The Ultimate Guide to Moving From San Francisco to Los Angeles

With almost four million people living there now, more and more people have made the move to Los Angeles.

It’s easy to understand why. Los Angeles has great weather, a wealth of opportunities, and some great entertainment. Even people from elsewhere in California are moving to this city, like from San Francisco.

If you’ve decided you’re interested in moving from SF to LA, it’s important to make sure it’s the best choice for you. You can do this by educating yourself on the pros and cons of LA, as well as the differences between living in SF and LA.

Here’s everything you need to know to get started with your researched and come to the right decision.

The Pros of Moving to LA

Los Angeles is a great city. There are many pros to moving there. 

Job Opportunities

There are a lot of job opportunities in LA. It’s a bustling city with a wide range of careers so regardless of what your aim is when it comes to career growth, there’s likely something here for you.

Many people move here because they want to make it in acting and LA is famously the home of many superstars. While it’s important to remember that only 2% of actors actually make a living and you need to do something else alongside to support yourself, it’s certainly the place of opportunity.

If you’ve no intention of being in the spotlight and you fancy something more corporate, LA has that too. 

Local Attractions

In any city, it’s important to have a work-life balance. California living often means getting caught up in the career world because the cost of living is somewhat high anywhere in the state, but remember there are things outside of work too.

Fortunately, LA has a lot to offer.

For example, there’s Hollywood. The Hollywood sign is a staple of the country, and you can stroll down the Walk of Fame for hours looking at the stars there. There are also some beautiful views, such as Venice Beach and at the Griffith Park and Observatory.

Many people forget that cities sometimes have beautiful scenes too, even though they aren’t out in nature.

There are also some great museums, like the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. 

There’s a reason that many people who don’t live in LA vacation there. 

Activities to Do

As well as sights to see, there are a ton of awesome activities to do which makes it difficult to get bored. Check out the nearby theme parks, like Universal Studios where there are rides to suit every thrill-seeker. 

If you’re more into nightlife, LA has some of the best bars and clubs in the country. There are also some amazing hiking spots to keep you fit, and some great views at the top of those hikes. Just make sure to stay safe. 

The Diversity

LA has become a very diverse city over the years. Less than half of the people who live there are white, creating a great mix of cultures where it’s easy to learn about others and find a home.

4.6% of the city’s population also identify as being part of the LGBTQ+ community, ranking them eighth out of America’s fifty largest metropolitan areas. For those who are looking for a safe space in that community, this makes LA a very attractive home indeed. 

While, in an ideal world, minorities would feel at home anywhere, this can make a huge difference.

The Culture

The culture in LA is definitely a very motivating one. Living in California generally means being surrounded by ambitious and driven people who are looking to keep climbing — both in terms of personal and career growth — and if you’d like to be in an inspiring place that provides you with plenty of motivation, that makes LA a solid choice.

Of course, that type of culture isn’t for everyone. Some people might prefer to be in a more relaxed place without the hustle and bustle of a city that never quite seems to rest. Others, however, thrive in this environment and it makes LA a fantastic choice for a home. 

The Prices

Where 100 is the national average for cost of living, LA sits at 173.3. This sounds high, so you might wonder why the price is an advantage.

Comparatively, if you’re moving from SF, you’ll find it’s a huge one.

SF is 269.3.

With the average cost of living almost three times higher than the rest of the USA, it’s easy to see why 173.3 doesn’t sound too bad at all! If you’re moving from a small rural town to LA, this will likely be a huge jump and you should make sure you can afford it.

However, if you’re moving from SF with a similar salary to what you’ve survived on there, you’ll find yourself with a large amount of disposable income all of a sudden. You can even afford to take a pay cut.

Great Weather

The great thing about California living is the weather and when moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles, you won’t have to give that up.

Most people thrive in the heat. It’s been proven time and time again that sunlight has a huge positive impact on your mental health and you should get as much of it as possible. That’s easy to do in a state where the sun is always shining. 

If you love the sun but aren’t a big fan of the temperature that comes, you can always enjoy the air conditioning from inside of the house when it gets too much. It’s better to have an abundance of the sun than not enough! 

Diverse Housing

Regardless of where you want to live, there’s something to suit your needs. The inner city has plenty of apartment buildings and small houses, while the suburbs have larger homes for families that will cost a fraction of the price that they did in SF.

The Cons of Moving From SF to LA

Unfortunately, there are some cons of moving from SF to LA that can’t be avoided. There are disadvantages to living anywhere, after all.

Make yourself aware of them and ensure you can handle them before you take a big leap. 

Worse Traffic

Because LA is a more densely populated city, you can expect the traffic to be worse. There’s a running joke that it takes forty-five minutes to get anywhere in LA — even if you’re only a few blocks away to start.

This might be a huge factor if you don’t work from home, because it can add a lot of time to your commute. Additionally, if you often have to leave the house to do things urgently, your time will be delayed. 

However, if you work remotely or don’t often leave the house for other reasons, this might not be a huge factor. Even better if you live within walking distance from the places you would often go, like the gym and the grocery store. 

Bad Public Transport

LA doesn’t have the worst public transport system in America, but America doesn’t put an emphasis on public transport — it puts an emphasis on cars. While New York City is very navigatable without a car, you might find it difficult to give yours up in Los Angeles (even though the traffic may tempt you to).

Ultimately though, this depends on which part of LA you live in and where you want to go. There might be buses that run conveniently right by your home to all of the places you want to go, or there might be nothing around you for miles.

If you have a particular location in mind you want to live, check out the public transport options before you move — or use them to decide on a place if it’s important to you.

Hard to Park

Because the city is so crowded, there’s not only a lot of traffic, but it’s difficult to find anywhere to park too.

This means things can get even more expensive. If you do find parking it could cost a ton of money, or you might end up using a rideshare service like Uber and Lyft to get places. These costs can rack up, especially as there’s often surge pricing in LA due to everyone having the same idea. 

Everything Is Spread Out

Despite the dense population, everything is very spread out — which is just another reason it might be difficult to give up your car. Really think about the neighborhood you’re moving to and what’s around you.

