"It is a good thing the early settlers landed on the East Coast; if they’d landed in San Francisco first, the rest of the country would still be uninhabited." (Herbert Mye) Read Guide >
More than 800,000 people are condensed into the city’s 47 square miles. The climate is cool and often foggy but rarely bone-chillingly cold, and it’s remarkably consistent (July’s average high: 68 degrees, January’s: 58). With thriving financial, technology, and artistic sectors, there’s a high demand for living space, and renters can expect to pay quite the tidy sum. Yeah, there’s no denying it, living in San Francisco will be expensive, but if you don’t mind paying top dollar for breathtaking views, historic neighborhoods, and the thrill of living in a famously liberal and cutting edge city, your dreams are about to come true. Now, let’s find you an apartment!
Not only is it very expensive to rent here, it’s also very tough to find a place. The vacancy rate in San Francisco is a miniscule 2%, with a whopping 65% of the city being renter-occupied as opposed to homeowners. Take some of the following tips to heart and you’ll have a much better shot at finding a spot for your extensive record collection.
How much will it cost? Brace yourself. No, seriously—brace yourself. Kiplingers rates San Francisco as having the 6th highest Cost of Living Index in the U.S., and that cost is right in your face when it comes to renting an apartment. Prices vary greatly depending on what neighborhood you’re looking at, but it’s not uncommon to see 1 bedroom units for $2000—yes, that’s monthly. Time to check the couch for loose change! Lucky for you, the city does have rent control laws in place for apartments built before 1979 (most were), so you won’t have to worry about dramatic annual spikes if you do end up in one of those buildings. If your place is newer, be sure to ask about their history of rent increases, as 20% rent hikes after the first year have been known to ruin many a freelancer's mood.
When to rent: Winter is the quietest season, with student activity making things really busy in the spring and summer. But be prepared; finding an apartment in San Francisco will be a challenge—a challenge that could take weeks, months or hours. Hours? Yes, hours. You should be prepared to plunk down your money as soon as you start physically looking at places, because odds are if you like it, someone else will too, and they’ll snatch it up while you’re home “sleeping on it.” Don’t sleep on it.
What you need: Be prepared to raise your game. With the competition for places being über stiff, you’d be wise to treat your apartment search like a job search (and a job search in today's economy, at that). When you get an appointment with a landlord, be on time. Be friendly. Be professional. Have your documents ready. Remember that 3-ring binder you had in middle school? Yeah, get that and put inside of it your credit report, rental application, letter of employment (or your 2 most recent pay stubs), references, and if you’re bringing a pet, you might need a “pet resume”—something to show the management that your precious parakeet has had all her shots and doesn’t have a record of biting people’s earlobes off. Of course, have your checkbook ready too because you’ll need to be ready to act quickly. A security deposit paid on the spot speaks volumes.
There’s no shortage of quality, quaint and queer (this is San Francisco) neighborhoods here, but there are some that you might want to steer clear of as well. The more dollar signs you see, the more expensive it will be, but keep in mind it’s all relative; one $ in San Francisco can be like $$$ in most other cities. We’ll do our best to break some of the biggest nabes down for you here, but for in depth neighborhood overviews click here.
