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Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to San Francisco, California

Published by Chris Townsend

Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California is a lovely city known for its diversified culture and distinctive way of life. The city is known as the fourth most populous city in California as well as the 16th most populated city in the United States, with a population of over 875,114 people.

San Francisco, popularly known as The Golden City, rose to prominence during the California Gold Rush in 1848. San Francisco quickly became a go-to destination for those seeking gold, and this helps in bringing banks, saloons, and hotels to the city. What was once a thriving mining town has grown into the bustling city it is now. Today, the city has earned a reputation for being a hippie haven turned tech hub as college students and young professionals flock to advance their careers. Along with its iconic environment, there is nightlife, nature, and good employment opportunities.

Before you pack your belongings and relocate to San Francisco, here's what you should know about Golden Gate City.

Sadly, this is true. San Francisco is one of America's most expensive cities to live in. In fact, with a cost of living that is 80% more than the national average, it is the country's second most expensive city, trailing only New York City. While San Francisco is a popular tourist destination, it is not without its drawbacks. Surprisingly, families earning $117,400 a year in the city are considered low-income earners. Residents will need to earn at least $125,000 a year to live comfortably and pay their bills, with the possibility of not being able to save enough money.

Only residents with a net worth of around $3.8 million are considered "rich" in the Bay Area. To be considered a high-income earner, you must make at least $239,000 per year. San Francisco is the more expensive of the two cities when compared to Boston or Los Angeles.

High cost of living

1. The Housing Market is Competitive and Expensive

With such a high cost of living, it's no wonder that the housing market is as costly and competitive. And although prices are sky-high, houses are renowned to sell rapidly. In San Francisco, the average period a home stays on the market is 31 days. The city's median home price is $1.69 million, and prices are continuing to rise. Rents are also among the highest in the country. The average monthly rent for a three-bedroom apartment is roughly $5,700. Even if you work for a global tech company, it's unlikely that an average person can afford to pay that much for a single apartment. It's no surprise that there is a large number of homeless people due to the city's exorbitant housing rates. As of 2019, there were 8,035 homeless persons on the streets of San Francisco, and the number is continuing to climb as prices increase.

2. The Economy and Job Market is One of the Best

Silicon Valley is home to 38 Fortune 500 corporate giants, including some of the most well-known tech firms such as Google, Apple, Meta (previously Facebook), and Netflix. This demonstrates that Silicon Valley is a major technological hub. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are all wonderful places to work if you're excellent at tech. It's easy to see why, with such a strong tech presence, San Francisco has one of the best economies in the United States.

San Francisco offers more than just tech-related job opportunities. The city is recognized as the "Wall Street of the West" because of its importance in banking and finance. Some of San Francisco's commercial companies include Wells Fargo HQ, the Federal Reserve Bank of SF, and Bank of America.

Several districts and neighborhoods

3. The Neighborhood You Live In Matters

San Francisco is unlike any other city in that it is divided into several districts and neighborhoods, each with its own culture and appeal. These districts are subsequently subdivided into neighborhoods, each with a distinct lifestyle and demographic. Based on certain preconceptions associated with each neighborhood, where you choose to reside in San Francisco will define who you are as an individual. For example, SOMA is ideal for entrepreneurs and startup founders, and the Marina is brimming with post-college grads and ex-frat lads looking to continue their nightlife adventures. Regardless of where you choose to settle, each neighborhood will offer you unique experiences and opportunities.

4. Public Transit is the Best Option

To get around San Francisco, you won't need a car. Most residents do not own a car because traffic and parking are such a nuisance. As a result, public transportation will save you time and money.

Furthermore, did you also know that San Francisco is built on seven hills? There's no better way to take in the breathtaking vistas of San Francisco than by taking a cable car ride up the hills. You can take the MUNI, the city's favored public transportation system, which will take you all across town. Buses, streetcars, and subway trains are all available through Muni. You will, however, require a Clipper Card for the transit system in order to travel by public transportation.

Being cooler than other cities of California

5. The Weather is Cold and Mild

In the summer, San Francisco is noted for being cooler than other cities of California and most of the cities in the United States. Thin air and low pressure are formed due to the city's location in a valley near the Pacific Ocean, making the city colder than surrounding regions. Expect cool and foggy mornings and evenings with mild midday temperatures during the summer months of June through August. The city's infamous fog is caused by cool air and low pressure combined with hot inland temperatures. Most locals call the fog "Karl" due to its popularity.

6. Beware of Earthquakes

San Francisco is particularly earthquake-prone, as it sits on six major fault lines, including the San Andreas Fault. Millions of people live on or near active fault zones, which can shift and quake at any time (although it doesn't happen very often). Residents may experience little earthquakes from time to time, but because they are of such a modest scale, they are usually unconcerned.

Scientists predict that another huge earthquake will most likely hit San Francisco before the year 2030. Thus, we recommended that earthquake insurance be acquired when buying a property in San Francisco.

7. There Are Several Outdoor Activities to Keep You Busy

San Francisco is a renowned tourist attraction as well as one of the best cities in California. You can visit historical sites, museums, and some of California's most popular attractions.

For example, Lands End Lookout is known for its windswept shoreline and is located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. And you'll find that every corner will provide a breathtaking panorama because it features sailing, golfing, hiking, etc.

8. There's a Difference Between East Bay, South Bay, and The Peninsula

While these areas are commonly referred to as "The Bay Area," knowing which part of the Bay you want to settle in is vital. Some characterize the Peninsula as having a more "urban-suburban" feel to it. Many plazas and tech campuses can be found there. In general, housing in the East Bay is less expensive, there are fewer tech companies, and it is more spread out. Hiking opportunities abound in the South Bay, making it ideal for renters who want to get out and about. All of these places are easily accessible by public transit and ready to welcome you on your next adventure.

9. Parking Can Be A Nightmare Sometimes

Given San Francisco's small streets, a nice parking spot may become more valuable to you once you find one. After work, some San Franciscans may drive for more than half an hour looking for a parking spot near their home. Many car owners would even use Uber or Lyft just to make sure they save their parking space (which is easy to do because both Uber and Lyft are based in San Francisco).

Destination for foodies

10. It's a Great Place for Foodie

San Francisco has become the go-to destination for foodies due to its world-famous cuisine. San Francisco's cuisine is unrivaled, combining global delicacies with regional favorite flavors. Each region has its own unique flavor. Italian cuisine is well-known in North Beach. The oldest Italian restaurant in the United States is Fior d'Italia. Traditional Northern Italian foods such as cheesy, cream-based pasta and soups are served at the restaurant.

The Mission District is the place to go for taquerias and homestyle Mexican meals if you like Mexican food. You can visit the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods for the best Chinese cuisine, as well as traditional Russian, Korean, and Japanese cuisine.

San Francisco's food scene, which includes scores of restaurants and well-known names, will leave you craving for more.

It won't be difficult for you to feel at home in San Francisco, regardless of what brought you here. You'll become part of a vibrant, diversified group of people who have relocated to the Golden City from all over the country or the world. If you plan on moving to San Francisco, you'll need a reliable moving company like Three Movers to help you plan and execute your move. Contact us today to learn more about our services and also get a free quote for your move.

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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