The cost of living in San Francisco is extremely high. So why would somebody with little to no money pack their bags, move here from the midwest, and stay for over 20 years? Seriously, what is there to love about living in San Francisco?
Spoiler alert: that somebody was me. And, I’m excited to share with you the top ten reasons why I stayed, and why I love living in San Francisco.
If you want to be in a groundbreaking place, at the center for what’s coming next, San Francisco might be the place for you. The opportunities for growth and expansion are endless, and there’s something really inspiring about being in a community where things are built from the ground up and innovation is happening all around you.
Even though it’s expensive here, there is so much money rolling in from tech and it really benefits industries all across the Bay Area. Imagine you’re looking to start an architecture firm or a construction company, or a restaurant, or a marketing business, or a clothing company, or really any type of business, San Francisco is a great place to do it. Maybe you sell high-end cars or maybe you sell real estate – that prosperity also benefits those other industries as well.
When I moved to San Francisco, I was able to meet a ton of prolific architects, designers, and builders. I actually got really interested in design. So I went back to school and founded an interior design company, and later a real estate company.
Had I stayed in my small town in the midwest, I don’t think any of these things would have been possible. Being in San Francisco has allowed me to be around other people who are entrepreneurial. I saw a certain spirit of ambition and I realized that even a girl from a small town, like me, can make really big things happen with a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work.
In San Francisco, people like to work and play hard. It’s a city where you start to see people really embrace their inner child and let themselves be a little silly. Here you will find more costume parties and more reasons to dress up than anywhere else in the world.
Take SantaCon, for example, where you’ll see thousands in Santa suits crawling pubs. Or Bay-To-Breakers, a five-mile costumed dash through the city and Golden Gate Park, fueled by street bands and pure madness.
There’s sing-alongs at the Castro Theatre where you can get dressed up in character. I took my kids to see Frozen there, which was really fun. There’s the Hunky Jesus contest at Easter, where people dress up (and some dress down) and it’s a fun spectacle. And of course, the legendary Folsom Street Fair and epic Carnival celebrations add even more glitter to the calendar.
Speaking of sparkle, don’t be surprised by impromptu costume parties in living rooms. You definitely want to have a friend that has a large costume closet or consider investing in some of your own pieces.
Then there’s Burning Man. This city boasts a massive contingent of devoted burners, crafting elaborate costumes and art installations months in advance. Some of those creations even find a permanent home, adding a touch of the playa to our city streets.
As you can see, San Francisco is a place where people get creative and play, in addition to working really hard.
Do you like Broadway shows? San Francisco delivers! I’ve seen: Book of Mormon, Hamilton, and even The Lion King. The shows you want to see make it to SF, so there’s a lot of opportunity to enjoy the theater.
You’ll find a constant stream of top-tier concerts, with practically every big name stopping within the Bay Area, if not in San Francisco itself. From Taylor Swift to the late, great Prince, the Bay has hosted them all. I even caught Elton John on his farewell tour and Madonna (when she still looked like Madonna!). With such a rich musical landscape, seeing your favorite artists or discovering new ones is always just around the corner.
Another quirky San Francisco trait? A deep love for cover bands! Take Tainted Love – everyone dresses up like they’re in the eighties. If you close your eyes and you have enough drinks, you actually feel like you’re hearing the real bands!
Another popular pastime for SF residents is checking out comedy shows. Pretty much any night of the week you can find comedians hitting the stage – new faces alongside established names. My husband actually saw Dave Chappelle before he was famous, and the other night we saw the hilarious Trevor Noah.
Reason number four is food!
San Francisco is a culinary paradise. This city boasts a phenomenal food scene catering to every budget and craving.
When I first arrived here, I embarked on a mission: to find the city’s best (and cheapest) taquerias. Good news: I was successful! But my culinary journey stretched far beyond familiar tacos – I discovered delicious ethnic cuisines I’d never encountered before, and even Michelin-starred restaurants. Yes, a $300-$500 Michelin experience is a splurge, reserved for truly special occasions. But it’s an experience, nonetheless.
Thankfully, affordability reigns supreme here too. For instance, we have amazing farmers markets throughout the city, offering an endless rainbow of fresh produce.
When you’re in San Francisco, you can literally eat your way through the world, indulging in Dim Sum for breakfast, Dosa for lunch, and Omakase for dinner. The variety is staggering, the quality exceptional. That’s the magic of San Francisco food – it’s always an adventure, always delicious, and always within reach.
