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Ask HN: How expensive is living in Silicon Valley
90 points by niico on Oct 23, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 110 comments
I thinking on moving there next year. I really want to jump in the tech action right away.

Where is the best place to move? How expensive could cost every month of living on average?


In the spirit of openness...

Rent: I live on Nob Hill in SF. I pay $1950 for a big, nice one bedroom with a little office and a small private yard. (100sq feet.) When I signed the lease I was making good money so it didn't seem expensive. Since then I've decided to focus on my start-up full time, so now it does seem slightly pricey. (I only pay 50% though -- I'm coupled.) I've lived in New York and Seattle, and SF is nowhere near as expensive as New York and nowhere near as affordable as Seattle (in terms of renting, not buying).

Beyond rent, things are very affordable.

Transportation: cheap, cars are optional (I don't need one; I hate mechanics and oil changes and parking...). I get my groceries delivered and use ZipCar when I have to drive. This is a huge savings and a good reason to live in the heart of the city. Instead of a gym, I just walk up the hill everyday.

Healthcare: I'm on Cobra right now, but will qualify for SF City HealthCare for free soon, as I'll be making little money. This is a big reason to live in SF and not the peninsula. http://www.healthysanfrancisco.org

Entertainment: The most expensive thing I do is eat out with friends semi-regularly. However, I've found that for geeks, there are a ton of meet ups and other social events that are 100% free -- and they're usually the best way to have fun.

Other threads are noting the cost of rent in SF, but for me, the city health care coverage and not needing a car (or insurance, or gas, or parking) more than makes up for it.

$1950 per month for sure. For comparison, a similar Manhattan (NYC) one-bedroom (no yard, though) would be around $3000 (rents have fallen some since the peak). Decent source : StreetEasy.com

San Fran cheaper than New York? Brooklyn is I think fairly affordable. I live in Brooklyn and pay $1,100 a month for a pretty decent sized studio apartment.

For transport, I buy the unlimited Metro card, which means I pay $90 a month and can then travel as much as I want on both the subway and the bus. I think that is a reasonably good deal - $3 a day for unlimited travel anywhere in the city.

"I've lived in New York and Seattle, and SF is nowhere near as expensive as New York and nowhere near as affordable as Seattle"

Whoa really? With SF I have generally paid more for food, more for public transit (BART doesn't have an unlimited option plus MUNI and BART are two seperate entities while the MTA is one), and about the same in rent.

Granted, I live(d) in Brooklyn so the rent is definitely more affordable than Manhattan but the accessibility of public transit makes it far easier to live on the outskirts than my experience so far in SF.

You can get a muni fast pass (but you have to use a clipper card). That gives you free muni rides and Bart rides within the city.

True, but much more limited. The city limits of SF are tiny; an MTA-pass equivalent should at least let you go to, say, Oakland (a 10-minute metro ride).

I can second this. I lived in the Tendernob (not as nice as Nob Hill, not as crazy as the Tenderloin) a couple of years back and paid 1290/mo for a studio.

Though a studio, it was still a decent size and I was right up the road from a grocery store, used public transportation/bike and feel that besides rent, it wasn't too pricey.

I had moved from Austin, TX and when I added everything up (accommodations, car-related expenses, etc), SF was only a little more expensive.

(just a stupid question: 1950$ per month or per year?)

Hah, that reminds me of when I applied for my first job. I told them my salary expectations, and they asked if that was per month, or per year!

per month, for sure

thank you. It's a bit less than I pay for a small room in Saint-Petersburg per year

Might I ask what your typical monthly expenses are in St. Petersburg? I'm seriously looking into living there for a few months, товарищ.

St Pete is FL or St Pete in Russia? I would be amazed if you got a single room for 2000$ a year in St Pete FL.

I am about 15 miles from St. Pete, FL, 75 yards from the Gulf of Mexico, in a nice sized one bedroom apartment with parking and small fenced yard: $700/mo. Gorgeous sunsets through the big west facing front windows, and 20 miles of sandy beach to get AFK and clear my head, throw a disc, walk, swim, or fish.

