It wasn't until I went to SF that I truly realized how much freedom a musician can truly have. At night every coffee shop was filled with people with acoustic guitars and a single mike. Some brought amps, but without fail when one walked past the door to a coffee shop one could hear live music playing. While Seattle still holds the title for best all ages action, I must say that I was blown away by the respect with which musicians were treated. Even the worst musicians were allowed to continue to play for their half-hour set, and customers all clapped at the end for the worst or cheered for the best. It was very inspiring to find the welcome people who walked off the street asking to play were greeted with.
San Francisco seems to be a very strong city for a budding musician to gain a foothold and begin to gain live experience. Even the hotel we were staying in had musicians who could come in and play at any time of the day they wished--though they usually came in between 7pm-1am. I believe that it's due largely to the climate in the city, where people can sit outside and play music for money all year long, and that soon progressed to them being welcome in coffee shops, but truly I'm only guessing. Either way, rock on San Francisco!