The Crime in Certain Neighborhoods

While SF has a relatively low crime rate, LA — despite its high cost of living — has a pretty high one. Homicides actually soared in 2021, with it being particularly bad in some neighborhoods.

This doesn’t mean you’ll be unsafe living there, but it does mean some precautions are necessary. Make sure you do your research about the neighborhood you’re moving to and practice some safety tips such as:

  • Carrying pepper spray, which is legal to carry and use in California for self-defense reasons
  • Take some self-defense classes so you know the basics
  • Make sure you’re always aware of your surroundings
  • Never leave your car doors unlocked, especially if there are valuables inside the car

Of course, these are good practices anywhere — even in SF where the crime is lower.

The Grind Culture

While the ambitious and driven culture might be great for some, others have been burnt out by it. 

This is particularly true if you move there with dreams of moving an actor or another star because you might have unrealistic expectations about how fast you’ll get there. Educating yourself about any dream you want to follow is key.

Competitive Housing Market

Although the housing there is diverse and you can find something to suit your needs, you will have to act quickly. Reports have shown that LA is a seller’s market right now, like many cities in the US, with more people looking to buy than sell.

It may also mean offering above the asking price if you’re buying rather than renting, so budget for that.

Tips for the Moving Process Itself

If you’ve decided that the advantages of LA suit you well, it’s time to begin the move. Make sure you research the process to make the move go smoothly.

Moving Options

You have two main moving options: you can move your things yourself or you can hire movers.

Many people choose to move their own belongings because they don’t want to hire someone and if you don’t have a lot of stuff, this can work. However, those that don’t have this advantage may want to hire movers.

The Pros of Hiring Movers

There are many advantages to hiring movers, and it’s important to consider them all if you’ve decided to move on your own and make sure they aren’t worth it.

The first is accountability and safety. Movers have insurance and the knowledge of how to pack things, and this combination makes for the safest outcome. If you have a lot of fragile items or are worried about your furniture being scratched, you’ll want someone with the best knowledge of how to protect it to take care of things.

Moving companies know how to do this.

Of course, that doesn’t guarantee anything since there’s still a chance of external circumstances like a vehicular accident or bad weather, but at least you know the insurance will pay for any damage. 

Another advantage is simply the lack of stress. When you’re moving, knowing you have to take care of everything on your own can feel overwhelming — and you may feel guilty asking friends or family for help. You may not even live close to anyone to ask!

Having professional movers handle this for you can take a lot of the stress out of moving cities. It can also let you focus on other things you need to handle before moving rather than packing and organizing transport, such as:

  • Getting medical, veterinary, and school records together to take with you to LA
  • Buying new things for your new place
  • Setting up a new doctor and dentist in the new location

You have enough to think about without worrying about the actual move itself!

How to Prepare

When deciding how to prepare for your move, you need to consider how much moving help you’re actually going to get. Are the movers going to pack for you, or are you going to handle that part?

Make sure you understand what the movers need from you and what they’ll handle on their own. If you are packing yourself, label the boxes and make sure everything is cushioned well enough that it won’t break. 

How to Find Good Movers

If you’ve finally decided you’re moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles and you know how to prepare, it’s time to find movers that will do a good job. Not all moving companies are created equal, so it’s important to do your research and ensure you have people you trust. 

Read Reviews

91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as they’d trust a friend, and for good reason. Online reviews are left, for the most part, by neutral third parties who’ve had actual experience with the company and can tell you what went well and what didn’t.

You can find reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook, as well as a variety of other sites.

Any moving company you hire should have a good overall review. If you want to really do more research, you can do a deep dive into the positive and negative reviews. You can’t please everyone, so they may have some upset customers — but it should be a low number, and you may even find that the complaints seem unreasonable.

Some companies also respond to their negative reviews which will give you a good idea of their tone and how they conduct themselves. 

Scour Their Website

You should also make sure you read all of the information they have available on their website, as well as ensure their website is clean and presentable. Web design is a far cry from moving, but it’s still important to have the information there in an accessible way.

Their website at the very least should have the services they offer as well as the best way to contact them. If the numbers and email addresses are outdated, it’s a bit of a red flag.

Check They Have the Appropriate Licenses and Insurance

Anyone operating a vehicle that large at least needs a commercial license, and some states require professional movers to be registered with other boards. In California, the Bureau of Household Goods and Services regulates this so make sure whoever you use is registered with them.

You should also make sure they have insurance. This protects both you and them from damage and injuries caused during the moving process.

It’s not just your belongings you need to worry about, but what happens if they’re injured on the job — especially if it’s on your property. 

Ask About Availability

If you’ve found a company that looks promising, you can then go ahead and ask for their availability. Popular companies might be busy, so if you can be a little flexible, it might be best in terms of finding the best people for the job.

However, if you have a specific date you need moving help, then you may have to find a company available on that date rather than browsing around a lot of them.

Ask for Quotes

Once you’ve found a company available when you need to move, you should ask for a quote to ensure it’s within your budget.

A good thing to do is actually ask a few different companies for quotes and compare them. However, you shouldn’t automatically go with the cheapest company without considering other factors. 

The cheapest company may be that way for a reason — lack of experience, bad reviews they need to make up for, or subpar services. 

Balance the quote with the other factors to make the right decision for you.


Ask Any Questions You Have

After that, you should make sure you ask any questions you might have. Some possibilities include:

  • How should I prepare for you to arrive?
  • Do you provide packing materials?
  • What’s the best way to contact you?
  • How much experience do you have?

Any and all of these are valid, and moving companies understand that you want to make the right choice for you and need this information to make an informed decision.

Consider Their Demeanor

The last thing you need to do is consider how they actually make you feel. You may only know these movers for a short amount of time, but moving cities is stressful enough without someone making it worse.

They should strike a balance of warmth and professionalism, and ensure you that you’re in good hands. 

Make Moving From SF to LA Less Stressful

Moving from SF to LA can be a great move for some people. Despite the fact there are some disadvantages to living in LA, it’s important to remember there are cons to living anywhere and for the right people, LA is a wonderful place to live.

If you’re looking for diversity, an ambitious culture, and some great things to do outside of work then you really can’t go wrong with this California city and its great weather.

Looking for moving help between cities? Contact us today for a free moving quote and let’s see how we can help.

