San Francisco is a fantastic city in which to live and work, especially for the recent college
graduate. The “City by the Sea” is home to a diverse, open-minded, and vibrant population,
including a thriving subset of 20- and 30-somethings. Also known as “Everybody’s Favorite
City,” San Francisco is truly one of the world’s most vibrant cities. A single stroll can take
you through the suit-clad financial district, past Chinatown’s colorful, noisy alleys, and into
North Beach’s cozy Italian enclave. What’s more, many people say that San Fran’s biggest
attribute is that one can always find something to do and always someone to do it with,
making it a fantastic place to visit and an even better one in which to live and work.
HOT SPOTS IN SAN FRANCISCO
The Marina• Considered one of the most popular hangout destination for the young and well to do twenty-year old crowd. The
Marina is filled with great restaurants, fun bars, and great boutique shopping. It’s proximity to the water gives it an upscale feel.
Union Square• This area is one of an elegant and urban commercial district and a uniquely San Franciscan spot. It contains some
of the city’s best of everything – shopping, hotels, restaurants, theater – but, as a result, can be also a major tourist destination.
Golden Gate Park• Larger than Manhattan’s Central Park, Golden Gate Park is the city’s most popular park and home to botanical
gardens, amphitheaters, a nine-hole golf course, horseback riding, boating and jogging, cycling, and rollerblading tracks.
SoMa (South of Market) District• Well known throughout the city as home of S.F. night-life, there are more dance clubs in
SoMa than in all the other neighborhoods put together. Although the prevalence of warehouses and artists’ lofts gives SoMa a
somewhat sterile appearance, beneath the surface it is actually teeming with activity, including many trendy restaurants, bars,
pool halls, and clubs.
The Mission• With its strong Latin influence, the Mission offers everything from fresh handmade tortillas, to great cafes, used
furniture stores, and a few of the city’s hippest bars and restaurants. Check out Ti Couz, Flying Saucer, and Slanted Door for food
and Liquid, Dalva, and Bruno’s for evening entertainment.
Pacific Heights• The Pacific Heights area provides some of the best views in the city, including sweeping panoramas of the San
Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Fillmore Street is the main commercial thoroughfare and offers great food (Italian,
sushi, Californian fusion), vintage clothing stores, designer boutiques, and live jazz.
MOMA• San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art showcases a rotating collection of modern art in a building that rivals New York’s
Guggenheim. This is just one spot to see art; exhibits and galleries are everywhere in the city.
Muir Woods• 20 minutes from S.F. by car, Muir Woods is home to 400 ft. Redwood trees and giant Sequoias. It is one of the most
spectacular sites in the bay area and is a must-see! Take a self-guided tour through miles of nature walks the park has to offer or,
if you are looking for more of a historical view, take a ranger walk.
Although many people moving to San Francisco choose the BART (Bay Area Rail Transit)• BART is a high-speed rail
freedom and convenience of a car over public transit, you network that connects San Francisco with the East Bay –
should first be aware of the costs involved. In addition to Oakland, Richmond, Concord, and Fremont. Fares range from
egregious bridge tolls and parking tickets, few apartments $1.15 to $4.30, depending on how far you go, and the trains,
provide parking spaces and parking rentals typically go for which come every 15 to 20 minutes, operate until midnight.
between $250 and $300 a month. However, the good news is Additionally, a recent construction project now extends BART
that public transportation (better known as “Muni”) is fantastic to San Francisco International Airport.
in the city and is the mode of choice for most professionals CalTrain• CalTrain operates train service between San
and commuters. Francisco and the towns of the peninsula. Prices vary
Streetcars• San Francisco has six railcar lines (F, J, K, L, M, and depending on distance from the city.
N) that crisscross most of the city. Five of the Muni lines (all but Taxi• Taxis are a convenient mode of transportation but are
F) run underground downtown and on the streets in the outer not as abundant as in New York so it pays to call in advance. The
neighborhoods. Rides are $1, and streetcars normally run major cab companies are Veteran’s Cab (415-552-1300), Luxor
every 15 minutes but are more frequent during rush hours. Cabs (415-282-4141), and Yellow Cab (415-626-2345). Rates
The L and N lines operate 24 hours a day; the other lines stop are high--$2.85 for the first mile and $2.25/mile thereafter.
shortly after midnight. ZipCar & City Car Share• Two highly popular options for those
Bus• Buses reach almost every corner of San Francisco and who know their specific traveling needs or who are looking
beyond, traveling north to Marin County, east to Oakland, and for a set of wheels to go on a day trip to Napa, etc.
south to the rest of the peninsula. Most bus shelters exhibit
bus schedules and maps; a ride costs $1.
Cable Car• Although not the most efficient or practical means
of transportation, San Francisco’s cable cars provide a fun and
scenic way to get around the downtown area for $2.
