then gradually get frustrated with your career and relationships
  • Move to San Francisco
  • Enjoy the outdoors more, take walks on beaches, daytrip to redwoods or wineries, eat lots of burritos
  • Then bore friends to tears by comparing everything to New York, usually negatively ('really? this restaurant closes at 9pm? that'd NEVER happen in New York')
  • Then move back within 5-8 years

The differences between the USA's great two cities -- easily the top two in most folks' travel radar -- are clear enough. One is like a grumpy boss that gets things done, the other like a pizza buddy with frumpy gingerbread homes.

Though I live in New York now (after the obligatory San Francisco interlude), I identified four key ways that the scale of goodness tips to the West Bay, including better coffee, airport transfers and subway maps -- plus a far healthier connection to preserving the past, something that the legendary Castro Theater's organist David Hegarty chipped in on.


But which city is ultimately better? Any thoughts?