Is San Francisco/Bay Area a good place to live nowadays?
I think it depends. All the things everyone has been saying about the income inequality are absolutely correct; the housing market is bonkers and you do have to have a fairly fat income to live the classic American middle-class lifestyle. I work a state government job and have lots of student debt, and if I wasn’t in a relationship with someone who makes a lot of money and paid off all of their loans, I would never be able to live in a house.
But, it depends on what you want. It’s totally feasible to live in an apartment, even one that’s close to the heart of the city. Public transit hasn’t shrunk or grown much, so what you remember about how easy/hard it is to get around is basically the same. For the most part, most of the great beautiful amazing things in the city haven’t permanently closed or fallen into decrepitude due to COVID, certainly not as many as I feared. Drinks and meals cost about the same as they do in most other big affluent cities.
Obviously, COVID changed a lot, but I’ve come to appreciate the city so much more since being stuck at home all the time. I’ve taken so many walks and drives and have a truly renewed appreciation for SF history, architecture, micro-climates/neighborhoods, natural features, etc. etc. It helps to be politically liberal since many policies that get discussed and implemented are social and environmental programs (though there’s still a long way to go in terms of using those programs to correct many of the destructive actions of the past). If San Francisco ever seemed like a place you’d want to be, you can still find that here.