15 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to San Francisco

|June 22, 2018

More tourists and new residents flock to San Francisco year after year because it’s one of the best cities on the globe. And we can prove it, so keep reading!

Whether you’re moving here to be closer to world-famous eateries, closer to nature, or closer to the big city,  it’s a great place to call home. We love it so much, we’ve been here for nearly a century! Those 100 years of local experience provided us with a lot of experiences and knowledge to share. Today, we’re sharing the basics with you. Covering everything from the city’s nicknames and the weather to the can’t-miss destinations and events — these are the 15 things you need to know before you move to The City by the Bay.

1. It’s SF, not San Fran.    

things to know before moving to San Francisco California

We have to get this one out of the way first. San Francisco is a city with a lot of nicknames, but there are a handful that will give you away as an out-of-towner immediately, including Frisco and San Fran. But if you call it SF or The City, you’ll be mistaken for a local.

2. You don’t have to drive everywhere.

things to know before moving to San Francisco California

Yes, California is famous for its traffic, but here in San Francisco, we aren’t tied to our cars. In fact, most of the Bay Area is connected via Bay Area Rapid Transit — affectionately nicknamed BART. This train connects the Peninsula to San Francisco then crosses over to the East Bay and all the way down to Fremont.

But BART isn’t even the best part! Thanks to these alternate commute options and to our bike-friendly streets, San Francisco is named on nearly every list of its kind as one of the top bike-friendly cities in the country. And organizations like San Francisco Bike Coalition are improving the safety and ease with which residents can bike day after day.

For more information on our city’s bicycle culture, check out The 10 Best Bike-friendly Neighborhoods in San Francisco. And for walking commuters, we suggest reading The 5 Most Desirable San Francisco Neighborhoods, Ranked by Their Walk Scores.  

3. Pack your coats and your scarves.  

Year-round averages in San Francisco don’t vary by much. You can usually count on the temperature being between 50 and 70 degrees from January through December. However, thanks to our beachfront locale, our foggy skies and our frequent rain, the air can often feel a bit chillier. However, locals still love spending time on restaurant and brewery patios, lounging in the park, and walking dogs along the beach! Whether it’s sunny or rainy, you’ll always have something to do in San Francisco.

4. And don’t forget your hiking boots.

And you’ll definitely have something to do if you love being in nature! Our city by the Bay has more green space than any other municipality in the United States. With more than 220 parks, including the famous Golden Gate Park, you can hike, picnic and play without ever leaving San Francisco. Learn more about our city’s parks and open spaces courtesy of San Francisco Recreation & Parks.

And just minutes outside of the city, you can also find jaw-dropping locales like Mount Tamalpais State Park and Marin Headlands in Marin County, Redwood Regional Park and Mount Diablo State Park in East Bay, and Rancho Corral de Tierra in the Peninsula. And that’s just the short list!

5. You can visit the beach and the mountains in the same day.

things to know before moving to San Francisco California

Outside of San Francisco’s and the Bay Area’s amazing urban parks, our hometown is just three hours drive from both Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe. These are some of the country’s most visited outdoor destinations for year-round fun whether you’re hiking and biking or skiing and sledding.

And when you come home at the end of a long day, you can dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean or the San Francisco Bay!

6. It is actually one of the best places to live in the country.

We’re not just saying that. Based on national rankings which consider quality of life, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities and local amenities, San Francisco and other Bay Area cities regularly land on lists of the best places to live. This ranking from Niche puts SF in the top twenty and our East Bay neighborhood, Berkeley, is number three!

7. Young professionals especially love it here.

Though there’s something for everyone to love in the city, San Francisco has become one of the most popular cities for Millennials and young professionals in recent decades. This coincides with the tech boom which has brought huge brands to the Bay Area, including Google, Facebook and Apple.

In this 2018 article, Realtor.com named San Francisco the number one hottest market for Millennials. And Indeed ranked San Francisco the second best city for job seekers — and first place is San Jose located minutes south in Silicon Valley!