Moving From San Francisco to Orange County

Did you know that there are currently more than three million people living in Orange County, California? It is a region that is famous for its warm and sunny weather, beaches, and bustling nightlight. San Francisco also has many of those things, but you will notice a few important differences when you make the move to Orange County. 

No matter what part of Orange County you move to, you might be wondering what you should expect when you start moving from San Francisco. How can you know if you’re making the right choice? How much should you expect to spend on housing once you make the choice?

Keep reading and learn more about the pros and cons of moving to Orange County below. 

The Weather in Orange County

Starting out with the advantages of moving to and living in Orange County, the weather is one of the most obvious benefits. For most of the year, the temperatures average around 75 degrees. If you are sensitive to the weather being too hot or too cold, this is the perfect climate for you. 

You won’t find yourself dripping in sweat after taking a brisk walk outside. You also won’t need to bundle up or search for your winter hat, not even in the middle of winter. The winter months only drop down into the 60s and it rarely gets any colder than that. 

During the winter, you’ll see that many people still find it warm enough to go swimming at the beach or tanning on the sand. If it gets especially chilly, all you’ll need to keep yourself warm is a light sweater. But what about the summers?

The summers can get somewhat hot (it is California, after all). However, throughout the summer, the temperatures average around the 80s. On some days in the middle of summer, it might get a bit hotter than that, but you could easily retreat into the air conditioning of your new home if that happens. 

Otherwise, you will find that summer is a great time to go outside and do things. The beach will be especially popular and you will be able to see plenty of people surfing on the waves and warming themselves on the sand. Some people even spend their tie parasailing and windsurfing out on the water. 

If you’ve ever wanted to try any of these fun activities, you’ll always have the opportunity when living in Orange County. While you’re outside you’ll also have the chance to explore all the other local attractions that Orange County has to offer. 

Things to Do in Orange County

While San Francisco may have a lot of things to do, San Francisco is just a city. Orange County, on the other hand, is a whole region that encompasses several towns and cities. That means you’ll have even more fun things to do, regardless of where you live in Orange County. 

The most obvious attraction is all the beaches that rest along the shores of Orange County. Some of the beaches are large while others are smaller and more hidden. This gives you plenty of variety when it comes to finding the perfect beach to spend the day at. 

Keep in mind, however, that the beaches can get quite crowded during the spring and summer. Spring breakers tend to hog the beach during the earlier part of the year. The same happens during the summer but with everyone who is taking a break for summer vacation.

However, you should never let the idea of a crowded beach deter you from going to the beach at all. Many of the beaches in Orange county are large enough to fit everyone. But there are also other things to do than just go to the beach. 

There are plenty of museums dotted all throughout Orange County sitting around for you to enjoy. Many of them are history museums and explore the early years of Orange County. Others may explore the unique culture of the region. 

Then, of course, there are plenty of art museums. One thing that Orange County has in common with San Francisco is that it is a very hip and artsy region. It is full of artists of all different kinds and, as a result, you’ll find a lot of art to enjoy throughout the area. 

This renders Orange County a very colorful and exciting place to live.

Spend Some Time Outside

When it comes to moving out to Orange County, you should know that the beach isn’t the only place where you can get some fresh air. If you follow along the beaches long enough, you will eventually leave behind all the crowds of sunbathers and the soft sand. Instead, you will come across some cliffs and rocky shorelines. 

Along that shoreline, you will find plenty of tide pools. Tide pools are amazing little habitats for certain sea creatures. They consist of little pockets of ocean water stuck between rocks and pits at low tide. 

In the tide pools, you will be able to find animals that you might only otherwise see at zoos. You will find plenty of starfish crawling along the rocks, beautiful braids of seaweed, snails, sea urchins, crabs, and more. You will, of course, also find plenty of seagulls and other sea birds hopping around on the rocks. 

The tide pools are ideal if you are an animal lover. They can give you a chance to go off on your own and enjoy the peacefulness of nature. They are also great if you have children because your kids will have the chance to observe strange new animals in their natural habitat instead of in a zoo.

There are also plenty of natural parks that you can enjoy in Orange County. For example, the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is a large park (more than 7,000 acres) with long, dusty trails that you can walk along for ages.

As the name of the park suggests, you will also be able to enjoy some of the amazing wildlife that this part of California has to offer. That’s because much of the park is untouched wilderness. You can also choose to ride your bike instead of hiking through the park.

Orange County Is Safe 

Seeing as Orange County is right next to the city of Los Angeles, you might think that the safety rating in Orange County isn’t all that great. However, you would be wrong. Even though Los Angeles is known for its high crime rate, you won’t see those same statistics in Orange County. 

At the moment, Irving is one of the safest cities you’ll be able to find in the area. Both Irving and Yorba Linda are on the list of the top 10 safest cities in all of Orange County. Some of the cities in Orange County have even been voted as some of the safest cities in all of California.

This is ideal if you have a family or plan on starting a family. 

You won’t want to worry yourself sick wondering if your kids are safe going to school or coming back home at the end of the day. When it comes to most forms of crime such as violent crime, robberies, property crimes, car theft, and so on, Orange County has a much lower rating than the surrounding area of Los Angeles. 

But, of course, no area is completely safe. While you might be safer than you would be in Los Angeles or San Francisco, you should always be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. Car theft is also still a problem in Orange County just as it is in the rest of the state of California (and the rest of the country, for that matter). 

For that reason, you won’t want to forget to lock the doors of your car. This will make it more difficult for robbers to run away with your car. Remembering to lock your home’s doors is an important consideration as well.

The Cons of Living in Orange County

While there are many benefits of moving from San Francisco to Orange County, you will find that no location is without a few cons. If you are looking to find a place that is more affordable compared to your San Francisco home, you might have to look elsewhere.

Also, if you are looking for a place with less traffic, Orange County might also not be the right place for you. But before you make any hard and fast decisions, be sure to weigh the pros and cons against each other. Keep reading to explore a few of the biggest cons of living in Orange County.

The Traffic

As mentioned before, Orange County is right next to Los Angeles. This doesn’t put it in a great position when it comes to traffic. Also, keep in mind that Orange County is home to several popular cities and towns such as Anaheim and Irvine. 

