Moving to San Francisco

Hey guys, I accepted a job offer in San Francisco and have to be at work in exactly two weeks, which doesn’t give me a heck of a lot of time to find a place and move. Anyone have any recommendations, or know folks looking for roommates or places to rent (ie. something easy without going through a lot of problems) where I could move in relatively quickly? Am looking to stay on the peninsula side and not have to travel across any of the bridges if at all possible.

— Alan

That’s awfully short notice. Have you spent any serious time in SF before? Because, if not, then I suggest finding some temporary solution, because you definitely want to get a feel of the city before finding a place to live (which is often tough enough for veteran SFers).

The good news is the peninsula should have some decent places. You can even find something close to a CalTrain or BART line so you don’t have to drive into the city (parking, btw, is hideously expensive, especially compared to no-shortage-of-space Texas.)

DoomMunky is looking! Your schedule is a bit tight for what he’s looking for, though.

I hope you are prepared for the differences in cost of living, etc.

Congrats on the new job.

Where is your office located? Your choice of housing will be heavily dictated by commute options. For example, getting to the Financial District from much of SF proper and the Pennisula is actually harder than coming in from the East Bay.

I agree with Woolen- get something temporary and figure things out before trying to jump into something more permanent.

Where are you working (not the name of the company, but where are they? Downtown? North Beach? SOMA?)

Just north of Potreto Hill, which I’m guessing/hearing is the Arts District? Close to Jackson Park.

So yeah at first I’m looking at temporary (ie. small and cheap if possible) then seeing where I can go from there. If commuting from East Bay is better in that area then yeah I guess I can do that.

— Alan

Living in the east bay and taking bart is a more than fine option. I lived in Concord and commuted into downtown SF (market street) for years. The 45 minute trip is a nice time to get reading done, much preferable to being stuck in traffic.

Having just made a long distance move to SF less than two months ago, I will echo what others have said - try to find a decent temporary place until you have more time to get your bearings.

It took us multiple trips and some time in temp housing to find out the neighborhood that was right - two weeks probably is not enough time to figure that out.

Commuting is totally dependent on where in the Bay Area you end up - commuting from the far west portion of SF via MUNI (the metro rail in SF proper) or bus likely is longer than taking BART (the metro rail for a much bigger portion of the Bay Area) across the bay to Oakland, but there are plenty of places in SF that will give you a relatively short commute to where you are going to be working.

If your office in near Potrero Hill, you may want to hit up craigslist and see what temporary apartments may be available so you could walk to work for a bit.

Potrero Hill? Get a cheap apartment in the Mission around Dolores Park. Your commute will be like ten blocks (easy to bike). You will have to deal with some downtrodden city dwellers and crime, but it should be a good starting point for getting to know the city and choosing your desired funkiness level. I lived at 17th and Guerrero for ten years and really dug it, though I moved away in 2002 so I don’t really know what’s happened in the last eight years. Still, even if it’s gone downhill it’ll be better than Oakland. And screw commuting on BART, it’s fine if you have to but if you don’t, why would you?

I’d consider anything near Jackson Park as still being in Potrero Hill. There are plenty of nice places in Potrero Hill but it’s the sort of neighborhood where you want to take a walk around before settling on anything. There are multi-million dollar houses backed up to projects in some spots. I lived at 19th/Texas, which is walking distance or a very easy bus ride to Jackson Park, and it was a pretty sweet spot. There’s a neighborhood grocery store, good restaurants, a couple of bars, book store, and coffee shop all walking distance from the top of the hill.

If you live outside of the city, you can take BART to the Mission District and take one bus (22 line) that’ll get you right to the Jackson Park area.

If you’re interested in living in the city and want to be near BART but not in a shitty neighborhood, check out Glen Park. It has a BART station surrounded by restaurants, library, book store, etc. There are also tons of bus lines that’ll get you to other parts of the city fairly quickly. Mission and Bernal Heights are also good for commutes to Potrero. Mission’s kind of sketchy in places but has lots to offer - good food, bars, Dolores Park… Bernal’s quieter, a bit cheaper, and you can often find a place with at least a small yard.

I loved BART. Its nice to be able to walk to work (walk to/from station) without having to pay an arm and a leg for rent.

I really like Glen Park - neat little neighborhood and somewhat feasible rent, and tons of transportation options as Leah mentioned.

I ended up just to the north in Noe Valley, which is a quiet, but outrageously expensive neighborhood. My wife and I visited during the weekly farmer’s market, when the area becomes a baby convention - since we have an infant daughter my wife was irrevocably sold, much to the chagrin of our pocketbooks.

Glen Park is definitely awesome, but so is Bernal Heights. I miss my “TenderNob” apartment though (I was on the cusp of the Tenderloin and Nob Hill).

A tip on where to look online:
CraigsList is really popular in the Bay Area, so you should definitely scan through there once you find some neighborhoods that sound promising.

I generally find anything south of cesar chavez & mission (ie the entire peninsula) pretty burby and crappy, and anything east of 7th ave too foggy and desolate. So there’s that big chunk o’ city left for you to consider. Otherwise, north oakland (20 min Bart ride).

You’re missing out. There’s lots of good stuff south of Cesar Chavez. I lived in Glen Park for 6 years and it’s by far my favorite neighborhood in the city. Over the last few years, the bars and venues nearish there on Mission have really taken off. Lots of good restaurants too, and crazy-good transit - BART, J-Church, and a ton of bus lines. You can walk or bike to Mission, Bernal, and Noe Valley. Rent is cheaper than Mission and Noe, plus there’s a good chance you can get a yard and parking.

Totally with you on the fog though. I’m on that side of 7th and right now it looks like the windows have been painted grey.

Definitely go the temporary housing route at first. I’d spend the weekends scoping out different neighborhoods and go with the one that rubs you the right way. Even better: if you find a place on Craigslist that you’re interested in, pop the address or nearest corner/intersection into to see the proximity to restaurants, bookstores, etc. Areas with more cool shit nearby will get a better score and will definitely equate to a better living environment.

Yeah I’ve looked into Craigslist a bit, and will do so more as I get into town. The problem there is that a lot of places go fast and won’t pay much attention if you’re still a week or so away from getting into town (which I am).

Also emailed DoomMunky. Considering time constraints, etc. that’s practically the best situation I’ve come across, but will check others over the next few days. Thanks everyone for the suggestions though. Am hoping something works out fairly soon.

— Alan

I gots me a walkscore of 92 mofo

Until 3 weeks ago I lived a mere wander from Jackson Park, though that wander was across the CalTrain tracks followed by a layer of storage places, quasi-homeless RVs, and Greyhound station detritus followed by a layer of imported furniture and Asian antique stores. If I worked there I think I’d check out Dogpatch as a place to live. It’s windy but not very foggy, and the Hard Knox Cafe is the shit. Plus the Hells Angels have a clubhouse there.