Bernal Heights: Next to but more family-oriented than the Mission (see below), Bernal Heights has parks and restaurants, but also some crime. $$$
Castro: Considered to be America’s first gay neighborhood, The Castro is a mecca for the city’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population. Remember Milk with Sean Penn? This is the ‘hood where Harvey Milk made history. It’s close to the Haight, close to the Mission, and there’s loads of great shopping and eating. $$$$
Chinatown: A big draw for tourists. Only China has more Chinese than this famous downtown community, and it’s jam-packed with shops, restaurants, vendors and history. $$$
Cole Valley: Just a couple of blocks south of Haight-Ashbury, Cole Valley is a popular place for young professionals & young families to reside among some very nice living options. Cole Valley is one of the smaller hoods in SF so only a few blocks worth of rentals will place you in this quiet and well-to-do area. $$$$
Cow Hollow: Affluent area near The Presidio & the Marina. It’s pretty much just the Marina. $$$$
Civic Center-Tenderloin: The Tenderloin brings with it a reputation for crime and overall griminess. Market and 6th is the worst intersection in all of San Francisco, avoid at all cost. Recently the neighborhood has received nicknames like the “Tendernob” and “Lower Nob Hill” – it is neither of these things, it is still the Tenderloin. Steer clear. $$
Financial District: The central business district of San Francisco and where the city gets its beautiful skyline from. You’ll pay through the nose to live here. $$$$$
Haight-Asbury: Once the epicenter of the 60’s peace, love and bohemian movement, this area has gentrified over the years with increased commercial development. Despite this, it’s still more eclectic than a nacho-eating turtle. It’s flat here, so great for walking and biking and you’re close Golden Gate Park & the Panhandle for a handful of sunny SF days. Upper Haight is a bit cooler temperature-wise (and more shopping/touristy heavy) than Lower Haight, which is just down the street past Buena Vista Park and Divisadero. Both are hip, full of street kids, and full of bars. $$$$
Hayes Valley: Somewhat of an unsung gem, this area boasts great restaurants and culture. It feels clean here, and would be one of the better places to move with a young family. Hayes Valley is fairly centrally located among the other hoods mentioned, so it would make for a nice walk to the Mission or Haight. $$$
Hunters Point/Bayview: Located in the southeastern part of the city, this is where you’ll find the 49ers playing at Candlestick Park, but also where you’ll find gang activity and a high crime rate. Avoid. $
Marina District: Known as a great pick-up spot, Marina is a younger, pricier neighborhood with a great view of the bay. If you would avoid (at all costs) calling yourself a yuppie, don’t choose the Marina. If you might or you do, move full force ahead; this is your choice hood. Beautiful people, great food. $$$$$
Mission District: A large Hispanic community calls The Mission home, though it has become increasingly gentrified in recent years. Here you’ll find murals, great Mexican food, and some rad thrift, antique and used bookstores. If you can, look for a spot near Dolores Park as this is one of the choicest hangouts in the city and boasts one of the best views around. $$$
Nob Hill-Russian Hill: These hilly, cable car-loving, upscale neighborhoods offer spectacular apartments and views at (what can be) astronomical prices. Some blocks lack the Victorian charm of many parts of the city, so if you're adamant about crown molding and vaulted ceilings you might want to take a gander at Google Street View before touring for yourself. Nob & Russian Hill offer big blocks of residential living, so if you’re not looking to be near “loud” all the time, it’s a great spot to consider. $$$$$
Noe Valley: Another primarily upscale residential area that’s home to many urbanites. $$$$
North Beach: One of the classic San Francisco neighborhoods, you’ll find lots of restaurants (especially Italian ones), boutiques and tourists here. There is a seedy section as well. Many young professionals settle in here, and Washington Square Park is always packed on Saturdays, Sundays, and, well, most days. If you can find a spot, it’s a great choice. $$$$
Pacific Heights: Affluent families fill up most of the Victorian homes here, while Lower Pacific Heights can be a great (and still relatively fancy) find with convenient access to the park, Fillmore Street shopping & dining, and Japantown. $$$$$
Richmond District: A very diverse residential area with a strong Asian influence. It’s foggy here, but it’s cheaper than elsewhere. $$$
Sunset District: Great for families, and home to lots of kids, parks, and an increasing amount of surfers. Outer Sunset also has plenty of rental deals. Oh, and fog. The Sunset district is on the westernmost edge of San Francisco and getting into the heart of the city using public transportation alone will be a doozy, but it is doable if time isn’t of the essence. Unlike elsewhere in SF, if you’re moving here (or the Richmond), you’ll probably want a car. $$$
SoMA (South of Market): This is the perfect place to live if you work downtown. Filled with museums, hotels, and plenty of great restaurants, here you’ll find many loft style apartments, an eclectic energy (it’s start-up central), and baseball’s Giants. If you’re after the SF charm associated with Victorian homes perched on hills, rethink your choice. SoMA is a bit grittier, home to many industrial and warehouse buildings & newer highrise apartment complexes. $$$$
Western Addition: Home to the musically rich Fillmore neighborhood, this area also contains Japantown and has no shortage of Victorian homes. It’s primarily residential, but there’s corner stores galore. Check the crime maps, some pockets are better left unexplored. $$$$
It’s not “San Fran”, and don’t you dare call it “Frisco”
The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Muni
The cost of living in San Francisco is undeniably exorbitant, but if you can afford it, you’ll be treated to one of the world’s greatest cities, full of culture, history, open minds, and spectacular food. Congratulations on your move and best of luck finding that perfect pad!