It is also right next to Long Beach which is one of the most popular areas along the coast of southern California. Next to Long Beach, of course, is Los Angeles which is home to almost 4 million people. When you have so many densely-packed locations right next to each other, you can’t expect that the traffic situation is going to be any good. 

The bad traffic in Orange County can make daily commutes to work especially unpleasant. Even if your job isn’t all that far away from your new home in Orange County, you will find that it still might take you quite a long time to arrive. You will spend much of your time sitting in stopped traffic or traffic that moves very slowly. 

The bad traffic can also be a drag when you’re taking a break from work and taking a trip to the beach or to an event. Many other people, especially in the summer, will all have the same idea. But you shouldn’t let the idea of bad traffic stop you from moving to Orange County. 

The traffic in San Francisco isn’t often any better than Orange County traffic. For that reason, you may already be accustomed to bad traffic. So, by moving to Orange County, you won’t really notice much of a difference in terms of traffic quality. 

If you really hate traffic but also really want to move to Orange County, you will want to remember to be patient and keep your stress down.

The Cost of Living in Orange County

You shouldn’t move to Orange County with the idea that you’re going to save any money because you likely aren’t. The cost of living in San Francisco and Orange County is quite similar. These costs include housing, food, transportation, entertainment, and so on. 

The cost of living in Orange County is actually quite a bit higher than the average cost of living in California. But again, this is the same case with San Francisco. Some might argue that San Francisco is even more expensive to live in. 

But keep in mind that the average cost of a home in Orange County is more than $900,000. In some areas, it might even be very close to $1 million. In the same vein, the cost of rent is also very expensive. 

You might need to spend a couple of thousand dollars a month on an apartment and even then, your apartment might not be very large. You will likely have to spend more if you want a larger apartment or an apartment that is in the heart of one of Orange County’s cities. 

And, of course, any kind of property near the beach will be much more expensive. Homes with ocean views are the most expensive of all. The further you get from the ocean, the cheaper the homes will get. 

You will also find yourself spending quite a lot of money on other things as well such as groceries, eating out, and entertainment. But you shouldn’t let the idea of money get in the way of your dream to move to this little slice of paradise. 

Since you already live in San Francisco, you should be able to afford the cost of living in Orange County. You might have to consider your budget, but you should be able to do it.

How to Prepare for Your Move to Orange County

If you think you are set on moving to Orange County, you will need to consider a few things to make sure that your move will be as smooth as possible. One of the first things you should do is learn how to pack properly. Many people don’t put a lot of thought into packing their belongings away before a big move, but this can be a serious mistake.

If you don’t bother to label boxes or organize certain items into certain boxes, you will find yourself in a whirlwind of confusion once it’s time to open up your boxes again. You might need to find a specific item and not be able to find it because you forgot where you packed it. Or it might be so buried under other items that it will take an hour to reach. 

You might also end up wasting a lot of precious box space if you toss your belongings without thought into boxes. Learning how to pack in an organized way can save you from all of these headaches. You should keep a list of all the things you have packed away somewhere in a notebook or elsewhere. 

You should also label your boxes and packing containers. This way, you will know what’s inside without having to open the boxes. You should also avoid overstuffing some boxes and barely filling other boxes.

Overfilled boxes will be especially heavy and difficult to move. With boxes that are barely filled, you are wasting space that could be very valuable for your move. You should also have a bag of belongings that you can access whenever you want. 

This bag might include clothes, a toothbrush, a hairbrush, and so on. This will all make your move much easier and less stressful. 

Keep Your Budget in Mind

Many people get so excited about making a big move that they forget all about their budget. You shouldn’t let this happen to you because you might end up regretting it. Planning your moving budget is one of the most important things you can do. 

It will allow you to add up all the little expenses so you can see just how much you might be spending. This is important because many people only think about the main expenses such as hiring professional movers, renting a new apartment or buying a home, and so on. However, you are sure to encounter many little expenses during your move that may add up and cost you more than you might expect. 

For example, you might need to buy new furniture once you move to your new home in Orange County. Or you might need to spend a lot of money on the gas for your car when you drive from San Francisco to your new home. And even if you don’t drive all the way to Orange County, you’ll still have to pay for a plane ticket to get there.

You might also have to set up a new phone service, a new internet service, a new television service, and so on. While all of these expenses on their own are quite small, they can make a big dent in your budget once they start to add up, especially if you don’t plan for them in your budget in the first place. 

The best way to consider your budget is to write it down on a piece of paper. This way, you will be able to map out all of your expenses and what you can afford. Doing this can take a big weight off of your shoulders. 

Create a Checklist for Your Move

Moving can get very hectic very fast. At the last minute, things can start to pile up over each other, things start to get confusing, and it all translates to more stress for you. But this doesn’t have to be your fate as long as you plan ahead. 

By keeping things organized, they won’t get so chaotic in the first place. As mentioned before, keeping your moving boxes and belongings organized will take a lot of stress out of your life because you won’t be rummaging through boxes wondering where you packed your favorite spatula or pencil sharpener. But organization for your move goes far beyond what you pack in boxes. 

When you make the move to Orange County, you will want to make sure that your living situation is in order. There’s nothing worse than moving all the way to Orange County to find that your new house isn’t ready to live in yet. You will want to know all the details of your new home or apartment that you’re renting so you won’t come across any unexpected roadblocks during your move.

If your house isn’t ready to live in yet, you will have to book a hotel somewhere nearby. Even if your home is ready, your movers might not have arrived yet. Since most people won’t want to sleep on a cold floor in an empty house, again, booking a hotel may be the best option until everything is ready to go. 

All About Moving From San Francisco to Orange County

Moving from San Francisco to Orange County can be the next best decision of your life. Orange County is full of things to do and has many beautiful beaches, museums, parks, and more. As long as you keep everything organized during your move, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. 

To learn more, contact us here

Best Colleges in the Bay Area: Your Comprehensive List

Are you interested in learning about best colleges in the Bay Area?

College creates so much opportunity. 19.6 million students attended American colleges and universities during the fall of 2019. 

Many students went to certain areas of the country to study. Some of the best colleges in the world are in the Bay Area. Yet the sheer number of California colleges can make it hard to tell which ones are best. 

