San Francisco cityscape from Coit Tower California

Moving to San Francisco – Everything You Need to Know About Living in the City by the Bay

Get a guaranteed price

      If you’re moving to San Francisco, Scott McKenzie’s legendary song about this iconic city is probably playing non-stop in your head. And we can’t blame you. It’s a catchy tune. Although we are not so sure how many gentle people with flowers in their hair you’ll meet on the streets these days, this place certainly has a reputation for being friendly as a legacy of its hippie past. Besides that, modern SF has a lot to offer and attracts thousands of newcomers every year. So if you are one of them, take a look at our guide to find out something new.

      San Francisco Golden Gate during the sunset
      You may like the view over the Golden Gate Bridge, but there is so much more to discover and like about SF.

      What Should I Know Before Moving to San Francisco?

      There are so many things to know before moving to San Francisco, but let’s begin with some basics. The city and county of SF have almost 900,000 residents and is home to more than 4.5 million in its metropolitan area.

      Located on the West Coast in the state of California, SF is one of the most iconic places in the US and the world. It’s also known by its many popular nicknames such as San Fran, SF, Fog City, Golden Gate City, and the unpopular one, Frisco.

      If you are not sure what to expect, let it surprise you. Don’t try to compare it to Los Angeles or any other place on the West Coast because SF is in a league of its own.


      Relocating to San Francisco – There Is More Than One Pro

      Whether you are moving out for the first time or you are already used to changing your place of residence, you are well aware that every place has its pros and cons. Those of you who are moving from a small town to a big city such as SF will probably need some time to adjust to it, but eventually, we are sure you’ll adapt to it.

      Pros of Moving to San Francisco in 2020

      Countless Job Opportunities

      Why move to San Francisco? Since the bay is home to Silicon Valley and many high-tech industries, the job market is vast. All major companies from Netflix and Tesla to Apple and Facebook have a presence here. Therefore, if you’re worried about how to get a job before you move, that wouldn’t be so difficult around here.

      It's the Home of California Dreamin'

      SF is a place that has a lot to offer for sure, and it will take you weeks and months to explore its hidden corners, but also the surrounding areas. If you transport your auto, places like Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, or Half Moon Bay will be the perfect destinations for a weekend getaway.

      Employee Benefits Like Nowhere Else

      If you don’t know how car shipping works and you don’t want to get driving anxiety, but you’re also not a fan of public transportation, you’ll be happy to hear that some companies have shuttle services for employees. So that’s one of the things to consider when relocating for a job.

      Cultural Diversity Reigns

      In SF, it doesn’t really matter where you come from or what your ethnicity, race, or gender are. Here, everyone is very open-minded and welcoming. The SF metro area is the home to a large Latino population, with 39% making the majority.

      Fitness Is a Religion There

      Even if you were never into working out and going to the gym, you might get inspired to do that in SF. The weather is always nice, so someone’s always jogging down the street or doing yoga at the park. Locals also pay attention to what they eat. There are several farmer’s markets around town and plenty of options for healthy snacks.

      SF Is a Pet-Friendly Place

      Those moving with pets will be glad to hear that SF is a great place for animals, especially dogs. Pretty much every neighborhood has at least one dog park where they can run without leashes, and even some apartment complexes have these areas. However, not every landlord will be happy to house a dog, so make sure to check that.

      Should I Move to San Francisco? Cons of Moving to the Bay Area

      Wherever in the world you go, you will hardly find a place without flaws, and SF is no exception. For some people, these things might be deal-breakers, others won’t even bother about them, and so on. It’s all a matter of preference and lifestyle. So let’s check out what might be the cons of life in SF.

      A Few Cons of Relocating to SF

      It's Expensive

      No one expects life here is cheap, but now and then, you will be shocked by the prices at restaurants, bars, and not to mention housing costs. If you want to stay in the center, prices are significantly higher than the national average, but we will go more in-depth about that later.

      There Are Earthquakes

      Although earthquakes are a real threat to any place on the West Coast, many are worried about SF in particular. In 1906, a massive earthquake devastated SF, destroying around 80% of it. So there is always that fear of when the next “Big One” is going to hit.

      Traffic Jams Are Aplenty

      Of course, how can a list of cons for any metropolis go without traffic jams? And it does not stand for rush hours only because here pretty much every hour is rush hour. If you are a driver, you should count in an extra 30 minutes, at least when trying to make it on time.

