San Francisco, California

Karl The Fog

San Francisco Bay From Pac Heights
San Francisco Bay From Pac Heights
Pacific Heights Mansions
Pacific Heights Mansions
Chinatown, San Francisco
Chinatown, San Francisco
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park

San Francisco is the only city I can think of that can survive all the things you people are doing to it and still look beautiful.
— Frank Lloyd Wright

The Best Thing About San Francisco

Random Beauty

It is the most irrationally designed city in the country with some grid-like blocks surrounded by fabulous Dr. Seussian roads and neighborhoods. This randomness results in wonderful moments where you’ll end up on a street you’ve never been on before, that winds through a neighborhood you never knew existed, and yields a view of a part of the city or bay or ocean, that will continuously amaze you even decades after you first move here.

In the words of Gary Kamiya:
At any moment, as you move across this city’s convoluted terrain, behind a storefront or a neon sign, a strange hill or piece of unfamiliar water will suddenly rise up in the distance, as mysterious and enticing and otherworldly as one of those unknown landscapes in the background of a Renaissance painting,” he writes. “At every step, San Francisco offers you the universe, for free.

For more reviews of what living in San Francisco is like from locals check out: The Buzz

The Worst Thing About San Francisco

Homelessness

The homeless population is surrounded by stratospheric wealth and signals both the hypocrisy of tech-culture and the difficulty in tackling wealth inequity, housing shortages and a mental health crisis.

Here's a local on the possible reasons for the homeless crisis:
The weather, the abundance of social services that have created an industry around the homeless, other cities sending them here, access to good drugs, etc. etc. The city has attempted to show compassion and tolerance at times, which isn't to say that ever stopped the homeless from getting harassed, but they do sweeps like pre-Super Bowl, they still allowed tent cities as long as they're out of general sight.

How You Living?

In A Charming/Or Not So Charming Neighborhood

San Francisco is dominated by small neighborhoods with single family and multi-unit homes, a smattering of low-profile apartment buildings, and a batch of boutique coffee shops, restaurants and absurdly expensive mixed with amazingly cheap second-hand fashion retail. Depending on your age and preferences chances are you’ll live in one of these little hamlets. Younger, tech go-getters are flocking more to the newer high-rises in the Market Street, South-of-Market areas that are driven by: proximity to work, gyms, organic food, and massive quantities of coffee and THC distribution centers.

Lifestyle In San Francisco

Work Hard, Play Hard (outside)

San Francisco exists for many residents as a jumping off point for everything that surrounds it. Set on, and surrounded by, what is possibly the most beautiful land in the country, San Francisco residents in many cases work to get out and play in the outdoors when not plugging away on their computers. This “play” can include everything from hiking in the hills of Marin to hitting the beaches of Santa Cruz to hanging in Golden Gate or Dolores Park and enjoying the fresh but often foggy air. One of the great things about these playtime activities is they are all free. Which means if you can afford to live here you do get the benefit of much of your recreation time not costing a penny.

While people do drink in SF it isn’t a raging city in the way east coast or midwestern cities can be. The degree to which people are grinding to try to strike gold here probably contributes to some of that more mellow night-time vibe. Expect music events, performing arts, hanging out with friends at brunch or drinks after work to dominate the non-outdoor playtime.

A typical weekend day/night might include: waking up for a workout, getting a cup of joe at your neighborhood boutique coffee shop, meeting friends at the park or the Headlands for an afternoon of chill hanging/hiking, and then grabbing a Burrito in the mission and a beer(or two) at a local bar before calling it a night.

One oddity of San Francisco: it has the lowest per capita for people under 18 for a major city in the country. An old running joke. Question: “what do you get a kid in San Francisco for his 5th birthday?”. Answer: “a house in Marin”. While that is a privileged answer (Marin is really expensive), the truth remains that it is hard to raise kids in SF due to cost of living and either quality of public schools or cost of private schools. So, a lot of people hit the eject button when their kids reach school age. Given a lot of people sell their homes when they are older, and use the $$ for retirement, SF can feel a bit like a college, or maybe a grad school. The population runs hard to older Gen Z’s, Millennials and some Gen X’ers who bought early in the housing market or struck it big in the tech scene.

If you're interested in good ways to meet people in SF check out this handy guide from Timeout.com.

Worklife Of San Francisco

The Grind

San Francisco is an amazing city for landing a job. It has the largest concentration of tech jobs in the world, a big banking and finance industry, massive healthcare and BioTech companies, and plenty of jobs via the largest category of employers in the city: tourism.

What’s nice about the majority of these businesses is that they follow the lead of the leaders and offer amazing perqs and extremely employee-friendly policies. What’s also nice about many of these companies is they are aggressively shifting to wfh policies so do you need to move to San Francisco to work “in” San Francisco? The idea of being able to hang at home and enjoy the perks of the city without having to wrestle with commuting or public transport seems kind of dreamy. Again, provided you can afford the housing costs.
https://www.jpmorganchase.com/institute/research/cities-local-communities/institute-san-francisco-economy

Why You Should Move Here Now?

Everyone Moved To Denver (or Austin or Boise)

Although this might sound a little like a “Yogi-ism”, San Francisco is most compelling to move to when people are leaving. The most innovative, affordable, and interesting times to be here are right after the busts. Cost of living gets better, people get more creative, and the city seems more kind and less $$$ motivated. The recent AI boom is pulling techies back into the city into neighborhoods like Hayes Valley (now affectionately known as "Cerebral Valley) so that short-lived exodus may be ending.