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February 4, 2020 Posted in City Guides
Julie Grace

Originally from The Golden City, Julie has explored the ins and outs of moving and has written all the tips down.

A Guide to the Best Places to Live in San Francisco

You’ve given it some thought, and you’ve decided that moving to San Francisco is the right next step in your life. What a wonderful idea! This diverse metropolis, named after its patron St. Francis of Assisi, has something to offer to everyone. Your only task is to take a look at the best places to live in San Francisco and choose the right one for yourself.

San Francisco Traffic SF has plenty of places to settle in

But how does one go about doing that? The truth is, choosing among a long list of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco won’t be an easy task. To make things simpler and help you avoid anxiety about moving out, we’ve decided to provide you with our quick guide to all the criteria you should take into consideration, as well as a list of some of our favorite corners of SF.

How to Choose Among the Best Places to Live in San Francisco

There is a long list of criteria you should take into consideration when permanently changing your address and moving to this big city once you pick the best time of the year to move. Some of them are universal – make sure you can afford to reside in a certain part of the city, check whether commuting is easy enough, etc. Others, however, are based on your particular situation and personal preferences.

Pick a San Francisco Neighborhood Based on Your Own Criteria

What is it that you absolutely need from your future neighborhood and what’s not worth getting moving stress? For example, if you’re moving with kids, you will probably want to have a few of the top San Francisco high schools in the vicinity and high general safety of the neighborhood. On the other hand, if you are moving alone to another state and planning to get a job before you move, you should probably live closer to your future workplace. In case you wish to transport your car across the country and get auto transport services you’d need to know how car shipping works and whether you’ll have a parking spot near your home. Consider what your specific situation is right now to avoid making common moving mistakes and adapt your house-hunt accordingly.

Other Criteria: Economy and Companies in the Vicinity, Night Clubs and Bars, Outdoor Spaces for Health-Conscious Residents, and More

Now that you know what your non-negotiables are, it is time to think about other preferences and amenities. These are the things you’d like to have in the vicinity, but not something you couldn’t survive without. If you like partying, you’ll probably prefer a place closer to downtown, brimming with pubs, bars, and clubs. If you enjoy outdoor activities, you’ll look for a community with lots of parks and open areas, and so on, it will help you avoid relocation depression.

Look at SF Neighborhoods That You Can Afford

You might have already heard that the cost of living in San Francisco is exponentially higher than the national average. So if you are planning to hire highly recommended and reputable San Francisco movers who know all tips and tricks for packing for your moving day, chances are, you can afford to stay here or you managed to find a job before moving to another state. However, this doesn’t mean that all areas are priced the same. Some communities are tailored to tighter budgets for those looking to move into a smaller home, while others bask in luxury. Choose a place that provides the right balance between what you need and what you’re willing to pay. You can also donate unwanted items, figure out how to reduce relocation expenses, find the cheapest way to move out of state. Or simply, choose the cheapest time of the year to relocate and save some money from the moving budget that way.

The wisest course of action would be to write down all your requirements and preferences and figure out how you can reduce costs when moving. This will make it easier to rank every neighborhood you take into consideration and decide whether it would be a suitable candidate for you. And now, let us take a look at some of our top picks in SF for different needs and preferences.

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Top Choices for Families – College Terrace, Barron Park, Community Center

As we have previously mentioned, if you’re relocating with your family, or are planning to start one in the foreseeable future, you’ll want to pick a family-friendly neighborhood. This means there should be good public schools in the vicinity, a number of parks or play areas, and that the crime rate should be as low as possible. Luckily this is one of the best cities to raise a family in California, so finding the perfect spot won’t be that hard.

According to Niche, College Terrace is the number one neighborhood to raise a family. With a population of around 5,000 people, College Terrace provides its residents with a mix of an urban and suburban vibe. The median rent slightly exceeds $1,000, and the average household here makes over $180,000. Some good public schools you should consider for your kids include Palo Alto High School, Frank S. Greene Jr. Middle School, and Herbert Hoover Elementary School.

If you and your significant other are moving in together and planning on having kids know that there are some other communities that are considered good for families with kids in the SF area include Barron Park, Charleston Meadows, and Community Center.

family drinking orange juice There are some great options for families in SF

Areas for Young Professionals – South Beach, Mission Bay, Telegraph Hill

You’ve recently graduated, and now it’s time to start working on your career. What better place than SF? From hi-tech companies in Silicon Valley to the ever-growing tourism industry, there are so many opportunities in different fields here. Ideally, you’ll want to live as close as possible to your workplace to minimize your commute.

