San Francisco has long been recognized as one of the most culturally rich cities in the entire country. Famous for its stunning landscapes, iconic cable cars, and numerous tourist destinations, San Francisco is the heart of northern California. The metropolitan area is the 11th largest in the country, with a total of 4.5 million people calling it home. The city of San Francisco hit its boom in the mid-1800s, when the gold rush caused the town to explode from around 1,000 to more than 25,000 in less than a year. After that, growth was ongoing and continual. Even after 75% of the city was damaged or destroyed during the earthquake and subsequent fire in 1906, the allure of San Francisco has resulted in the city's continual growth.
When to Search
San Francisco is a large city that doesn't have extreme swings in apartment availability the way certain smaller centers might. However, the summer usually has a few more apartments for rent than the winter. If you're picky about where your apartment is, or if you really need certain amenities, you might benefit from the slightly greater selection in the summer months.
Staying in the Know
Your income is going to play an important role in what type of apartments you can get in San Francisco. Whether family, a scholarship, or a job funds you, you need to be able to show landlords that you can afford to make your rent. The best way to do this is by providing documentation that shows conclusively how much income you will have coming in.
Life in San Francisco
San Francisco has one of the best public transportation systems in the United States. The transit systems are by far the easiest way to bridge neighborhoods and it is a beautiful city to walk around once you reach the general vicinity of your destination. The Muni network will get you everywhere you need to go within the city, with the subway, streetcar, trolley car, busses and cable cars.
Where to play
Entertainment in San Francisco starts with some of its more legendary tourist attractions, such as the Golden Gate bridge and the island of Alcatraz. Visiting the most well known Chinatown in the country is also a wonderful experience, and worth it for either the food or the shopping. Although it is more of a tourist destination than it once was, a visit to the Haight Ashbury neighborhood is essential for connecting to San Francisco's famous past during the 60s and 70s.
San Francisco has more attractions that almost any city, but without a doubt the most famous has to be the Golden Gate Bridge. Driving over the bridge, or having a picnic with a good photo-taking vantage is a must during your time in the city. The next attraction that you can't miss is perhaps more notorious than famous, but in either event, touring Alcatraz Island is one of the most popular activities for visitors to San Francisco. The largest Chinatown in North America is another spot that shouldn’t be missed. Finally, heading just outside of the city to Napa or Sonoma will take you through some of the best wine producing regions in the country.
A bit of a local legend, the Stinking Rose is renowned for making everything on the menu with ample amounts of garlic – including the ice cream! The Bimini Twist is a very unique restaurant, located right in the home of the operators. With a background a fishmonger, the host provides the absolute freshest seafood you can find. Gary Danko has spent years atop Zagat’s list of the best in San Francisco. If you want the traditional French experience, then you should find time to go to La Folie. A newer Mexican establishment that has been making waves with the quality of it's food is Tacorgasmico.
Dirty Habits has one of the best patios in town. Ample seating together with the fire pit and the fountain combine to make one of the coolest outdoor places to sit and enjoy a drink. Rickhouse is a great bar that features fantastic cocktails and live bluegrass music on a regular basis. This bar is especially designed to cater to whiskey lovers. Woodbury is a quirky bar that caters to people who grew up in the 1990s with a Super Nintendo available for patrons to enjoy while they have a drink. The Golden Gate Tap Room is meant for beer lovers, with 100 great beer available.
San Francisco has been known as a cultural hotbed for more than 50 years. The de Young Museum is one of the premiere museums that focus on American art. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is another must-see. For classical music lovers, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra has a history that stretches back more than 100 years, and their level of play lives up to that rich history. Catching a play in San Francisco is also a great idea, as many of the world’s best playwrights premiere work here before it moves to New York. The American Conservatory Theatre, The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, and The Marsh are just a handful of the dozens of great places to see theatre in the city.
The Haight Ashbury is certainly the most famous neighbourhood in the city, and the Haight Ashbury Street Fair in June is a great way to experience it. Food booths and various local stores, craftspeople and vendors line the streets of this iconic neighbourhood during the festival. The San Francisco Jazz Fest is a two-week celebration of jazz music. San Francisco has long been considered a city that has been at the heart of the Gay Pride movements, and the Pride Parade & Festival each June is one of the largest and most extravagant around. If you love rich food and good beer, then take in the Oktoberfest by the Bay to enjoy great German food and drink.
If you're looking for a little curio that is uniquely San Franciscan in nature, a stroll through the eclectic shops of Chinatown is a great way to go. If name brand shopping in a high-end mall is more your speed, then you need to visit the Westfield San Francisco Centre Mall, as this is where you'll find the highest-end mall retailers in the city, although Union Square Shopping is certainly home to it's fair share as well. If you like to be on the cutting edge, you should shop at the stores on Fillmore Street. This is where some of the most unique designers and trendsetters have set up business, and the district has been frequently called one of the best shopping streets in the country.
While San Francisco doesn't have a sports team in every professional league, when you expand to the entire bay area, all the pro leagues are represented. There are actually two NFL teams in the immediate area, with the Raiders being located in Oakland, with the 49ers being the official home team of San Francisco. Similarly, Oakland is home to the Athletics MLB franchise, whereas the San Francisco team is the Giants. The Golden State Warriors represent San Francisco in the NBA. The local hockey and soccer teams, the Sharks and the Earthquakes respectively, are both based out of San Jose.
If you love to surf, then you need to get familiar with Ocean Beach. This is the largest beach in the city, and also the best place to catch some waves. Land’s End is home to some of the most beautiful views in the Bay Area, and also a wonderful place to bird watch, with more than 250 species calling the area home. You can even get completely away from the hustle and bustle of the city by heading out to Angel Island. If you don't want to take a ferry, just hop in a kayak and paddle across to a huge expanse of parkland lined with trails and dotted with historic landmarks.