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December 13, 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.

Everything You Need to Know About Living in San Francisco, California

Living in San Francisco means you will be staying in a metropolis that has the highest disposable income, salaries, and median home prices in the world. The area is home to 38 Fortune 500 companies, more than a few world-famous universities, and 3,400 acres of open space. Staying here will put you in a highly diverse and liberal location, where everybody from career chasers to families can fit in.

San francisco beach Life in SF will be filled with excitement and new things to do daily

Moving to San Francisco will be ideal for foodies since there are more than 4,400 restaurants in the Bay Area, but also for history enthusiasts because there are plenty of historic landmarks.

This metropolis might be pricey, but salaries are more than enough to cover all of the expenses. However, before you start planning your move, check out our guide where we answered important questions like What kind of salary do you need to live in San Francisco and Is it dangerous to live in San Francisco.

What Is It Like to Live in San Francisco? The Bay Area Is Not Cheap by Any Means

Before moving interstate, you’ll probably spend some time wondering what is it like to live in San Francisco. Besides Golden Gate, cable cars, and a diverse population, the metropolis is famous for not being cheap. San Francisco’s cost of living is one of the highest in the country, but don’t worry, salaries more than make up for it.

Nonetheless, to avoid moving stress, you should go over the monthly expenses. When you put it all down on paper, you might even find a way to reduce costs when relocating. According to data from the website Numbeo, utilities such as heating, cooling, garbage, electricity, and water in SF would cost you around $150 a month.

However, the thing that affects the cost of living the most is housing. If you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment, you’ll need roughly $2,760, while a three-bedroom place can be found for $6,320. Furthermore, becoming a homeowner will knock $940 per square foot, out of your pocket, but the prices vary depending on the location you pick.

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What Kind of Salary Do You Need to Live in San Francisco

When you get to know the price range of all the necessities, you might wonder What salary do you need to live comfortably in San Francisco. According to the website LivingWage, an adult without kids should earn approximately $43,320 to cover all the expenses, while a family of two adults with two children should have a household income of $103,210 a year.

Neighborhoods Define Their Residents

There are plenty of shows that portray the metropolis as a place where dreams come true, but what’s it like to live in San Francisco for real, and how to find the spot that fits you just right? Remember, SF has plenty of well-known neighborhoods as well as smaller subsections and districts. The Planning Department officially identifies 36 neighborhoods, and each of them can be your next home.

When you start thinking about moving across the country, look into all the available housing options. This is especially important when you choose to settle in SF because here every neighborhood defines its residents with its overall vibe.

That’s why one of the best house-hunting tips when looking for a roof over your head is to thoroughly research the location beforehand. You don’t want to end up in Mission with hipsters if you are not one or with families in Noe Valley if that’s not your scene.

Go over your relocation budget and see if you can afford to settle in some of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco. While you are looking into all the accommodation options, don’t hesitate to hire San Francisco cross-country movers to do the heavy lifting instead of you.

There Is Something for Everyone In SF

When you start researching neighborhoods, make a list of all the things you can’t be without. Are you relocating with kids? If so, you should focus on areas with top-rated San Francisco high schools, and if you are relocating alone, consider some modern, upbeat locations. Whatever your reasons for the move might be, to help you find a perfect spot to call home, we made a list of the best places to live in San Francisco:

  • Sunset District – if you are relocating with dogs, consider finding a home in this west-central spot of the metropolis. Not only that, it’s within walking distance of Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Bridge, but it also has plenty of dog-friendly businesses. In Sunset District, your furry little friend can enjoy vast open space while you can bask in the sun or surf.
  • Seacliff – when checking how safe is your future neighborhood, you might be surprised by the fact that the crime rates in Seacliff are 63% lower than the SF average. Even though the prices of renting are a bit steep, you’ll get to stay in a place with an ocean view, and your next-door neighbor can be Sharon Stone, Kirk Hammett, or even Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
  • Haight-Ashbury – if you are planning on renting, give this vibrant and diverse location a chance. Haight-Ashbury is a place where, according to the website Niche, the median rent is $1,985, making it one of the most affordable in the metropolis.
  • Berkeley – if the idea of moving to the suburbs is something you feel comfortable with, settling in Berkley can be a perfect solution. The location is only 10 miles from downtown SF, and it is ideal if you are looking for a more laid-back spot to call home. It attracts students in pursuit of knowledge since it’s home to Berkeley University and young professionals who want to avoid paying huge rents in SF.

One of the most common relocation mistakes is rushing everything. That’s why when moving state to state, planning is crucial. Finding a property and making sure it fits your budget will take time. You might even have to move into a smaller home if you can’t afford a more spacious one. To help you make an educated decision, we made a table comparing the prices of housing and crime rates in these top-rated SF neighborhoods.

Location Median Home Value Median Rent Total Crime Per 100k People
Berkeley $1,004,900 $1,722 4,963
Haight-Ashbury $1,685,260 $2,177 3,985
Seacliff $2,000,001 $2,961 2,238
Sunset District $1,050,948 $2,305 1,234

Living in San Francisco Will Bring You Plenty of Employment Opportunities

When it comes to interstate moving, one of the main questions people ask is how to get a job in another state before moving there. Luckily, you chose to settle in SF, a spot with a diversified service economy that has jobs in a variety of industries, from tech to business.

