There’s a lot to love about living in San Francisco, CA. For starters, there’s the temperate climate, the breathtaking views, the art galleries and farmers’ markets, the colorful homes, and the exciting technology and business environment.
People from all around the world come to live in San Francisco, and the city’s innovative atmosphere attracts the best business and tech talent and capital. Since the early 2000s, the city has added 66,000 tech jobs. San Francisco also is top in the U.S. in wage growth.
You may be moving to San Francisco for the great weather, for new job opportunities, to be closer to friends or family, or just for a change of scenery. Whatever your reason, you’ll likely find many things you like about living in the city by the bay.
But before you arrive, you’ll want to know what San Francisco is really like. This post will describe the pros and cons of living in San Francisco. If you’re planning or considering a move to the Golden City, this information may be helpful to you so you’ll know what to expect.
Pros and Cons of Living in San Francisco
There are many advantages to living in San Francisco, including:
The Natural Beauty
There’s a reason San Francisco was named one of the world’s most beautiful cities by Flight Network, the travel website. You can enjoy scenic views of the city skyline and the San Francisco Bay from many vantage points.
San Francisco offers plenty of things to do. If you want to browse trendy art galleries, tour historical sites, visit world-class museums, or walk along the pier and enjoy the sea breeze, San Francisco has you covered. There are also quaint sidewalk cafes, city parks with hiking and bike trails, and top-notch restaurants.
Of course, San Francisco has many ways for people to commune with nature. Golden Gate Park is the third most popular park in the country and, at 1,017 acres, is larger than Central Park in New York. From the California Academy of Sciences museum to the park’s resident herd of bison, the park has a wide range of attractions to suit most everyone’s interests.
Proximity to Other Popular Locations
San Francisco is just a two-hour drive north of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea, which boast coastline views, historic missions, charming cottages, art galleries, and plenty of parks and beaches.
In the other direction are the many wineries of Napa Valley and the iconic giant redwood trees. San Francisco is also close to Santa Cruz and the Beach Boardwalk amusement park, Yosemite National Park, and more beaches at Half Moon Bay and Stinson Beach. You can also reach the seaside village of Sausalito via a 30-minute ferry ride that’s been called one of the most exciting ferry rides in the world, with views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Angel Island.
Great Public Transportation
With multiple public transportation options, you’ll likely find you won’t even need your own car in San Francisco. First, the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) trains run from the city in all directions. There are also public buses, and the city’s emblematic cable cars and trolleys that clank along the hilly streets. Finally, the San Francisco Bay Ferry can take you to many nearby destinations, whether you need to attend a meeting in Berkeley or are looking to explore Treasure Island.
Many Neighborhoods to Choose From
San Francisco is an eclectic collection of neighborhoods, including upscale Nob Hill, the ethnic and hipster Mission District, and quiet, residential Russian Hill. Because San Francisco attracts so many immigrants, it’s very welcoming of newcomers, so you won’t feel like an outsider trying to fit in.
The bay area contributes percent of the country’s new job openings, and San Francisco gained 3,000 new jobs in 2022. The entire area is a magnet for tech jobs and has many companies, from large software corporations to new tech startups.
The diversity of San Francisco’s population means there’s a wide range of restaurants to choose from. There are cheap eats, upscale cafes, and four-star establishments representing nearly all of the world’s cuisines.
The California bay area is known for having some of the best weather in the world. The temperatures in San Francisco are mild all year round. The lows average in the 40s during the winter, and the highs top out at 70 degrees in the summer. The mild weather allows you to enjoy the natural scenery anytime. It also means you can move to San Francisco without having to plan around winter storms.
Along with all the benefits, there are some downsides to living in San Francisco:
Northern California’s infamous wildfires, which seem to happen every summer or fall, can make the air smoky and lower the air quality. They can also endanger lives and homes, make transportation difficult, and force people to evacuate their homes. The poor air quality leads people to stay inside.
The largest recent wildfires occurred in 2020, burned four million acres of forest, and made residents stay in their homes for days.
The incredible natural scenery and great weather come at a price: San Francisco has some of the highest costs in the country. The overall cost of living is 38 percent higher than the California average and 94 percent higher than the national average. Housing is 238 percent costlier than the U.S. average, and utilities are 34 percent more. Rental rates in the city are among the highest in the U.S.
San Francisco also has the sixth-highest state and local taxes in the country. The California state income tax rate tops out at 12.3 percent, and the San Francisco county sales tax is 8.63 percent.
Many people have great wealth in San Francisco, but many are homeless and living in poverty. Up to 20,000 people experience homelessness in San Francisco each year. About 7,800 people are homeless at any given time. Many homeless people camp out in the city, and it’s common to see human waste and needles on the streets.
San Francisco ranks in the top 10 in the country for worst traffic. Drivers spend an average of 97 hours stuck in traffic.
San Francisco is located on six fault lines, including the famous San Andreas Fault. Residents become accustomed to tiny earthquakes. Unfortunately, earthquakes can’t be predicted accurately, but scientists expect another major earthquake in San Francisco before 2030.
Living in San Francisco comes with lots of benefits and some drawbacks. The area is attractive to many people because of its great scenery and tremendous opportunities. If you’re planning a move to the Golden State, call the moving experts at All Around Moving today.
We hope you found this post, Tips on Moving to San Francisco, CA: Relocation Guide 2023 useful. Be sure to check out our post Top 5 Things You Need to Do When Moving to California for more great information. Additionally, we put together this newsletter to share with your friends and family.