What are the San Francisco colleges that are most well-known throughout the United States? Where should you go if you want a good liberal arts or science education? What are your best options for specialized schools? 

Answer these questions and you can find the right college to live and study at. Here is your comprehensive guide. 

Stanford University

Ask people about the best San Francisco colleges, and they’ll tell you about Stanford. Stanford has more than 7,000 undergraduates and 9,000 graduate students.

Despite these high numbers, Stanford has an acceptance rate of 4.3%. It is one of the most selective schools in the country, yet it is also one of the best.

It has a wide range of course offerings, with most classes having a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1. Many Stanford graduates have gone on to become major scientists, winning Nobel Prizes and other accolades. You can find laboratories dedicated to research on lasers, the Internet, and business. 

But Stanford is a great community for artists as well. The campus is home to several art galleries, including ones dedicated to contemporary American art. You can find five separate choirs at Stanford in addition to theater and comedy groups. 

University of California, Berkeley

The University of California has campuses all over the state. Each one has its own special qualities, but the Berkeley campus is one of the best. You can choose any Berkeley neighborhood and then attend classes at the campus. 

Tens of thousands of students go to UC Berkeley. The university offers more than 100 Bachelor’s degrees in programs ranging from engineering to ecology. The university also offers a wide range of graduate programs, with many undergraduates working alongside graduate students. 

The campus has more than 30 libraries, each with thousands of books in them. You can find the papers of Mark Twain as well as Egyptian papyri in Berkeley’s archives. 

If you want to get involved in politics, Berkeley is a great place to go. The campus produced numerous activists who supported the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Students continue to be involved in many causes today. 

Santa Clara University 

Santa Clara University is located in Santa Clara. This is a city of more than 100,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you want to go to an urban school near a city that is not too big, you should go to Santa Clara. 

Santa Clara has over 5,000 undergraduate students, with an additional 3,300 postgraduate students. It is a Jesuit school, but non-Christian people can attend. 

The main school at Santa Clara is the College of Arts and Sciences. It contains more than two dozen programs, including neuroscience and psychology. You can also find independent schools for business, education, and engineering. 

The university is home to several centers that discuss interdisciplinary issues. The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is a forum for discussion of ethics in different subjects, such as biology. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute runs classes for students who are older than 50. 

You can find a number of student-run groups. The school’s yearbook has been in operation for more than 110 years. KSCU is a student-run radio station that allows students to talk on many different programs. 

University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco (USF) is another Jesuit university. It is located within San Francisco itself, making it a good option for people who want to live in a San Francisco neighborhood

USF is well-known for its international programs. Students can go all over the world to study abroad, earning academic credit for any major they are pursuing. 

For students who want to stay in California, they can pursue many different majors. Options in the humanities include critical diversity studies and performing arts. Science options include kinesiology and psychology. 

USF has some of the oldest student-run theater groups in the country. You can also find an improvisational team, a marching band, and a dance program at the university. USF is home to many fraternities, sororities, and professional societies that represent most major subjects. 

San Jose State University

San Jose State University (SJSU) lies inside of downtown San Jose. It attracts many students from the Bay Area, so people who want to know about the Bay Area should consider SJSU as a strong option.

The university organizes its academics into nine separate colleges. Like many universities, it offers a separate school for business and engineering. But SJSU offers courses in education, health sciences, and the humanities. 

SJSU has a strong tradition of Greek life. All nine groups in the National Pan-Hellenic Council have branches at the university. The Spartan Marching Band is incredibly popular, with members from all fields of study on campus. 

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Music students can attend classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. It is a very small school, with only a few hundred students in attendance at any one time. But it has produced many notable musicians, including Broadway actors. 

Any type of musician can attend the Conservatory of Music. Students can also take classes in conducting, historical performance, and composition. The conservatory has relationships with other Bay Area colleges, allowing students to learn about how neuroscience relates to music. 

The conservatory allows students to pursue their own projects during Winter Term. A student can pursue a project beyond the scope of their curriculum, or they can study something in their classes. They receive an advisor who guides their work and helps them gain new skills. 

The school is committed to helping undergraduate and graduate students enjoy their life in San Francisco. It has agreements with several transit companies, giving students discounts on ride-sharing and public transportation. It is easy to find dependable relocation services and transition into life at the school. 

Dominican University of California

Dominican University of California has fewer than 2,000 students. This makes it a good alternative to larger state universities.

The campus is located in a residential area, giving it a quiet and more deliberative environment. It is a short walk from national parks like the Muir Woods National Monument. You can go for a hike or for a camping weekend. 

Academics are focused on interdisciplinary programs. English students can pursue a track in creative writing, cultural studies, or performance studies. The university offers many minors such as leadership studies that draw on different programs for business students. 

Faculty members encourage students to pursue major projects. They can submit their papers to peer-reviewed publications and give speeches at academic conferences. As a senior thesis, a student can write a novel, business plan, or research paper. 

There are dozens of student clubs at the university. A society of nuns founded the school, but students have formed secular groups like student governments. 

San Francisco State University

The California State University system is independent of the University of California system. It runs nearly two dozen schools throughout the state, including San Francisco State University (SFSU). 

San Francisco State University is located in the southwest portion of San Francisco. It is within a short walk of the Pacific coast. 

The university offers a diverse range of study areas. Language students can choose Chinese, Italian, and Japanese classes.

Students can satisfy their individual major requirements by taking interdisciplinary classes. Creative writing students are required to take literature classes, but they can take ones in Jewish studies or queer studies. 

Classes are designed to be affordable to people of all backgrounds and income groups. In particular, the college appeals to veterans. SFSU has its own office dedicated to veterans’ admissions, helping active-duty service members and others. 

Mills College

Mills College is a women’s college located in Oakland. Oakland is east of San Francisco, but it is located within the Bay Area. 

Mills is one of the first colleges in the country to welcome transgender and genderqueer students. Students who self-identify as women or who were assigned female at birth can apply for admission. The college is small, with fewer than 1,300 students in attendance. 

All students are required to participate in a core curriculum. The students develop skills in critical analysis, scientific inquiry, and experimentation. But each student may take different courses to meet these general requirements. 

