San Francisco Bridge - The Golden Bridge in San Francisco

7 Things to know and do before moving to San Francisco

San Francisco is known for its unique geography, a part of California, which allows nature lovers to enjoy a variety of activities year-round, from hiking and biking to lounging on the gorgeous beaches along the coast.

Natural beauty exists all around this city and became popular because of the Golden Gate Bridge, which is a remarkable place that is close by for locals. If you like outdoor activities, the city’s warm temperature also makes it possible for you to enjoy every adventure outside all year long.

Are you planning to move soon? Read on to learn more about the 7 things to know and do before moving to San Francisco.

Moving to San Francisco: Everything to know and do

1. First steps before moving to San Francisco

Finding a job in San Francisco

According to the City of San Francisco, the city’s unemployment rate fell to 2.7% as of May 2023. The job market in this area, continues to grow, particularly in the technology and startup industries. 

Jobs that are often in high demand are product manager, UX/UI designer, and software developer/engineer.

When moving to San Francisco, it is important to look for employment vacancies and  use internet job postings. ZipRecruiter, Craigslist, SimplyHired, Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor are examples of well-known sites.

Getting there

Flying is the most convenient way to move to San Francisco. If you arrive at San Francisco International Airport by plane, one convenient way to get into the city is to use the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, sometimes known as BART. The airport features a BART station where you may buy a ticket, board the train, and instantly depart. 

If you prefer an alternative mode of transportation, numerous cities in California offer bus services by companies like Greyhound, Megabus, and BoltBus, which can also take you to this place.

If you decide to travel via train, Amtrak is the country’s main train service provider, or you can drive your car and use a GPS or an online mapping provider to plan your trip.

In need of a trusted moving company to move you to this area? Discover the 5 best movers in San Francisco. 

Must dos before your arrival

Moving to San Francisco may be exciting and will challenge you in many ways. By knowing these things beforehand, you will be better prepared for your new life in the city.

  • Aside from driving your own car, public transportation is the way to get around to move around town. So you’d best be prepared for a lot of walking if you move to this place.
  • If you smoke, it is crucial to remember that San Francisco has stricter smoking laws. The majority of interior spaces in the city are smoke-free zones and smoking is prohibited in several outdoor spaces, including public parks, and a specific distance from building entrances. 
  • To encourage bicycle and pedestrian safety, the city has implemented strong laws and restrictions in place. These measures improve pedestrian facilities and crossing safety, as well as defined bike lanes, and regulations granting cyclists the right of way.
  • San Francisco was among the first cities in the United States to implement a ban on single-use plastic bags. Since 2007, big supermarkets and pharmacies have been restricted from offering customers plastic bags at checkout. If you love to shop, it is advised to bring your own reusable bags or pay an extra fee for plastic bags that are disposable. 

2. Upon your arrival in San Francisco

San Francisco - Signage

It is essential to get all necessary documentation before moving to San Francisco. Having these documents readily available will assist you in legal matters and serve as identification. Here are some of the first things to prioritize upon your arrival:

Exchanging your driver’s license

According to California law, if you move into the state and decide to stay, you should apply for a California driver’s license within ten days of doing so.  It is important to update your address with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This is a state-level government agency that handles everything related to vehicles and licenses.

Setting up a bank account

Establishing your local presence by setting up a bank account is important when moving to San Francisco. It provides proof of residency that may be required for quite a few purposes, like getting a driver’s license, signing up for services, or creating other accounts. 

You can choose with numerous banks such as Bank of America where headquarters is located here or if you prefer the 150 branches of Wells Fargo as the largest bank in the San Francisco region.

Getting health insurance

When moving to San Francisco, it would be beneficial if you researched and checked other options or healthcare providers and got familiar with local resources to ensure you have access to the healthcare services you need.

The residents have access to the state’s health insurance marketplace, Covered California. Individuals and families can purchase health insurance plans from a variety of private insurance providers through it. Furthermore, this place has its own Healthy San Francisco program, which seeks to provide affordable health coverage to uninsured residents.

If you are uninsured and live in California, you may visit the Covered California website or call for assistance. They will assist you in determining whether you are eligible for Medi-Cal or subsidies. The Federal Medicaid Program in California is known as Medi-Cal. These are for families that have limited income and resources.

