It's summer in San Francisco, and tourist season is going strong. Long lines for cable cars, Fisherman's Wharf feels like a sardine can, and you may be waiting so long in Chinatown Dim Sum lunch turns into Kung Pao dinner. In summer, Lombard Street becomes the world's crookedest traffic jam, and Alcatraz may be the only prison in the world with crowds scrambling to get IN, not OUT. If all those vacation selfies posing with the Golden Gate Bridge were laid end-to-end, they'd probably be longer than the bridge itself.
But all those tourists look like they're having such a great time, I'm wondering why I'm sitting at home.
It's a strange fact that folks who live in tourist towns rarely take advantage of those same attractions people from all over the world come to see. I haven't visited Pier 39 in years, and I can't remember the last time I rode a cable car.
And it's not just San Franciscans. I have friends in London who haven't visited Big Ben in decades. I know Parisians who have never been on the Eiffel Tower, New Yorkers who haven't caught a Broadway show since "Hello Dolly," and Los Angelinos who wouldn't be caught dead in Disneyland. "For tourists," locals sniff dismissively.
But I've decided to stop being such a culture snob. There's a reason these attractions are listed in travel guides: they're fun.