8. California wine country is in our backyard.

things to know before moving to San Francisco California

Sonoma County and Napa County are the United States’ most famous wine producing regions and they’re considered by most to be a part of the San Francisco Bay Area. Just about two hours drive from the city, California’s wine country offers stunning views, small-town charm, world-renown restaurants, and one-of-a-kind tasting experiences.

To start planning your day trip (or your weeklong holiday), check out 14 Charming Vacation Rentals Near San Francisco and Your Day Trip Guide to Napa.

9. Farmers market season is all year.

In other parts of the country, you have to wait until the summer months to enjoy farmers’ markets and local produce. Here in San Francisco, we have more than 15 year-round markets to enjoy, including the must-visit Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and the Heart of the City Farmers Market. For a more comprehensive list of Bay Area markets in every region, check out The Ultimate Guide to 120 Bay Area Farmers’ Markets.

10. You’ll probably become a foodie.

things to know before moving to San Francisco California

That is, if you’re not already. Because of our fruitful region, our local producers and all those farmers markets, San Francisco restaurants have the opportunity to celebrate local ingredients. As a result, we have some of the country’s freshest seafood, the best farm-to-table eats, and world famous restaurants. To start planning your dining excursions we recommend starting with The 15 Essential Farm-to-Table Restaurants in San Francisco, The 15 Best Seafood Restaurants in the Bay Area and The 15 Best Restaurants with the Best Views in San Francisco.

11. You’ll become a fan of the Golden State Warriors.

Or, you’ll at least run into plenty of them. But that’s not the only team you can cheer for from the Bay Area. SF is home to the San Francisco Giants during baseball season, the San Francisco 49ers during football season and, soon, the Golden State Warriors will move across the Bay Bridge to settle into the brand new Chase Center in the Mission Bay neighborhood.

Thanks to our neighboring communities, you may also run into fans of the Oakland Athletics, the Oakland Raiders and the San Jose Sharks. In short, you’ll find plenty of neighbors to cheer with, places to cheer from, and sporting events to enjoy!

12. You’ll never run out of things to do.

things to know before moving to San Francisco California

As the Bay Area hub for culture and entertainment, San Francisco boasts destination bars and restaurants, must-see sights, free tourist attractions, explorable neighborhoods, nationally recognized annual events, and frequent community gatherings and parades. To stay up-to-date on upcoming events and the most talked about spots, follow along as we explore the city and the Bay Area on Discover Your View.

13. You don’t have to live in the city to #lovewhereyoulive.

The Bay Area offers some of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the country and they’re not all in San Francisco. Communities in the East Bay, Peninsula, Marin County and Silicon Valley offer the amenities of the big city with fewer crowds and, often, lower prices. To explore some of these areas, peruse our guides: The 9 Most Affordable Neighborhoods Outside San Francisco, 15 Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area, The 15 Most Prestigious Neighborhoods to Live in the Bay Area, and The 10 Hottest Bay Area Neighborhoods for Young Professionals.  

14. The housing market is competitive.

things to know before moving to San Francisco California

If you’ve heard anything about California real estate, this probably isn’t surprising. Buying a home in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area means you’ll want to move fast, but it also means your home will likely appreciate in the coming years. In this article from Curbed SF, they discuss a report released by Nationwide which states the average San Francisco home spent only 35 days on the market. According to this report, that ranks San Francisco fourth in the country for the lowest number of days on the market!

Furthermore, Zillow ranked San Francisco in the top five hottest markets for 2018 and Realtor.com ranked the city first in March 2018.

If you want help navigating our competitive market, please contact us or check out our website to find a real estate agent.

15. It’s our favorite place to call home.

We’ve been selling real estate in the San Francisco Bay Area for 99 years which means we get to celebrate our centennial in 2019! And there’s no other place we would rather celebrate than right here. Through the decades, we’ve come to love everything about our city by the Bay — from its hot housing market and its strong sense of community to the world-famous restaurants and the mom and pop boutiques.

If you’re as convinced as we are that the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the best regions on the globe, you can learn more about specific communities, relocation and homes for sale on our website.

Have questions?

If you need more resources for relocation or moving, please feel free to contact us directly!

Category Community Guides, Real Estate, San Francisco, San Francisco

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McGuire Real Estate

McGuire Real Estate

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