Helo! Moving to San Francisco

Old Oct 2nd, 2004, 09:00 PM
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Helo! Moving to San Francisco

Hi Guys,

We just found out we are getting transfered to San Francisco. We are in Manhattan now (upper west side) and need help getting our brains wrapped around this transfer. What is the best way to find an apartment their? I've been checking Craig's list but the neighborhoods mean nothing to me. Which leads me to my next question...what neighborhoods to shoot for? Since we are coming from NYC we won't want to be too far from the center of things (restaurants, shopping, etc) and a view would be great.

Thanks a bunch!
Rachel
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Old Oct 2nd, 2004, 09:12 PM
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OMG, Congratulations! At least the prices will be comparable to NYC. Will you be able to go out and apt hunt? How long until the move?
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Old Oct 2nd, 2004, 09:26 PM
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It is fabulous here, unless you will miss the snow, but you can head for the Sierras then. Where you work may be a good starting point, as you will want the easiest path back and forth. Do you know what area that will be?
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Old Oct 2nd, 2004, 10:17 PM
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UCSF is a med school. If you're not in the medical industry, you might look at SF State, Cal Berkeley, or USF (private). Neighborhoods (districts) vary so much you might want to throw some out here and let us describe for you. They're really all so different. When you say that you're in the Upper West Side -- do you mean around Columbia? Sorry, I'm not totally familiar with NYC. If that is the case, you might like the Inner Sunset. Little shops, great restaurants, cafes, great grocery store (Andronico's) plus small markets, right next to Golden Gate Park, great transportation (N Judah to Union Square), and... the headquarters of Craig's List is right there on 9th between Irving and Judah. Cole Valley is the next neighborhood over and slightly more trendy and, of course, expensive. Congratulations and good luck! I think you'll like it here!
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Old Oct 2nd, 2004, 10:31 PM
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UCSF is definitely not for me - can you tell I did no research on that one!

Columbia is part of the Upper West Side but it borders Harlem. We're about 30 blocks from there, 2 blocks from Central Park, 15 blocks from the shops on 5th Avenue, and 20 blocks from Times Square . The things we love about our area are all of the amenities - great grocery stores, tons of restaurants, boutiques, and small stores. We don't have to venture too far to find just about everything we want. It sounds like Inner Sunset might be a good option.

The other thing I forgot to mention is that we will want an older apartment. Our apartment now was built in the early 1900's and I love the charm of the wood floors, mouldings, etc.



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Old Oct 3rd, 2004, 09:33 AM
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Craig's List is OK for getting an idea but you won't find the best places and you'll be in heated competition. The best way to find a good place is through an agency. I found my house through Metro Rent.

http://www.metrorent.com

In fact, we had been looking for a place during the dot\com boom and I was not about to compromise my tastes and need for space for a $2000 Jr. 1-bedroom (studio apt. with walk-in closet for a bedroom). So we found this great HOUSE that was just slightly above our price range, but the competition was lower so we didn't have to go into a bidding frenzy. The owners just liked us for who we were so they rented to us. Three years later, they sold the place to us!

It is a fee service but well worth it.

The districts and neighborhoods that you might consider are:

Inner Sunset
West Portal
Cole Valley
Inner Richmond
Laurel Heights
Lake Street
Duboce Triangle
Noe Valley
Upper Market
Diamond Heights

The Inner Sunset is my recommendation but then again, I'm biased. It's where I live
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Old Oct 3rd, 2004, 01:46 PM
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Another thing to consider is that San Francisco has many "micro-climates"--some areas tend to be much sunnier than others. I really like the Noe Valley area. The weather tends to be sunny, there are some charming old homes and 24th Street has lots of good shopping and restaurants.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2004, 02:07 PM
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Thanks Sequess for bringing up the weather! I would have completely overlooked that. We definitely want sun. Cher were the areas you recommended in good climate areas? I checked out Metrorent and bookmarked it - it looks good!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2004, 02:34 PM
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We own the building we live in and when we have a vacancy we exclusively list on craigslist now. In the dot com boom we used metro rent and renttech but now craigslist is all we need.

Inner Sunset is fantatic--it can get a bit of fog but not as bad as some areas (this is the neighborhood I grew up in). Great shopping/restaurant district right around 9th avenue. Marina/Cow Hollow is the yuppie area. Lots of shops, bars, restaurants, and silver spoons. Great weather. I love all the areas that cher_cher suggested (with the exception of West Portal, but that is just a personal opinion). Also Dolores Park(sometimes referred to as Upper Mission or Castro although a bit south of actual Castro) is great. Be wary of anything described as "lower Nob Hill". This can sometimes be real estate speak for Tenderloin or at best Tender-Nob. Not the best.

If you want an old unit with all the old charms, this is the city. High ceilings, hardwood, and period details are easy to come by especially with your budget these days.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2004, 05:16 PM
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I completely gelled on Dolores Park. That is a great area. What about Liberty Hill? Is that the same?