South Beach is located right next to downtown and provides all the amenities you can think of. Chances are, as a resident of South Beach, you’ll be a short commute away from your job. The neighborhood provides some good entertainment and nightlife opportunities too, with a number of bars and pubs in close vicinity. Also, some of the best restaurants in San Francisco are located nearby. As a bonus, all the fun things to do in San Francisco will be right at your doorstep.

If South Beach doesn’t seem like something you’d enjoy, consider relocating to Mission Bay, Showplace Square, or Telegraph Hill. These places are just as convenient for a young professional like you.

man working Young professionals in SF can choose from a handful of areas

Great Areas for Students – Berkeley, Outer Richmond, Outer Sunset

With so many great colleges and universities, the Bay Area is a natural choice for many students. Ideally, on-campus housing would be the best option, as that would leave you with more time and energy to prepare for school. Also, it will definitely come cheaper than off-campus housing. However, if you choose to live off-campus, you’ll have several options.

Outer Richmond is a part of the larger Richmond District. The biggest difference between Outer and Inner Richmond is the fact that the latter is somewhat cheaper and more distanced from the center of SF. The community is quite diverse, and the population exceeds 40,000. The current median rent is around $1,800, and the average household makes over $85,000. Most residents hold a Bachelor’s degree.

Other neighborhoods in the Bay Area you should consider as a future student include Outer Sunset, Inner Richmond, and the city of Berkeley, where the oldest campus in California is located – University of California, Berkeley.

Living in the Suburbs of SF – Mountain View, Los Altos Hills, San Mateo

No matter what might be your reasons to move to the Bay Area – be it for work, for a family member, or something else – it can happen that you simply can’t stand living in big cities. If that is the case, you’ll be happy to know that there are a handful of quiet and pleasant suburbs to choose from, where you can be away from the public eye.

Los Altos Hills is one of those places that is worth every penny – if you can afford it. As with most suburbs, this one comes at a high price. The average home here sells for no less than $5 million. Needless to say, these homes are much larger than the ones you’d be able to find downtown. If you decide to live here and work in the city center, your commute would be around 45 minutes.

If Los Altos Hills doesn’t seem to match your preferences for relocating to the suburbs, other places to consider are  Mountain View, San Mateo, and Emeryville.

foster city San Mateo is one of the top suburbs in the Bay Area

A Few Downtown Options – Financial District, Mission District, Haight-Ashbury

When you figured out where to move, you didn’t come all the way to SF to lead a secluded life somewhere on the outskirts. You want to be right in the middle of everything that goes down in the city. If that is the case, there is a long list of areas you’re bound to love – they have all the amenities you’ll need, a vivid nightlife, vast entertainment options, and some good dining spots, no matter if you move during the holidays or any other time of the year.

If the name Haight-Ashbury sounds familiar, it probably is. This is the place where the hippie counterculture was born back in the 60s. Later on, it became a popular spot for stand-up comedy, and it retains its strong entertainment spirit today. If you choose this neighborhood for your new home, not only will you have access to countless bars, restaurants, markets, and stores, but the famous Golden Gate Park will be right at your doorstep. That’s why you should explore it as soon as you unpack.

Other options you could take into consideration, in case living in the city center is your prime objective, are Financial District, Mission District, and the Castro.

Golden Gate Bridge Haight-Ashbury has a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate Bridge

Overall Top Choices

Perhaps you’re neither a young professional nor a person looking for the best city in the US to raise a family. You don’t mind the suburbs (Concord) nor the city center. You simply care to know what the overall top-ranked spots to move to in SF are before you hire moving services. We took into consideration some of the most important criteria – housing, crime rates, diversity, commute, outdoor activities, and more, and this is what we came up with.

Presidio of San Francisco – located right in the middle of a huge park, and still in the center of the city, Presidio offers the best of both worlds. The population of the community is slightly larger than 4,000, and the average home is priced at $2 million. Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and people moving with dogs.

Pacific Heights – this well-off community is considered by many to be the best choice for anyone who can afford it. The median home value is around $1.5 million. The neighborhood offers countless amenities, out of which the view of the Golden Gate Bridge is probably its most important selling point.

Inner Sunset – part of the greater Sunset District, Inner Sunset is home to an array of local businesses, shops, cafes, etc. The median income of families here exceeds $110,000, while the average home sells for a little over $1 million. Inner Sunset is home to a population of 28,000 residents.

Sea Cliff – if you’ve always dreamed about having water-front property and spending your weekend mornings enjoying a cup of coffee to the sound of the ocean, Sea Cliff is for you. Most of the large houses located here enjoy an ocean view and a pleasant sea breeze. Buying a house here will cost you roughly $1.3 million.

Have you packed your clothes, boxed up furniture, and wrapped up your delicate items yet? Have you made a photo inventory for the moving insurance? If not, get down to work, because a huge life-changing adventure awaits you. The City of San Francisco is eager to welcome you!


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