They can then pursue one of many different majors. Many students at Mills pursue English literature, biology, and economics. If a student chooses to, they can take an accelerated program to earn a master’s degree in less time. 

Students can swim in outdoor pools and use a tennis center for free. Student clubs include campuswide newspapers, research journals, and literary magazines. 

Menlo College

Business and psychology students can attend classes at Menlo College. It is a small college based in Atherton, a town southeast of Redwood City. 

Though the college is reserved for business and psychology, it offers a range of degree programs. A student can sign up for marketing, management, and real estate degrees.

The college also offers separate programs for professionals who want to pursue adult education. The Ethics in Action Research and Education Center focuses on ethical issues in business. The Rendanheyi Silicon Valley Center trains executives in modern business techniques. 

Menlo has a number of student-run programs. The college has successful baseball and basketball teams, including for women. Non-athletic students can join clubs for photography, accounting, and growing vegetables. 

Ohlone College 

Students looking for a good community college experience can go to Ohlone College. It has two campuses, with one of them located in Fremont. 

The college appeals to international students and military veterans. High school students who want to enrich themselves in college life can take Ohlone classes while still in high school. 

Ohlone divides its classes into several different divisions. It offers a deaf studies division, one of the few amongst community colleges in the United States. Students who are hard of hearing can take classes with professors trained in American sign language. 

Classes are designed to give students skills in their chosen careers. Students who are looking for a career in entertainment can take classes on lighting and stagecraft. Artists can take drawing and 3D modeling courses. 

San Francisco Art Institute 

Art students can go to the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). SFAI is one of the oldest art schools in the country, and it is the oldest one on the West Coast. 

SFAI is committed to social justice. It offers dozens of scholarships for students from underserved backgrounds. The college has also committed to efforts to increase the amount of BIPOC staffers and faculty. 

Painters, sculptors, and photographers can attend classes at SFAI. Interdisciplinary students and students who operate in new genres can pursue individual majors at the school. All majors involve coursework, studio time, and historical study. 

Many students become involved in public education. They can teach courses for high school students or members of the public. They can go to a drawing studio and work alongside San Francisco residents on their pieces. 

The Best Colleges in the Bay Area

The Bay Area is brimming with American’s best colleges. If you have good grades, you should consider Stanford alongside Ivy League schools. 

UC Berkeley and San Jose State University are two good all-around options. Students looking for a Jesuit education should go to Dominican University. Interdisciplinary students can go to San Francisco State University. 

Mills College is a great women’s college. Ohlone offers a great community college experience, while the San Francisco Art Institute is perfect for all artists.  Move to your dream school in no time.

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A Local’s Guide to the Best Bay Area Neighborhoods

The Bay Area is one of the most popular places to live in the United States. It’s home to more than 7.7 million people. With its eclectic communities, rolling hills, outdoor access, tech giants, and outstanding public schools, it’s no wonder why. 

If you’re moving to the Bay Area, you have a lot of ground to cover when deciding where to live. Cities and neighborhoods can be dramatically different from each other and cater to vastly different kinds of lifestyles. 

With so many options, it’s hard to know where to start. 

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best Bay Area neighborhoods. Read on to learn about our top picks for neighborhoods both inside San Francisco and in the larger Bay Area.  

Best Bay Area Neighborhoods: Inside San Francisco 

We can break up bay area neighborhoods based on whether they’re inside or outside of the city. San Francisco is a dense, diverse place with dozens of neighborhoods squeezed into just 47 square miles. 

If you’re planning on moving to the Bay Area, the first question to ask yourself is whether you want to live inside or outside of San Francisco. 

In general, living in the city is more expensive than living in one of the surrounding areas. But it also affords you access to some of the bay area’s best restaurants, clubs, bars, and shops. 

These are our top picks for the best neighborhoods in the Bay Area that are located inside San Francisco. 

Noe Valley 

Noe Valley is one of the most family-friendly neighborhoods in the city. Unlike the rest of San Francisco, you’ll regularly see kids playing in the streets and congregating on doorsteps. 

This neighborhood is quite hilly, but the streets are clean and safe to walk around at night. Streetcars give you easy access to downtown and the Mission. 

Noe Valley features a great farmer’s market and a tidy dog park where residents frequently congregate. The area is mostly residential, so you’ll have to leave the neighborhood to get some good food. 

The average cost of rent is $2,875, and the average price of a home is 1.9 million. If you plan on moving here, make sure you have the cash to back it up. 

Dolores Heights and Eureka Valley are two nearby neighborhoods that are quite similar to Noe Valley, with lots of quiet residential streets. They also have great access to outdoor spaces like Kite Hill Park and Billy Goat Hill. 

The Castro 

Located in the heart of the city, the Castro is one of the most fun and lively neighborhoods in San Francisco. It is historically the LGBTQ+ center of the city, well known for being a haven for queer people. 

The Castro is famous for its LGBTQ+ community, amazing nightlife, homey restaurants, and adult shops. Although it’s a very safe neighborhood, it’s not always the most family-friendly. 

The Castro has possibly the best nightlife in the city. Revelers spill out onto sidewalks outside of world-famous bars and clubs like Twin Peaks Tavern. It’s an incredible place for queer people to express themselves and connect with their community. 

Mission Dolores Park and Corona Heights Park are two lovely outdoor spaces in this neighborhood. It’s a flatter, more walkable community than some of San Francisco’s hillier neighborhoods. 

The GLBT Historical Society Museum and the bright rainbow crosswalks down Castro Street make this the perfect neighborhood to celebrate Pride all year long. 

The average cost of rent in the Castro is $2,700, and the average home costs $1.7 million.

The Sunset District

Just south of Golden Gate Park lies the Sunset District. Inner Sunset, Outer Sunset, and Parkside are somewhat more economical groups of family-friendly neighborhoods. 

Inner Sunset is home to some of the best food in the city. You’re always a short walk away from authentic dumplings, pho, or spicy Sichuan cuisine.

The average cost of rent here is $2,500, and the average cost of a home is $1 million. Many diverse families live in the neighborhood since the prices are a good bit lower than other places in the city. 