Good news, sports fans! San Francisco offers a double whammy for sports fans – the Golden State Warriors and the San Francisco Giants. Both teams have racked up victories during my time here: the Warriors, a whopping four NBA championships, and the Giants, three World Series appearances.
Oracle Park, home of the Giants, is more than just a stadium; it’s a quintessential San Francisco experience. Nestled against the bay, its beauty steals the show. Panoramic water views? Check. A touch of San Francisco’s signature sophistication? Check. Even the food’s a notch above, with garlic fries galore and, if memory serves, even sushi. For many, Oracle Park is an open-air social hub – catch a game, soak in the sights, watch sailboats drift by.
The newly built Chase Center is a game-changer for Warriors fans like me. I haven’t yet caught a basketball game there, but I have been to concerts. To be honest, ditching the drive to Oakland is awesome.
At number six, we have epic staycations!
When I first arrived here, I craved a vibrant melting pot – and this city delivered. But what truly surprised me was how easily I could escape for mini-adventures. No expensive flights, no long treks – just hop in the car and discover a world-class getaway.
Here are some of my favorite Bay Area destinations:
These quick dips can be sprinkled throughout the year, like mini-vacations. No need to burn a whole week’s vacation; refresh and recharge with short bursts.
If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll appreciate San Francisco’s airport convenience. Did I mention we have three airports in the area? Two are just a 30-minute drive, making international travel a breeze! Even SFO, after its awesome renovations, is a pleasure to fly through. Tons of food options, great wifi, plenty of plugs, and a clean, modern atmosphere – what more could you ask for?
First of all, San Francisco is like an art piece in itself! Beautiful architecture makes simply driving around feel like an artistic experience. The city also boasts an abundance of street art and murals, adding unexpected pops of color and creativity throughout its neighborhoods.
Beyond the art integrated into the city’s fabric, San Francisco also offers so many museums that house impressive collections and host captivating exhibits. And then there are the museums! They’re treasure troves that house impressive collections and captivating exhibits. For example, a few of my favorites include:
These museums regularly bring in world-class exhibits, such as those featuring Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, and Monet.
San Francisco isn’t just a place to live, it’s a place to experience the finest art and beauty the world has to offer.
I love San Francisco’s weather – there are no scorching summers or bone-chilling winters here.
Often hovering around 67 degrees, it hits that sweet spot where sweaters and sandals coexist in perfect harmony. Sure, winter can get a bit chilly, dropping the mercury a few degrees (time to head to Tahoe and the snow!) but overall, the climate remains mild. And, it’s this mild weather that allows people to stay active outdoors year-round.
But don’t get too comfortable! One of San Francisco’s quirky charms is its microclimates. While I might be basking in the sunshine in the Marina, fog could be rolling into Potrero Hill.
By the way, If you live in San Francisco, you definitely will learn the art of layering (and always packing a light jacket, just in case).
San Francisco is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with 20% of the city covered in parks. It’s like having a massive backyard for exploring, hiking, biking, or simply relaxing in the sunshine.
Of course, the star here is Golden Gate Park, which is even larger than New York’s Central Park. Here you’ll find gardens, museums, and even a Japanese tea garden! On Sundays, the roads are car-free, making it perfect for leisurely strolls and bike rides. The park also hosts fantastic events and concerts, including the epic Outside Lands music festival.
But wait, there’s more! Explore Land’s End for breathtaking coastal views, climb the hills of Park Presidio for nature within the city, or head to Crissy Field for some kitesurfing action (or just watching).
These parks are like an open invitation to get outside and get moving. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or prefer a casual walk, there’s something for everyone. Join a yoga class with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, hit the hiking trails, or gather your family for a picnic in the sunshine. There’s truly no excuse not to embrace the outdoors.
If you’re seeking a city that encourages a connection with nature, satisfies your fitness cravings, and offers the chance to catch amazing concerts, SF is it.
I’ve seen stunning scenery all over the world, from Iceland’s glaciers to New Zealand’s fjords, but this city steals the show. A hilly wonderland with a sparkling bay, charming streets, and iconic bridges – it’s like a postcard-perfect panorama.
And the best part? You don’t need a fancy penthouse to experience these views. Wander any neighborhood, climb a random staircase, and you’ll catch glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge, sailboats on the bay, even Alcatraz. These views are woven into the city’s very fabric.
Living here is like having a permanent pass to a gallery, but instead of art, it’s all about the mountains, water, and sky. The beauty makes you notice and appreciate the world a bit more.
Now are you excited about everything the City by the Bay has to offer? For more information about San Francisco, check out our blog.
And if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, we’d love to be your go-to real estate resource. Please contact us if you need help.