But I could trade it for a couch and a subway pass in a city with good subways and international impact. (SF, NYC, CHI, BOS ;)

You can definitely get a decent room in a 2-3 person apartment in Astoria (Queens) for $700/month. It's not Chelsea but it's not quite the middle of nowhere either.

I think many people outside of New York wouldn't ever consider an apartment share, but it's pretty common here. I live near Times Square in Manhattan and I'm paying $900 for a room in a (small) two bedroom apartment.

Russia :-)

I was wondering the same :D

Check it out for yourself on the awesome padmapper: http://www.padmapper.com/?lat=37.69897768523249&lng=-122...

Damn... awesome is right. I'd be curious how they crawl all this data (especially the craigslist listings).

Craigslist has RSS feeds that respect categories/search terms: http://www.craigslist.org/about/rss :) You're technically not supposed to use them for search engines specific to housing, but Craigslist doesn't seem very serious about enforcement.

I wonder if landlords will go after this like the hotel industry went after AirBnB. Any accurate information a potential renter has about other apartments in the area can only hurt the landlord.

You can also check : http://www.mapskrieg.com/view/sfbay/rooms-and-shares

I guess that the database is the same (ie CraigsList)...

http://www.housingmaps.com/ is another excellent craigslist listings frontend with a bunch of filters built-in.

Still some roughness with their data, it is showing me listing from Sacramento and Vallejo as in SF.

Since most responses focus on SF or the peninsula, I want to add my 2c. Living in East Bay (Oakland or Berkeley) is also a good option. Rent in Emeryville/South Berkeley/North Oakland is cheaper than SF, but it's still easy to get to SF/Peninsula by BART.

We were renting a 1400sq ft 3 bedroom house in Emeryville for $1750/mo a couple years back, and a 700sq ft 1 bedroom apartment in South Berkeley for $750/mo before that. An 1800 sq ft house in Oakland rents for about $2200.

There's a lot of students in Berkeley, so it's also easier to find rooms/sublets than in SF, possibly. As far as public transit goes, it's a bit more painful than SF, but not too bad. My morning commute from Oakland to work in SOMA takes about 30 minutes - 10 minute walk, 15 minutes (2 stops) on BART, another 5 minute walk. No stress, no driving, no tolls, no parking fees ($3 dollars one way, versus $5 bridge toll, $20 for a day's parking downtown, and a couple bucks in gas you'd spend driving).

http://housingmaps.com/ (craigslist frontend) can give you a good idea about the price ranges around different locations in the Bay Area.

If you work in SF, I agree the commute is easy, but if you work on the peninsula, it's not very fun trying to get from Berkeley to Palo Alto daily.

That's true, but the OP said he's only planning to move here; hence, I imagine he's not tied to a particular job location yet. Also, I know plenty of people commuting to SF from Dublin/Pleasanton/Walnut Creek, which is comparable to getting from Berkeley to Palo Alto. But you're right, having to switch to Caltrain to go anywhere further south than Millbrae is a pain.

I've lived in Portland Oregon, Seattle Washington, Dallas Texas, and San Francisco as well as Silicon Valley and I can honestly say living in SF or Silicon Valley is way more expensive. Rent probably averages about $1700-$2300 for a decent one bedroom apartment and more for two bedroom per month.

Utilities are about the same everywhere you live. Public transportation is a bit spendier than every other city I've lived in (Caltrain and BART costs). Unsure about the Bus, it's probably comparable.

Sales Tax is ridiculously higher here than anywhere I've been. If you live in the city and eat out, expect an addition 3-4% health tax charged at most restaurants.

Parking sucks in the city. Street cleaning tickets of $53 to $103 dollars are VERY common. Expect to bankroll a ton of parking meters whether you live downtown or not or pay a lot in parking garages if you plan on using your car to get around the city.

Entertainment costs are also higher than most other places I've lived. A standard movie ticket here is like $11 or so up to $17 with IMAX per ticket per showing. That should give you a rough idea of cost.