      The City Counts Plenty of Homeless Folks

      SF is another large US metropolis struggling with an enormous number of homeless people sleeping on its streets. Many of them you can spot around Downtown, which is usually connected to a higher crime rate. That is something to keep in mind if you are looking for a home in the center.

      There's Often Fog

      Although perhaps some expect that the entire state of California is a sunshine state 365 days per year, that is not so true, especially for SF. Here you won’t find that coastal, dry climate, nights can be quite chilly, and there is a lot of fog. So don’t forget to bring a jacket and an umbrella, just in case.

      How Much Do You Need to Make to Live in San Francisco? The Average Costs

      The cost of living in San Francisco is something this town is notorious for. It really is not easy to afford to live here, but at the same time, it’s not impossible. A few million people manage to do that, so what is their secret? There are no secrets actually – you need a well-paid job, and to live in accordance with your income.

      Those who are moving to a new city alone should consider finding a flatmate for the first several months. It will be much easier if you are trying to save up some money.

      There are always ways to spend less, from cooking food to moving to the suburbs, etc. According to Numbeo, on average, an adult person needs around $1,100 for living on a monthly level, without the rent.

      Moving to San Francisco Advice – How Much Does It Cost?

      Relocations are not cheap, and even the cost of interstate moving is not something you can afford easily if you do not prepare and research all of your options on time.

      You have to keep in mind that the cheapest way to move out of the state is not always the greatest. Finding a reliable San Francisco moving company is not easy to do, and you should learn how to recognize fake reviews so that you do not end up with scammers.

      Besides that, we all know that there are always some creative ways to save up some money on long-distance moving services. You can estimate the value of household goods you no longer use, or you plan to buy new ones and sell them online.

      Another option is to get your own packing materials and save some money on packing services, although a professional company like Flat Price Auto Transport and Moving will provide packing and car shipping options that will give you the most optimal relocation experience.

      Ask your friends for help, some of them probably have extra boxes and stuff that could be used for packing.  And if you contact our cross-country movers, we are sure you’ll learn some new moving hacks that will be helpful in the future.

      How to Move to San Francisco and Pick the Best Place to Live

      When it comes to the best places to live in San Francisco, there are some things you should know. SF has numerous neighborhoods, each with its distinctive culture, vibe, and population, but there is a neighborhood for everyone. However, where you stay will, in a way, define you.

      Every district has its reputation. For example, Mission District is the place where hipsters prefer to stay, while families favor the Noe Valley.

      You can, of course, settle wherever you want, but make sure to research the community and try to meet the neighbors before you move there, so you know what to expect.

      Is SF a Good Place for Raising a Family?

      SF is usually known as a great place for young professionals, entrepreneurs, and adults, but rarely is it mentioned as an ideal place to raise a family. However, there are of course families with children that are relocating here, so if you are one of them, here are our recommendations for places that are family-friendly:

      • Noe Valley
      • Inner Sunset
      • Bernal Heights
      • Presidio Heights
      • North Beach
      A view of San Franciscan buildings from the pier
      Choosing the right community for your future home is essential, especially when you have kids.

      Getting Around When You Relocate to San Francisco

      Yes, the traffic is crazy, but luckily, public transportation seems to work fine, and what is most important, it covers the entire area. You can opt between buses, also known as MUNI, trolleys (MUNI Metro), BART trains, and ferries.

      In the beginning, the public transportation system might seem a bit confusing, but once you experience its benefits and realize that you do not have to search for a parking spot or stay stuck in traffic for hours, you’ll be good.

      Prices for a single ride are around $2.5, while seniors and kids can get a discount.

      Are Cable Cars Just for Tourists?

      Yes and no. Everyone can use cable cars, but although they are an iconic symbol of SF, you will rarely see a local riding on one of three cable car lines. Cable cars used to run across the entire SF, but now there are only three remaining lines that go through some of the most popular neighborhoods.

      Two cable cars passing each other on the streets of SF
      You shouldn't miss riding a cable car at least once, for fun

      Where to Eat When You Decide to Move to San Francisco

      If you are a foodie (and who is not), you are going to love SF, because the best restaurants in San Francisco are on another level. From restaurants, street food carts, bars, and cafes, the food culture here is diverse.

      There is something for everyone’s pocket, but as with everything else, the prices for dining out can be sky-high. And especially if you want to have a view over the Golden Gate Bridge while dining. Just keep in mind that for the majority of up-scale places, you need to make a reservation.

      What Food Is Typical for SF?

