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Old 01-15-2012, 11:18 AM
 
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Greetings everyone! Thanks in advance for any advice. I'm on the "short list" for a promotion that could land me in 1 of 3 places. Seattle, LA or San Francisco. Seattle is nice and all, but I can't take the weather. I was leaning towards the Newport Beach area, but now I want to know more about San Francisco. I'm a 30 year old young professional type. This promotion will put me in the 80-90k range. Need to keep rent under $1800. Love a vibrant downtown and being close to the action. Wouldn't mind maybe settling down in the next 3-5 years. I would absolutely love to save a chunk of change each month and get rid of my car if that's possible. I know that is impossible in LA, how about San Francisco? I do like the fact that San Francisco is not nearly as sprawled out as LA and has somewhat of a core. Currently living in Austin and I'm the type who can get along with a wide range of folks. Used to traffic from 7am until 7pm every day. I love falling in love with a city. Feeling like you are a part of it. First time I got a look at downtown Austin from the Lamar pedestrian bridge over the lake, I was hooked. I'm just not sure if I can do that in LA versus Seattle or San Francisco.

So what's downtown San Francisco like? Any suggestions on any other areas to look into? Think I forgot to mention, we have an office in downtown San Francisco and one in Oakland. I could probably work out of either.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:21 PM
 
1,030 posts, read 1,648,681 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclejessie View Post
Greetings everyone! Thanks in advance for any advice. I'm on the "short list" for a promotion that could land me in 1 of 3 places. Seattle, LA or San Francisco. Seattle is nice and all, but I can't take the weather. I was leaning towards the Newport Beach area, but now I want to know more about San Francisco. I'm a 30 year old young professional type. This promotion will put me in the 80-90k range. Need to keep rent under $1800. Love a vibrant downtown and being close to the action. Wouldn't mind maybe settling down in the next 3-5 years. I would absolutely love to save a chunk of change each month and get rid of my car if that's possible. I know that is impossible in LA, how about San Francisco? I do like the fact that San Francisco is not nearly as sprawled out as LA and has somewhat of a core. Currently living in Austin and I'm the type who can get along with a wide range of folks. Used to traffic from 7am until 7pm every day. I love falling in love with a city. Feeling like you are a part of it. First time I got a look at downtown Austin from the Lamar pedestrian bridge over the lake, I was hooked. I'm just not sure if I can do that in LA versus Seattle or San Francisco.

So what's downtown San Francisco like? Any suggestions on any other areas to look into? Think I forgot to mention, we have an office in downtown San Francisco and one in Oakland. I could probably work out of either.
Well, there are some nicer neighborhoods near downtown SF (SOMA/South Beach). These tend to have the nicer/newer places to live. However, they are very expensive. You'd probably be able to afford a studio there with $1,800/month, but not much more. In recent years, SOMA/South Beach has developed more amenities, but its still probably not as vibrant as other neighborhoods in SF, such as the Marina, Pac Heights, Russian Hill, etc.

Oakland tends to be cheaper than SF, but I would stay away from downtown. A few years ago, it was beginning to become trendy and a less expensive alternative to SF, but the bad economy has halted development and recent cuts to police budgets have meant skyrocketing crime rates. Rockridge is a nice area of Oakland (near BART), with a smaller downtown.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:40 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
622 posts, read 438,471 times
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I have a lot of friends from Austin for some reason. Just based on that alone, I think you'd like the SF Bay Area over the other two spots. I'm originally from L.A. and even I can abide the thought of having to live there again. I LOVE Seattle, but the last time I was there my host pointed out that it gets dark at like 4pm. I'd be depressed and curled up into a sad little ball during that time of the year.

Not much else to say in terms of details because it's a pretty open question. The best bet is to come here and get a feel for the city. That's what I did when I knew I was moving up from L.A. I'd fly up rent a car and drive around to different areas. If you could do that one or two times, you'd see the areas first-hand, visit the offices too, and get an idea of what you like and what you don't.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
17,336 posts, read 12,350,376 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadwarrior101 View Post
Oakland tends to be cheaper than SF, but I would stay away from downtown. A few years ago, it was beginning to become trendy and a less expensive alternative to SF, but the bad economy has halted development and recent cuts to police budgets have meant skyrocketing crime rates. Rockridge is a nice area of Oakland (near BART), with a smaller downtown.
That's not really accurate. Development is still happening downtown. Progress on some proposed commercial high rises have stalled (logically) but openings continue at a pretty frantic pace. There are at least 5 new restaurants that have opened since late November downtown. I heard about 2 more planned spring openings this week. There's also the "popup hood" that opened in November. So things are moving along in Downtown.

