5-minute Guide to Moving to San Francisco.

Finding a place to live in San Francisco is difficult, especially if you’re looking for short-term housing. You should think about questions like whether you are going to use a bike or public transportation and if you care about the weather? In San Francisco, you can find different microclimates. There really is a difference. And the public transportation only works smoothly, if you live in certain parts of the city. And in some districts biking is nearly impossible because of the hills.



Start with the question you’d think is the easiest. Where do you want to live? San Francisco is all about neighborhoods and each one differs from the other. So what would be a fit for you? Here are a few options.

North Beach

North Beach is the oldest neighborhood in the city. Also called San Francisco’s Little Italy. Even though the native Italian American population has dropped in the last few decades, you can still see some Italian character, especially in the cafes and restaurants. One of the best nightlife spots in San Francisco. There are nightclubs, bars, and jazz clubs, really something for everyone.


SoMa consists of South Beach, Misson Bay, and Rincon Hill.  Formerly San Francisco’s industrial core, now occupied by startups. Home of nearly all the startups in San Francisco. And home of the AT&T ballpark, which makes the SoMa the place to be on Giants game day. If you prefer walking, this is a good place to live.


San Francisco’s Brooklyn. Lots of hipsters. Probably the warmest and sunniest place in the city. Famous for its different food places. From Mexican to Vietnamese from 5-dollar sandwiches to 2 Michelin Star menus, there sure is something for everyone.


Great view of the Golden Gate and lots of boats. Can be really expensive. Ranks second for best restaurant scene. Previously populated mostly by well-earning families, Marina has now been taken over by young professionals.
Remember, living in San Francisco is expensive. The only city that is competing in this section with San Francisco is New York. Prepare to pay at least 1500 $ for a studio and 700 $ for a room. Here’s a great infographic of prices in different areas.


How to find a place?

First, to avoid crime areas, check out Neighbourhood Scout (I’m talking about Tenderloin/Civic Center here). When you’ve found the neighborhoods you could imagine yourself living in, you can start searching. Perhaps the most popular tool for this is Craigslist. It shows you the posted apartments on a single map.

  • To keep the hunt on even when you’re not sitting on your computer, try Lovely
  • Nestpick helps you find rooms and flats to rent from multiple local providers.
  • A good way to combine different search engines is Padmapper.
  • A good post about housing and everything else you would wish to know about San Francisco before moving there.

image credit: 4chan

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Text by Tatu Mäkijärvi, small edits made 3.6.2018. 

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