The apartment communities of San Francisco is scattered among world-class restaurants, diverse attractions and open-minded natives who evoke a welcoming atmosphere making San Francisco a prime pick for apartment dwelling. The apartments of San Francisco are just as diverse as those who refer to this great city as home.
San Francisco apartments are snuggled between endless entertainment attractions. Pick from art, science and history museums to stimulate brain cells. Live music, comedy shows, theater, opera and book readings are easily in reach for art enthusiast. Browse the farmers markets, street fairs, outdoor sports and attend events from the busy festival calendar featuring film, music and more! Leaving your apartment won't be hard to taste the San Francisco nightlife! Packed with slick lounges, chic dance clubs, wine bars and laidback dives, hanging out can be a different adventure each time!
With a lovely late summer and early fall, the San Francisco climate is generally mild. The city does experience frequent winter rain, plenty of wind and daily fog. A couple of hours drive from your apartment will take you to a warm beach, snowy mountains, redwood forests or wine-country. Though the price to remain in the San Francisco area may ring pricey, you are definite to get a great return on investment! San Francisco apartment dwellers indulge in gorgeous scenery, fine cuisine, heated nightlife and a profound art community. If you love life and want life to love you back, an apartment in San Francisco is waiting especially for you.
Pros •Diverse •Excellent food scene •Mild climate
Cons •Expensive •Hilly
The People - Who Lives Here?
Around 750,000 people call themselves San Franciscans, and they are undeniably an eclectic and interesting lot. Liberal, open-minded, and plenty opinionated, San Franciscans welcome diversity. Lots of young professionals and elderly live in San Francisco. There are some families, but compared to other American cities, San Francisco has a relatively low proportion of children. Less than half of San Franciscans are non-Hispanic whites, around a third are Asian Americans, and about a fifth are Hispanics. Some place the city's gay and lesbian population at around 15 percent. Homelessness has been a problem in the city for decades, with a relatively very high number of homeless persons per capita compared to other American cities.
Social Scene - Bars, clubs, restaurants
San Francisco is known internationally as a major destination for foodies. With celebrity chef Alice Waters across the bay at Chez Panisse, the region became the birthplace of California cuisine, a movement that fuses diverse culinary traditions and places a focus on fresh, in-season, and locally-produced ingredients.
A truly rich diversity of cuisines is found here: Californian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Mexican, French, Vietnamese, Indian, Italian, Moroccan, Greek, German, Japanese, and more. Many vegetarians and vegans live San Francisco, and they can plenty on the menus of the city's eateries. There are even restaurants that only serve vegetarian or vegan food.
Some neighborhoods have a reputation for a particular cuisine; for example, the Mission is the go-to district for Mexican, Chinatown or the Richmond are heavy on Chinese and Vietnamese, and North Beach is dense with Italian eateries. In other neighborhoods you'll find French bistros cozied up to sushi joints. Perhaps the thickest grouping of top-notch restaurants is found downtown, where diners have their pick from tables at ever-fantastic Fluer de Lys, Boulevard, Aqua, and The Slanted Door. In most cases, though locals don't have to roam far from their homes to find something to rave about, with excellent cafes and eateries found on nearly every neighborhood's main drag.
