The City by the Bay gives you many reasons to live and work here, more so than other cities. Right from its magnificent sights such as the Golden Gate Bridge to its range of mouthwatering cuisines to its employment opportunities to its inclusive nature, courtesy of the LGBTQIA+ community, SF has the whole package to attract thousands of people, to move here and experience the joys of living in the city. Since you’re planning your move to San Francisco, we have a list of 14 things you should be familiar with so as not to run into any unpleasant surprises! If you are ever looking to travel to Wyoming, you absolutely must check this Sanelo’s guide on moving to Wyoming.
1. Cost of living is high
When it comes to the standard of living, San Francisco is one of the costliest cities to live in in the United States and its only competition is Manhattan! The living expenses in SF are about 73 percent higher than the national average!
As more and more people, including many tech professionals, move to the city to live and work, the demand for homes, apartments, and room rentals in San Francisco is increasing, causing home prices and rents to skyrocket. In fact, the average rent per month now is about $3,933, which is a whole lot of money!
There’s no reason to panic because you’ll still find some neighborhoods in San Francisco where the rents are reasonable, but housing costs in the USA are a perpetual problem.
2. Plethora of job opportunities
Interestingly, the high living standards don’t stop hordes of people from moving to the city. The answer’s simple and obvious: tech companies. Silicon Valley in SF houses numerous IT companies employing professionals from across the country and the globe! Some top-notch organizations that people fall over each other to work for include Salesforce, Google, Adobe, NVIDIA, and Atlassian. According to Spacewise, the tech workforce in 2018 increased by about 51,500 jobs in the state, and needless to say, most of them were in Silicon Valley!
You should also know that besides technology, other industries drive the economy of SF, such as Finance, Tourism, and Healthcare. These industries generate scores of jobs and maintain an unemployment rate of 2.5 percent consistently. Some of the most prominent companies in these industries have seen tremendous growth, and they’re nowhere near Silicon Valley!
3. Perfect for higher education
If you’ve considered the idea of taking up a course at a renowned university before you start working, SF is where you should be! The city houses many reputed universities and colleges, such as Stanford and UC Berkeley.
Other equally good schools within the city include the University of San Francisco, a private university that offers about 230 programs in business and finance for graduates and undergraduates. As far as public universities go, San Francisco State University has courses for students specializing in liberal arts, business, health and social sciences, education, among other fields. For health sciences, the University of California, San Francisco is the right option. According to most, it’s known as the best medical school in the United States.
Overall, you’ll be spoilt for choice should you choose to pursue higher education before embarking on a professional career.
4. Be prepared for crooked streets and steep hills
Traveling across the city, whether by car, by bike, or on foot, can be a bit tricky because of the surprisingly steep and twisting roads. The city’s landscape is such that you’re likely to come across several such streets, so it’s a good idea to exercise caution while walking, riding a bike, or driving a car, to avoid mishaps.
Sometimes the reputation of a place or a thing precedes it, so you and many others may have heard of Lombard Street in Russian Hill, which is referred to as the most crooked street in the world, but is nowhere close to being accurate. The place is beautiful but the roads tend to meander a lot!
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5. Earthquakes are common in SF
Why are earthquakes common in SF you might wonder? Well, San Francisco perches on the San Andreas fault line, among six others. This causes tremors from time to time, although they’re few and far between. The last earthquake in SF had happened in 1906 and had almost razed the city to the ground! That was, is, and will hopefully remain the worst one in the city’s history and the country.
Once you move to the city, you could attend The Great California ShakeOut, which raises awareness about earthquakes besides helping people brace themselves for it with some useful advice.
6. Paradise for foodies
What kind of cuisine do you have a craving for? Chinese, Italian, Mexican, you name it and it’s there in SF! It’s one of the many reasons people are drawn to the city.
You’ll find a number of Latin American joints in Mission District, and for Chinese, we don’t need to tell you where to go! Apart from the range of Chinese dishes available in Chinatown, visit the Richmond District to savor some lip-smacking dim sums. For excellent German cuisine that includes pickled herring, potato pancakes, and pork sausages, drop by Suppenküche in Hayes Valley. Seafood lovers must visit Fisherman’s Wharf and try the Codmother Fish and Chips. Nopalito will give you a taste of Mexican dishes such as Tacos de Pescado al Pastor and Totopos con Chile, using local organic ingredients.
It seems like the list is endless, isn’t it? Look around well and you’ll find every dish you have a hankering for in the city!