It generally feels safer than much of downtown SF and crime rates are hardly soaring in downtown. There were a few incidents towards the end of the year, but serious crime is very rare in downtown Oakland.

But living in downtown is a different story. It isn't a seven-day a week area of Oakland yet. Starting in downtown will give you a false impression of how vibrant Oakland is since it is a work in progress. Definitely a good place to go out in, but it is a little disjointed in terms of development. If you are OK with up and coming, and having a bit of a hike to the grocery store, it is not bad. (Whole Foods is at the edge of downtown, and there are the merchants in Chinatown, and that's about it. There aren't many shops either. The CVS, Walgreens, and RiteAid close really early. I haven't seen a dry cleaner open on the weekend yet. And in some parts or downtown, the restaurants only cater to office workers.)

That being said, you can live many of the other more established areas that have seven day a week amenities and visit downtown.

Oakland has a lot of "main streets." Here are a few good areas to consider. These are accessible and have good numbers of young people an rentals. All of these areas have decent transit access as well. You could definitely exist with out using your car daily. You could ditch your car in half of these areas, with a few sensible choices -- like not living on te top of the hill, or in the outskirts. I know car free people in each of the areas below (most of them are bike free too).

Rockridge: nice, skews a little towards upper middle class families, not many rentals, loads of restaurants (maybe 50-60) and convenient for going to SF as BART is in the middle of the neighborhood. Good choice, but hard to find an apartment. Trader Joes and 2 Safeways are in this neighborhood. If you drive parking is fairly easy.

Temescal: decent, diverse, lots of art students since it is newar the art school, up and coming, cheaper than Rockridge, safe on the east end of the neighborhood (west of about Telegraph can be hit or miss), an OK number of restaurants (there are about 30), 1/2-1 mile from BART depending on where you are, really close to other good neighborhoods. Personally, I think some parts are over-priced in relationship to relative safety. No grocery store, but close to any of the ones in Rockridge, Piedmont Ave or the ethnic markets in "Koreatown" -- there are both middle eastern and korean grocers in the area. Easy parking. Great year-round farmers market.

Piedmont Ave: lots of cheaper rentals (when compared with Rockridge), safe, middle-upper class (renters and condo owners are middle class, single family home owners are wealthier since the houses are very pricy in the area), decent commercial area (smaller than Rockridge, larger than Temescal), BART access can range from about 1/2 to 1.25 miles to Macarthur BART (or 19th actually). Wide range of ages, reasonably diverse. There is an independent Gourmet grocer in the neighborhood and a produce stand, but within 1 mile or so is the Safeway's in Rockridge, or Whole Foods, or the other Safeway in Grand Lake. I have lived here for 8 years -- great neighborhood. Decent parking, many buildings have garages with bundled or separate parking charges of around $60/mo. A handful of buildings do not have parking, and it can be constrained. Especially in the daytime since the main Kaiser is in the neighborhood.

Adams Point: cheaper than any of the 3 previous areas, not much commercial in the area, but it is within a mile or less of either downtown Oakland, Piedmont Ave or Grand Lake depending on where you are. Whole Foods is in this neighborhood. Transit can be hit or miss, but you are within a mile of 19th BART from pretty much anywhere in the neighborhood. Most of the buses in the neighborhood stop early. Lots of rentals.

GrandLake: There isn't a super clear line between Grand Lake and Adams Point, but this generally represents the areas that are closer to the main commercial strips on Grand Ave and Lakeshore. Lots of restaurants. Lots of young people. Really diverse. Cheap rents. Transit is a little trickier here and BART is 1-1.5 miles away. Safeway and Trader Joes are in the neighborhood. Parking is hit or miss. Harder than Piedmont Ave, but there are spaces to rent. Awesome year-round farmers market.

Cleveland Heights: This is just past GrandLake. Lakeside views, 1920s buildings, a little bit of commercial but easy access to GrandLake. Cheaper rents, trickier parking.

One important note, all of the neighborhoods above have buses to downtown SF that run on commuter hours or later. The bus ride is equivalent to the BART ride or less. So you don't need to be right near BART to commute easily. The drop-off is a little bit south of the financial district so you'd walk 5-10 minutes.

The neighborhoods above all have bus service to downtown Oakland, but the frequency will vary. The furthest area from downtown Oakland is Rockridge, at about 3 miles. Temescal is about 2 miles away and the others are less than 1.5 miles away.


