San Francisco is home to Golden Gate Park and is nestled in a gorgeous bay with plenty of outdoor activities. The tech hub is known for being one of the most expensive places in the U.S. to live in. From microclimates to year-round mild weather, San Francisco has even given a name to its fog, Karl
The biggest disadvantage is probably cost — San Francisco is known to be one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. The Bay Area is home to more wealthy people than any other metro area in America, according to the U.S. Census.
The city also has mild, 70-degree weather all year (even in the summer), along with plenty of outdoor activities, from beaches to the mountains.
Cost of living in San Francisco is very high
San Francisco’s close proximity to Silicon Valley makes it one of the wealthiest cities in America. It was ranked 40th in the largest local economies, in a study by Business Insider.
The cost of a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $2,929, according to Apartment Guide’s Annual Rent Report. Even though prices have been dropping compared to last year, it still means the median U.S. worker, who earns $46,696 annually, would be priced out in a city like San Francisco.
There are less expensive alternatives outside the city. Some popular areas include the East Bay and South Bay.
You’ll get to know Karl
Living in San Francisco means that no matter the season, the crisp weather requires layering and a jacket.
Many may know about San Francisco for the thick fog that sometimes overtakes the entire city. The fog has such a presence in the city that it has its own name, Karl, and of course, also has its own Twitter.
San Francisco is known for its microclimates, which means it may be a few degrees cooler or hotter, depending on where you are. The Inner Sunset is known for gloomier conditions while SOMA (South of Market) and FiDi (Financial District) are normally sunnier and warmer.
No matter what, the weather in San Francisco will always keep you on your toes and is never boring!
There’s more to do outdoors than just the Golden Gate Bridge
The forgiving weather in San Francisco makes it an ideal place to visit a park. Two San Francisco staples include Mission Dolores Park and Golden Gate Park.
Mission Dolores is practically a pilgrimage for locals. The park offers stunning views of the city, but more importantly, you’ll never find a shortage of colorful people-watching. Whether they’re picnicking, reading a book, listening to music or sleeping, Dolores Park is an iconic place to hang out and get a fresh dose of Vitamin D. A sunny day in the city means locals and tourists flock to Golden Gate Park.
Golden Gate Park, which is home to several museums, a botanical garden and abundant green spaces, has many similarities to Central Park in New York City. The park takes up a large portion of San Francisco, and if you look at the map, is a long rectangular site in the Outer Lands, surrounded by a grid of streets.
Golden Gate Park is the city’s haven for bike rides or going for a leisurely stroll.
The sports scene is serious business
The Bay Area’s sports scene is more than just the MLB’s Giants or NFL’s 49ers. There’s a healthy dose of sports action, including major teams and professional franchises, including the Golden Gate Warriors, Oakland A’s and San Jose hockey team, the Sharks.
If you’re up for some baseball, head over to AT&T Park, home to the San Francisco Giants. The park, which has been touted as one of the best ballparks in America, often has a sellout crowd of 40,800 fans. The best part? It has incredible views of the city.
If basketball is more your thing, there’s also the Golden State Warriors, who formerly played at the ORACLE Arena, but have since moved to the Chase Center, which is located along the waterfront in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood.
You have plenty of commuting options
The great thing about San Francisco is that there are plenty of places to live outside of the city. Many residents choose to do so and commute in. Just like living in any big city, traveling via public transportation can be quite challenging because of the sheer number of commuters. However, it’s a much better alternative to driving and being stuck in traffic.
San Francisco has many forms of transportation, including:
BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit): Regional public transit operator is also great for getting to and from the airport
MUNI: San Francisco’s main public transit system operates busses, trains, cable cars, and a streetcar that runs throughout the entire city
Casual carpool: This is a grassroots carpool system in which commuters stand in a designated area in the East Bay and get picked up by strangers driving to the city who want to use the carpool lane to get across the bridge, as it requires three or more people
Transbay Bus: This system is different than Muni — it runs only a few routes within the city, but is great for getting to San Francisco from Oakland, Berkeley and other East Bay areas
CalTrain: This train shuttles commuters from the Peninsula and the South Bay into S.F.
Ferry: Commuters from Alameda, Oakland or Sausalito use the ferry to cross the bay and into the Embarcadero
It’s pretty safe
San Francisco is generally a safe place to live and visit. Despite being such an expensive and wealthy city, San Francisco still has its share of seedy and crime-ridden areas. The Tenderloin, which was once called “the dirtiest block in San Francisco,” hasn’t quite gentrified and is known for its drug activity and homelessness.
The food scene is amazing
One of the best things about living in San Francisco is the food options. Whether you opt for takeout or dine outside, your food and beverage experience will never be lacking in San Francisco.
Mission-style burritos, farm-to-table menus and thick, juicy pieces of toast slathered with almond butter mean foodies are just some of the many great things to sample.
San Franciscans love their brunch — and with any brunch culture comes long lines and no reservations. The city has just about artisan everything, from mixologist-made vodka sodas with smoked ice cubes to robots that make your burgers to perfection.
Some of the more popular experiences include strolling into the Ferry Terminal, which is home to a massive food hall with some of the city’s best eateries. If you like dairy, check out Cowgirl Creamery, known for its fresh organic products.
There’s also Hog Island Oyster company, which never has a shortage of people waiting in line to get their hands on plump oysters from Tomales Bay.
Speaking of which, don’t miss Restaurant Week
San Francisco is full of lots of interesting yearly events and traditions. Let’s look at some crazy and fun annual traditions, whether you decide to partake or just watch.
Restaurant Week San Francisco: Learn about and taste the city’s very best during this event. Roughly 130 restaurants open their doors to showcase their finest meals — many offer fixed menus and reduced rates.
Bay to Breakers: Taking place each year in May, this local tradition is a 7.46-mile race through the city with people wearing ridiculous costumes. The tradition started in 1912!
San Francisco Pride Parade and Festival: Celebrating a day of acceptance of all genders and orientations, Pride is all about rainbows, glitter and dancing. It usually takes place the last Saturday in June, and starts at the Civic Center Plaza.
There are 36 official neighborhoods in the city, and they are all very different
As with many large cities, each neighborhood in San Francisco has its own distinct culture, flavor and scene. Here’s a quick reference for the more popular neighborhoods and what you should know:
The Marina is a swanky neighborhood that’s a haven for partiers, brunchers and shoppers. The streets are lined with trendy shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
The Financial District, also known as FiDi, is a bustling area with high rises, including the world-famous Salesforce Tower.
Dogpatch is known for its art and design culture. You’ll know you’re in Dogpatch when you see a cluster of hip, industrial-looking buildings and warehouses.
Mission Bay is a fast-growing neighborhood with lots of young, professional families.
Nob Hill has consistently ranked as one of the best neighborhoods to live in San Francisco. Ask anyone who has lived in the city, and you’ll hear Nob Hill listed as a neighborhood favorite.
North Beach is a lively area with a vintage vibe. The neighborhood is lined with Italian restaurants, bars and classic strip clubs with neon-signs that light up the main street, Broadway.
Living in San Francisco
Living in San Francisco means you’ll pay a premium, but for a reason. From cool cultural activities to an incredible restaurant scene to endless options for outdoor activities, you’ll never run out of things to do and see. Get started finding your new home by checking out homes for sale and apartments for rent in the city.