Moving to San Francisco? Here are ten things to know before you do.
Summers are cold.
Seriously. I know, this is California—but here in the city we can go weeks in the summer when the temperature doesn’t move above 55 degrees F. That’s because the typically very hot summer weather in California’s interior pulls cold moist air off the ocean as it rises. That’s also why the guys selling hoodies make such good money off the tourists at Fisherman’s Wharf in July and August.
Late Summer Weather!
San Francisco weather, though, does include amazing late summers in September and October, with 80-degree days. This is often when new arrivals really come to love this wonderful city. While cold autumn rain is falling in Boston and New York, San Franciscans are hanging out and enjoying the sun in the city’s many beautiful parks like Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park. This is also when the late season baseball is being played and when the Giants are involved the rest of the country sees balmy summer weather on the television while the East Coast is coming to grips with cold fall weather.
No Where To Grow
San Francisco is approximately 7 miles by 7 miles, and the city and county have the same exact boundaries. (Most cities in the US are in counties that extend much further than the city limits.) So San Francisco has a Mayor—but it’s also governed by a County Board of Supervisors (“the Supes”) instead of a city council. This, with the fact that San Francisco is on the tip of a peninsula, means there is no place to grow the city except up, although for most neighborhoods there is no political will to do so. In San Francisco it is very difficult to demolish an old small building to build a new tall building. Essentially, whether right or wrong, there are artificial barriers to creating more housing, which keeps property prices up.
The curviest street in San Francisco is not Lombard Street, but Vermont Street between 22nd and 23rd Street in Potrero Hill. Now you know something many San Franciscans don’t know.
No one is buried in San Francisco. Burying people in the city was outlawed in 1901, and people who chose interment are now buried in Colma just south of the city. The one known exception is at the original Mission Dolores on Dolores Street between 16th Street and 17th Street. There you will find the headstones of many recognizable names: Don Francisco De Haro, Jose de Jesus Noe, Francisco Sanchez. All famous locals who gave their names to streets in San Francisco.
the Mission Dolores
The oldest building in San Francisco is that same Mission Dolores. It was built in 1791 by Spanish friars in the village of Yerba Buena, the original core of San Francisco.
Alcatraz was a military fort before it became a famous prison. Now it’s a museum.
San Francisco Neighborhoods
San Francisco is made up of very distinctive neighborhoods, and the residents of each neighborhood thinks theirs is the best. The truth is that there are great things about every neighborhood in San Francisco. You can go surfing at Ocean Beach after checking out the Asian markets and eateries in the Sunset and the Richmond, eat at great restaurants like Maruya and Range in the Mission District (or get some authentic Mexican food), spend an afternoon in museums like the Museum of Modern Art South of Market, or walk around the Marina, North Beach, Noe Valley, the Castro, and on and on…
San Francisco Culture
For a city its size, in fact, San Francisco has an amazing array of world-class cultural resources. Besides the traditional trinity of Symphony, Opera, and Ballet and the Museum of Modern Art, there is the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, the Palace of the Legion of Honor near Land’s End, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the American Conservatory Theater, and all sorts of small-scale music and performance venues. You will never run out of fun things to see and do.
The Giants baseball team won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014! Everyone will want you to know that.