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An aerial view of a street and city buildings in San Francisco. The street is lined with trees. In the distance are hills and mountains.

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The Curbed San Francisco moving guide

What you need to know about making the city your home

Despite the grime, the cost of living, and an incurable housing shortage, you’ve decided to move to San Francisco. (You weren’t emotionally tethered to that savings account anyway, right?) You’re not the only one: Between 2010 and 2017, SF’s population climbed from 805,770 to 884,363, a spike of 9.75 percent. That’s a lot of people inside a city measuring a mere seven by seven miles. Hope you like things cozy.

People move here for myriad reasons, and a lucky few get to stay. San Francisco is astronomically priced—we’ve got the highest number of billionaires per capita—yet also concedes to a homelessness crisis that no amount of public policy or City Hall proclamations have been able to solve. And while it’s one of a handful of major U.S. cities where you don’t need a car to get around, its public transit system could use an extreme overhaul. But if you’re willing to put up with the negatives, you’ll be richly rewarded for living in the greatest city in the Golden State.

To help you navigate a move, and before you spend more than half your salary on rent—or should you buy? No matter the choice, it will sting—we’ve created a guide with everything you need to know about living in the city. From where to live and where to buy furniture to how to eradicate a mouse infestation, this guide will help you wade through the murky waters of SF living. Brock Keeling

Should you move to San Francisco?

Thinking about moving to the city? Two points bear repeating: It’s expensive. And it’s small. Those factors will play a major role in your decision—and your life here.

A street in San Francisco. The building on the corner has a black and white striped awning and a red and white facade. There is a street sign in front of the house which reads: Filmore. There are people walking on the sidewalk.

FIND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

How to pick a neighborhood in San Francisco

In an August survey released by real estate site Trulia, 42 percent of San Franciscans wish they had moved to a different neighborhood than the one they now call home. Don’t make that same mistake.

The five most walkable places to live

San Francisco is one of the most walkable cities in America, but not all neighborhoods are equal when foot hits pavement. Here are the locales that will have pedestrians walking on easy street.

How neighborhoods got their names

From Little Hollywood to Saint Francis Wood, here’s an almost definitive etymological guide to SF ’hoods.

A street in San Francisco. There are various houses. There are trees in front of the houses.

FIND YOUR HOME

Is it better to rent or buy?

While San Francisco has always been a renter’s city—the city’s Planning Department estimates that nearly 65 percent of denizens rent—the question for newcomers is: Should I rent or buy?

On the hunt for an apartment? Try these 9 Craigslist alternatives

If you’re looking for a pad in San Francisco, give these alternative online outlets a shot.

The San Francisco renters’ guide

Now that you’ve decided to rent, here’s everything you should know, from how rent control works to finding an apartment to issues that arise after you’ve signed your lease.

A guide to below-market-rate housing

It’s possible to score that white whale of San Francisco real estate: a unit of affordable housing in the city’s “inclusionary housing program,” also known as the “BMR” (for “below market rate”) program. Here’s how.

10 apartment buildings with luxe amenities

From the lavish to the ridiculous, here are the five-star amenities that rival four-star hotels.

Two people sit on a bench on the side of a cliff overlooking the city of San Francisco.

SETTLE IN

The best furniture and home design shops

Furnish your apartment at these shops specializing in furniture and home decor—they’re all small, independently curated boutiques.

How to fix (almost) anything in your SF neighborhood

From stopping rat infestations to planting trees, the city has a protocol for remedying many quality-of-life issues.

SF rent laws your landlord probably doesn’t want you to know

The dirt you need to know before signing a lease.

How to file a noise complaint

What to do if construction crews disturb your sleep or your neighbors party too hard.

What happens when my roommate leaves?

Whether or not you can keep your existing rent—or your home—hinges on a few factors. This chart will help you find out.

A living area with multiple chairs, a blue table, a fireplace, and sheep dolls.

GET INSPIRED

Local ceramists who are kiln it

Fill your space with these small-batch pieces of pottery. Who knows? They could be the next Heath Ceramics.

Inside the Bay Area’s best homes

Tour 12 of our favorites, from a major remodel atop a famous hill to an empty-nester couple’s colorfully postmodern apartment in SoMa.

Inside an artist’s maximalist Castro apartment

A leafy flat in the city, featuring a built-in aviary and found objects galore, proves that more is more.

How not to freeze inside your Victorian apartment

Creative and safe ways to keep warm inside SF’s beloved yet chilly housing stock.