What’s It Like to Live in San Francisco?

We used to wonder what it’d be like living in San Francisco or other metropolitan cities. After we unexpectedly landed in San Francisco a few months ago after our RTW trip, we’re slowly finding out the answers.

Here’s a glimpse of our life in San Francisco in 5 convenient photos.

Living among the homeless

the homeless of San Francisco

Living in San Francisco means living with the homeless. As in, tripping over their prone bodies as you exit your apartment building. You see them all the time and it causes a kaleidoscope of emotions: anger, frustration, sad, hopelessness. You mentally adopt them and start referring to them as ‘your’ homeless guy. These guys in the pictures are fixtures of our neighborhood and I’d feel worried if they disappear all of a sudden.

Living the Food Truck Lifestyle

Tacos from Taco Guys during Off the Grid

San Franciscans have a weakness towards food trucks. Especially those with clever names (Curry Up Now, Phat Thai, Seoul on Wheels – get it?) and colorful graphic decals.

We have events such as Off the Grid, a weekly event featuring a collection of food trucks (Think outdoor food courts. With trucks. It’s awesome!) or more permanent food truck stops such as SOMA Streat Food Park (yep, ‘Streat’. Street + Eat, get it?) .

Living With Weird Festivals and Gatherings

With the city being a melting pot of not only cultures, but also lifestyles, there’s a festival for everything.

Folsom St. Festival claims to be the world’s largest leather festival in the world. Held sometime every September, you should check it out if you have a chance. Bring lots of… open mindedness. Not recommended if you can’t stand seeing too many naked people in close proximity to each other.

Folsom St. Festival
Yeah, not sure what this is all about either…

Critical Mass – Every last Friday of the month, take to the street making a ‘Bikes vs Cars’ statement. Sometimes so many bicyclists show up it causes traffic to back up many blocks long.

Critical Mass 20th Anniversary

Last Friday was a 20 Year Anniversary of Critical Mass. Thousands and thousands of bicyclists took to the streets. Roads were blocked and angry drivers lean on their horns, while bicyclists ride on waving and smiling. For 45 minutes the streets were in gridlock.

I love how the city tolerate these quirky festivals, albeit grudgingly.

Living Among Tourists

Living in San Francisco mean rubbing shoulders with visitors from all over the world. Some will shudder at the thought.

I absolutely love it.

Yes, they have a tendency to make sudden stops in sidewalk. And they’re really, really bad drivers. But they’re so cute with their penchant for shorts, flip flops, and their excited blabber. Tourists, being on vacation and all that, are generally a happy bunch of folk. It’s nice to be surrounded by happy people all the time.

san francisco iconic landmarks

It makes me proud living in a city that others are willing to pay a boatload of money to visit.

Our cats

On a slightly more personal note..

Talking about our life in San Francisco won’t be complete without mentioning our adopted cats. They’re 16 and 11 year old and do nothing more than sleeping and eating.

cats in San Francisco

We love them to death.

So, what’s it like to live in San Francisco? Now that we can call San Francisco our homebase, we can say that… it’s great. But not without caveats.

Living in San Francisco means never having to go to the same restaurant twice. Ever. It means painfully high rent. It means never knowing if a parking spot is really legal. It means doing the happy dance when it turns out that it is and your car is still there the next day (and with its windows intact). It means not having to try too hard to convince your friends to come visit. It means going on epic weekend roadtrips.

Many say San Francisco is the best city in the world. I wasn’t so sure about that when we first arrived. But lately, each time we come home from an out-of-town trip and catch the view of SF’s skyline – I feel a sense of belonging.

We should feel so lucky to live here.

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
  • Resource Toolbox: How I find cheap flights, accommodations, and other travel hacks.

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25 Replies to “What’s It Like to Live in San Francisco?”

  1. Just found your blog and really finding your writing and down-to-earth style inspiring! We're about to go to San Francisco for vacation in a week and your post reminded me how much I love the city (we've been many times). Thanks for sharing your perspective of living in one of my favorite cities. 🙂

  2. What a fantastic little slice and glimpse about living in San Francisco. One day, when I'm location independent (the dreeeaaam) I would love to live in San Fran for at least a few months. That would be awesome 🙂 Great write up!

  3. Your cats look like they are living a pretty good life too! I was in San Francisco once about 15 years ago, so while I can't remember much, I do remember having a good time there. Glad you are settled and calling SF homebase!

    1. Settled for now and already getting the itch to travel again 🙂 But there are definitely worse places to have as a homebase.

  4. Reminds me of when I lived in downtown Seattle. A lot of 'darkness' to deal with (homelessness, drugs, etc…) but so much more light from the festivals, food choices and mix of cultures.

  5. I lived in SF for a few years before I met my husband. The city holds a special place in my heart and I can relate on so many levels. I love thecrazy festivals with naked people, the homeless people u see on a daily basis. Ah the memories! BTW we had a cat that lived to 19.

  6. I guess there is a considerable number of Indonesians living in San Francisco. For me, SF is one of the cities I really want to go in the States (trailing only NYC!). By the way, you have such cute cats!

  7. I haven't been to San Francisco since I was four years old and we lived in Monterey, but I have a few friends living there and they all love it. Hopefully I'll get a chance to visit soon.

    And you have a 16 year old cat?!? That seems incredibly old.

  8. Los Angeles was this town for us. It had the homeless, great restaurants, wacky festivals and buses of tourists. We enjoyed our time while there but have moved on, carrying fond memories with us. Enjoy SF!

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