Cost of living - San Francisco

7 things to do and know before moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco

San Francisco is renowned for job opportunities in Silicon Valley’s tech industry. It boasts numerous green spaces, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, hills, and mountains. This city’s laid-back culture and small-town ambiance provide a great work-life balance.

If you are planning to move out of Los Angeles and move to San Francisco, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we covered the 7 things you must know before moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Moving to San Francisco: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to San Francisco

Finding a job 

In September 2023, San Francisco’s unemployment rate decreased to 3.5% from 4.1% in August 2023. The job growth in the Tech sector has been the main driver, with information and professional services sectors adding 6,000 jobs in June.

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

Finding a job in San Francisco is easier if you search online for job openings. Popular websites for this include SimplyHired, Indeed, and LinkedIn.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Nov 2023) & SF Gov (July 2023)

Getting there 

Below are some travel options to get to San Francisco City from Los Angeles:

Flying: 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. The shortest distance (air line) between San-Francisco and Los-Angeles is 347.42 mi (559.12 km).

Train: You can also take the train with Amtrak as an alternative. Traveling by rail fromLos Angeles to San Francisco takes around 10 hours and 41 minutes, while the quickest Amtrak train can complete the journey in 9 hours and 30 minutes.

Bus: If you want another way to travel, many California cities have bus services like Megabus, and BoltBus, that can get you there.

If you are flying and require assistance with moving your belongings, you can explore options provided by reputable long-distance moving companies.

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.

  • When moving around town, you may rely on public transportation or be ready for lots of walking.
  • San Francisco has strict smoking laws, with no smoking indoors and restrictions in outdoor areas, including parks and near-building entrances.
  • The city promotes law for bike and pedestrian safety with clear rules, improved facilities, and designated bike lanes.
  • Since 2007, San Francisco banned single-use plastic bags at big stores and pharmacies. Bring your reusable bags or pay for disposable plastic bags if you shop.

2. Upon your arrival in San Francisco

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers.
  • If you roam around the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a daily pass to save money.
  • The weather in SF is unpredictable; it is advisable to bring a jacket with you every time.

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 essential 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 

When you move to San Francisco, setting up a bank account is significant. It serves as proof of residency for tasks like getting a driver’s license and signing up for home services. You can pick from banks like Bank of America, headquartered here, or go with Wells Fargo, the region’s largest bank with 150 branches.

Getting health insurance

Healthcare has quite a good reputation in San Francisco with all its high quality medical institutions. With all the big tech industry companies in San Francisco, there are definitely some great employer sponsored insurance packages. 

Type of healthcare


Employer-sponsored health insurance


Non-employer-sponsored health insurance




Numbeo (Nov 2023), CA Health Care Foundation (April 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Sept 2023)

3. Best places to live in San Francisco

Best places to live in San Francisco

San Francisco offers an attractive living experience with its breathtaking parks like Golden Gate Park, Dolores Park, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, and the Presidio, which provide great views, abundant green spaces and recreational opportunities.

This table simplifies the process of living in San Francisco. It highlights the top 7 neighborhoods for quality of life in 2023, whether you’re drawn to the city’s vibrancy or seeking employment opportunities. It may help you find the neighborhood you want to live in.




Easy access to green spaces

Hayes Valley

Renowned for its high-end boutiques


Known for having the best weather in the city

Glen Park

Best place for nature trails

Inner Richmond

Nearby Presidio

Inner Sunset

Proximity to famous parks

Visitacion Valley

Best for outdoor activities

Setting up home services 

Setting up essential home services like electricity, water, and internet in San Francisco is a straightforward process. 

  • To set up electricity with PG&E in San Francisco, visit their website or call customer service. They’ll need your new address and other info. Arrange a service start date and be ready for a security deposit if needed.
  • To establish water and sewer services at your San Francisco address, reach out to SFPUC. They’ll assist with the setup, including creating your account and explaining the billing process.
  • 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.

When setting up these services, ask about setup fees, installation timelines, and contract terms to avoid any unwanted charges. Additionally, look for special offers or bundles that could save you money by combining internet, cable TV, and phone services.

Should you rent or buy?

The list prices of homes in San Francisco County have decreased by 3.4% compared to last year, with rents also dropping by $218 compared to the previous year. In Los Angeles County, home prices have declined by 0.9% since last year, while rental prices have decreased by $229 compared to the previous year. San Francisco’s price per square foot to buy an apartment outside the center is $1,028.99, while Los Angeles’ is $618.14.

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.

Numbeo (Nov 2023), Rockethomes (August 2023) & Zillow (September-2023)

4. Cost of living in San Francisco


Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center



Numbeo’s grocery list ($81.50 multiplied by 4)



Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage


Internet with 60 Mbps


Transit pass



Meal, taxi, movie


Gym membership 




Numbeo (Nov 2023)

5. The weather in San Francisco

The weather in San Francisco has an average to moderate climate, according to

In January, for instance, you can expect a high of 57°F (14°C) and a low of 46°F (8°C), while August sees a high of 69°F (20°C) and a low of 56°F (13°C). Whether it’s summer or winter, San Francisco offers comfortable weather for residents throughout the year.

SF Tourism Tips (Sept 2023)

6. What to do as a local in San Francisco

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

  • Fun Fact #1: 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.
  • Fun Fact #2: 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.
  • Fun Fact #3: This place is well-known for its cable car system, which is the world’s last manually operated a system of its kind.
  • Fun Fact #4: 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.

What Is the Biggest Difference Between Los Angeles and San Francisco? 

San Francisco offers more job opportunities than Los Angeles

San Francisco is famous for its tech industry in Silicon Valley. It’s easier to find stable jobs there compared to Los Angeles, where entertainment is the big thing.

San Francisco has better public transportation compared to Los Angeles

San Francisco is a smaller city with many people living close together. They often use buses, trains, ferries, and cable cars to get around. Los Angeles also has these options. But people really like San Francisco’s BART train system because it’s fast, not too expensive, and goes to many places.

San Francisco offers a variety of cuisines as well as a city-culture lifestyle

San Francisco has a great trademark when it comes to serving a variety of different cuisines, as well as being known for having murals, museums, and architecture.


San Francisco and Los Angeles are both ideal cities; however, San Francisco boasts more in terms of culture, lifestyle, and job opportunities, but it’s a bit more expensive and has a higher crime rate compared to Los Angeles. Still, it’s a nice place for families and young professionals and has its own unique charm, making it a bit more interesting than LA.

Are you planning on Moving to San Francisco soon? Learn about the Best San Francisco Movers!


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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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