*** Downtown SF isn't a real neighborhood either. The Financial district is a ghost town on the weekends, and outside of Union Square, it is pretty dead. You need to live outside of downtown to get the true experience. ONe thng you'll find in CA is that it is very neighborhood centric. People don't travel to downtown much because their neighborhood is fully stocked with amenities: shops, restaurants, boutiques etc. Any medium sized neighborhood is going to have 20 restaurants with at least thai, chinese, indian, italian, pizza, burgers, and mediterranean food. With a few cafes and ice cream shops mixed in on "main street."
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
17,336 posts, read 12,350,376 times
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There are also a few areas in Berkeley that are good too:
Elmwood, Downtown and North Berkeley. Honestly, they are fairly similar to the ones above. Downtown Berkeley has a lot more homeless people than any of the places above, and many place skew a little towards the students. I generally find Berkeley over-priced, so I don't really recommend it over Oakland. You can find a nicer cheaper apartment in Oakland in a better neighborhood. Elmwood is a great neighborhood, it is right next to Rockridge, but the rentals are generally student quality, since it also about 1 mile from campus. North Berkeley has higher quality rental stock, but skews a little older.
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:19 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,245 posts, read 6,921,019 times
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Keep in mind it does get cold here year-round especially near the coast. A high of 60 in the middle of summer in SF is not uncommon, and in the winter it ranges from around 35 to 50 most days, though the winters are pretty short here and really only last from late November to mid-February. But if the rain in Seattle is your main concern, you should be good here, other than winter and early spring it's usually really dry here.

Downtown SF is dead, it's all office buildings that empty out by 6pm, but it's small and surrounded by a lot of neighborhoods you might be interested in. $1800 is unfortunately probably now too low for a 1br in SF, so looking in Berkeley and Oakland might be necessary.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:55 PM
 
11 posts, read 19,052 times
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Originally Posted by mayorhaggar View Post
Keep in mind it does get cold here year-round especially near the coast. A high of 60 in the middle of summer in SF is not uncommon, and in the winter it ranges from around 35 to 50 most days, though the winters are pretty short here and really only last from late November to mid-February. But if the rain in Seattle is your main concern, you should be good here, other than winter and early spring it's usually really dry here.

Downtown SF is dead, it's all office buildings that empty out by 6pm, but it's small and surrounded by a lot of neighborhoods you might be interested in. $1800 is unfortunately probably now too low for a 1br in SF, so looking in Berkeley and Oakland might be necessary.
Geez,SF sounds depressing
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:07 PM
 
Location: The Bay and Maryland
1,363 posts, read 1,859,628 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tazagthoth View Post
Geez,SF sounds depressing
No, not really. Many people say SF's weather is better than anywhere else in the country. It is almost 60 degrees everyday in SF in January for God's sake. Do you know how many people in Chicago would love that right about now?! I live in Maryland and the temperature drops into the low teens every other night in January. You have to dress like your going skiing to go to the supermarket at night at this time of year. It makes me miss SF. SF is one of the sunniest cities in America. It's pretty magical. I don't know any other way to put it.

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Even though there is alot of fog and gray skies, it is bright and sunny somewhere in the city almost every other day of the year. Depending on what type of person you are, once your body acclimates to SF, you may never want to wear anything other short sleeves or a light jacket ever again if you choose to live in The City.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:48 PM
 
Location: South Korea
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When it's 60 and VERY windy every day in July in downtown SF you will want to layer. It gets old after a while. Yes the winters here are mild and short (but the cold rain sucks) and it's nice that it very very rarely gets over 80 in summer but the consistently chilly days in summer are a drag after you've been through a few years of them.

It really differs year by year and temps around 55 to 75 are I think the ones that you feel it the most when there's a minute change--once you get below 45 or above 80 everything starts to feel the same after a while, but there's a distinct difference between 70 and 60, and some years it's 70 nearly every day in SF from March to October and other years it's more like 60.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
3,911 posts, read 5,328,477 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclejessie View Post
I would absolutely love to save a chunk of change each month and get rid of my car if that's possible. I know that is impossible in LA, how about San Francisco?
Definitely possible in SF. Public transportation is pretty good and it's a smallish/dense city so biking and even walking are possible.

Quote:
I do like the fact that San Francisco is not nearly as sprawled out as LA and has somewhat of a core.
That's an understatement. It's a very compact city.

Quote:
Austin from the Lamar pedestrian bridge over the lake, I was hooked. I'm just not sure if I can do that in LA versus Seattle or San Francisco.
Austin: podunk town
San Francisco: hip, international, eclectic city

Quote:
So what's downtown San Francisco like?
basically a mini-NYC

Quote:
Any suggestions on any other areas to look into?
San Francisco has a lot of neighborhoods, each one has its own feeling, geography and in some cases its own weather! So you'll want to pull up a map of San Francisco neighborhoods and start researching. Actually theres' a couple websites that give a good synopsis of all the neighborhoods so just google for them.
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