10 Things to Know Before Moving From San Diego to San Francisco

10 Things to Know Before Moving From San Diego to San Francisco

May 31, 2023

They may be in the same state, but with about 500 miles between them, San Diego and San Francisco are very different cities. If you are making the trek from “America’s Finest City” to the Bay Area, expect to weather changes in climate, transportation, cost of living, culture and more. To help you adjust more smoothly to, and get excited about, your upcoming relocation, here are 10 of the biggest changes to inform your preparations. 

Expect cooler, cloudier weather

Aerial view of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, CA

California as a whole is known for abundant sunny days and persistently warm weather. However, San Francisco’s position hundreds of miles north of San Diego translates into a noticeable cooling in the weather. The average highs and lows can be 5-10 degrees cooler than in San Diego, and the average summer highs are only in the 70s. 

However, the biggest change you are likely to see after moving from San Diego to San Francisco is in the amount of sunshine you experience. Winters tend to be cloudy in the Bay Area, and the city experiences about one week less of sunny weather per year. 

The good news? San Francisco still boasts year-round mild temperatures (i.e. No snow, ice or subfreezing temperatures) and has about 54 more sunny days a year than the national average. That means you should still keep your San Diego wardrobe and love for sunbathing close at hand when you change cities. 

Plan for a (much) higher cost of living

San Diego price tags may give you sticker shock, but San Francisco (especially downtown Sran) is likely to cost you even more. With a cost of living that is almost 2.5 times higher than the national average, it overshadows San Diego’s cost of living, which is about 60 percent higher than the national average. 

What essentials carry higher prices? Groceries, healthcare, transportation and more. Before you relocate, you will need to take the time to budget based on your anticipated income and a realistic understanding of what your new living costs will be.

Prepare yourself for high housing prices

Where you will see the most dramatic rise in expenses is in housing costs. You will spend more than 4 times the national average on purchasing a home, whose median price is above $1.2 million. 

These high prices can make it more difficult to own your own home in San Francisco. You may also be surprised by high rental prices, which run more than $3,300 per month.

Before moving to San Francisco from San Diego, you will need to plan carefully for your anticipated housing expenses. Make sure your anticipated income will cover your expected housing costs, and do your research to find neighborhoods that offer a lower housing cost combined with safety, convenience and the other features you need. 

Consider leaving your car behind

Classic panorama view of historic San Francisco Cable Cars on famous California Street at sunset with retro vintage Instagram style VSCO filter effect, central San Francisco, California, USA

Despite an excellent transportation system, San Diego is still very much a place where having a car is handy. However, when you move to San Francisco, you may find you do not need a car at all. 

The city contains an extensive transportation system run by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority. Consisting of streetcars, buses, and trains, this network also enables walking and biking throughout the city. 

If you do choose to bring your personal vehicle to the city, be aware that parking can be limited. When you do find parking, you will often have to pay fees that can be as much as $4.50 an hour. If you want to avoid the headaches and hassles of managing a vehicle, try embracing life without. The city is designed to support your choice. 

Discover a recovering job market

If you are not moving for a corporate relocation, you may be thinking about getting a job in the city. San Francisco recently experienced a setback in its job market, and suffered from widespread layoffs. However, that trend appears to be reversing, as the city added 14,600 jobs in October 2022. 

Today, you can expect to find a job market that is recovering from that dip and has employment available across a number of industries. Leading fields of employment include the following: 

  • IT (Information Technology)
  • Biotech
  • Clean tech
  • Tourism
  • Finance
  • Education
  • Development

Your main employment concern when moving from San Diego to San Francisco should be whether or not your wage will support the city’s high cost of living. Chances are you will need to make more in the Bay Area than in San Diego, so plan accordingly before you relocate. 

Enjoy rich cultural diversity

San Francisco is one of the most exciting places in California for enjoying diversity in culture and cuisine. For at least 2 centuries, the Bay Area has welcomed individuals from across cultures and ethnicities. Each has added their own insights, celebrations, culture and cuisine to San Francisco, creating a vibrant and colorful city to call home. Here are some of the ethnicities most prominent in this area: 

  • Chinese
  • African American
  • Hispanic
  • Asian 

Enter a city in love with the outdoors

Family enjoying time together on vacation hiking trip. Golden Gate Bridge connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, mountains in the background. San Francisco, California, USA

San Diego’s beach vibe and perpetually beautiful weather make it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. However, you won’t have to give up your love of the outdoors when you move to San Francisco. The city’s similarly welcoming weather makes it simple to get outside almost every day. 

You will not get as many opportunities, or as much of a beach culture here as you would in San Diego. San Francisco makes up for that lack with a wider list of things to do outside. If you are looking for some activity and adventure, try these ideas: 

  • Take a cruise in the bay. 
  • Tour the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Climb the twin peaks.
  • Go whale watching.
  • Take a city walking tour.

Discover diverse and delicious cuisine

Bowls of hot delicious clam chowder garnished with fresh thyme, and multy grain crackers

Never fear; you will not have to give up the mouth-watering food you love in San Diego. When moving to San Francisco, you are simply trading one foodie paradise for another. San Francisco has even been ranked as the #4 foodie city in the entire United States. 

From burritos to seafood, the Bay Area is home to dining that is as diverse as its culture, and as delicious as anything you experienced in San Diego. In general, the city prides itself on fresh and locally-sourced ingredients. Try any of these dishes when you move from San Diego to San Francisco:

  • Clam chowder
  • Sourdough bread
  • Burritos
  • Oysters
  • Dim sum
  • Prime ribs
  • Neapolitan-style ice cream

Want to try a little of everything in your new city? You can also indulge in one (or more) of the city’s delectable food tours.

Discover numerous public parks 

Palace of Fine Arts in early morning light in San Francisco, California.

As part of its commitment to outdoor enjoyment, San Francisco offers access to numerous green spaces – 220 public parks to be exact. These spaces give residents the opportunity to picnic, walk, bike, hike, golf, swim and more. Here are some of the parks you may want to explore as you settle into your new city:

  • Golden Gate Park
  • McLaren Park
  • Glen Canyon
  • Corona Heights
  • Buena Vista

Experience a vibe unlike any other

There is no vibe quite like the San Francisco vibe. Influenced by its history, numerous cultures, innovation, vibrant LGBTQ+ community, progressive worldview and more, it gives the city a distinctive appeal. Discover neighborhoods that are each different and distinctive from each other. The city gave its fog a name (Karl) and a Twitter account. Parts of the city still benefit from the hippie culture in the 60s. If you want a place that is unforgettable, and endlessly entertaining, then you will likely love living in San Francisco. 

If you are ready to take on a move from San Diego to San Francisco, then let women-owned Oakley Relocation help. As residential movers with full-service options and a track record of success, we have the tools to help you relocate anywhere at any time. Contact us today for a quote on our professional movers and services!

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