General Question

mirifique's avatar

What is a better city for a 35 y.o. with no family (yet): Seattle or San Francisco?

Asked by mirifique (1537points) December 4th, 2016

I’ve received an opportunity to relocate from SF to Seattle. I’ve never lived there before but have some friends there. All personal and professional factors aside (of which there are many), which **city** offers the best quality of life and long-term quality of life potential (ability to buy a house; raise a family; be near good schools; strong access to outdoors: skiing, biking, running, hiking; good restaurants and music venues, as of 2016? I’ve read a lot about Seattle changing in the last 5 years but am curious what city is best for my situation now. Thanks in advance!

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31 Answers

janbb's avatar

Both are great cities to live in at 35 and both are constantly becoming more and more gentrified but I imagine Seattle is a little more affordable now. It will likely be more gray and rainy although SF is often foggy. Can you go up there for a few days and check it out? If not, go online and look at rental listings, music venues and performances, etc.

I know the housing market in SF a bit and it is really, really expensive to buy a house almost anywhere in the Bay area.

If you’re interested in the dating scene in each or just making friends activities, look at dating sites in each area and also check for affinity clubs.

Each has beautiful outdoor opportunities nearby. What a lovely decision to have to make!

kritiper's avatar

Seattle is a great place with no shortages of water. Good climate, too. Less chance of that major quake SF is considered for.

mirifique's avatar

@janbb – yes, exactly; I feel I’ll never be able to afford a nice situation. It will either be a stressful mortgage or a stressful commute, or stressful crime/noise outside. It’s hard to feel like you can “win” here. On the other hand, there’s a lot more documented (online) dislike for Seattle – that the low cloud ceiling is claustrophobia-inducing and makes people self-isolate, though that can be for creative endeavors that Bay Area folks end up postponing to later life due to exhaustion. I’ve made a long list of Seattle “pros” but am just wondering which is better now.

janbb's avatar

It might be helpful if you can take a whole week up there.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I recently spent about a week in Seattle, and I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to live there.

Sure, it’s cloudy and rainy during autumn and winter, but I think that’s a fair price to pay for no water shortages. And, to the best of my knowledge, it very seldom snows or gets icy.

Zaku's avatar

I imagine Seattle is a little less expensive than SF but it seems to be trying hard to catch up in recent years. Housing prices are crazy, though you can check to see if they’re more insane than SF. Traffic has also become more and more evil as too many companies add too many businesses and apartments and condos everywhere. Seattle’s layout (lots of water and hills and one major highway) limits how much road traffic is practical, and it’s been pushing that limit more and more. There are many good restaurants, live music, and great access to the outdoors (mountains, water, forest) once you escape city traffic. Public schools are ok though worse in the suburbs AFAIK, though there are good expensive private schools. Women in the dating scene seem to frequently complain about the deficient social graces of the many geeky/computer men. Both cities have potential for catastrophic earthquake/tsunami destruction – Seattle just hasn’t had as serious a quake in the last couple of centuries. Add spring and summer to the list of seasons that have rain.

cinnamonk's avatar

San Francisco is smelly and overrated. And smelly.

Coloma's avatar

I’d go for Seattle. Also you are close to many, many, extremely beautiful natural lands, parks, rivers. If you enjoy access to hiking, biking, camping, skiing etc. WA. State is an unprecedented paradise. Less expensive than S.F. and also a very progressive city.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Portland hands down!

zenvelo's avatar

Buy a house/raise a family, Seattle has San Francisco beat by far.

I live in the East Bay, have been in the Bay Area most of my life, and while I love it here, it can be hard to raise a family. That is why I live in a suburb, and paid extra for the town I live in, to get good schools. If you live in the City, or in Berkeley or Oakland, you are talking private schools to get a consistent decent education.

mirifique's avatar

Thanks all. I’m aware of the natural beauty of Seattle but am concerned about the relentless articles about the low sunlight/daylight and vitamin D-related health issues endemic to the region. Does anyone have any data showing this is actually overblown compared to European cities, or have any strategies to combat this?

Zaku's avatar

I have lived both in Seattle and in Europe, and no, Seattle is a bit like living in the U.K.. It’s not as wet as Ireland or as dark as Scotland, but it is a bit like London, it seems to me.

People from sunnier climates that I know, do complain about the cold, wet, and gloom, even after decades of living here. Even some natives can have S.A.D. But liking cold/wet/gloom well enough (e.g. because you’re a native) is the main thing that I know works. Some things can help, such as making sure you get out when the sun is out, and using full-spectrum light bulbs, and taking trips to sunnier places in the winter.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I think they are equally miserable and would not live in either. If pressed though I would go to Seattle simply because it is not in California.

cinnamonk's avatar

@MollyMcGuire what’s wrong with California?

