Moving to San Francisco
Situated on the west coast of the United States, San Francisco has long had a reputation as a creative, ‘artsy’ city, and for good reason. Four major art museums, a handful of smaller museums, and dozens of galleries present a dizzying schedule of exhibits ranging from world-famous stars like Matthew Barney at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) to up-and-coming local artists. In addition to art museums and galleries, San Francisco also has a world-renowned ballet, opera and symphony.
For great people-watching, do your best Otis Redding impression and sit on the dock of the Bay. Order a clam chowder from any one of a dozen great eateries in the recently renovated Ferry Building Marketplace, then sit back and watch the tides roll away. If you’re after plenty of open space then you shouldn’t have a problem if you’re thinking of moving to San Francisco. Apart from the Golden Gate Park, there are plenty of other large parks in the city, plus dozens of neighbourhood parks and countless hiking, biking, and walking paths. Many of these afford stunning views of the city or the bay and its surroundings.
Although the weather in San Francisco is never really extreme, you can easily experience several different changes in the weather in one day: Mild and sunny in early morning, rain in the late morning, sunny again in the early afternoon, overcast by later afternoon, a big gust of chilly wind for a clear, cold evening, and finally a fog attack for a cold and misty night. Be sure to carry plenty of layers to take account for these changes, especially with children.
Living in the city
There are a wide variety of neighbourhoods available in the city to suit all tastes and needs. For those seeking a single family home or apartment, the Noe Valley would be an ideal choice. This area tends to have pleasant weather – though the afternoon winds coming over the peaks are sometimes a bit brisk. The Marina is also recommended for people seeking single family homes or apartments; Cole Valley offers similar amenities but milder weather.
South of Market (SOMA) is an area that a few years ago consisted primarily of warehouses and office buildings, but with the arrival of the dotcom era many of the warehouses were converted into lofts and work/living spaces. The weather here is normally mild. Potrero Hill is 90 percent residential. You'll find some of the city’s best restaurants in this area and a great bonus is that this neighbourhood experiences the highest number of sunny days in the city. Potrero Hill lies between two major highways making it very accessible. Nob Hill is situated in the centre of the city and is one of the more exclusive neighbourhoods. The Financial District, Chinatown and North Beach are all within walking distance. Afternoons tend to be foggy in this area.
If you’re moving to San Francisco with children and would like them to be educated at an international school, the French-American International School is popular amongst expats because of its curriculum in both French and English. The Chinese American International School also has a bilingual curriculum - English and Mandarin Chinese.
It's not necessary that you own your own vehicle when you live in San Francisco; you could easily get by with public transport. However, having your own means of transport is sometimes very convenient. Just keep in mind that parking spaces can often be difficult to find and remember that driving is on the right.
Commuter rail is provided by two complementary agencies: San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the regional rapid transit system. There is also the bus network which includes trolleybuses, standard diesel motor coaches and diesel hybrid buses. The Metro streetcars run on surface streets in outlying neighbourhoods and underground in the downtown area.
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