      There are so many foods that you need to try in SF, but since you’re relocating, you will have plenty of time to try everything that SF can serve on a plate. Here are our recommendations for those of you who can’t decide where to start:

      • Abalone
      • Dungeness crab
      • Bay shrimp
      • Sourdough French bread
      • Cioppino
      Man and woman clanging wine glasses with champagne at sunset
      Those who like to try out new dishes will certainly be impressed by SF's food scene.

      Moving to San Francisco, California – Miscellaneous Costs and Things to Do In Your Free Time

      Living in SF is much more than just working to pay your rent and bills, you have to live, and life in this place comes with a lot of unpredictable costs. Whether you decide to go out, visit a museum, tourist attractions, Napa or Sonoma Valley nearby, or buy workout clothes – it all comes at a specific cost.

      Best Places for a Night Out

      Whether you want to go clubbing or grab a beer in a bar, SF has it all, and every neighborhood has that IT place for hanging out. So let’s see exactly what the best that every community can offer in terms of nightlife.

      • Union Square – the perfect place for new craft cocktails,
      • Mission – the area where you’ll find dive bars with cheap beers, pool tables, and a vintage vibe,
      • SoMa – if you want to dance all night, SoMa has a variety of dance clubs that play all kinds of music,
      • Financial District – a great area with plenty of wine bars for those who prefer to enjoy their drinks slowly.

      Folsom Street Festival

      If it is September and you notice a bunch of people wearing nothing but a few strips of leather on the streets, no, they are not filming a movie. It is just the annual Folsom Street Fair that is a bit kinky and certainly not for everyone.

      If you are open-minded and curious, feel free to visit it, but keep in mind that it’s not really a family-friendly event.

      The golden gate bridge in San Francisco, California
      SF doesn't really sleep, and it is even more exciting when the night falls

      Don’t Let the Fog Change Your Plans For Cross-Country Moving to San Francisco

      SF fog is so well-known that locals even gave it a name; the fog is called Karl. Although Karl likes to go out a lot, SF has 259 sunny days per year on average, so overall the weather should not be your biggest concern.

      Put on a floral shirt and embrace your inner hippie while planning to move with long-distance movers. SF is a great place to be, and we are sure that you will manage to find your place under the bay sun. Just contact Flat Price Auto Transport and Moving, and our moving and car shipping company will ensure you have the best relocation ever.

      Frequently Asked Questions About Moving to San Francisco

      What Is the Cost of Living Like in San Francisco?

      The cost of living in San Francisco is generally considered to be very high, with high housing costs, high food, and transportation costs, and an overall high cost of living compared to many other cities in the United States.

      How Do I Find a Place to Live in San Francisco?

      To find a place to live, search online for rental listings on websites such as Zillow and Craigslist, work with a real estate agent, and network with locals to get referrals and find hidden gem properties. It’s important to be prepared with the necessary documents and to act quickly, as the San Francisco rental market can be very competitive.

      What Are Some Good Neighborhoods to Live in San Francisco?

      Some good neighborhoods include the Mission District for its vibrant culture and nightlife, Noe Valley for its family-friendly community and quaint shops, and the Marina District for its scenic views and proximity to outdoor activities. Other popular neighborhoods include Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, and the Inner Sunset. Ultimately, the best neighborhood for you will depend on your personal preferences, budget, and lifestyle.

      What Is the Job Market Like in San Francisco?

      The job market is strong and diverse, with a variety of opportunities in tech, finance, healthcare, and other industries. However, competition for jobs can be intense, and the cost of living is high, so it’s important to have a well-developed skill set and be prepared to navigate a competitive job market. It’s also worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the job market in San Francisco and across the United States.

      What Is the Healthcare System Like in San Francisco?

      The healthcare system in San Francisco is generally considered to be of high quality and accessible to residents, with a number of hospitals, clinics, and medical centers located throughout the city.

      The city also has a public health insurance program, Healthy San Francisco, which provides affordable healthcare to uninsured residents.

      However, like in many other parts of the US, healthcare costs can be high and insurance coverage may be complicated, so it’s important to be aware of your options and plan accordingly.

      How Do I Get a Visa to Move to San Francisco?

      To get a visa to move to San Francisco, you must first determine your eligibility and identify the type of visa you need. There are several different visa categories, including work, student, and family-based visas. You will typically need to complete an application and provide documentation to support your eligibility.

