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Ask HN: Should I move to San Francisco?
22 points by quickaskq 54 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 43 comments
Hey HN, I’m a long (…long) time lurker, very occasional poster. I am starting my completely remote job soon and have hit a difficult problem that I am having a hard time figuring out: where to live. I have no S.O., no large family, no ethnic/religious community (not trying to be melodramatic here, I’m quite content with my life), which means I have no ties to anywhere. Where do I live?

I love San Francisco. I love walking around Russian hill, Cole valley, Noe valley, getting a burrito in the mission, biking through golden gate park, chilling in Alamo square, etc.

Although I am a techie, I’ve grown away from associating with tech. It’s my 9-5, but afterwards I want to talk about anything else. I do read HN religiously though :)

I am still dating and am at a point in my life where this is very important. At a cis male what is the scene like?

I make good money, but I still have a deep sense of what something should be worth. Paying 2.8k for a 1 bedroom hurts but I can afford it. Otherwise the city seems expensive but not outrageous. I had a sushi roll for $15, which is like $3 more than it should be imo.

I could go on. What I would really appreciate is what long term SF residents think about SF life. Can I find friends here? Make a relationship? Will the insane beauty of twin peaks wear off?

Thanks HN

This is a totally subjective question. But I'll give my biased opinion to some things you've written:

> Although I am a techie, I’ve grown away from associating with tech. It’s my 9-5, but afterwards I want to talk about anything else. I do read HN religiously though :)

In my totally honest opinion, if you are shying away from the tech identity, then SF might be a bad choice. The city culture is, these days, totally defined by the tech world. Many people you'll meet there in your age/socioeconomic group will be in tech and more than likely they live and breathe tech.

> Can I find friends here? Make a relationship? Will the insane beauty of twin peaks wear off?

Yes, yes, and yes. I've moved cities a few times, each time stary-eyed and optimistic. The novelties wear off quickly, and when your experience is different than how you imagined life to be shock can even settle in. You'll stop noticing the natural beauty and start resenting things like those "15 dollar sushi rolls", and then the city just becomes like anywhere else. You'll meet friends, develop relationships, settle in and maybe in a few years you'll be asking the same question about Portland or Austin or Istanbul... or maybe you'll settle down and live the rest of your days in Noe valley ;).

Life is uncertain. Have fun.

Have you been to SF recently? It is a real shit hole now. And in rapid decline.

Homeless will sleep at your doorstep and piss on your door. Homeless are not confined to the tenderloin. They are everywhere.

Crime is increasing. 13 walgreens have shut down, due to blatant thievery by criminal gangs. And no arrest or prosecution of thieves.

As for dating. The male-female ratio is skewed male on the west coast. Opposite on the east coast. And in the bay area, many more males vs females.

There are many better options and locations. Why even commit to a location? Why not explore them all? 3-6 months at a time?

Austin, Boulder, NYC, Singapore. The world is your oyster. If you go international, you save money on US taxes. Foreign Earned Income Tax Credit.

"The male-female ratio is skewed male on the west coast. Opposite on the east coast."

Do you have any source for that? I haven't really seen this, but I haven't exactly travelled enough to evaluate two entire coasts.

Edit: Why downvote?

It has always been this way since frontier days.


"The male-female ratio is skewed male on the west coast."

Your source doesn't support this. M/F for: WA - 100, OR - 98, CA - 99. So it's basically even but slightly skewed female.

Based on your description, SF ticks a lot of boxes for you. So why not just go for it?

If or when the magic wears thin, then you'll be free to explore further.

As far as relationships go, as long as you do the things you really enjoy, then you'll meet like-minded people and it is through such people that you meet The One.

Yes, prices are high. As long as you see it as paying for what you get, it should be fine. If you start becoming resentful of it, then it also will be a sign to move on.

I think the things that tick boxes about SF can be had for far less than the tax of living in SF.

Yeah this is kind of where I’m at. I can afford SF, it’s just whether or not it’s worth the price tag. If I can have a similar or slightly “worse” experience elsewhere for half the price then I’ll I’d like to save the money.

