Ah San Francisco – The foggy, beautiful, glorious little pocket of culture and opportunity tucked in a bay that claims to be the most unique city in the country.
Yes, the city is changing. And yes, it’s expensive. But, before making any further judgments, we’ve provided a few tidbits of information you’ll want to know so you’re prepared to live in this amazing city unlike any other, and why we know you’ll love it, too.
1 You’ll Meet Some Fog Named Karl
May we introduce you to Karl, Karl the Fog. He is quite famous and comes around often. Karl likes to greet the day with a picturesque display around the Golden Gate Bridge, Ocean Beach, and surrounding areas. You can meet him in the Sunset and Richmond districts to enjoy some calm, grey mornings with your coffee. He’s perfect for: feeding creative inspiration for all writers, artists and poets, providing photographers jaw-dropping backdrops that are reminiscent of the green pastures and cliffs of Ireland, and for having an excuse to cozy up in your most stylish sweater (or not so stylish, we won’t judge). Not what you thought California weather would be like, huh? That’s why we love it. If constant sunshine is more your speed, the Mission and downtown neighborhoods would be a better fit. But just you wait—Karl will grow on you.
2 Finding an Apartment is Not for the Faint of Heart
Finding a great apartment (or great roommates) in this city can be quite challenging. Instead of playing the dog-eat-dog game on Craigslist, we suggest connecting with one of our knowledgeable agents who can provide in-person and virtual tours and will walk you through the entire rental process, saving you time and reducing stress. Check out the studio, 1 and 2-bedroom apartments at RentSFNow.com where you get an iconic rent-controlled, historical building with fully updated interiors in the best locations, with most being pet-friendly. Not too shabby!
3 Always Have a Sweater Handy
A word of warning: don’t ever leave the house without a sweater on hand. Sure, it may be warm and sunny at 11 a.m., but things could drastically change by 3. You don’t want to be the one shivering on your hike or on your lunch break just because you want your outfit to look cool. Comfort often trumps style in this city, so go ahead, layer up. Nothing is more romantic than sweater weather, baby.
4 Consider Leaving the Car at Home
Cars can be great to have, especially for those last-minute weekend trips to Napa or to visit Muir Woods (link to blog post). But, if you’re living pretty much anywhere in the city, parking might make or break your love for it (yes, it’s that bad). Luckily, San Francisco is smart enough to have thought of plenty of other options: Lyft and Uber cars are available at every corner, MUNI buses and BART trains are always on duty, and services such as Zipcar, Scoot, or one of the many bike-share companies, which are car, scooter, and bike rental services that allow you to pick up and drop off your rented means of transportation wherever you are, make it easy to get anywhere last minute. Want to ride to the beach in style? Or go up to the Russian River for an outdoor weekend, but don’t have a car? Easy peasy.
5 Be Prepared to Let Your Freak Flag Fly
San Francisco is a ubiquitously weird city, and that’s why we love it. It began with the Counterculture Movement in the ‘60s, and still runs strong today, where you’ll witness events such as Bay to Breakers, where along with running or witnessing a 7.5-mile race, you can dress up in your craziest outfits and get wild at 7 a.m. How Weird Street Faire, which speaks for itself, and the Folsom Street Fair, which lets the kinky come out to play. On off-festival days, expect raves at dawn, roller-skating flash mobs in Golden Gate Park, and naked men riding bikes. And that’s just a normal day.
6 Incorporate ‘Tech’ into Your Daily Vocabulary
You will either work in tech, live with someone who works in tech, or be friends with people in tech. Tech in SF is what films and TV are to LA. (Think Apple, Google, Twitter, and Salesforce all live here). Also incorporate ‘startup’ into your vocabulary. You’ll probably meet someone in line at coffee who has a startup. Whatever your stance is on the subject, one thing’s for sure: you’ll meet some incredibly brilliant individuals and the opportunities are endless.
7 Every Neighborhood is like a Micro-City
San Francisco is actually quite small, being only 47 square miles. Within those parameters are the diverse neighborhoods that make each hood feel like a small close-knit community. You’ll find hipsters in the Mission, preppies in the Marina, hippies in the Haight, LBGT individuals in the Castro, and families in Bernal Heights. (It’s not that cut in dry, but that’s the stereotype). What’s great is that you can easily identify with your neighborhood and find like-minded people based on where you live. And, you’re sure to never get bored.
8 Weekend Getaways are a Regular Thing
If you need a break from the city, or want to take a last-minute trip, you have plenty of options. Unwind in Big Sur, go skiing at Lake Tahoe, wine tasting in Napa/Sonoma, surfing in Santa Cruz, or camping at Russian River. The day or weekend trip options are endless, and it makes travel become that much easier and enjoyable, even if it’s last minute.
So we’re not perfect. But what city is? San Francisco knows exactly what its challenges and growing pains are, but we still hold on to what makes us so special. And to us, it always trumps the challenging parts.