Are you thinking about relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area? Considering moving here for the nice weather and great start-up opportunities? I thought I’d share a few insights into life out here that may help you think about whether or not Bay Area life is for you…
If relocating here is something you are already considering, I’m going to assume that you already know about the start-up culture here, the many high-tech job opportunities there are, and how established companies such as Apple, Google, and Facebook have their headquarters here as well. This blog post will mainly focus on the “other” aspects of Bay Area living.
There’s no doubt about it – we are located in a great part of the US. The weather leaves little to be desired (we do have seasons, but winter and summer are mild) as you won’t be rained out most days and you will never need to shovel snow out of your driveway here.
This is a beautiful part of California, less than an hour to our spectacular coastline with beaches, cliffs, and wildlife. We are only a few hours drive from the majesty of Yosemite or some fantastic skiing in Lake Tahoe. Napa is also just a few hours away, if touring the vineyards and enjoying wine is of interest. It’s a non-stop flight to Hawaii, and if you travel to the Far East for business you can get direct flights from San Francisco.
If you like to hike or bike, there are lots of paths and mountain roads, plus plenty of open-space preserves to explore. Some of us complain when it’s cold (in the 50’s in winter) or hot, but in all honesty we are truly spoiled.
As far as dining is concerned, the Bay Area offers many amazing restaurants, cafés and coffee houses, and due to the multi-cultural nature of the area there are endless ethnic dining options as well. We have some great sports teams, from the SF Giants, to the SF 49’ers, to the San Jose Sharks. There are also some fantastic science and art museums in the area, as well as the SF Symphony, Ballet, and Opera House.
There has to be a down side to all this, doesn’t there? Well, most people who move here have to downsize. If paying over 1 million dollars for a postage stamp lot and a small house doesn’t sound appealing to you, you may want to reconsider a move. Housing prices throughout Silicon Valley are exorbitant, causing many workers to seek housing farther out where it’s still expensive but not quite as outrageous.
This leads us to another potential downside: the commute.
If you can manage to live close to your work, you are one of the lucky ones! Unfortunately, California does not have a robust public transportation system, so you may find yourself spending much more time with your car than you thought possible. Of course, a bad commute may be ameliorated if you are able to work from home a few times a week or if you can drive during “off” hours. However, many people have figured this out, leading to a long “rush hour” starting at 3pm most days.
So, is it worth it? Only you can decide. The Bay Area is definitely a wonderful place to live, but it isn’t for everyone. If it weren’t such a great place to live, it wouldn’t cost so much! But first, come for a visit and check it out to see if you feel that the Bay Area is a cultural match for you; how well could you fit into this extremely diverse and intellectually intense environment? So come for a visit, check out what we life here has to offer, and see for yourself if this is a place you could call home.