53 Things You Need to Do in San Francisco Before Turning 30

Published On 10/28/2015 Published On 10/28/2015

Eventually you’re going to turn 30 (or, Jesus Christ, you’re already 30... gross). Either way, there’s really only one way to tell if you did your 20s right in San Francisco, and that way is reading through this list and being able to check off a respectable number of things.

1. Secure a rent-controlled apartment

And then realize you may have to grow old with five Craigslist roommates.

2. Live in someone’s converted living room

Also acceptable: converted dining room. Also ALSO acceptable: converted screen-printing room.

Flickr/Thomas Hawk

3. Go to all three days of Outside Lands

If you attempt this after 30, know that you’ll probably need Icy Hot, orthopedic shoes, and all the Advil.

Joe Starkey/Thrillist

4. Creatively sneak booze into something

Doesn’t matter what (TI Music Fest, Outside Lands, Bay to Breakers), just that you carve a fernet bottle-sized hole out of the inside of a baguette.

5. Pee in Golden Gate Park because the bathroom lines are too long

Flickr/Ed Brownson

6. Get all your furniture from the street


7. Put the couch back on the street when you realize it smells like pee


8. Dance on the platform upstairs at Fiddler’s Green

Leave early to get In-N-Out.

9. Hook up on a roof


10. Wear a Giants T-shirt with a cheeky slogan

“Don’t touch my Posey” gets less cute the older you are. 

Flickr/Ted Eytan

11. Sample ALL the special treats in Dolores Park

Just maybe not in the same day.

12. Eat a bacon-wrapped hot dog on Mission St at 2am

Walk a block; get another one. Don’t regret it in the morning.

13. Drink a 40 at brunch

Because you’re classy AF. 

14. Drink wine from a bag on your way to Napa

Because you’re classy AF.

Flickr/Sarah Lacy

15. Get super sweaty at Beauty Bar

Ditto Delirium, Double Dutch, Edinburgh Castle, and Comet Club.

16. Hookup in a bar bathroom

Just not any of the ones listed above. Even 20-somethings have their ick limits.

17. Pull an all-nighter with your startup

Kind of even like it.

18. Caption your Instagrams non-ironically “Work Hard. Play Hard.”

And then, seriously, STOP saying that.

19. Start a blog

Will also accept earnest, themed Instagram/Twitter accounts.

20. Dance to the ‘90s cover band at Maggie McGarry’s

Eastside West

21. At 1am, no matter where you are in the city, make sure you get to East Side West’s dance floor

Pro tip: there’s a semi-secret back entrance usually reserved for girls.

22. Dine at El Farolito at 2am

Bonus points if you just came from East Side West’s dance floor.

23. Dance until 4am at DNA’s Booty SF


24. Try, in vain, to find an after-hours spot

End up having a private dance party in your living room/bedroom.

25. Only go to Oakland for shows at the Fox

Even though there’s so, so much more to it.

26. Take a cab back from Oakland because you missed BART

Midnight came so fast! 

Derrick Yuen/Thrillist (edited)

27. Boot and rally at one of these Bad Decision Bars

There’s a reason they’re called “Bad Decision” bars.

28. Dance ‘til bar close on a Monday night at Madrone’s Motown Monday


29. Get off Muni in order to throw up

Still make it to work on time and crush it.

30. Make out at the Make Out Room

Anna Hiatt/Thrillist

31. Sneak into a hotel pool

Like so.

32. Get on every dating app

Even the one that was invented 15 minutes ago. 

33. Come up with an app idea!

It’s a dating app, isn’t it?

34. Wonder if you’re actually dating the person you’ve been hanging out with for the last six months

Spoiler alert: you’re probably not.

35. Go to ALL the fests

Union St, North Beach... they’re all kinda the same. Except Folsom St. That’s very, very different.

Flickr/Christopher Michel

36. Go to Burning Man


37. Get kicked out of Zeitgeist

... whether you deserved it or not.

38. Play beer pong at Bar None


39. Slide down the slide at Slide


40. Sneak into a splashy tech party

Practice your elevator speech for your dating app idea. 

41. Fall asleep on Caltrain, Muni, or BART

Wake up in San Jose, Ocean Beach, or Pittsburg/Bay Point.

Flickr/Steve McClanahan

42. Steel a Moscow mule mug or a Lagunitas Mason jar

When you get older, you realize you could just buy these things.

43. Don’t bring a jacket out, even though you KNOW the fog will roll in

Fashion over comfort. 

44. Date a Cal water polo player


45. Start drinking at 6am

Bonus points if it’s at Clooney’s.

46. Attempt to date/hook up with a bartender

Lose your favorite bar in the inevitable fall out.

47. Eat a grilled cheese made from a hot plate at Thieves Tavern

Chase with a beer and a shot. Call it “dinner.” 

48. Let bottomless brunch turn into a late-night dance party


49. At 2am, realize you haven’t left Chestnut St in 14 hours

Flickr/Todd Lappin

49. Celebrate something (anything) on a themed party bus

Especially if it’s one of these.

50. Spin a drink/shot wheel


51. Go to the Gold Club on your lunch break with your co-workers

Nothing like midday strippers and fried chicken to unite a team. This isn’t a HR violation whatsoever.

52. Take shots of Fireball

You’ll probably need to do this before 25, when you have the highest tolerance for disgusting things. 

53. Go to just one more bar

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Amy Copperman is a regular contributor to Thrillist who can check off 42 of these... she’s not tellin’ which. Help her tick off the remaining 11 on Twitter: @acoppergirl.



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