What To Know Before Moving to San Francisco

San Francisco is more than just bridges, sourdough bread and fog. It’s a city rich in diversity, nature and unique residents. If you are considering moving to San Francisco, many quirks and treasures await you in the City by the Bay. Before you start packing your moving boxes, consider 10 things everyone moving to San Francisco should know.

1.Blend in with the locals

photo by: NorthStar Moving

Although San Francisco is a colorful melting pot of cultures and styles, locals can easily pick out tourists or transplants if they refer to San Francisco as “Frisco” or “San Fran.” These nicknames make locals cringe and will not help you blend in. Although some have dubbed this vibrant city: “Baghdad by the Bay” or “The Paris of the West” for its bohemian vibrant cultural scene, locals simply refer to their city as “SF” or “The City.” Learning the lingo will help you mix into this unique city.

2. Get around like a local

photo by: NorthStar Moving
photo by: NorthStar Moving

Although California is a car state, folks moving to San Francisco are actually better off if they don’t have a car. Traffic and parking can be a nightmare on those steep hills, most locals choose more eco friendly means of transportation. The Bay Area is conveniently connected via the Bay Area Rapid Transit also known as The BART. This train system connects the Peninsula to San Francisco and even travels under water to the East Bay. San Francisco is very bike friendly and offers a bay area bike share program throughout the city.

3. Locals are always prepared

When moving to San Francisco, be prepared for changing weather. Locals always carry a light jacket, sweater and often an umbrella. Crossing a few blocks can mean temperature drops or increases depending on foggy skies or winds. It’s better to be prepared and dress in layers. Winter temperatures are as cool as 50 and 70 degrees from January through December. Summer months actually mean more fog than sun.  September and October offer the best months of sunshine.

4. Locals love dogs

Moving to San Francisco with your DogWalking around San Francisco, you’ll probably see more dogs than children on the streets, that’s because the city is very pet friendly. Home to many tech companies that will actually let you bring your pup to work, it’s no wonder San Francisco also boasts 174 dog-friendly restaurants. Your pets will love moving to San Francisco with so many dog friendly parks and meet ups.

5. Locals love Nature

Muir Woods National Monument by Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view (CC BY 2.0)
Muir Woods National Monument by Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view (CC BY 2.0)

With over 220 parks, moving to San Francisco means you can hike without even leaving the city. From meandering walkways of Lands End, to The Presidio’s 11 mile hiking trail, many of the parks have amazing views of the bay. Just perfect for an afternoon picnic. Only a 12 mile drive north of San Francisco are real redwoods in Muir Woods, be sure to make a reservation for this popular spot. Need a family park? Try Dolores Park, a favorite for their playground, this park is a hit for local families.

6. Locals Vacation Locally

San Francisco is conveniently located just a three hour drive from great vacation spots: Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, or Monterey. For even closer getaways, locals escape to the Napa Valley home to award winning wineries. Most moving to San Francisco have a hard time leaving their city because there is always so much to do.

7. Locals love their food options

Photo by NorthStar Moving
Photo by NorthStar Moving

Moving to San Francisco means oh so many food choices. With many farm to table restaurants, the popular Ferry Building Farmers’ market  and unique concept restaurants, San Francisco is foodie paradise. Try classics like the Tonga Room or play some Mini Golf Urban Putt while you enjoy drinks or dinner. Keep in mind that even the most popular restaurants close around 10 p.m. so get your reservations in early.

8. Living locally comes at a price

If you’re thinking about moving to San Francisco, be forewarned it’s an expensive city. It’s the second most expensive city in the U.S.  to be exact. However, it’s rising costs are a reflection of the many high-paying tech jobs in the area. The rapidly expanding tech businesses offer many attractive job opportunities. No matter the price, it’s definitely worth calculating the pros and cons of moving to San Francisco.

9. Too many local events to keep track of.

Moving to San Francisco means so many entertainment choices. From music festivals to cultural events, there are performances for all tastes and sizes. A must see local favorite is Beach Party Babylon, the longest running musical revue in town. San Francisco offers world-class museums, symphonies, ballets and one of the largest collections of street art in the world. You can keep up to date with fun local San Francisco activities here.

10. Locals love their neighborhoods

photo by: NorthStar Moving
photo by: NorthStar Moving

Before moving to San Francisco, find the right neighborhood for you. San Francisco has been home to raising awareness on a multitude of social issues, from the flower power movement of the 60s, to the women’s movement and the Gay Rights Movement. Each neighborhood has an interesting history and story to tell. Whether it’s the artsy vibe of the Mission District or the victorian row houses of Haight-Ashbury, explore the eccentricities of each neighborhood and find the right one for you. This quiz is fun way to find the right neighborhood before you make it your new home.

Are you moving to San Francisco? What do you love about this city? We’d love to hear about your experience. Share your tips for moving to San Francisco below in our comments section.