San Francisco has a lively nightlife scene, with lots of options to cater to the residents eclectic tastes. From dance clubs to scene bars to total dives, San Francisco has little bit of everything. After the sun sets, the city's busiest neighborhoods are:
The Mission – Home to twenty- and thirty-something hipsters galore, the Mission nightlife scene is a sea of crowded, laidback bars and dives, many with small dance floors. Bars include Zeitgeist, Amnesia, Doc's Clock, El Rio, Beauty Bar, The Attic, Argus Lounge, Bender's, and Pop's. Medjool and Laszlo next door are a bit fancy compared to the other bars in the area.
SOMA – SOMA is where you will find most of the city's clubbing scene, with major nightclubs bringing in top DJs. Here also you'll find some swanky lounges. Spots include: Mezzanine, 1015 Folsom, Mighty, The Endup, Harlot, Mr. Smith's, Cat Club, Temple, and 330 Ritch.
North Beach – With Broadway Street's scores of strip clubs and X-rated video shops, it's unsurprising that North Beach has a rather raucous nightlife scene. There are plenty of medium-size dance clubs, half-lounge/half-club bars, and a few laidback dives with a lot of character. Spots include: Dolce, Dragon Bar, The Boardroom, La Trappe, Vesuvio, Tosca, Spec's 12 Adler.
Marina/Cow Hollow – Arguably the best places in the city to pick up ex-sorority girls, Union and Chestnut Streets are flooded with young and well-dressed yuppies that fill up the scene bars and a handful of dives.
The Castro – The city's highest concentration of gays is found in the Castro, and the nightlife scene in the neighborhood certainly caters to its locals. Both ends of the spectrum are offered, from packed-to-the-gills Top-40 dance fests to relaxed and friendly pubs.
Downtown/Union Square – Here you'll find plush hotel bars, cozy wine bars, and a few major nightclubs like Ruby Skye.
Polk Gulch/TenderNob/ /Tenderloin – The southern blurry border of posh Nob Hill and the gritty Tenderloin is increasingly becoming a cool nightlife destination, with hipsterish bars, speakeasies, slick lounges, and dives. Destinations include: Hemlock, Olive, Bourbon & Branch, Edinburgh Castle, Bambuddah Lounge, and 222 Club.
For both restaurants and nightlife, Yelp.com is an excellent resource for current reviews from locals.
Transportation & Traffic
Parking in the city is notoriously hard to come by, and parking tickets are expense, as most residents with cars could tell you. Car insurance is also often high, and San Francisco gas stations regularly feature some of the highest prices in the Bay Area. The advice that many people give to new San Francisco residents is to just ditch the car. It's certainly cheaper, and often saves lots of headaches (especially if you ever find your car has been towed). If you have nearby access to public transportation, most find it to be relatively affordable and easy to use, albeit with the occasional delay or full bus during commuting hours. While not as developed and extensive as those in other urban giants like New York, Boston, and Washington D.C., San Francisco's public transportation network is fairly wide-reaching and pretty reliable, although high prices might deter many from riding. Within the City Regular MUNI bus fares are $1.50 for adults; Seniors ages 65, youth ages 5-17, and the disabled ride for 50¢; Children 4 and under are free. For all fares, the ticket is valid for 90 minutes with a transfer. Remember to keep your transfer to show proof of purchase. (Hint: You might have to ask your driver for a transfer; not all of them hand them out.) For $45 a month, pony up for a Fast Pass that gives you unlimited rides within the city on MUNI buses/trolleys, cable cars, and BART. This is a great deal for regular commuters, with discounts available for different demographic groups. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has detailed information about all MUNI fares, passes, and related discounts. They also provide route maps, schedules, and other helpful tips. A typical taxi fare from downtown to a close-in neighborhood (e.g., Pacific Heights, the Haight) will average $8-10; You'll pay more during rush hour and to reach neighborhoods across town (e.g., Outer Sunset, Ingleside). Numerous cab companies operate in San Francisco. Always make sure to choose one that has a working meter and a valid permit (these are usually posted inside the cab with the driver's name and photo where you can see it). Throughout the Bay Area San Francisco is fairly well connected to various locations throughout the Bay Area. While it doesn't have as extensive of a network or as sophisticated of a subway system as Boston or New York, folks looking for alternatives to their cars have numerous options from which to choose. Buses, ferries, trains, subways, and taxis are all available. Where you want to go, how much you want to pay, and how much time you have will all determine how you get there. 