Outer Sunset is a primarily residential area. Most people who live out here have cars, as it’s hard to get to other parts of the city without one. This means that parking can sometimes be a struggle. 

Outer Sunset also boasts direct access to Ocean Beach. This makes it a great neighborhood for surfers, or people who love to have picnics by the ocean. The trade-off is that the Bay Area’s famous fog is very thick in these neighborhoods. 

The average cost of rent in Outer Sunset is $2,571, and the average cost of a home is $1.6 million. 

Best Bay Area Neighborhoods: Outside San Francisco 

Outside of the city, the main areas people live in are the North Bay, East Bay, and South Bay, also referred to as the Peninsula. Each area has a vastly different vibe. 

Some bay area neighborhoods have an energizing nightlife scene with dozens of live music venues, clubs, and bars. Others roll up the sidewalks at 6 pm. 

Some neighborhoods draw people who want easy access to the outdoors. Others can provide the big city feel of San Francisco with a lower price tag. 

Where you chose to call home will depend on where you work, how far you want to commute, whether you want to live in a house or apartment, your lifestyle, and many other factors. 

If you’re planning to move long distance to the Bay Area, make a numbered list of your priorities and find a neighborhood that meets as many of them as possible. 

The North Bay 

Just across the Golden Gate Bridge lies a nature lover’s paradise. The North Bay is the least populous and least urbanized part of the Bay Area. It is home to hundreds of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, as well as protected beaches and the world-famous Muir Woods. 

Unfortunately, this area also comes with the highest price tags in the entire Bay Area. Rent and home prices rival San Francisco itself. 

There’s also a distinct lack of public transit options, particularly because the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) doesn’t run to the North Bay. You’ll also have to pay a toll every time you want to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, which can make commuting a pain. 

If you want to live among the hills and redwoods and are prepared to shell out for a high cost of living, the North Bay could be for you. 


Sausalito is the first neighborhood you’ll come to after crossing the Golden Gate bridge. This area is known for its Richardson Bay houseboat enclaves and stunning waterfront views. 

Sausalito is a great place for commuters who work within the city. Driving to San Francisco typically takes between 30 and 40 minutes depending on traffic.

The Sausalito Ferry is another commuting option for those who want to take the scenic route. The ferry takes travelers past Alcatraz Island and drops them off in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district. 

The average rent in Sausalito is $3,632. The typical home value is $1.4 million. It’s a gorgeous area, but the price tag is high. 

Mill Valley 

Just north of Sausalito lies Mill Valley. This scenic community is nestled between rolling hills dotted with old-growth redwood trees. 

This neighborhood is an incredible destination for hikers and cyclists alike. Muir Woods lies to the southwest, and Mount Tamalpais to the north boasts sweeping views of the entire Bay Area. Travel west to Stinson beach to enjoy miles of protected coastline. 

Mill Valley is one of the best bay area neighborhoods for families. Schools here routinely score A and A+ grades on Niche. The community is also very family-oriented but doesn’t boast a particularly exciting nightlife. 

Mill Valley is home to very few apartment complexes. Most of the community consists of single-family houses and very expensive ones at that. 

The average rent in Mill Valley is $2,500. The average home value is $1.6 million. 

San Rafel 

Further north is San Rafel, a somewhat more affordable community next to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. It boasts a mix of single-family homes and apartment complexes that are generally more affordable than what you’ll find in Mill Valley or Sausalito. 

This neighborhood has a more middle-class vibe than its fancy neighbors to the south. San Rafel is known for its family-friendly farmer’s market with vendors and live music every Thursday. 

The neighborhood’s 4th Avenue is lined with local breweries, coffee shops, and ethnic restaurants. China Camp State Park to the east is home to excellent hiking and bicycling trails. 

San Rafel isn’t the most ideal neighborhood for people commuting into the city. It takes 45 minutes by car and a full hour by bus. 

The average rent in San Rafel is $2,700. The average home value is $1.1 million. 

The East Bay 

Some say that the most authentic San Francisco experiences are actually found in the East Bay. Gentrification and the rising cost of living have pushed a lot of the Bay Area’s artists, musicians, creatives, young professionals, and working-class people out of the city. 

A large portion of the bay’s younger crowd is making the more authentic and affordable neighborhoods in the East Bay their home. It is an eclectic, artsy, vibrant mix of cool neighborhoods, many of which are extremely walkable. 

The BART runs throughout the East Bay, which makes getting into San Francisco a breeze. Oakland and Alameda residents can also use the ferry system for a peaceful commute across the bay. 

The East Bay also offers easy access to hiking and biking trails in dozens of nearby parks. Reinhart Redwood Regional Park, Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, and Tilden Regional Park are all popular destinations. 


If you’re on the hunt for a big city vibe without the exorbitant San Francisco price tag, Oakland is for you. This hip neighborhood is home to incredible and authentic cuisine, award-winning theaters, and vibrant nightlife. 

Some parts of Oakland are safer than others. But there are many wonderful areas for both singles and families. 

Lake Merritt is a bustling area home to high-rise apartment buildings and a paved 3-mile path around the lake itself. This neighborhood offers easy access to Grand Avenue, which is lined with coffee shops, outdoor patios, and the historic Grand Lake Theater. 

This is one of the best Bay Area neighborhoods for singles. You get to live right in the middle of the hustle and bustle at a much more affordable rate than what’s offered in San Francisco.

To the north lies Rockridge, a quieter neighborhood lined with gorgeous craftsman homes. You’ll be close to College Avenue, which is packed with excellent restaurants and shopping options. 

Further west across Highway 13 lies Montclair, Piedmont Pines, and Glen Highlands. These hilly neighborhoods are mostly residential and close to some of the gorgeous protected nature areas nearby. Many homes offer stunning views of San Francisco and the Bay Bridge. 

Commuting to the city takes only 15 to 30 minutes via the BART, 30 minutes via the ferry, and 30-60 minutes by car. This makes Oakland one of the best Bay Area neighborhoods for young professionals. 

The average rent in Oakland is $2,700 and the average home value is $800,000. This is a bit more affordable than what we’ve seen in the North Bay but still well above the state average


The centerpiece of this neighborhood is the University of California, Berkley. As such, the community is made up of a lot of college-age students and recent graduates. It’s a great neighborhood for young people looking to make friends. 