Groceries and Household Shopping. I've compared cost of stuff like shampoo and what not to cost I use to pay outside of California and noticed that for the same size bottle or smaller, I am paying possible a couple dollars more even from the same store. So cost of goods is slightly more expensive here base on a few comparisons I've done.

That should give you a ROUGH estimate on how much things cost around here and what it would be like.

This all looks pretty cheap from my London-oriented eyes. Coming from Ireland, I'm used to the equivalent of sales tax being 21%; the UK having 17.5 seems low. A reserved seat (so you don't have to show up early) in my local cinema (Islington Vue) runs to 17.31 USD according to today's rates, and that's just an ordinary cinema, not IMAX. And of course the other side of the equation is the increased salaries (outside of banks etc. in London, anyhow).

Garry Tan from Posterous made this a while back:


Thats really useful, especially for someone like me who has no idea of the parts of San Fransisco.

I think the first one is slightingly less opinionated, more rational then this one. However, that makes this one much more fun to read.

Pretty cheap in mountain view. I pay around $600 for rent (2 bedroom with roommate). Food prices are actually comparable/cheaper than other places in the US. If you shop at those asian grocery stores, you can get similar produce at about half the cost that Safeway/Kroger would normally sell at. Price for a normal cheap dinner on Castro St is around $8-12.

If you're renting, Silicon Valley is actually comparable to the rest of the USA. When I lived in Atlanta, I paid around $500 for rent, but I had to drive a lot further to access public transportation.

That is a crazy price for anywhere in the valley. San Jose (not really SV) and further down have some cheap options, but I have yet to see anything at $1200.

Silicon Valley is actually comparable to the rest of the USA

Except anywhere in Palo Alto, and Atherton. The PA are is ridiculously expensive atm, because there are so many startups here again (both office space and living space).

PA is very nice but it is definitely an area where funded startups are over-paying for office space and accommodation. You can save a lot of money by going a bit south or north.

Which is why those suburbs - MV, Burlingame, San Mateo, etc. have seen a spike in prices as well. Last time I looked for office space SOMA was less expensive than almost anywhere on the peninsula.

You only play $1200 for a 2bdrm? I swear you must live in a different MV than I looked at. I'm paying more for a 1bdrm in Sunnyvale, and I moved there to save money.

1200 usually gets you something without much amenities. No dishwasher, counterspace, updated appliances, etc.

This isn't credible at all. Two-bedroom in Mountain View for $1200? Please name the apartment complex you are living in. A one-bedroom in Mountain View is already on the extremely ghetto side. Decent places start at about $1400 for a one-bedroom.

Anyone who thinks there is a ghetto part of mountain view is, uh, way more wealthy and has much higher standards than I do. I mean, there are "less good" parts of mountain view, but there isn't anything even close to ghetto.

I agree California st is sketchy, but i would never call it ghetto,I think someone needs a ride to EPA.


For 1 bedder I pay $1.5K per month at Central Park Whisman (A Promethus Complex) in MV. Downtown MV off Castro 1 bedders at another Promethus complex rents start at $1.7K. Avalon Community in MV is also around $1.5K but not recommended - too close to Caltrain. I learnt the hard way lol

When I was looking for an apartment to live in I came across plenty of run down joints in bad streets around the $1.1K so it's possible but not recommended.

Finally, MV is great for the tech culture, food and location! :-)

$1200 for a 2BR seems a little on the low side, but $600/month is very doable with roommates. When I first moved out here, I found a bunch of places in the $650-month range. They were usually on California St in MTV or somewhere in Sunnyvale.

I think the problem is that different people have very different definitions of "decent". I'm paying just over $1400/month now for what I consider a very nice apartment. If you don't mind living with working-class immigrants, there're lots of places that start at around $900/month for a 1BR or $600/month with a roommate along Easy St, Walker Dr, or California St.

i pay 1250 in MV for a 2 bedroom thats walking distance from Castro St. Nothing's been updated in decades though (old oven, old stove, little counterspace, washer/dryer downstairs)

I moved to Mountain View about 2 months ago and paying $1400 for a two-bedroom as well.