511.org provides helpful trip planning info and schedule listings fort various transportation modes and numerous Bay Area locations. The site also provides info on rideshare, vanpools, and bicycling. To the East Bay Bay Area Rapid Transit (or BART as it's commonly called) is SF's version of a subway. It primarily serves the East Bay, with destinations as far north as Richmond and Pittsburgh/Bay Point, as far east as Dublin/Pleasanton, and as far south as Fremont. AC Transit buses leave from San Francisco's Transbay Terminal at 1st and Mission and service numerous East Bay locations.
Golden Gate Transit buses service Richmond and El Cerrito via the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in Marin County to the north.
East Bay ferries leave from SF's Ferry Building and Pier 41 with service to Alameda and Oakland (Jack London Square). Baylink ferries leave from SF's Ferry Building and Pier 41 with service to Vallejo. Blue & Gold Fleet ferries leave from SF's Ferry Building and Pier 41 with service to Oakland, Alameda, and Vallejo.
To the Peninsula and South Bay A new BART line opened several years ago that services San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and the town of Millbrae. Riders can connect with Caltrain at the Millbrae BART station.
Caltrain provides standard locomotive railway service from its SF terminus at 4th and Townsend Sts. as far south as San Jose and Gilroy in the South Bay. Service runs seven days a week, with express trains for commuters at various points throughout the day.
SamTrans buses leave from various SoMA locations (the Transbay Terminal at 1st and Mission is the hub) and service numerous Peninsula locations.
To the North Bay Golden Gate Transit buses leave from various SF destinations (mostly downtown) and head as far north as Santa Rosa, with stops in between including Mill Valley, San Rafael, Novato, and Petaluma.
Golden Gate ferries leave from SF's Ferry Building with service to Larkspur and Sausalito. Blue & Gold Fleet ferries leave from SF's Pier 41 with service to Sausalito, Tiburon, and Angel Island. (Note: Blue & Gold seems to carry more tourists than commuters.) To Airports You have several choices when escaping from SF: Door-to-door shuttles, buses, cabs, or BART. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) BART trains from any of the SF stations offer service to SFO except during early morning hours. (Hint: Make sure you board a train bound for "SFO/Airport," otherwise you may end up in Millbrae or Colma having to transfer.) Fares vary depending on departure station (e.g., $5.35 one-way from downtown, $4.90 one-way from Balboa Park). BART to the airport is cheaper than a cab or Super Shuttle but can take a bit longer, roughly 35 minutes from downtown (set aside 45 minutes to be on the safe side). You'll arrive at the international terminal next to the SFO Airtrain stop. Take the Airtrain to the domestic terminals and other airport locations (e.g., rental cars). Cab fare from the city to SFO averages $40. A door-to-door shuttle company (e.g., Super Shuttle) averages $17/person. SamTrans buses also service SFO. Oakland International Airport (OAK) BART has a train/shuttle bus combo to reach the terminal directly. For $3.55 one-way from any SF station, take a FREMONT or DUBLIN/PLEASANTON train to the Coliseum/Oakland Airport station. Exit BART to the west side of the station, and hop an AirBART shuttle bus (one-way regular fare is $3.00), which brings you directly to the terminals. Cab fare from SF to OAK averages $54, but keep in mind your driver will tack on the $5 bridge toll he must pay on the return (since he's not allowed to bring any return fares from Oakland into SF, this is legal.) A door-to-door shuttle company (e.g., Super Shuttle) averages $27/person. San Jose International Airport (SJC) You can take Caltrain to the Santa Clara station, then take the VTA Airport Flyer bus to the terminal. Cab fare from SF to SJC averages $167 (wow!). Door-to-door shuttle company Super Shuttle only offers exclusive van service for $125/person; an executive town car will run you $120/person with them. There are clunkier ways to get here as well (e.g., BART to Fremont, then light rail, then VTA), but the bottom line is, unless you get a really killer deal on a flight out of San Jose, or you have a dear friend willing to drive you the hour south, your best bet as an SF resident would be to fly out of SFO or Oakland.
