We’re an innovative bunch in the San Francisco Bay Area and not known to settle for just the basics. As such, our fashion, our toast, and even our sex positions are carefully crafted to embrace the unique qualities of our dear city. So it only makes sense that we exercise our right to innovate our howdys and hellos!
To build upon your own arsenal of San Francisco greetings, feel free to employ any of these city salutations, which are sure to give you the upper hand in your next SF meet-and-greet.
1. The Karl the Fog Embrace
A subtle, creeping greeting, this one will require participants to move in a sprite-like motion, spreading fingers and limbs in such a way that both participants are greeted, hugged, and touched in every available cranny. This is obviously best reserved for good friends.
2. Cable Car Fiver
This greeting can be accomplished between both strangers and friends, depending on your level of coordination. For the stranger route, simply walk along a chosen cable car line and bestow surprise high fives to any tourist you encounter hanging off the pole with musical-worthy gusto.
3. The It’s-It
As an homage to the greatest cookie sandwich ever to claim fame within the San Francisco city limits, this greeting is best enjoyed on a hot day. As your partner extends their fist in greeting, extend your palms horizontally to “sandwich” their hand, just as two oatmeal cookies might caress a serving of flavored ice cream. After you’ve made your hand-sando, proceed to pull it toward your mouth. The next part is up to you, though we suggest mimicking only the actual eating of this handwich. Dipping it in chocolate, however, might be encouraged.
4. Lombard Street
Following the snaking pattern of the famed twisty avenue, one person’s hand careens forward in a zigzag pattern while the other takes photos. You may then switch roles in order to ensure you’re both well documented in this winding holler.
5. The Dim Sum ’Sup
This hello requires both finger strength and dexterity. As one partner extends a fist in a har gow–like shape, the other extends a pointer and middle finger – nature-given chopsticks. The dumpling fist is then plucked between these two fingers in a scissor-like motion and brought up toward the mouth with expertise. Triumph ensues.
6. The BART Bump
This is approached as a traditional fist bump, but instead of fist-to-fist contact, each participant follows through with a direct punch to the other’s face. Reserved for old friends or new enemies.
Alternatively, for a less violent version of the BART Bump, stand a decent distance from your greet-ee with your fist extended. Next, slowly proceed toward your partner, then stop. Then, slowly proceed toward your partner, then stop. Continue until you’re both overwhelmingly frustrated or frazzled.
7. Twin Peaks Pound
A classic greeting to represent the two peaks shining in the distance. Go about with the motions of a regular fist bump to demonstrate the lovely mounds of Twin Peaks, but as you approach contact, up the ante by adding another element of San Francisco aesthetics: Sutro Tower pinky. Designate one participant to slowly (and elegantly) raise their pinky finger in digital homage to the lanky icon.
8. Park It on a Hill with a Stick Shift
Those who have experienced the turmoil of manual-engine driving on the hills of San Francisco will appreciate the delicate yet learned tactic of this greeting. As your partner extends their fist to be pumped, grasp it as you would your stick shift and demonstrate the detailed intricacies of SF hill parking using their forearm as your prop. Take as many three-point turns as you need—nobody’s judging you.
9. Haight Street Hand Hug
Exercising your right to free love and peace, the Haight Street Hand Hug employs a high five, but with a thumb-loving twist. As the open and accepting palms make contact with one another, each participant’s thumbs confirm the free-loving spirit by wrapping around the other participant’s hand in a finger embrace.
10. The Golden Gate Greet
Expanding on the classic double-handed high five (which will likely never go out of style), this greeting is for the foursomes out there. All four participants first fall into a sturdy yet aesthetically pleasing line, after which the middle two participants turn away from one another to face the two outer participants, thus creating two pairs. Each pair then double high-fives, emulating the famed duo of bridge towers. With enthusiasm great enough for arm tendons to mimic the majesty of suspension cables, the two middles finish the scene by touching their butts against one another, completing the construction.