It depends on your situation. I pay $1850 (could have been $1700 but we changed rooms) for a 3 bedroom fully furnished house in Mountain View, with our landlord staying about 1 week per month in the guest bedroom (third bedroom is a study). Mountain Shadows complex, if you must know.

It's cheap because we're house sitting for her for a year while she's away, so not sustainable, but a great find for us coming in from overseas without a stick of furniture to our names.

A quick look at craigslist will tell you that there are indeed two beds in MV between $1200-1500

In my experience usually those are in complexes and they give a price range, but the $1200 is actually for the one bedrooms.

I pay $800 for rent a month, have two roommates. But our apt complex is pretty good, with pool and BBQ area.

Food is not bad at all, esp if you stay away from frozen/processed foods and cook yourself. If you eat out, there's a couple cheap places on Castro that are about $8-15. However, that adds up quickly.

I've gotten by without a car, but it's a pain. What you save in money, you lose in time, so I just end up not going anywhere. When the caltrain is running, it's not too bad for getting up and down the peninsula, and having a bike helps.

From what you say living in Mo. View isnt' more expensive than living in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I am currently living.


It is, definitely. Getting your own apartment in MV is $1200 minimum if you want something you can actually call an apartment.

Roommates can make it cheaper, ya, but it's not that cheap.

Gets cheaper if you go further south, though. In Santa Clara / San Jose you can rent an entire (small) house for $1500.

You must have pretty high standards. Padmapper shows places in the $1050 range. I personally live 2 blocks from the Mt View border and am paying $1900 for a nice 3 bedroom.

There are a few places around $1050, but those are the cheapest places available. Perhaps my standards are high, but I like a place to be in a decent neighborhood, with appliances from the last two decades at least, etc. Perhaps by bay area standards thats picky, I don't know.

It looks to be cheaper than London, too. And salaries, of course, are much higher.

It depends. If you are in "economy mode" life can be relatively cheap in MV. On the other hand, in Buenos Aires you can survive on much, much less because the basics are much cheaper. A yuppie lifestyle costs about the same in both places (housing costs aside). Eating out is not that different, clothing and electronics are more expensive in Buenos Aires and transportation is a wash (cars are more expensive, public transportation is cheaper).

Food is also a lot more expensive. You can mitigate this a lot by cooking all your own food and not eating out. Shopping from low cost markets like The Milk Pail http://www.milkpail.com/ will help a lot.

My recommendation for eating cheaply is to make sure to have good collection of spices. It costs a lot upfront (~$40-60) but it will allow you to subsist on really cheap food without going crazy. Living off rice and beans is a lot more fun and tasty when you can make masala rice.

If you have the space for it, grow an herb garden. Seriously. :) I never thought I would enjoy taking care of plants, but it's actually quite interesting. My latest addition is arugula, which so far seems super easy to grow and can provide an infinite amount of salads with little upkeep.

Second this. Some basil and sage go a long way for pasta and other things. Rosemary and some parsley next. Then oregano.

Salad greens are super easy, climate is good for it most of the year.

The Milk Pail is fantastic. Their produce is very inexpensive and because of the rapid turnover, the quality tends to be really good too. You can usually get great deals on cheese as well if you look for the sale items.

Also, there is Ditmars Gourmet Meats and Wurst-Haus around the corner and up San Antonio. While prices on their other items can be high, their sausages are cheap, made in house, and excellent.

The farmers markets are good too, and you can often find excellent deals on produce if you know where to look. I always liked the Menlo Park one (near the Trader Joe's) for a good balance of selection and affordability.

I pay 800$ for a single bed apt(~600-700 sq.ft) in Sunnyvale. Apartments which don't have gated community,pools,gym etc are cheaper. I realized I never used those anyway, so I moved to an apt which have none of these(but has covered parking). Usually these are smaller blocks of ~6 apts and older. There are plenty of those in south bay when I looked.