**The Value - Rental prices vs. quality of living
Rental Advice & Tips
San Francisco is an expensive city in which to live, but many believe the cost is well spent given the wide-ranging food, cultural, and social offerings placed at residents' fingertips. The city comprises the heart of the beautiful and vibrant San Francisco Bay Area. Craigslist seems to be the place of choice for apartment and housing listings these days. You'll find everything from unfurnished places to corporate furnished digs to sublets/short-term to housing swaps to people looking for roommates to share their space. Check out SF Rent Stats, which has been tracking craigslist rental postings and mapping statistics. Much of San Francisco is protected by rent control laws, which is great news for tenants but often frowned upon by landlords/building owners and developers. What this means to you as a renter is that once you move in, your landlord can't legally raise your rent by more than a certain percentage every year, which usually hovers around 2%. These figures are set by the San Francisco Rent Board. Certain buildings aren't covered by rental control, and various rules apply. Be sure to visit the Rent Board's website to learn more about rent control. The San Francisco Tenants Union is another valuable resource for renters, and you might find yourself consulting them during the term of your tenancy for a variety of issues. For one, did you know you're legally entitled to receive annual interest on the security deposit you put down when you move in? Many tenants aren't aware of this little perk, which can add up to a good chunk of change depending on how long you occupy your unit.
Entertainment & Recreation - Things to do
From music and dance to museums, parks, and shops, San Francisco has much to entertain.
Music and Dance Classical music and dance are found in the grand beaux-arts buildings in the Civic Center district. Davies Symphony Hall hosts the San Francisco Symphony, while across the street, the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Ballet perform at the San Francisco Opera House. Major music venues for contemporary music include the Fillmore Auditorium, Warfield, Independent, Great American Music Hall, Slim's Biscuits and Blues, Boom Boom Room, Yoshi's, Bimbo's 365 Club, 12 Galaxies, Rickshaw Stop, and Bottom of the Hill. Buy tickets at Ticketmaster and Tickets.com, and look for tickets to sold out shows on Craiglist.
Theater The city's theater district is centered just west of Union Square. There Broadway musicals come to life at the Cuuran Theatre, Golden Gate Theatre, and Orpheum Theatre. The well-resepected American Conservatory Theater is found at the Geary Theater. San Francisco is perhaps better known for its experimental and cutting-edge theater work, performed by Exit Theater, Magic Theater, Marsh, Theatre Rhinoceros, and Theater Artaud.
Shopping San Francisco is a delight for shopaholics. Near Union Square you'll find Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, Macy's, Nordstrom, international luxury designers, and loads of major chains (William Sonoma, Tiffany's, Crate and Barrel, Gap, Victoria Secret, Abercrombie and Fitch, Forever 21) and international designer outposts (Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes). In other neighborhoods, streets hold clusters of charming boutiques. In Hayes Valley, Hayes Street from Gough to Laguna is home to fashion-forward boutiques, art galleries, unique shops selling everything from mod travel goods to whimsical home accessories. Posh Pacific Heights supplies upmarket fashions and modern home furnishings. In the Marina and Cow Hollow, Union Street from Gough to Fillmore and Chestnut Street from Fillmore to Divisadero are packed with glossy boutiques selling chic fashions. Many of the city's independent designers have set up shop in the Mission around 16th and Valencia, while the Haight is chock-full of thriftstores, music stores, head shops, and funky boutiques.
