believe the bad things you hear about this place
from a single guy's perspective. let's start this review from 2017. I moved here to be near to my sister who also relocated, and also to attend Cal State East Bay in Hayward to get my MBA. I started in Vallejo and man...what a dump. Then I moved to an awful in-law style place in San Leandro. It was a little bit better than Vallejo but still poor. After that I moved to Walnut Creek which was probably my favorite place in the Bay Area, but that's still not saying a whole lot. After that I moved to downtown SF, and that is supposed to be the city I'm reviewing here. This was in 2019 when getting a place in the city was a disaster. There was a housing shortage and crisis happening just before the pandemic started. I literally had to drive through awful bridge traffic every single night for a month straight to look at places and interview with potential room mates. Sometimes I'd have to interview with 4 other roommates for a 5-person flat, all sharing 1 bathroom! Since the pandemic, this is no longer as much of an issue. Now driving around you'll see "for rent" signs posted everywhere, some units in my building have been vacant for months. So yeah, getting in to SF was a disaster. It was harder than the job search but for less space usually without a closet, shared everything including bathrooms and kitchen, and inconvenient street parking. Once I got into SF my expectations were pretty high. I moved there on advice from my co-workers because I was looking for dating, friends, good food, and night life. I regret listening to them, I should have stayed in Walnut Creek. I shouldn't have fought so hard to get in the city. Dating and friends in SF are bottom tier. Your options are social groups, co-workers, and meetups, and you're bound to meet some downright unfriendly people at all of those options. Drinking is a focal point for young people under the age of 40 and bartenders blatantly ignore you unless you're gay or female. The dating apps all work to get dates but you'll end up meeting some super diverse people with whom you have very little common ground or cultural values. I was born an raised in a small town in Colorado and the amount of diversity and differentiation in SF is staggering. Most single women are unavailable. Most male friends already have their own crews to which you won't be invited or welcomed. You'll be stuck resorting to meetups where it is 5 to 1 ratio of men to women, and it makes the women act snotty and uncomfortable. There are tons of middle eastern tech workers who aren't native English speakers. Alcohol shows people's true nature at these events, and things can get pretty weird. People make fun of each other in mean ways. Nobody cares about anyone but themselves because there is a huge likelihood that you'll never see that person again. The job search is awful. Extremely into virtue signaling and who can be the biggest boy/girl scout. Women and LGBTQ+ are handed job opportunities over more qualified candidates. Not to mention you're up against Berkeley and Stanford grads, sometimes candidates with dual master's degrees from both! Tons of nepotism means you'll never be part of the "in" crowd, no matter how much you try. Some jobs pay a fair wage of over $100K, but many do not. Employers expectations are extremely high and constantly change. People are hired and fired a lot here. This is a very transient place. Making friends with people means it probably won't last once they move away in a few months. Many people met their friends and partners in other cities/states, then decided to move to SF together. Rent has dropped a bit but is still sky high. I was renting a 1BR that was tiny, cramped, and inconvenient. There was no space for anything so you'll have to store or get rid of many possessions. There was no room on my kitchen counter tops for my appliances. The carpet was stained and mangey, with what looked like dried dog pee in the corner. I rented a carpet cleaner and called Stanley Steamers and it still wouldn't come off. The stove and fridge were second hand and broken. The oven looked like it was from 1967. The parking garage was one way with barely any room to maneuver. The walls were paper thin so you can hear slamming doors and yelling from your neighbors. All of this costed me $2,200 per month, excluding utilities. If you choose to rent a room with a roommate, be careful. If they are the master tenant/lease holder they can keep the rent price a secret from you and charge you the majority, vastly decreasing their costs. SF is rent controlled so the rent never goes up. If they've been there for a long time you can actually end up paying almost all the rent! The weather in SF is usually cloudy and cold, you can expect temperatures to be between 57 - 66 degrees depending on the time of year or day. 78 is considered hot. You will need pants, shoes, and a cold weather jacket all year long, even in June and July. The "indian summer" happens from August to mid October where it's hotter and the smoke from the fires makes everything look red. The fires and smoke destroy the air quality and it's affects peoples moods and attitudes, especially while they're driving. There are tons of erratic homeless that get angry when you don't donate. The tenderloin is super unsafe and dirty. Ton's of scattered trash everywhere. Lots of drifters make their way into the other neighborhoods. There's often poop on the sidewalk and smells like pee in many areas. It's true that used needles can be found all over because the city gives them away for free, I even saw one placed in a knot on a tree in Golden Gate park. In the mission there are literally drop boxes for used needles but it's clear nobody is using them. The other thing I've seen several times is large piles of discarded CO2 bottles used as whippits dumped all over the sidewalk. Most all areas around the Bay have similar problems, it's not just SF. Shabby ratted tents and communities of homeless is what you'll find in other places like Emeryville up to Vacaville. Oakland feels extremely gangster and like there's people looking for trouble around every corner. I made over $150K/year while I was in the Bay Area and it wasn't enough. To be able to escape all these things I've mentioned you'll need at least $250K/year and you'll need to be comfortable spending $4,000/month on a 1 BR apartment. Otherwise, you'll feel unsafe and uncomfortable like I did for 3 and a half years. Let's end on a positive, the food is decent. I'd give the food a 9 out of 10, especially Senor Sisig's vegan options!
Mark | San Diego, CA