7. SF is a global Gay Mecca
Evidence of San Francisco’s inclusivity is reflected in the respect and love the LGBTQIA+ community has received over several decades. As a matter of fact, the city’s been so generous as to build an entire neighborhood (The Castro) for the community! SF is a platform for all members of the community worldwide.
SF’s history with the LGBTQIA+ community goes back to the 1970s when Harvey Milk moved to the city and stood up for their rights. He was the first openly gay man to hold a post in the California government. The town was also the first one to issue a license for same-sex marriages in the United States. Fascinating, isn’t it?
If you get a chance to participate in the world’s biggest pride parades, the San Francisco Pride, and visit the Castro, you’ll realize why the city’s called the world’s Gay Mecca!
8. Known as Fog City
Normally, temperatures in SF hover around 60 degrees, with a light, coastal climate prevailing for the most part. However, due to an unusual occurrence involving a lingering fog, it’s called the Fog City. Warm inland air mixes with the cool ocean air, mostly in summers, and creates a fog over the San Francisco coast and the bay. Since it stays for a few days, it causes temperatures to fall across the city and people feel a little chilly. It makes sense to keep a jacket with you just in case.
Funnily, residents have personified the fog and not just given it a name (Karl The Fog) but also created Twitter and Instagram accounts to entertain people and keep them in splits!
9. Be conscious of your manners
Being new to the city, you need to know that regardless of the number of transplants who move in from other parts of the USA and the world, there are still plenty of old residents (not just by age) who live and work in the city. And whether you like it or not, they judge outsiders.
Confused? Don’t be. All you have to do is be on your best behavior, be warm and courteous to everyone you meet. You might even run into some weird people and while their quirky attitude might seem offensive at first, learn to develop a thick skin over time!
10. Remain involved in your community
As you may have realized by now, SF has a very energetic and passionate personality, especially when it comes to social issues that concern the rights of the underprivileged. Examples include the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community and housing laws.
Therefore, it might be a great idea to take up an issue in your community and voice your opinions as a political advocate or even a volunteer. It gives you an excellent opportunity to fight for a cause and make a difference, not to mention make some friends along the way!
11. Support the arts scene in SF
SF has a very active and engaging arts scene, whether we consider street art or the exhibits in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Legion of Honor, International Art Museum of America, or the San Francisco Art Institute, to name a few.
Artists and gallery owners have been going through challenging times as far as gathering funds to pay rents is concerned. If we don’t reach out to people in their time of need, that doesn’t speak very highly of us now, does it? So, regardless of whether you’re an art fan or not, support arts and artists and do whatever’s within your power to help them.
12. Multiple microclimates in SF
Karl The Fog aside, San Francisco weather tends to fluctuate a lot, giving rise to what’s known as microclimates. In other words, temperatures might rise or fall by eight degrees depending on the locale you’re in. Apps track the temperature variations during microclimates.
Since the city’s topography includes mountains and water bodies, weather changes can happen without warning.
13. Several homeless folks in SF
As happens with most big cities, there’s a huge disparity between the rich and the poor. The rich have too much money that they don’t know what to do with, while the poor don’t even make enough to feed themselves, let alone find themselves a home. You’ll find a similar situation in San Francisco.
Most homeless people live on the streets in the Civic Center and Tenderloin areas. If you happen to pass through these areas while heading to work or taking a leisurely stroll, you might bump into a few of them. Although there’s no need to panic, you may find the stench in these places overbearing at times due to the lack of public bathrooms. If possible, avoid these areas at night and watch where you’re stepping and going.
14. MUNI has operational challenges
MUNI or the San Francisco Municipal Railway is one of the key transportation options in SF. It also runs several buses across the city, although residents seem to have issues with the way the system functions.
Keep in mind that more than 50 percent of the buses have a rule where you need to get down to the steps of the bus for the back door to open! If you don’t do it, you’ll end up with a busload of angry passengers crying themselves hoarse! Also, there may be times when your bus might pass through Chinatown. If so, you’ll end up getting late for work or wherever you’re headed because the bus will stop multiple times to pick up passengers or let some get off.
So, either keep some extra time on hand or use alternatives such as bikes, cabs, Lyft or Uber, without having to spend a fortune.
Can’t wait to move to SF? We sure hope so! Every city has its pluses and minuses and SF is no exception. Let’s embrace the pluses, which clearly outnumber the minuses and proceed to the city known for its warmth and inclusive nature and a wealth of lucrative opportunities.