Museums San Francisco has loads of museums. In SOMA are the SFMOMA, Cartoon Art Museum, MoAD (Museum of the African Diaspora, in SOMA), Zeum, and Contemporary Jewish Museum. In Golden Gate Park are the de Young and California Academy of Sciences. In Lincoln Park you'll find the Legion of Honor, while in the Marina you'll find the Exploratorium. Over in the Civic Center district is the Asian Art Museum. Over in Fisherman's Wharf are oddball attractions like the Wax Museum, Ripley's Believe it or Not!, and Musee Mechanique.
Parks Environmentally conscious San Francisco has many patches of green, both small and large. Most neighborhoods have at least a couple blocks carved out for grass and trees, but a few lucked out with massive swatches. The gigantic Golden Gate Park is bigger than New York City's Central Park, and stretches from the Upper Haight to the ocean. The Presidio and Lincoln park carpet the northwest corner of the city.
Recommended Neighborhoods & Areas
San Francisco's many neighborhoods all have a distinct character. The Mission is filled with working-class families, Hispanics, and twenty-something hipsters. The Mission's polar opposite could be the yuppified Marina, filled with chic boutiques and preppy young professionals. Russian Hill and Nob Hill are also well-to-do though in a more relaxed way, and Pacific Heights is filled with grand hilltop mansions owned by the city's uppercrust. The funky Haight retains a bohemian vibe, as does the lively North Beach with its Italian heritage. The Castro is the hub of the city's gay-community, and nearby Noe Valley is a quietly charming area with a main drag jammed with strollers. Still-devoloping SOMA is stacked with modern loft and apartment complexes, and on the other end of town, the residential Richmond and Sunset districts stretch along the Golden Gate Park toward the western waterfront.
The Essentials - Groceries, gyms, banks
Like any major city, San Francisco supplies all the essentials from grocery stores to banks, gyms, dry-cleaners, hospitals, libraries, and 24-hour drugstores. Major grocery store chains include Safeway, Cala Foods, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods. Major gym chains include Club One, 24-Hour Fitness, and Crunch Fitness. There are loads of dry-cleaners, laundrymats, and corner markets. 24-hour Walgreens outposts are at 498 Castro Street and 1189 Potrero Ave. Hospitals with 24-hour emergency rooms include California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital, UCSF Medical Center, and Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. The main branch of the San Franicisco Public Library is located at 100 Larkin Street.
The Craigslist job boards are very popular in the Bay Area. Other ways to find jobs include Monster.com, BayAreaJobs.com, and headhunters and placement firms.
Raising children in the city is difficult in general, but there are some relatively safe areas to raise a family, and there are lots of parks and playgrounds in the city. For a complete list of elementary schools, you can visit the San Francisco Unified School District homepage. San Francisco has a number of public and private middle schools and highschools. Colleges and universities include: UC San Francisco, San Francisco State University, Academy of Art Univesity, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the California Culinary Academy, and Hastings law school.
San Francisco has mild weather compared to the rest of the country. Winters are mild (average daytime highs of 60 degrees F) and wet, with plenty of rain but snow only once in a very rare blue moon (in the last 150 or so years, San Francisco has seen snow 10 times). Summers are dry, with the warmest and most sunny time of year being late August and September. San Francisco is known for its fog, which can cover parts of the city all day long, particularly in the spring and summer. Because of its many steep hills, San Francisco is a city of microclimates. Western neighborhoods are often overcast, while eastern neighborhoods see more sun.