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
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.
FIND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
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.
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.
From Little Hollywood to Saint Francis Wood, here’s an almost definitive etymological guide to SF ’hoods.
FIND YOUR HOME
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?
If you’re looking for a pad in San Francisco, give these alternative online outlets a shot.
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.
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.
From the lavish to the ridiculous, here are the five-star amenities that rival four-star hotels.
Furnish your apartment at these shops specializing in furniture and home decor—they’re all small, independently curated boutiques.
From stopping rat infestations to planting trees, the city has a protocol for remedying many quality-of-life issues.
The dirt you need to know before signing a lease.
What to do if construction crews disturb your sleep or your neighbors party too hard.
Whether or not you can keep your existing rent—or your home—hinges on a few factors. This chart will help you find out.
Fill your space with these small-batch pieces of pottery. Who knows? They could be the next Heath Ceramics.
Tour 12 of our favorites, from a major remodel atop a famous hill to an empty-nester couple’s colorfully postmodern apartment in SoMa.
A leafy flat in the city, featuring a built-in aviary and found objects galore, proves that more is more.
Creative and safe ways to keep warm inside SF’s beloved yet chilly housing stock.