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@AnonymousAccount8 I wouldn’t live there other than the extreme North border with Oregon. It’s dying, people are leaving, the tax is oppressive, the regulations are oppressive, SF is old and dirty, it draws the kooks from around the country, the laws and courts are goofy. I could go on. At least Seattle is in a great state and there is no state income tax….a big plus to me. I’ve spent more time than I wanted to in California. I lived in Washington (not Seattle) for a few years. I loved it. Once away from Seattle the people of Washington are wonderful common sense folk.

filmfann's avatar

With The Donald moving into The Trump House White House, I would opt for Seattle, since Canada is just across the sound.

johnpowell's avatar

I like Seattle. I have lived in the PNW most of my life and I actually enjoy the overcast and rain. And you seriously can’t beat our summers.

I’m 6’ and 135 pounds. I have my windows open right now and it is this. One thing about the PNW is that clouds trap heat so right now it is coldish but no clouds so there is no chance of snow. And when there are clouds that traps the heat so it doesn’t turn to snow. There will be a few days of snow a year but that is really just a few days if you are in the valley.

The awesome part is the beach is 90 minutes to the west if I want to surf. And if I want to snowboard that is 45 minutes to the east.

And seriously…. Our summers are magical.

mirifique's avatar

Yes, the summers are magical, but I’m scared of this map and this one. Both show Seattle to be a complete outlier in terms of dreariness.

Cruiser's avatar

I thought LA had terrible traffic jams but Seattles traffic was unbearable even for me used to Chicago’s traffic jams. You could not pay me to live in Seattle for that reason alone.

mirifique's avatar

how long ago did you live there, @Cruiser?

zenvelo's avatar

@Cruiser One of the biggest complaints about the SF Bay Area from residents is the traffic. It is a sign of the 21st Century that traffic in every populated area has gotten horrible in the last 20 years,

Cruiser's avatar

@mirifique I didn’t live there. Was visiting my brother who lives north of Seattle 4 summers ago.

Rarebear's avatar

Do you like rain?

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I always enjoy people talking about the rain in Seattle. Seattle doesn’t get an overabundance of rain. I guess people think this because the TV tells them to. Seattle’s average is 38” of rain per year. I live in SW Florida and we get 51” per year, mostly just in the Summer rainy season. My hometown which is not coastal gets 54” per year. It may be that Seattle has more than average cloudy days, but rain is not a big deal there.

Rarebear's avatar

Seattle has rainier weather than San Francisco. That’s a fact. If you don’t mind it, then it’s probably a better city to raise a family. San Francisco is expensive and very busy.

Cruiser's avatar

@MollyMcGuire Rain totals are deceptive. Stand fully clothed in your shower with flow wide open the temp on warm for 10–20 minutes and you are in Florida. Stand in your shower fully clothed and spray yourself in your face with a spray bottle of cold water for 10–16 hours and you have replicated Seattle weather. Essentially the same amount of water just exponentially different experiences.

zenvelo's avatar

According to this article , San Francisco is better for singles, with Seattle #3.

I’ll still say Seattle is better for raising a family.

stanleybmanly's avatar

San Francisco may not have the rain, but the place is notorious for the heavy ground hugging fogs thick enough to drown you. One of the more interesting aspects of this place is the variability of the weather, particularly in the Summertime as the hot weather inland pulls huge volumes of air over the cold ocean and into the city. You get these amazing effects as the fog literally piles up in the valleys and overflows down the hills. So in the 7 by 7 mile space, you can stand on a hilltop and watch folks dining in 75–80 degree sunshine under big umbrellas while on the opposite side of the hill folks are bundled up and drenched in bone chilling ocean fresh wet. Long term residents take a particular delight in the misery of the poor tourists ambushed in their shorts and tank tops.

Rarebear's avatar

@stanleybmanly You are correct about the microclimates. I’ve lived in the SF Bay Area for years.

zenvelo's avatar

True story about SF Bay Area Microclimates:

Back in the 1980’s the National Weather Service was going to start publishing regional Solar Indexes to encourage solar power generation. The idea worked great fro most parts of the country, like the Denver Region, or the Chicago region, where weather is pretty uniform across a large area.

They came to San Francisco and talked to weathermen, who started to laugh out loud. The local weathermen asked which town would they use?

The NWS reps said, “San Francisco, we are thinking on Mission Street.”

to which they were asked,“which block on Mission? Downtown where it is sunny, or out in the Exclesior District where it is foggy all summer?”

SecondHandStoke's avatar

If you’re homeless and jobless you can’t do better than San Francisco.

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