I live in the Mission and have a ~400 sq foot studio in a not-vintage building (~1970s) for $1600/month (includes $250/month parking spot). I'm 4 blocks from Safeway, Muni rail, Bart, my gym, 2 blocks from other Muni buses.

We rent at $2,200.00/mo for a 4/2 in south sj. That would be 3-3.5k in mountain view or cupertino, when we looked in August. If you time it right, you can find cheaper places. The absolute worse time to move (highest rents) is right before school starts.

Gas is $3.15/gal right now.

Food is ranges from 0%-15% more than the midwest (our comparison point). Shopping at local markets and farmers markets for produce will save you quite a bit.

Other chain stores and casual restaurants seem to cost slightly more than we were used to paying.

Any service that requires direct labor (gardening, cleaning etc) is going to be significantly more expensive than other metros, because the base cost of living is so much higher.

Food is ranges from 0%-15% more than the midwest (our comparison point).

Where in the Midwest did you use for this comparison? As far as I can tell from visiting, most grocery items cost my parents (near Chicago) 50-150% more than I pay for them (in Michigan).

Paul Stamatiou made a great post a while back on moving to SF: http://paulstamatiou.com/atlanta-to-san-francisco-moving-cro...

silicon valley is way cheaper than SF, but it's much less friendly to people who don't have cars. If you live near a caltrain and you work for a major corporation, you can probably get away with not having a car (most major companies have company shuttles that go to the caltrain) but it will put a crimp in your social activities.

Silicon Valley is essentially suburb. You can pay as much as you want on the high end... on the low end, a room in a house or shared appartment in the "poor" parts of Santa Clara or Sunnyvale might be $650/month.

the upside, here, is that things near the train stops are generally cheaper. I rented a 2bed 1bath apartment right over the Lawrence express way caltrain in santa clara for $1250/month total ($625 per person.)

If you want to live alone, the low end is $800-$1000.

The interesting thing about the valley is that I don't know of any neighbourhoods south of east palo alto and north of San Jose that I'd feel uncomfortable walking around in at night. And most of San Jose is pretty okay, too, so don't be afraid of the low end.

Food? in the grocery store, as far as I can tell, it costs about the same as anywhere. If you go out to eat, well, fast food is about as cheap as it is elsewhere. If you want to eat at local non-chains, you are looking at $8-$15 per meal, which is a bit more, I think, than most places.

If I were moving here for the social scene, personally, I'd get a cheap shared room close to the hacker dojo in mountain view.

$300/month at palo alto hacker house if you don't mind roommates (who happen to be interested in startups too). i think i was paying ~$700/month at the mountain view hacker house.

$300 for your own room?

No, a single room at the Hacker House is ~$600. Still a hell of a good deal.

I agree. $600 in Palo Alto is practically free.

i had 2 roommates in the same room

Someone should make a mini site for "Entrepreneurs/Roomate dating"!

Like: Name, age, nationality, startup name, coding language, smoke? pets? girl/boyfriend?.

Same for people looking to share their officespace

It's probably hard to get critical mass, I'm looking for a flatshare in London at the moment and I've posted on my twitter to see if their were any startup folks with a spare room, and despite getting retweeted by some fairly prominent london startup people I didn't get much of a response.

If you can't pull a good response from twitter I'm not sure a dedicated site has any chance.

Agree to the first idea. Second one - this is a recent launch outta Rails Rumble: http://desksnear.me/

Currently desksnear.me is focused on casual, short-term coworking/office sharing, but we're definitely interested in finding a way to connect startups who are looking to share a space on a longer-term basis.

Definitely depends on where you'll be working and commuting from/to. Commuting is a big deal in my book.

My guide would be: if you work in the City, anywhere between SF and San Carlos is a good bet. You can avoid the morning commute by taking BART.

If you work on the Peninsula, there's Caltrain for getting around. And you can take BART as far as Millbrae. Some companies (notably Genentech) have shuttles that take people from the big transit stations to work, but YMMV.

