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All About

Living In San Francisco, CA


Famous for its rolling hills, cable cars, foggy summers and Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is home to more than 870,000 residents. A dynamic environment of incomparable natural splendor and unbeatable year-round mild temperatures, the City by the Bay offers a unique blend of entertainment and culture in bustling urban centers spread throughout this Northern California metropolis.

Considered one of the most walkable cities in the United States, San Francisco continues to attract young professionals seeking neighborhoods that are culturally rich, diverse and progressive. Not only are newcomers attracted by the city's financial stability and pleasant year-round weather (the average temp is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit), but they love the sense of community, its arts and cultural opportunities and the abundance of outdoor adventures that make living in San Francisco so attractive.

Whether you're enjoying a picnic with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as your backdrop, zig-zagging down crooked Lombard Street or capturing a photo of Alcatraz Island from Pier 39, you'll discover there's plenty of fun to be had in San Francisco.

Set against a picturesque backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco offers a variety of things to do and see. Its residents and tourists can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking at Mount Tamalpais, swimming in the ocean, or biking. You can find social groups to connect to others who enjoy the same activities or try something new. Go for a hike in Marin, go wine tasting in Napa or ride the ferry across to Angel Island.

San Francisco is also known for being a pet-friendly city, so you can easily find activities that include your dog, whether it's venturing to a dog-friendly beach or getting your daily steps in on a long hike.


Whether you're a young professional looking for a trendy live-work loft or a young family with children seeking a sense of community, San Francisco accommodates a diverse mix of homes and high-rises in established, emerging and redeveloping neighborhoods.

  • Mission Bay: Mission Bay is a contemporary 303-acre neighborhood on the eastside of San Francisco near Oracle Park. This kid-friendly neighborhood is home to Mission Bay Kids’ Park and Mission Creek Park.
  • Mission District: Ideal for the foodie looking for a hip neighborhood to call home, Mission District is bustling with old-school taquerias, live music, craft cocktails and chef-driven eateries.
  • Nob Hill: Nob Hill is known for its old-world elegance, historic mansions and ornate hotels. It’s swanky restaurants and nightspots make it a fun place to visit, but an even better place to call home.
  • Northeast San Francisco: Northeast San Francisco is located on the waterfront and is located near many tourist attractions like Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and much more. It’s one of the most desirable places to live in San Francisco.
  • Northwest San Francisco: Just west of Northeast San Francisco, Northwest San Francisco is home to the Japanese Tea garden, Buena Vista Park, The Walt Disney Family Museum and has some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the city.
  • Rincon Hill: One of San Francisco's original “Seven Hills,” Rincon Hill became a fashionable and prestigious residential neighborhood after the Gold Rush.
  • Southeast San Francisco: Southeast San Francisco is a mostly residential part of San Francisco with easy access to I-280 and Highway 101.
  • Southwest San Francisco: You’ll find a diverse mix of communities in Southwest San Francisco, much like the rest of the city. This neighborhood also includes Lake Merced, a freshwater lake surrounded by three golf courses.
  • South of Market: You may be hard-pressed to find an available apartment in downtown San Francisco, but redevelopment in progress in such outlying areas as South of Market provide potential markets for young professionals and families.
  • Treasure Island: Treasure Island is an artificial Island that was one the site of the World Fair. No matter where you are on the island, you’ll have a breathtaking view of San Francisco Bay.
  • Noe Valley and Bernal Heights, where you can find a vibrant mix of businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues next to each other, are two more areas young families with kids love. If you prefer waterfront living, Marina just north of Pacific Heights is an attractive area for young professionals. The West Salinas area on the outskirts of Daly City and sandwiched between the Pacific Coast and San Francisco Bay also offers young families a vibrant suburban community of twisting side streets, verdant parks and cozy homes.


San Francisco celebrates everything from craft beer and wine to film and music with year-round festivals and street fairs; make a point to attend the Bay Area Brews Festival in March, the International Film Festival in April and the Gay Pride Parade and Festival in June.

If you're looking for free things to do on the weekend, head to Lands End park at the mouth of the Golden Gate to walk the Coastal Trail and snap shots of the San Francisco Bay, or visit Fat Grape Winery at Treasure Island to sample their vintages for free.

There are plenty of things to do in San Francisco on the cheap, including these five favorites:

  • Play Classic Video Games: If you love playing vintage video games, you'll love Brewcade at Duboce Triangle or the Musée Mécanique at Fisherman's Wharf. Be sure you bring quarters and pennies to play the games.
  • Walk along the Stepping Stones: Perfect for a first date or to simply unwind, the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park beckons explorers with winding stepping stone paths, koi ponds and pagodas.
  • Bask in Bay Bridge Lights: Hop the ferry from San Francisco to Alameda for awesome photos of the Bay Bridge lights and city skyline. Beer and wine are for sale so you can sip while you ride.
  • Flea Market Finds: For a minimal admission fee, you can browse a collection of discarded treasures at the open-air Treasure Island Flea Market, which is also home to food trucks and live bands.
  • Alcatraz Island: Take the ferry for a memorable tour of the infamous Alcatraz prison. The self-guided audio tour is an insider's look at life on The Rock, right down to the grim 9-by-5-foot cells.
  • San Francisco Zoo is a great place to spend an afternoon with the kids.