With the unemployment rate of 2.4% and positive job growth, it is no surprise that people flock to this California metropolis. There are plenty of national and international companies seated in the city, so if you have one of those jobs that require relocation, you can skip the whole job-hunting process and start negotiating your salary.

What Are the Highest Paid Professions in the Bay Area

Figuring out how to get a job before you move is step one in excelling in your career. The next one is ensuring you get paid enough. According to LivingWage, typical yearly earnings through professions are:

  • Managers – $121,420
  • Legal representatives – $103,050
  • Architects and engineers – $96,960
  • Healthcare technicians – $90,100
  • Business and financial operations – $75,300
SF Downtown Just go online, and it will be easy to find a dream job

What’s It Like to Live in San Francisco If You Don’t Drive

Let’s say you hired a long-distance moving company to help you relocate. Professional long-distance movers will provide you with cross-country moving services, but also packing services, and professional auto shipping. However, if you are looking for the cheapest way to move out of state, you might consider ditching your car. It is not like you will need it in SF.

Residents here often chose to walk or bike to their destinations, and data from the official SFMTA website shows that roughly 52,000 cyclists use bikes daily. Nevertheless, if you are not big on cycling around, you might wonder how to live in San Francisco without a car. Don’t worry, the regional Municipal Transportation Agency, aka MUNI, operates all around the city and can take you anywhere.

Things to Know About MUNI If You Want to Learn How to Live in San Francisco

If you chose to ditch the car, you’d need to use public transportation to get from point A to point B. To avoid looking like a total noob, there are some things about MUNI you should know:

  • Google Maps won’t help you much because it is never right about the time the bus will arrive. Try downloading Rover or NextMUNI, and you will always know when the next bus will come.
  • Most buses require you to step down into steps if you want to open the door.
  • You can use trolleys, streetcars, cable cars.
  • If you plan on commuting daily, it is good to get a monthly pass that includes BART in SF costs around $100.
Powell Street, SF MUNI has been serving residents for years

The City Is Getting Safer to Live In

Are you moving to a big city such as SF from a smaller place? If so, going over crime rates and statistics should be one of your top priorities. Populous cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and SF usually have higher crime rates than suburban towns with less than 100,000 residents, and that is something you should get used to. However, it’s normal to be worried about safety, so you still might wonder Is it dangerous to live in San Francisco.

Key findings from the website AreaVibes show that SF crime rates are higher than the national average. However, the metropolis is safer than 5% of the cities in the US. Also, the number of registered sex offenders in California is 13% lower than the national average. Furthermore, crime rates have been steadily decreasing, meaning that SF is getting safer.

If you are last-minute moving and don’t have the time to thoroughly research all locations, consider this pro tip: settle in locations AreaVibes classifies as safe like Glen Park, Richmond District, and Noe Valley.

Police car on the streets of SF As the years' pass, the metropolis is becoming a safer location

People That Live in San Francisco Are Thoroughly Entertained

Becoming a resident of SF comes with a list of pros and cons, but don’t worry – positives outnumber the negatives. Regardless of what people say about the metropolis, people here are always thoroughly entertained.

Whether they are checking museums or catching a movie at one of many theaters, there are many things to do in San Francisco. You will be able to find something fun to do no matter your interests because there are attractions on every corner.

This city has more than 220 parks on its territory, so outdoor lovers won’t ever run out of places to explore. Also, no matter where you stay, you’ll probably always be in the vicinity of some of the best restaurants in San Francisco.

From vegan meals to BBQ and fusion dishes, the metropolis is a foodie haven. On top of it all, sports lovers can catch a football, baseball, basketball, hockey, or soccer game and cheer for the Giants, Warriors, and 49ers.

Crowd watching baseball There's entertainment on every corner, from sports to bar hopping, the choice is yours

Moving Cross Country to the Bay Area Will Pay Off

When you are thinking about hiring a cross-country moving service to help you relocate, you’ll probably wonder Is San Francisco a good place to live. While long-distance movers are providing long-distance moving services, you can use your free time to research SF.

When you explore the metropolis, you’ll see that it’s an excellent spot to call home. Not only it looks like a movie set, but it is also filled with plenty of different employment, educational, and entertainment opportunities. After researching the city, you’ll realize that the best option among many cross-country moving companies is our very own Cross Country Moving Company.

SF is the city where you can be anyone you want to be, and we are cross-country movers that will help you become just that, with impeccable moving and packing. You’ll see that the crowd in SF is accepting and friendly, and as soon as you unpack what our movers packed, you will feel welcomed. And if you so happen to have less room than expected for your items, use our storage service for free for a month while you manage.

That’s why you should not hesitate to move and see for yourself why many before you left their hearts in San Francisco.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving to San Francisco

What Is the Cost of Living in San Francisco?

The cost of living in San Francisco is among the highest in the United States, with an overall cost of living index of 269.9, according to Numbeo as of February 2023.