      The specific requirements and application process will depend on the type of visa you are seeking and your country of origin. It’s recommended to consult with an immigration lawyer or the U.S. Department of State for guidance and assistance with the visa application process.



      What Is the Education System Like in San Francisco?

      The education system includes a variety of public and private schools, including elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as colleges and universities. It also has a number of specialized schools, such as language immersion programs and schools with a focus on the arts.

      The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is responsible for the public school system in the city, which includes over 70 elementary, middle, and high schools. The quality of education can vary depending on the school and neighborhood, so it’s important to do your research and consider your options carefully.

      What Is the Transportation System Like in San Francisco?

      The transportation system includes a variety of options, including buses, light rail, cable cars, and the iconic streetcars. It’s mainly known for historic cable cars, which provide a unique and scenic way to travel through the city.

      Additionally, SF has a bike-friendly culture, with many lanes and sharing programs available. However, traffic and parking can be challenging in some parts of the city, and the transportation system can be expensive, so it’s important to plan accordingly and consider your transportation options carefully.

      How Do I Transfer My Belongings to San Francisco?

      To transfer your belongings, you can hire our moving and auto transport company to help you pack, transport, and unpack your items.

      You can also consider renting a moving truck and doing the move yourself, though this option can be more time-consuming and may not be practical for long-distance moves.

      It’s important to plan ahead and make arrangements for transferring your belongings well in advance of your move date. Additionally, it’s a good idea to consider any customs or import/export requirements if you are moving from another country.

      What Are the Cultural Differences I Should Be Aware of When Moving to San Francisco?

      When moving to San Francisco, it’s important to be aware of the city’s diverse and inclusive culture. The city’s known for its liberal and progressive values, including a strong focus on environmentalism, social justice, and LGBTQ+ rights.

      The city also has a diverse population, with a rich history of cultural and artistic expression. It’s important to be respectful and open-minded when interacting with people from different backgrounds and to be aware of the cultural norms and practices that may differ from your own.

      What Is the Weather Like in San Francisco?

      The weather is generally mild and temperate, with cool, foggy summers and mild winters. The temperature typically ranges from the mid-50s to mid-60s Fahrenheit (12-18 degrees Celsius), with cooler temperatures in the evening and early morning.

      San Francisco can be prone to fog, especially in the summer months, and rain is most common during the winter. However, it’s worth noting that the weather can be highly variable and can change rapidly, so it’s important to prepare for a range of conditions.

      How Do I Meet New People and Make Friends in San Francisco?

      To meet new people and make friends in SF, you can try joining social groups and clubs related to your interests, attending events and meetups in the city, and volunteering for local organizations or causes.

      You can also use social networking apps to connect with people in the area, such as Meetup or Bumble BFF. It’s important to be open and friendly and to be persistent in your efforts to connect with others.

      This is a diverse and inclusive city, with many opportunities to meet new people and make connections.

      How Do I Find a Job in San Francisco Before I Move There?

      To find a job in SF before you move there, you can search for job listings online through job search websites, such as LinkedIn or Glassdoor, and directly through the websites of companies that interest you.

      You can also consider working with a recruiter or employment agency that specializes in your field. Networking is also important, and you can use online networking tools, such as LinkedIn, to connect with professionals in your field living there.

      Finally, it’s a good idea to research the job market and cost of living to ensure that you have a realistic understanding of the job opportunities and compensation available.

      Can I Bring My Pets With Me When I Move to San Francisco?

      Yes, you can bring your pets with you when you move to San Francisco. However, you will need to comply with local regulations, including obtaining a health certificate and ensuring that your pets are up-to-date on vaccinations.

      SF also has strict leash laws, and some areas may have specific rules and restrictions on pets. Additionally, it’s a good idea to research pet-friendly housing options and to be prepared for the cost and effort of transporting your pets.

      What Are Some Popular Activities to Do in San Francisco?

      Some popular activities to do in SF include:

      • Visiting popular tourist attractions, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Fisherman’s Wharf,
      • Exploring the city’s many neighborhoods and cultural institutions, such as the Mission District and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,
      • Enjoying outdoor activities, such as hiking in Golden Gate Park or going to the beach at Ocean Beach,
      • Also, San Francisco is also known for its excellent food and dining scene.

      Get a guaranteed price

          Flat Price Moving & Auto Shipping

          © Copyright 2024 © Flat Price Autotransport. All Rights Reserved.
          Download Moving Checklist
          Get a Free Estimate 888-647-0024