Advertisement

Crabs vs. sourdough, Journey vs. Zappa; how does Charm City measure up to San Fran?

Baltimore and San Francisco are on opposite coasts, some 2,800 miles apart, and there doesn't seem to be enough similarities between the cities to create one of those breakdowns that determines which town is better.

But this is Super Bowl week, and with the big game almost upon us fans are undoubtedly bored with Ray Lewis' deer antler velvet spray and the Harbaugh brothers' backyard football games.

So let's compare the two cities, break things down scientifically, and determine which town reigns supreme.

NICKNAMES

Baltimore goes by "Charm City." San Francisco is called "The City by the Bay." Hard to pick a clear-cut winner here. I'll lean toward Frisco here, only because the rock band Journey borrowed the nickname in one of their songs.

Advantage: San Francisco

Advertisement

LANDMARKS

San Francisco's skyline is highlighted by the Transamerica Building, the tallest skyscraper in town. But let's not forget about Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Haight-Ashbury, and Ghirardelli Square, to name a few. Baltimore counters with sites like Fort McHenry, the USS Constellation, and the Bromo Seltzer Tower. Throw in the Natty Boh and Domino Sugars neon signs for good measure.

This really isn't much of a contest. Hard to go against the Golden Gate Bridge. And any jail that housed Al Capone is pretty sweet.

Advantage: San Francisco

FOOD

Everybody knows Baltimore for its crabs, whether steamed or in cake form. A juicy pit beef sandwich goes well there, too. Choices for San Francisco include is Rice-A-Roni, or cioppino, or maybe sourdough bread. And those Ghirardelli chocolates are tasty.

Please. If one of your city's trademark foods comes in a box, you should be disqualified.

Advantage: Baltimore

DRINK

San Francisco claims Anchor Steam Beer while Baltimore has Clipper City and National Bohemian as its home brews. All three are delicious in their own right, but there's just something about Mr. Boh, with his mustache and one-eyed gaze that makes you say, "Sure, I'll have another."

Advantage: Baltimore

FAMOUS NATIVES

These lists are long and filled with big names, from all walks. Babe Ruth (Baltimore) and Joe DiMaggio (San Francisco) in baseball. O.J. Simpson (San Fran) in football. Michael Phelps (Baltimore) in swimming. Each city has famous artists (Ansel Adams, San Francisco) and authors (Edgar Allan Poe, duh) and musicians (Jerry Garcia vs. Frank Zappa).

Other Hollywood types include David Hasselhoff (Baltimore) and Clint Eastwood (San Francisco). We could go on forever. But the clincher may very well be Bruce Lee, born in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1940. Come on, the guy starred in "Way of the Dragon" with Chuck Norris.

Advantage: San Francisco

FAMOUS STREET

San Francisco's Lombard Street is one of the most recognizable roads in the world, with its severe hairpin turns and steep climb. Baltimore can promote several straightaways and corners, but perhaps "The Block" is its most well-known stop. Not that I would know anything about it.

Advantage: San Francisco

MUSIC

Plenty of good stuff on both sides of the ledger, with Journey and the Grateful Dead going up against ... Frank Zappa and Kix.

Maybe you'd rather focus on a single rather than bands or albums. Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco; Scott McKenzie advised to wear flowers in your hair when you visit. As for songs about Baltimore, Google might be your best bet for research. Here's hoping you prefer Randy Newman, Lyle Lovett, or the Counting Crows.

Advantage: San Francisco

These are just a few ways to compare two of the country's more popular cities. Sure, the Super Bowl will decide which football team earns a championship this season. But you've probably had enough of that.

How about this - Bloomberg Businessweek's top 50 best places to live in 2012 included both Baltimore and San Francisco.

Baltimore ranked 29th. San Francisco ranked first.

Hard to argue with a national publication, right?

Advertisement
Advertisement