What Are the Most Popular Neighborhoods to Live in San Francisco?

The most popular neighborhoods to live in SF are the Mission District, Pacific Heights, Marina, Noe Valley, and the Haight-Ashbury area.

What Is the Public Transportation System Like in San Francisco?

The public transportation system in San Francisco includes buses, light rail, subway, and cable car services, operated by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). It is a comprehensive system with extensive coverage of the city and its surrounding areas.

How Is the Job Market in San Francisco?

The job market in SF is generally strong and diverse, with a focus on the technology, finance, and tourism industries. However, the cost of living and intense competition for jobs can make it challenging for some individuals to find employment.

What Are the Best Schools in San Francisco?

Some of the best schools in SF are Lowell High School, George Washington High School, Abraham Lincoln High School, and Galileo High School. Additionally, some of the top private schools in the area include Archbishop Riordan High School, San Francisco University High School, and Drew School.

What Are Some of the Best Things to Do in San Francisco?

Some of the best things to do in SF include visiting popular attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown, as well as exploring the city’s diverse neighborhoods, trying local cuisine, and enjoying outdoor activities in Golden Gate Park or along the Embarcadero.

What Is the Weather Like in San Francisco?

The weather in SF is generally mild and temperate year-round, with cool summers and relatively warm winters. The city experiences frequent fog and drizzle, particularly in the summer months, and temperatures typically range from the mid-50s to low 60s Fahrenheit (around 12-16°C).

Is San Francisco a Safe Place to Live?

San Francisco has some areas with higher crime rates, but overall it is considered a relatively safe place to live. As with any urban area, it is important to take common-sense safety precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

How Diverse Is the Population of San Francisco?

San Francisco is a highly diverse city, with a population that includes significant representation from many ethnic and racial groups. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2020, the city’s population is approximately 45% non-Hispanic white, 34% Asian, 15% Hispanic or Latino, and 6% African American.

How Do I Find Housing in San Francisco?

To find housing in San Francisco, you can search online on various platforms such as Zillow, Craigslist, or Apartments.com, as well as work with a real estate agent or property management company. It is important to be prepared for high housing costs and strong competition for available units.

What Are the Best Places to Eat in San Francisco?

San Francisco is known for its diverse and innovative food scene. Some of the best places to eat there include well-regarded restaurants like State Bird Provisions, Zuni Cafe, Gary Danko, and Che Fico, as well as popular foodie destinations such as the Ferry Building Marketplace and the Mission District’s many taquerias and trendy eateries.

What Are the Best Ways to Get Around in San Francisco?

The best ways to get around town include walking, biking, and using public transportation, such as buses, light rail, subway, and cable cars. Rideshare services and taxis are also readily available, but driving and parking can be challenging in the city’s dense and hilly urban environment.

What Is the Nightlife Like in San Francisco?

SF has a vibrant and diverse nightlife scene, with options ranging from trendy bars and nightclubs in the Mission and SOMA districts to live music venues in the Haight-Ashbury and Fillmore neighborhoods. The city also offers a range of cultural and arts events, as well as after-dark activities such as night tours and events at the California Academy of Sciences or the Exploratorium.

What Is the Tech Scene Like in San Francisco?

The tech scene in SF is a significant driver of the city’s economy and job market, with many major tech companies, startups, and incubators located in the area. SF is known for its thriving startup culture, venture capital funding, and innovative spirit, particularly in areas such as software development, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence.

How Do I Find a Job in San Francisco?

To find a job, start by researching and applying to job openings online through job search websites and company career pages, networking with professionals in your field, attending job fairs, and working with local recruitment agencies. You should tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job and company you’re applying for and be persistent in your job search.

What Are the Best Museums to Visit in San Francisco?

Some of the best museums to visit in SF are the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium, and the Asian Art Museum.

What Is the Sports Scene Like in San Francisco?

San Francisco has a vibrant sports scene, with professional teams in baseball (San Francisco Giants), football (San Francisco 49ers), basketball (Golden State Warriors), and hockey (San Jose Sharks). Additionally, the city hosts several major sporting events throughout the year, such as the San Francisco Marathon and the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open.

How Do I Make Friends in San Francisco?

To make friends, try joining local groups and clubs based on your interests, attending events and meetups, volunteering for community organizations, or taking classes and workshops. It’s also helpful to be open and approachable and to take the initiative to introduce yourself and strike up conversations with new people.

What Are the Best Parks and Outdoor Spaces in San Francisco?

Some of the best parks and outdoor spaces in SF are Golden Gate Park, Dolores Park, Lands End, the Presidio, and Baker Beach. These areas offer opportunities for hiking, picnicking, playing sports, and enjoying scenic views of the city and the bay.

How Do I Get Involved in the Local Community in San Francisco?

To get involved in the local community, try volunteering for a community organization, attending neighborhood events and meetings, joining local groups and clubs based on your interests, and supporting small businesses and local initiatives.

Additionally, social media platforms and community websites can be helpful resources for finding out about local events and opportunities to get involved.


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