You can almost always find a sporting event happening in San Francisco since this city is home to numerous professional teams, including the MLB's Giants, NFL's 49ers, NHL's Sharks and the NBA's Golden State Warriors.


Families with children in San Francisco have no shortage of things to do thanks to more than 180 playgrounds, nearly 85 recreation centers and numerous recreational fields scattered throughout this 49-square-mile metropolis. Plus there are family-focused attractions like Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio of San Francisco and the 600+ exhibits at the Exploratorium at Pier 15.

For parents of school-aged children, your options for equipping your child with a great education are limitless with public (114 to be exact), private and charter schools to consider throughout San Francisco.


San Bruno Mountain State Park, ideal for weekend hikes, and Mussel Rock Park overlooking the Pacific Ocean, are two of the city's 220 parks and recreational spaces that make San Francisco a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Explore the city's iconic waterfront, peppered with restaurants, parks and shops, starting from Bay Bridge to Pier 39, or head to Fisherman's Wharf on the northern waterfront to browse souvenir shops or watch the local sea lion colony.


The nearby shopping plaza, Serramonte Center, offers 120 stores. There you can find new threads to complement your wardrobe or do your holiday shopping. Retailers include H&M, Foot Locker, Macy's, Bath and Body Works and Claire's Boutique. Serramonte offers a diverse range of eateries, including Panda Express, Cinnabon and Andersen Bakery, so you won't have to worry about hunger inhibiting your shopping spree.


Enjoy weekend trips from San Francisco to a number of exciting destinations, including exuberant LA, a six-hour drive south on I-5 South. Head northeast on I-80 for about an hour to visit Napa Valley vineyards. To the south via I-280, San Jose offers an amazing museum, gorgeous gardens and the Winchester Mystery House.


You can live comfortably and conveniently in the suburbs of San Francisco and still take advantage of city adventures thanks to the city's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).


San Francisco's demographic includes a large population for those over the age of 60 -- 20 percent or 161,777 of its residents, to be exact. SF offers a variety of support to help the community stay connected and contribute to social, economical and cultural development. There are also a number of resources that help and support the senior community, as well as encourage an independent and healthy lifestyle.


  • San Francisco Senior Center (SFSC) is a nonprofit that helps encourage seniors to live a healthy and social lifestyle. SFSC has a number of services, including daily, low-cost lunches, social services, case management and continuing education. Founded in 1947, it's the oldest nonprofit senior center in the U.S. SFSC has two locations, one in Aquatic Park, located on the Bay by Ghirardelli Square and in downtown's Tenderloin district.
  • Senior Meetups in the Bay Area can be found on Meetup.com. Seniors can find groups of people and participate in various activities, as it relates to exercise, creating art, LGBTQ support and even ping pong.

YMCA of San Francisco is a great resource for active seniors who want to connect with other seniors and explore local parks, learn more about San Francisco's deep culture, or enjoy luncheons. The Y provides wellness, social activities and day trips.


  • Home Care Assistance helps San Francisco residents connect with caregivers, based on the individual needs of each family. It provides hourly, 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors.
  • UC Berkeley Faculty/Staff Elder Care Program and offers free assistance for UC Berkeley faculty and staff and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory employees, who are caring for or concerned about an elder or dependent adult.
  • Institute on Aging care managers develop and coordinate personalized care plans for seniors and offer support for depression, anxiety, stress, trauma or sleep problems. It can provide therapy sessions in the patient's home or in the office.


Senior Living Renter's Guide is an all-inclusive, educational resource for seniors that are looking for a place to live. From nursing homes to senior living communities, you'll find in-depth information to help you understand what each entails so you can make the best decision.


San Francisco is home to both active-duty military and veterans. The various SF-based resources help with housing, finding an attorney, VA disability compensation and pension, to name a few.


  • Swords to Plowshares is a veteran-founded organization that offers help with employment, housing and legal resources to roughly 3,000 veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area. The organization supports veterans and has more than 1,500 first responders, employers, social workers and attorneys to provide their expertise and advice for veterans.
  • CalVet is a resource for veterans to find services based on the county. They provide services to help with healthcare, housing, VA claims, education and employment.
  • San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) is a resource that veterans can turn to in order to find assistance with: Transitioning from military to civilian life, finding jobs, surviving change, veteran benefits, managing PTSD and social activities.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VHA) is a resources for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) veterans. The organization also supports veteran families to promote health and welfare. They focus on making sure LGBT veterans are safe and well cared for.
  • The Mission Continues is a nonprofit that assists veterans who wish to continue their military service and supports communities with veteran talent. The organization supports the growing number of veterans in communities who are under-resourced, at the local level.
  • The East Bay Coast Guard Spouses' Club is a social network made up of coast guard spouses and partners. The club is a great place to meet new people, make friends and support one another and welcome new members who are spouses of those who are enlisted, retired, male or female. The group gets together to socialize through various activities.