Life is short: do what you love and lead an exciting life

Life is long: invest for the long term and don’t blow your paycheck

San Francisco is just another place in this vast and huge world. From what I've heard, it's f'd up over there (like many other places), because of competition and almost no sense of work life balance. Also, people will take advantage of you just because the majority of people make a lot of money there, so everything is crazy expensive.

If you ask me, I see San Francisco as an overly hyped (the hype is going down lately) place, and a very superficial one at that.

But if you enjoy being there for non work reasons and you don't see another option that you like somewhere else, go for it.

I think SF will start to decrease in popularity, so maybe the prices will get better in the future.

“ I am still dating and am at a point in my life where this is very important. At a cis male what is the scene like?”

Not bad but wayyyyy better in NYC.

Any more input here would be appreciated. Have you dated in both places?

I've lived in SF for 11 years, traveled to NYC for work a bit . I would 100% prefer NYC for dating.

One perspective:

I've been doing the digital nomad thing for many years and while I'm more or less ready to be done with it, I think it's worth doing for a while if you can and you seem perfectly set up for it.

The lifestyle you can live in Chiang Mai or Medellin or a few other spots for whatever you'd be paying to live in SF is hard to describe without seeming hyperbolic.

If it appeals to you it's worth looking into. My email is on my account feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Like others have said, if have can afford it and find it interesting, then do it!

But maybe look at some other large cities and see if others might be a better fit…and it’s not like you can’t move around every 6-12 months either.

I’m a techie, love visiting the Bay Area, but it’s not for me.

I do love LA for the density of creative folk that live there + weather. NYC is great for having everything at your fingertips, insane diversity in every facet of life, and so many high achieving residents. Chicago has an awesome big city feel, lots of amenities for cheap, but lacks a certain reach to the higher levels and the weather is brutal.

I think most large cities offer a lot for anyone under 45 who isn’t settled and is willing to put in the work to build a life/friend-group. All have trade-offs, just figure out what sounds the best.

You can always do a 180 and head back to where you came from.

Can you explain more about Chicago lacking “a certain reach to the higher levels”?

Follow your passion!

I left SF and never looked back.

My values maybe different from yours but I refused to buy more taxes than common sense dictates. Especially watching crime and filth level grows in SF and it's surroundings.

However again - follow you passion and excitement.

Can you elaborate on why you left? I always hear about crime and poop on the street but I feel like if I avoid the tenderloin and soma I should be fine, no?

I've lived in SF for 12 years. I moved here because my work is here. I've been trying to get out.

You know that situation where you're out to brunch at a popular spot, there are 10 people on the list, maybe it's raining. Everyone's crowding inside, you try to stand in one spot but it is blocking the list, you try another spot but the waitress wants by, you try a third and now you're blocking the door. That's how I feel about SF all day every day. There's no space for me. Street cleaning: move the car, traffic: people won't let you merge, Dinner: "it'll be a 45 minute wait" that's fine, I'll go to the bookstore. "oh we called you 20 minutes early (why weren't you here?)" So now you lost your table. (this happened to me last night). What else... parking is a nightmare, the bus is full of vomit and shit, don't walk down mission street in Soma (oh you work there? be sure to step over the needles and human feces). And the subway only goes one place. And the day a cracked out homeless guy tries to sell you a lego set is the highlight of the year because at least it wasn't drugs.

You can avoid those areas, but I was just driving some out of town friends to their hotel on Nob Hill and Robin says to me, "I think that guy's pants are entirely off." I see people with their pants down basically every time I go out. It's fine, I don't really care, but I haven't stepped in this much human excrement since I wandered around the slums of Mumbai and it starts to wear on you.

Thanks for the input. I definitely understand your first point, sometimes the city seems “impossible” to me - a lot of wealth and demand packed into a small area; I wonder if there’s space for me there.

I’ve also seen my fair share of naked homeless people in SF. In all honestly it doesn’t bother me, but I’m sure that would change if I lived there for a couple of years.

I lived in high end neighborhood near SF.

Over last 4 years - more crime, more drug activity, more police presence.

Outrageous taxes. More disrespect and ignorance towards local businesses from politicians.

On a personal level (many here will disagree) i detest watching politicians dividing, selling out and destroying our country. But this is different story, moving cross the state borders doesn't help in this case.

Life is short. Do what you love. If you love San Francisco you should live there.