Beware "The Oracle Mile". It's 1 mile North and South of Ralston Ave. on US-101. It is a parking lot every weekday between 8am and 9:30am. Evening commute also. I know some people have different experiences, but that's been what I run into most often.

Generally, in the Bay Area (at least West Bay), either get to work before 8 or after 10. Otherwise you'll be spending a lot of time with all your other happy morning commuters. :P

Places to live? If you can take the rent, the Peninsula is nice. Half Moon Bay is on the coast and works well if your work is close to the 92 freeway.

I wasn't a fan of living in Pacifica, but some people are. Not much to do there as it's mainly a commuter town.

Just my 2c.

I live in the mission and pay $1850/month for rent. One nice thing about living in the city is that utilities are pretty cheap. I pay about $100/month for everything. In Texas, electricity was at least twice that. Plus food isn't terribly expensive nor is transportation. In short, rent is terrible, but if you can make that, SF isn't too bad a place to live.

Plus food isn't terribly expensive nor is transportation.

About how expensive are groceries? Most of the posts here only really mention rent, which isn't enough to fully describe cost of living.

When I lived in SF last (2 - 3 years ago), groceries were inexpensive in comparison to rent and eating out. I think my girlfriend and I spent around $200 per month on groceries (shopping at a Safeway in the financial district) vs $2.1k for rent and $50 - 100$ every time we went out for a decent meal. If you want to be in the city and save money by cooking it does make a big difference.

Just to ad a different perspective from a lot of the people on the list, family housing in Silicon Valley is MUCH more expensive than probably anywhere else in the country.

I just moved out here in August, from Boston. We left behind a decent house in a nice suburb with good schools, for which we paid a little under $600,000. When I bought that home a few years ago, it seemed incredibly expensive. Out here, a comparable property in the heart of Silicon Valley will run you at least $1 million, if not $1.3.

LOL how depressing. Guess I'll just have to live vicariously through the other posters. Lesson to the rest of you, get SV living out of your system before you settle down and have kids.

I'd try and avoid San Francisco. Yes,it's beautiful, and if you know the muni public transportation system you can get around easily without a car, but rents can be high (like $1300 for a studio apartment that isn't scummy). I'd look in Mountain View or Sunnyvale. If keeping costs low is very important, the northern part of San Jose probably has the lowest rents ($800-900 for a large studio / one bedroom appt) for an area near Silicon Valley. Palo Alto and areas north can be quite pricey.

Depends on whether or not you have a car. You won't be able to survive out in the suburbs, but you'll be fine in SF proper. If you have a car for free, then go for the suburbs, but if you have to buy one then the "savings" you get from living in the middle of nowhere might not be very high.

I visited Mountain View yesterday, and it was one of the most depressing places I have ever seen. It's the suburbs, but as expensive as a big city.

Google Headquarters.

Diverse list of excellent restaurants (Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican, etc.)

No heavy traffic

Low crime rate

Lots of startups especially on Castro st.

Warmer by a few degrees than SF

Hacker Dojo

Sunday Farmers Market

Yeah, it's depressing.

It isn't the 70s or 80s anymore. There aren't that many places in the US where the crime rate deters people from living.

How many of your friends live in the Tenderloin?

After a couple of weeks in Mountain View without a car I was going seriously stir crazy though. It's a suburb, you get what's on the tin.

Find a place near Castro street in MV, and you will be in walking distance of pretty much anything you'd need. As an added bonus you can walk to the train station and can easily travel up or down the peninsula on Caltrain or VTA light rail.

What exactly would you take VTA light rail to? It takes about an hour to get to the commercial district of San Jose from MV; probably faster to take Caltrain and walk on the other side, or even take an express bus. And the area in between MV and San Jose on the route has basically nothing; snakes through a bunch of middle-of-nowhere residential areas north of 101. Well, along Tasman there's the Rabbit's Foot meadery hiding in a nondescript office park, but that's about the only thing I can think of on the whole route along Tasman or 1st.

+1. I got off of Caltrain at Mountain View and thought it was cool that they had light rail. Then I checked a map and ... it didn't go anywhere.

