7 Nicknames for San Francisco

7 Nicknames for San Francisco

San Francisco’s nicknames are just as rich and vibrant as the city itself. From names derived from the infamous weather, to those inspired by the architecture that this beautiful city has to offer. Dive into the nicknames and their origins of San Francisco’s nicknames with us now.

Where Does San Francisco Get Its Nicknames From?

The nicknames given to San Francisco derive from a few common themes: abbreviations, the city’s location, its architecture, and the weather. Let us show you how each nickname came to be.. 


SF is a common abbreviation for San Francisco – which is relatively easy to understand its origin as it’s simply the city’s initials. 

San Fran

This is a nickname for San Francisco that locals don’t love – simply shortening the second half of this wonderful city’s name. Don’t use this if you’re trying to blend it and not look like a tourist!


Frisco is a hotly debated nickname among San Francisco locals. Whilst this nickname is old, it came into more use in 1876 with the St Louis – San Francisco Railway becoming known as ‘Frisco.’

However, locals such as Pulitzer-prize winner Herb Caen spoke about how their “fair city” should not be a “sliced up moniker.”

The City by The Bay

The bay is one of the most recognisable parts of San Francisco – being the largest landlocked harbor in the world. With the entrance to the city being the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s not surprising San Francisco has been given the nickname the City by The Bay. 

Fog City

San Francisco is well known for its fogs. The hills, combined with proximity to the Pacific Ocean are the perfect conditions for fog, even during the summer months. The locals have even given the frequent fog the nickname of ‘Karl.’

The Golden City

San Francisco has close ties with the gold rush period which is where this nickname derives from. And in this beautiful city there’s so many golden views – from the Golden Gate Bridge to magical sunsets across the bay.

The City

Locals often refer to San Francisco by the name ‘The City.’ This is due to the large number of suburbs leading to San Francisco, all of whom see SF as the main city.

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