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Why San Francisco is called "the City"

If you've ever lived in the Bay area, or knew anyone that did, you know that San Francisco is always called "the City". It's never, ever, "Frisco", unless of course you believe that Rice-a-Roni is the most popular dish there.

I'm an old Angelino, and it wasn't until I moved back to Phoenix that I referred to where I lived as "Los Angeles". I lived in the Valley, or Canoga Park, or Winnetka. I worked in Woodland Hills, and one of my co-workers at the time lived in what she called "the City". No, it wasn't San Francisco, it was just a way of describing the original part of an area that had sprawled out so much that it was pointless to say "Los Angeles".

Of course, outsiders still call everything from Santa Monica to practically Palm Springs "Los Angeles". And although I haven't lived there for a long time, I imagine that neighborhoods in downtown Los Angeles adopted different names, like Bunker Hill (which isn't a name people used to like to use!). There are probably a lot of names subdividing the different parts of what was originally just called "the City" in Los Angeles (the downtown area).

But it never changed in San Francisco, it's still the City. I listen for it in song lyrics. If you hear "the City" in a song, chances are that it's San Francisco. And even though Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco, I know that he actually called it the City.

Image at the top of this post: Mission San Francisco

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