Silicon Valley reflects on Silicon Valley in many ways...

You must have really high standards for "not depressing" is Mtn. View is one of the most depressing places you've ever seen. Have you ever, perchance, been anywhere in the state of Washington?

Where have you seen an $800 1 bdrm in North San Jose? You must have a different craigslist than I do.

I've seen one bedrooms occasionally for $850 and with some regularity for $900 on craigslist. I don't know what else to tell you. Good luck.

It all depends where you live. If you would like to live in the city (San Francisco), one bedroom or studio can go up as much as $2000 per month. If you are considering to move around Palo Alto/Mountain View, the rent becomes around 12-1500s. If you are considering Sunnyvale/San Jose, the rent becomes 1000ish.

If you are going to work at Mountain View/Palo Alto area, I highly recommend to live in Sunnyvale, because the rent isn't as expensive and it's not too far (5-15min drive on 101).

If I move there. Let's say, Palo Alto/ Mo. View I would be probably working on my startup all day long. Maybe for a walk/gym for an hour or so.

The only time I would need to move from there would be, maybe to attend to a meetup, meeting, etc.

The question would be.

How do I move from side to side. Public transportation? Is it safe to walk at night (Past 10/11/12pm).


I live in Mt View and go to the city about once a week.

I take Caltrain ($6 each way) to the city but you can't stay too late. The last train from SF leaves at around midnight. It would suck if you miss it because a taxi would probably cost you $100.

There is an excellent coworking space in Mt View - Hacker Dojo which is $100 a month. I used to live in SF but I prefer being in Mt View since it's cheaper and for me, safer. Also, you don't have to deal with parking.

Not having a car might be a pain though. Get a bike at least.

By the way, hit me up (danny -at- launchset.com). My cofounder and I are in Buenos Aires for the next 3 weeks.

Mountain View is safe at night. I've walked around after 10 many times without issue.

Transit doesn't have to be too bad. There is a train to Palo Alto and San Francisco and decent bus service. You can also rent a car from Enterprise for about $20 a day if you need to go somewhere away from transit.

I used to live in Solano County, which is the cheap seats of the SF Bay Area. It is still the most expensive place I have ever lived but was a good bit cheaper than most of the rest of the Bay Area. There are more than 100 cities in the SFBA, so there is some flexibility on how expensive it is. You might try checking out bestplaces.net and city-data.com to get a better idea.

Not sure why this data fact is absent in every single comment but: How much for a pint of beer? Six pack? (kind?)

...because real software startups involve a bit less drinking-while-coding than you might think from watching The Social Network?

Was it a good movie? I don't think I'll ever see it... but I like to gauge prices based on beer because it seems to give an overall perspective on value.

It was a good movie, highly recommended overall, but the idea long coding sessions are strongly associated with beer-drinking was one of the few false notes.

FYI, a pint in The City (SF itself) can range you from $2.50 to $6 depending on place and time.

For pure rent, in Sunnyvale, I had a 3 bedroom house with $1900/month rent. I had the smallest room - and with 4 guys there - my rent hovered around $400. Utilities were pretty trivial ($20 month avg per person). I had a car, but could have lived with just a bike if money was an issue.

I lived for about a year in Palo Alto near El Camino and Page Mill. I had a 2-bedroom apartment (1050 sq ft) for which the rent was $1800. I split it with a roommate to bring the cost down to $900 for each of us. Utilities were another $100 per month or so, total.

I don't recommend San Jose, It took me a hour to get to Mountain View by car and longer by public transportation.I recommend Santa Clara.

Don't forget to look in East Palo Alto, which isn't nearly as scary as people make it out to be.

I don't recommend EPA for anyone, most of the people who live there are trying to get out.

are thier a lot of english(uk) people in silcon valley?

There are a fair few, but I don't run into other Brits that frequently in either the startup or work scenes. If I had to put a number on it, about 2/100 of the people I've met are British like me, 3-4/100 Aussie, 2-3/100 Singapore, and 10-20/100 "other european".

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