Because you're single with no kids I would get a room in a house with others. That way you're not spending all your money on rent.

Yes agreed. Sometimes doing what I love is hard for me to do… I don’t know why.

At this stage in my life I would live alone; it’s true that roommates would make the rent more palatable

Dating is great. Everybody’s single!

If family is anywhere in tarot cards, I’d recommend moving elsewhere. The majority of SF is 20 years behind their biological prime for the type of relationship they are looking for. Sort of like going to college in your 40s. You think that won’t be you, but, as a man, it’s not your choice. Otherwise, there are a lot of single childless career women in their late 40s and 50s, who will be much more interesting to talk to than anybody in their family years.

I’m in my late 20’s, though that does sound like a nice situation to be in if you’re a single 30-40 something year old. Being in my mid/late thirties and single kind of scares me (mainly because most of my friends/peers will likely be married and have kids); it’s nice to hear there’s a place where you can live a single lifestyle and not feel left out

In case I wasn’t clear, this is a strong recommendation against starting your adult life in SF. Your friends elsewhere will be married with children, own their house, run a nice business, and you’ll be making a pretty good salary but wondering how you were the smart one yet fell 10 years behind in every life outcome.

I would say you should try it. If it calls you like it called me, it will feel like you're in the right place. Yes, you can meet amazing people and no, the insane beauty of twin peaks never wears off. I would say it's a bit harder to meet people than in Oakland, which feels more approachable. I also met my partner in SF though :)

Explore the world. If you are working remotely, and don’t have anything tying you down, go crazy, get out and see the world and enjoy as much of it as you can.

Your life will become increasingly restricted by people and obligations as you get older.

San Francisco isn’t going anywhere.

> Although I am a techie, I’ve grown away from associating with tech. It’s my 9-5, but afterwards I want to talk about anything else.

One thing to consider (numbers perspective, not emotions) is opportunity cost of $2800/month for say 5 years vs. living somewhere with a lower cost of living. If you are living somewhere where renting is $1k/month then over 5 years the difference is $100k.

Surely people in every major and mid-size metro area make friends, have romantic relationships and eat sushi. If you have no ties to SF and see yourself disassociating from tech then there are a lot of options to look at. Sushi on the coasts is probably better than sushi in Oklahoma, just a guess on my part though.

Depends on the type of sushi. Most places get the sashimi frozen because with the exclusion of tuna, other fish have to go through the parasite destroying process (freezing protocol).

I'm in a very similar situation to yours and have lived in SF for past 2 years now. Initially, I was buzzing with excitement, however now I want to leave for a less busy place (kind of "we all want what we don't have situation"). My advice is go for it, just don't get your self stuck with long term rent or other contracts. You'll likely want to live elsewhere for a few months as a "detox" from SF and then come back.

Well, if you do decide to go for it, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair, as there’s a good possibility that you’ll meet some gentle people.

Time your visit for when the Bay is full of cruisers and the West wind smells of fishing boats for fifty miles around. Walk down from Green Street past the hillside cathedrals and have your heart filled by the carillons…

I'm just a community college student working to get further into school. I love autonomous vehicles. I'd love to get a job in the autonomous vehicles industry. I don't care if you want to say that "Tesla owns it." I'd be perfectly content working for a company that doesn't "own it." I don't want to move to Pittsburgh, where many autonomous vehicles companies have locations. While the jobs that I want are in California, I have more of a personal desire to move to Vancouver Island.

Personally, I'm never going to get married because such a thing doesn't interest me. My plans to move to Vancouver Island will have me paying for many things that wouldn't exist if I'd move to California. Also, autonomous vehicles jobs don't exist in British Columbia. Still, it's something that I want to do.

What I'm trying to say is "Do what feels right to you."

If you think it’s a good idea to pay nearly $3k/mo for 1bd rent, you probably should move to SF.

You never know what life may bring. Try it for a year. Life is what you make of it.

You’re not going to get any answers on HN. Want my advice? Do it. Fuck it.

yeah you’re right, I know the true answer can only really come from within, though anonymous internet advice never hurt… maybe

$15 for a sushi roll? What the …

Hahaha welcome to inflation

But is it any good?

And can it run Doom?



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