General• The rental market in San Francisco has come back want to look elsewhere. Find out if there is a property manager
to earth and stabilized after the dot-commerce bubble- or if the landlord addresses problems. If the landlord manages
burst. And although prices are still extremely high (relative to the property, find out how willing he/she has been to fix
Charlottesville or nearly anywhere), new market conditions problems in the past. Finally, ask whether there will be any
are more favorable one for renters; the increased apartment major construction projects or improvements to the property
availability has increased choice, decreased prices and means going on while you live there. There is nothing worse than
you can now stop and think about the lease you’re signing arguing with your landlord, so make sure you have a good
without worrying someone will snatch the apartment up from feeling about him/her.
under you. Renter’s Insurance• Renter’s insurance usually runs between
Realtor’s Fee• Many apartments are rented through a Realtor, $100 and $200 to insure your apartment and belongings for
meaning that a Realtor’s fee (from $100 to 1 month’s rent) is a year. Numerous insurance agencies offer rental insurance
required when signing your lease. Realtors can still be a way around San Francisco.
to simplify the search process but were more a necessity when
the rental market was tighter.
Other Fees/Deposits• Usually first month’s and last month’s
rent are due as a deposit upon signing the lease, meaning that
you have to be ready to hand over two months worth of rent.
Advice• Be sure to talk to current tenants to see how helpful/
reasonable the landlord is. If they seem unsatisfied, you may
AREAS IN AND AROUND SAN FRANCISCO
North Beach Noe Valley
Who lives there: Young professionals, grad students, families Who lives there: Families, professionals of all ages, students
Distance to downtown: 5-min ride or walk Distance to downtown: 10- to 15-min Muni ride
Means of transportation: Muni (Streetcars and Buses) and Means of transportation: Muni (streetcars and buses) and
Average price of two-bedroom apt: $1600/person/month Average price of two-bedroom apt: $1300/person/month
Pros: Close to downtown, good parks and views, lots of Pros: Nice area – charming without being exclusive, great
great restaurants/bars/shopping, personable neighborhood, neighborhood bars and restaurants, quiet and safe, friendly,
eclectic and welcoming atmosphere great for young families
Cons: Expensive, limited parking, close to many tourist Cons: Limited nightlife and entertainment, vacancies can be
destination parking hard to find at reasonable prices
Who lives there: Economically and ethnically diverse; artists, Who lives there: Families, young professionals, outdoors
young professionals, recent immigrants enthusiasts
Distance to downtown: 10-min Muni ride Distance to downtown: 25-min Muni ride, 20-min taxi ride
Means of transportation: Muni (streetcars and buses) and Means of transportation: Muni (streetcars and buses),
taxis though the routes are less dense, and taxis
Average price of two-bedroom apt: $900/person/month Average price of two-bedroom apt: $1100/person/month
Pros: Urban, youthful, lofts and open living spaces, shabby Pros: Walking distance to Golden Gate Park, safe, some
chic, diverse and cutting-edge nightlife and restaurants sweeping ocean views, good for families, great restaurants
Cons: Noisy, not for families with young children, parking Cons: Further from downtown, lifestyle less urban
Pacific Heights/ Cow Hollow Hayes Valley
Who lives there: Young professionals, wealthy younger Who lives there: Artists, students, young professionals
families Distance to downtown: 5-min Muni ride / short walk
Distance to downtown: 15- to 20-min Muni ride Means of transportation: Muni (Streetcars and Buses), taxis
Means of transportation: Muni (streetcars and buses), taxis Average price of two-bedroom apt: $850/person/month
Average price of two-bedroom apt: $1600/person/month Pros: Up-and-coming chic place to live, young atmosphere,
Pros: Upscale dining and shopping, convenient locale, young boutique shopping, sophisticated without being pretentious
and modern, safe, beautiful and tranquil area Cons: Busy part of town, very limited parking, not friendly to
Cons: Very expensive, limited parking, few public parks families – no parks or playgrounds
Oakland The Peninsula
The city of Oakland and the surrounding areas are improving. Many great living opportunities abound throughout the
More and more young professionals are finding areas in peninsula. Although neighborhoods vary greatly in flavor
Oakland (Lake Merritt, Oakland Hills) that are lively and and price (some are actually pricier than San Francisco), in
sophisticated while being considerably more affordable than general, the tradeoff of living in the Bay Area south of the city
San Francisco. is culture and convenience for space and suburban niceties.
USEFUL SAN FRANCISCO LINKS of Northern California
• http://uvaclubs.virginia.edu/sanfrancisco - U.Va. Club
• http://www.sfgate.com – Area news and information.
• http://www.craigslist.org – Web classified for San Francisco. Can find tickets to a variety of shows and sporting
events, job postings, roommate postings, and much more.
*City Sheets were created by members of the McIntire Young Alumni Council (MYAC). MYAC and the Alumni
Association are working together to keep them updated with the most current information. The information
on these sheets is based on online research, information from tourism offices and local newspapers, and, most
significantly, from the authors’ personal experiences. All costs, fares, and rental prices are approximate estimates