The vibrant collegiate culture of Berkley can be found most on University Avenue and Shattuck Avenue. North Berkeley is home to incredible eateries like Chez Panisse and the Cheese Board. 

The community prides itself on its tree-lined streets and walkability. There is BART access in North and Downtown Berkely, which can put commuters in the heart of San Francisco in 30 to 40 minutes. Driving will take 35 minutes to an hour depending on traffic. 

Berkeley also boasts lots of outdoor access. It’s bordered by Tilden Regional Park to the east. The neighborhood is also home to Indian Rock Park and the Berkeley Rose Garden. 

The average rent in Berkeley is $3,038 and the average home value is $1.3 million. These prices are much higher than in Oakland and are comparable to those in the North Bay. 


Off the southern coast of Oakland is the island of Alameda. This community and family-oriented neighborhood is made up of tree-lined streets, craftsman homes, and a bustling downtown corridor. 

The beaches in Alameda provide residents with access to the bay and gorgeous views of San Francisco. The community also has several quiet parks that are perfect for walking your dog or going on a family outing. 

The western tip of the island is home to breweries, distilleries, and a monthly antique fair. It’s a fun afternoon spot, but Alameda doesn’t have the vibrant nightlife of Oakland or Berkeley. This quiet neighborhood is more suited to families and established professionals. 

The BART doesn’t run to Alameda, but you can take the ferry into San Francisco. The average ferry ride takes only 20 minutes, making it the shortest ferry commute on our list. Driving takes 35 to 60 minutes, depending on traffic. 

The average rent in Alameda is $2,591 and the average home value is $1 million. This rent price is lower than most of the neighborhoods on our list, but keep in mind that there are fewer apartment complexes in Alameda than there are in other East Bay neighborhoods. 

The South Bay 

The South Bay, also known as the Peninsula, is home to the headquarters of tech giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook. It is also the location of the prestigious Stanford University. 

If you’re looking for places that are more affordable than the heart of San Francisco, these neighborhoods are not it. Atherton, in San Mateo County, is the most expensive place to live in the entire United States. The average home price in this neighborhood easily tops $7 million. 

Despite this, there are still affordable places to live in the Peninsula. You just have to know where to look. 

The South Bay is home to luxury shopping centers, fine dining, and upscale hotels. Most of the neighborhoods in this area have a quieter, more laid-back feel than San Francisco, which makes them perfect for families. 

La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve, El Corte de Madera Creek Preserve, Redwood Park, and Kings Mountain border South Bay neighborhoods to the east. This gives residents plenty of access to hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. 

San Mateo 

San Mateo is ranked as the 29th best place to live in the U.S. The climate is sunny, the vibes are casual, and the public schools are phenomenal. 

The downtown corridor has plenty of restaurants and bars. They’re not as authentic as the ones you’ll find in the East Bay, but the food and drinks are phenomenal nonetheless. 

Coyote Point to the north is an excellent place for a picnic or walk with your family. San Mateo has easy access to the waters of the bay. If you’re craving a visit to the ocean, the Pacific coastline is less than an hour’s drive away. 

This neighborhood doesn’t have BART access, but the city is only 30 minutes away by car, 45 in heavy traffic. Most of the Peninsula is serviced by Caltrain, which can get you into San Francisco in about 40 minutes. 

Many people who live in this area are employed by Facebook, Google, or another Silicon Valley tech giant. The headquarters for these companies are just a 20-minute drive away, making it a great neighborhood for commuters. 

San Mateo is made up mostly of single-family homes with occasional townhouses and apartment complexes here and there. The average rent in this neighborhood is $3,202 and the average home value is $1.4 million. 

Palo Alto 

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto is an upscale community home to Stanford University. The community is safe and vibrant, with gorgeous tree-lined streets and excellent walkability. 

This walkability contributes to a real sense of community among residents. It’s one of the safest places in the Bay Area, making it a great neighborhood for families. 

Palo Alto is located near the Santa Cruz Mountains, which block a lot of rain from hitting this area. As such, the neighborhood has 261 sunny days per year, which is great for people looking to dodge San Francisco’s famous fog. 

Palo Alto is also uniquely bike-accessible. There are bike lanes on almost every street and people know how to drive respectfully around cyclists. If you’re looking to commute by bike to work, this is a great community for it. 

Residents also have easy access to the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, the Foothills Nature Preserve, and the Los Trancos Woods. All of these parks have plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails, another thing that makes Palo Alto perfect for cyclists. 

This neighborhood is only a ten-minute drive to Google and Facebook headquarters. It takes about 40 to 60 minutes to get into San Francisco by car, or you can hop on the Caltrain for an hour-long ride that will help you avoid traffic. 

Palo Alto is another extremely expensive neighborhood. The average rent is $3,799 and the average home value is $3.1 million. 

San Jose 

San Jose is located at the southernmost point of San Francisco Bay. It offers a nice mix of urban and suburban living, which makes it perfect for both singles and families alike. 

This neighborhood has a whopping 300 sunny days per year. The year-round sunshine plus its close proximity to the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Diablo Range, and Castle Rock State Park draw in tons of nature lovers. 

Google’s headquarters are only a 20-minute drive from downtown San Jose. Facebook’s headquarters are 25 minutes away. 

San Francisco is an hour to an hour and a half long drive away from this neighborhood, which makes it less than ideal for people commuting up into the city. On Caltrain, it’s a full 90 minutes. 

But, this distance from San Francisco propper does make the housing and cost of living in San Jose a bit more affordable than its other Peninsula neighbors. 

The average rent in San Jose is $2,985 and the average home value is $1 million. Although the prices are still high, this neighborhood is much more viable for young professionals than San Mateo and Palo Alto. 

Choosing Your Bay Area Neighborhood 

The Bay Area is a wonderful place to live. Whether you’re looking for a quiet, family-friendly neighborhood or one with exciting nightlife, there’s a neighborhood out there for you. 

Once you’ve settled on a few of the best Bay Area neighborhoods that sound nice, start researching more about them. Think about what your priorities are and hunt for places that cater to your desired lifestyle. 

Ready to get moving out to the Bay Area? Check out our services today