  • The Mental Health Service at the San Francisco VA Medical Center supports veterans who seek treatment for a number of issues that impact emotional well-being. They treat veterans through connecting them with mental health professionals and have clinics in Downtown San Francisco, San Bruno, Santa Rosa, Ukiah, Clearlake and Eureka.
  • Marin County Veterans Services assists veterans and their families with a number of benefits, including: drug & alcohol treatment, hospital care at a VA medical facility, help paying for school, help with pension issues.


Apartment Guide offers a number of articles and guides to help veterans, active-duty military members and their families with housing resources.


San Francisco is known for its dog lovers and dog-friendly beaches and parks. Certain neighborhoods, such as Bernal Heights and The Castro are especially pet friendly -- it seems like just about everyone you see on the sidewalk is walking with a dog. There are also pet-friendly buildings that offer shared outdoor space for its residents' furry friends to roam around.

One of the best things dog owners love about this city is the number of dog-friendly beaches. Both Fort Funston Doggie Beach and Lands End Beach are off-leash beaches for well-behaved dogs. Baker Beach not only offers on- and off-leash areas, but an excellent view of Golden Gate Bridge


  • Hound Lounge offers pet care, boarding, training and grooming for dogs and cats. The long-standing SF business has been around since 2002 and provides large play areas, clean dog baths and professional training for pet owners. Based in the Mission area in San Francisco, they also provide puppy training.
  • Pet Camp is a pet daycare and boarding facility with two locations in San Francisco -- one in the Dogpatch district and the other near the Presidio
  • Marina Pet Hospital is a full-service animal hospital based in the Marina district of San Francisco. They provide services that include routine preventative care, treatment of disease and complete medical and surgical care.
  • com for Pets is an online resource specifically designed to bring San Franciscans pet enthusiasts the latest pet news and information. Find out if dogs can really sniff out diseases in patients or get their best recommendations for pet-friendly beaches in Daly City.


  • Ocean Aquarium is a well-known pet store for SF residents who want to add more aquatic life into their homes. The aquarium sells a variety of fish, including the electric blue ram, double tail half-moon betta and yellow fire shrimp. The website is an old-school blog that also features a Flickr page that showcases some of their beautiful fish.
  • Black Nose Trading Company is a local, boutique pet store that offers a number of services, including dog day care, walks and self-serve dog bathing. Black Nose Trading Company also sells vintage, one-of-a-kind pet items. You can also go there to purchase pet food, treats, toys, leashes, collars and more. Many of the items are made locally in the Bay Area, which helps support businesses in the area.
  • Jeffrey's Natural Pet Foods is a premier pet food store for pet owners concerned about ensuring the health of their dog or cat. They sell natural pet foods, healthy treats and locally produced goods and supplies made in the Bay Area. They sell fresh meat pet foods with high-quality ingredients, free from hormones and antibiotics.
  • Pet Food Express is a one-stop-shop for pet food and supplies. Similar to Jeffrey's Natural Pet Foods, they sell healthy pet food without fillers or suspect ingredients.

Apartment Guide's pet-friendly housing guide is dedicated to helping pet lovers find housing options for themselves and their furry friends. You'll also find a variety of articles on all things pet-related from housing to the best apartment dogs.


  • San Francisco SPCA has been around for 150 years and provides care and protection for animals in the Bay Area. Their mission is to end animal abandonment in San Francisco. You can visit their many locations if you're interested in adopting a dog or cat.
  • Berkeley Animal Care Services is an East Bay animal shelter that's part of the city manager's office. The shelter, mostly made of well-trained volunteers, offers adoption of dogs and cats. Depending on the type of pet you adopt, they even offer free training and support. Each adopted animal is spayed or neutered and microchipped.
  • Family Dog Rescue is a San Francisco-based animal shelter that rescues dogs of all breeds. Dogs are given behavioral assessments before finding them homes. You can volunteer or foster a dog in need.


Finding a new place to live is a stressful experience. Be sure to use an apartment finder like Apartment Guide to help you locate your next rental property. Whether you’re looking for a pet-friendly apartment or simply want an affordable place to live, we’ll help you find apartments for rent in San Francisco that match your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions About San Francisco

What is the average rent in San Francisco?

The average rent of a studio apartment in San Francisco is $2,899 per month. For a one-bedroom apartment it's $3,520 per month. For a two-bedroom apartment the average rent is $4,603 per month.

What is the average cost of rent for a one-bedroom in San Francisco?

The average rent of a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,520

Are there any cheap apartments for rent in San Francisco?

For the best deal, we recommend using our cheap apartments filter.

You can also filter by price: Under $2000, Under $2500, Under $3000

Are there any pet friendly apartments in San Francisco?

Apply Apartment Guide's pet friendly filter to see only San Francisco apartments that accept pets.

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