3. Living in San Francisco

Finding a place to live

Best places to live in San Francisco

San Francisco has a wide range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm and personality. Here are some best places to live in San Francisco, in no particular order:

  • Castro is a historically significant area identified for its welcoming and dynamic culture. It is considered one of the LGBTQ+ epicenters in the United States.
  • Noe Valley is located in the heart of San Francisco and has attractive Victorian and Edwardian homes, a vibrant business district on 24th Street, and convenient access to open spaces.
  • The Outer Richmond area, which is located near the seaside, is known for its foggy atmosphere and magnificent coastline views. It provides a quiet residential environment with a mix of single-family homes.
  • The Marina District is located along the waterfront and offers beautiful vistas and proximity to the Golden Gate Bridge. Along Marina Green there are fashionable boutiques and upmarket restaurants.

Setting up Internet

In San Francisco, setting up the internet is a relatively easy process. Once you’ve trimmed down your list of possible ISPs, evaluate each one’s services while taking your internet usage, pricing, and speeds into consideration.

It’s a good idea to look over the terms and conditions of the service agreement to fully understand any data restrictions, contract provisions, or early termination costs that could be applicable.

Should you rent or buy in San Francisco?

According to California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, California has long been known for its high housing prices. When you move to San Francisco, it will be up to you to decide whether to rent or buy based on your preference. However, this city offers a range of initiatives and programs for affordable housing, to help low-income citizens. 

For those who qualify, these programs offer subsidized housing alternatives and rental help. For further information, look into sites like the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development in San Francisco.

Trusted websites such as Redfin, Zillow,,, Trulia, and Craigslist are often used to find available apartment listings and property here or engage with a real estate agent for assistance.

4. Cost of living in San Francisco

The cost of living in San Francisco, California, is extremely high when compared to many other cities in the United States. It is important to have an effective financial strategy in place.


Average cost in San Francisco

Buying a property

Per square meter outside city center


1-bedroom outside city center



Numbeo’s costs of groceries multiplied by 4



Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage for 915 sq ft Apartment




Public transport 

Monthly pass


Meal at mid-range restaurant


Movie ticket



2 items


Monthly gym membership 





5. The weather in San Francisco

The weather in San Francisco has an average to moderate climate, according to The city experiences more rain in the winter compared to the summer. The average temperature is 13.5 °C (56.4 °F), and the average annual rainfall was 581 mm (22.9 in).

This place is located in the Northern Hemisphere. Where the coldest month is December, with an average maximum temperature of 14°C (56°F). While, the hottest month is August, with an average high temperature of 24°C (76°F).

6. What to do as a local in San Francisco

Locals in San Francisco - Locals during leisure time

Locals in San Francisco have plenty of choices to engage in numerous activities and make the most of their free time. Below are the lists of what to do as a local in this beautiful place:

The culinary scene of this area is widely recognized and locals explore various areas and eat different foods, from seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf to the famous Mission burritos.

Locals like attending festivals and events, which are plenty throughout the year. If you enjoy attending these kinds of gatherings, moving to San Francisco is an excellent option.

A San Francisco Giants baseball game at Oracle Park might be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon or evening if you’re a sports lover.

7. Fun facts about San Francisco

  • San Francisco has been referred to as “Fog City” or “City by the Bay” because of its unique foggy weather. The cool marine layer from the Pacific Ocean frequently rolls in, producing a magical atmosphere and breathtaking views of fog covering the city’s hills.
  • Fortune cookies originate in Chinatown in San Francisco, not in mainland China, as the famous Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in the city has been making these delicious treats since 1962.
  • This place is well-known for its cable car system, which is the world’s last manually operated system of its kind.
  • San Francisco is renowned for its “Painted Ladies.” These colorful Victorian and Edwardian houses are a unique addition to the city’s architecture. They can be seen in numerous neighborhoods, adding to San Francisco’s appeal.


Moving to San Francisco permanently is a significant life decision that opens up a wide range of lifestyle options. It is important to consider how well your preferences and interests align with the city’s way of life and social setting. To ensure a smooth transition and an enjoyable experience in the city, it is worth considering practical options like hiring professional movers to make your life easier.

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