General Question

Carly's avatar

How are the cities in the Bay Area different from each other?

Asked by Carly (4505 points ) July 22nd, 2010

My boyfriend might possibly be moving to the Bay Area to work in San Francisco, and in the next 3 weeks he would have to find an apartment.

He’s trying to get a feel of what area would be best to live in, but right now he doesn’t have a clue where he should start looking. Also, I don’t think money will really be an issue, we’re just trying to find the best cultural fit.

So, my question for you all is: how do the cities around SF differ, and also, how do the neighborhoods/zones in SF differ from each other?

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15 Answers

Nullo's avatar

I would suggest Redwood City. It’s about 30 miles from SFO, a bit far, but I expect that it’ll be relatively inexpensive. Also, interesting local history.
You might also try Daly City, which is situated between San Francisco and South San Francisco.

timtrueman's avatar

I would say it really depends on his personality a fair bit. The neighborhoods in SF are as different if not more so than the cities. Try to find one that fits—so if he could visit that would really help. Either way, avoid the Tenderloin at all costs. I would also weigh commute time relatively heavily in any decisions.

Jeruba's avatar

If I were going to work in SF, I would definitely want to live in SF.

I don’t know the areas of the city very well at all (I’m in the South Bay and rarely go into SF), but I have visited people in the Mission, in Noe Valley, in Bernal Heights, and in the UCSF hospital area that all seemed like comfortable city neighborhoods to me, comparing them with places I’ve lived in Boston and Cambridge.

DominicX's avatar

Well, there’s a lot to it. The Bay Area is really divided into four sections: East, North, South, and Peninsula. All areas have their nicer and their less nice areas. Oakland and the cities along the east shore of the bay are not so great and I wouldn’t recommend them. Definitely more racially diverse, but more crime and more crummy neighborhoods. Further into the valley on the east (Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon) are nice and hilly and very suburban sprawly and white bread, but they’re a bit far from SF. The north (Mill Valley, Larkspur, Sausalito) is pretty nice and expensive, but close to SF. The peninsula has its share of nice areas (Atherton, Burlingame, Hillsborough, Foster City) and its less nicer areas (South San Francisco, East Palo Alto, San Bruno). All of those are close to SF and are along Highway 101 and I-280, which go straight into SF. The South (San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Palo Alto) is very upscale and full of computer companies. It’s also very crowded and congested and has a warmer climate than most of the Bay Area.

Within San Francisco, the nicer areas are places like Sea Cliff, St. Francis Wood, Russian Hill, Pacific Heights, etc. They’re all not too far from downtown. I’m sure you may know about Castro, the Mission, and the Haight. Lots of places for young urban professionals. Hunter’s Point is a place to avoid.

Okay, that wasn’t very succinct. I can definitely answer more questions if you have them. I’m pretty damn familiar with the Bay Area. :)

filmfann's avatar

It might help to tell us what he is looking for.
I know the East Bay pretty well.
The weather in Berkeley/Oakland is the best in the world.
Albany and Crocket are nice little communities, and I would live there in a second.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Make sure to live near a BART station, especially if he’s commuting to the city every morning.

lapilofu's avatar

Whoa, buddy, DominicX—way to lump Berkeley in with Oakland. Berkeley’s got its crimey neighborhoods for sure, but it’s also got its very posh yuppie neighborhoods. The same goes for Oakland, actually—the Piedmont area for instance.

It’s hard to say what would be a good match without knowing what he’s looking for. The cities in the area are all very different and many of them have a wide variety of neighborhoods within. Let us know a little more about what he’s interested in and we can probably help more.

Some useful criteria, for instance:

* Does he require an active nightlife? A mild nightlife? No nightlife?
* Can he live somewhere noisy or must it be quiet?
* Is he more into public transit or driving?
* What sort of cultural events and institutions does he take advantage of? (Museums, bars, dances, concerts, universities, &c.)
* Does he prefer some greenery or more urban?

Jeruba's avatar

Does he want it to have a close, neighborhoody feel? or urban impersonal?
Is a little funky ok, or does it have to look shiny and slick?
Does he have to feel comfortable walking around outdoors at night?
Does he require reserved parking?
Does he care if he’s many floors above the street? at street level? how about below the street?
Does he want a yard and some trees?

I’m thinking it’s going to be hard for anyone to advise him.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

Also, does he want to commute from some place like Santa Rosa? Or does he want to actually live in SF? Depends on what he likes and wants to be his ultimate enviroment. Also cost may play a significant amount on his decision.

Carly's avatar

I think he’s more of a city boy. He grew up in Seattle, so he also likes cold weather.

lapilofu's avatar

He’d probably be best off living right in SF though. They have city and cold weather in excess—Mark Twain famously said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

I’m not an expert on SF neighborhoods, so someone else can probably help more. I’m personally rather fond of the Mission—it’s a pretty happening area culturally. If he likes something a little quieter, I know the Sunset is pleasant and lovely.

Nullo's avatar

San Francisco on its worst day won’t require more than a good sweater, if you’re from Seattle. Or Missouri, for that matter.

Jeruba's avatar

Are you kidding? I came from the Northeast, snow country, and SF is the only city where I’ve ever needed an overcoat on the Fourth of July.

My husband likes to say this: How can you tell the summer tourists in San Francisco? They’re the ones with the blue knees.

DominicX's avatar

Well, San Francisco’s average temperature doesn’t fluctuate much throughout the year. It doesn’t get much warmer than 71 and it doesn’t get much cooler than 58 for average highs.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

@DominicX I agree with your answer. I used to live in Santa Rosa and would go to Frisco often and unlike Oregon it is much warmer even when it is considered cold by the natives there.

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