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