clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

The beginner’s guide to San Francisco

Everything you need to know about making SF your home

All Stories

Should you move to San Francisco?

Twenty-one pieces of advice on neighborhoods, transportation, and cost of living for anyone considering a move to San Francisco.

Is it better to rent or buy?

The better deal in the long run depends on how long your run is.

101 things to love about SF

A love letter to the Golden City.

Filed under:

  • Map

18 secret gardens and hidden green spaces

Discover some of the city’s most lush and tranquil spots.

An illustrated guide to SF architecture

Enjoy the city’s stylistic diversity, from Queen Anne to contemporary buildings.

How to pick a neighborhood in SF

Nine things to consider before choosing a ’hood in the city.

Filed under:

  • Map

The best things to do in SF this winter

Explore the city’s architecture, art exhibits, and outdoor attractions.

How to get around if you don’t own a car

It’s easier—and more practical—than you think.

Tour some of the city’s best homes, from the Mission District to Alamo Square

From the eclectic home of creatives in Oakland to an empty-nester couple’s colorfully Postmodernist apartment in SoMa.

All Stories

With such early earthly pleasures as gold and sex, San Francisco never required a marketing campaign like other glittering metropolises. It sold itself. From the postcard-perfect Victorians to the dot-com halcyon days (like, now), the city has always had its own built-in PR machine.

Which is why making it here—and staying here—can be tricky.

Since the early aughts, a slew of new workers continues to flock to San Francisco with hopes of reaping riches, despite the city measuring a mere seven by seven miles with comically slow growth projected for new housing.

Natives and expats agree: San Francisco is the best place to live on Earth, period—once you get past its rough edges, that is. Many San Francisco residents know that living here isn’t for the faint of heart, and it can be exhausting for newcomers. Paradoxes run aplenty and nothing comes cheap. The transit system isn’t perfect by any means. Natural disasters wait to pounce. The socioeconomic inequity. The soul. The soullessness. The Planning Department (argh).

To unravel it all, here’s a beginner’s guide to San Francisco. This collection of tips, histories, maps, personal essays, and other must-know intel will give you the lay of the land. It will help you make sense of the strange and beautiful things you’ll discover when you come to San Francisco. Who knows—you might even like it so much you decide to stay. We did. — Brock Keeling

Editors: Brock Keeling, Sally Kuchar, Mariam Aldhahi, Asad Syrkett
Writers: Adam Brinklow, Alex Bevk, Chris Roberts, Breanna Reeves, Mary Jo Bowling, Julia Kitlinski-Hong, Alice
Wong, Samantha Weiss Hills, Lydia Lee, Andy Bosselman, Lauren Conklin, Tracy Elsen
Art Direction: Audrey Levine
Illustrations: Pamela Baron, Orlie Kapitulnik
Photography: Patricia Chang
Copy Editor: Emma Alpern
Engagement: Robert Khederian, Sharell Jeffrey, Margaret Lin