I spend quite a bit of time over in West Portal and have seen it change a lot over the years. This was where I first lived in SF when I moved here 10 years ago and lived in my friend's grandmother's house, surrounded by grannies with not much to do in the hood but eat at that over-priced taqueria and drink at the Philosopher's Club. But it's really come a long way with a Peet's Coffee and a Squat & Gobble, the Peruvian joint, an indie movie theater, Eezy Freezy, etc. We eat at the Village Grill every Sunday morning.

Anyway... it is more bucolic than the rest of the city, but I guess I'll always have a soft spot for it.

Weather-wise, it depends on what you like. I actually enjoy the fog. It's kind of something you have to deal with if you want to live in proximity to the beach. It keeps the air cool and clean and it's quite romantic.

Anything east of Twin Peaks will not have the fog issue because it breaks up as soon as it hits the hills. Those neighborhoods would be:

Duboce Triangle
Noe Valley
Upper Market
Dolores Park

Duboce Triangle is great because it is smack dab in the middle of the city and so it's very easy to get around. I lived in the Lower Haight after I moved out of WP and it was great for that reason alone. This also means that it won't be as, um, quiet since it's such a hub.

"This can sometimes be real estate speak for Tenderloin or at best Tender-Nob. Not the best."

We call the Tender-Nob "Upper Tenderloin." We picked that one up from a real estate agent who was *not* being tongue-in-cheek.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2004, 08:42 PM
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Rae181: Shops, cafes and restaurants, old buildings (read that Victorians) and some of the best weather in San Francisco; sounds like Noe Valley to me. It is a great area. Not rundown or seedy.
Bernal Heights offers some of the same amenities and is in the process of upscaling. Consequently, it's a bit less expensive. Probably the best weather in the City.
Sunset is foggy and don't let anyone tell you different. You can go days without seeing the sun. Besides, the buildings are newer; post-war boxy for the most part.
Nob Hill has the old buildings and decent weather and the shops and restaurants are right below in China Town and North Beach or on the other side, on Polk.
Noe Valley would be my first choice based on your description of what you want.
I'm a San Francisco native and those would be my suggestions. Good luck.
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Old Oct 4th, 2004, 11:51 AM
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You might also try the Glen Park area, which is adjacent to Noe Valley. It has a BART station and the J Church street car is not far.
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Old Oct 4th, 2004, 02:29 PM
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Hi there, I moved to SF from NYC a year and a half ago myself. I grew up in SF but my fiance is from NY and he lived on the UWS near Lincoln Center.

Here is a good link which describes the neighborhoods for you:
http://www.sfgate.com/traveler/guide/sf/neighborhoods/

The neighborhoods really vary in flavor and weather. Public transportation is pretty good - nothing compared to NY - but it's easy to get to work if you work downtown (financial district) or South of Market and where you need to go.

I would look at Cole Valley, Inner Sunset, Russian Hill, Marina/Cow Hollow, Noe Valley, Eureka Valley, Dolores Park.

THe mission is a great neighborhood for bars and restaurants, but it is the LES (my old neighborhood) but with homeless people. I loved the LES and I wouldn't live in many parts of the mission.

Some mentional Bernal Heights and Glen park - I would say if you are living here for the first time and really want to be in the thick of things, you may find those neighborhoods to be not so convenient (they are in the very southern portion of the city).

If you are going to have a car, I would advise that you don't live anywhere without a garage or parking. It will make your life a nightmare to not have it.

Good Luck!
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Old Oct 5th, 2004, 08:58 PM
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All of the posts have been so helpful!

I checked out the www.sfgate.com/traveler/guide /sf/neighborhoods website. From their descriptions Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, and Russian Hill all sounded appealing to me. Cole Valley and Noe Valley both sounded like something I would need to see in person. Nobody has mentioned Pacific Heights in their postings. Is there a reason? Also, I had a hard time finding much information on Dolores Park and Eureka Valley.

The stroller influx in Noe Valley caught my eye. Not that I'm not kid friendly but the Upper West Side has had the same thing happen and I'm just not to that life stage yet. We're in our late 20's, no kids, no dogs, and not big club/bar people.

I guess our main concerns are finding an aesthically nice apartment that gets sun in a neighborhood that has good restaurants (we're big into eating out!), good accesibility to amenities (grocery, video stores, dry cleaners, etc.), and some degree of mid-upscale shopping close by. Everything else probably won't be a daily need.
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Old Oct 6th, 2004, 07:49 AM
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The Marina sounds just right for you.
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Old Oct 6th, 2004, 10:37 AM
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Pac Heights and the Cow Hollow/Marina sound like a good option for you. Omitting pac heights was an oversight.

I think that a visit to SF, if possible, would clear up all of these issues. You really need to walk the streets and see if the neighborhood is right for you.
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Old Oct 6th, 2004, 11:21 AM
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I just wanted to second the suggestion regarding looking on Craig's list. Now that the dot com boom has passed, finding an apartment in the city has become much easier. We just moved into a new apartment a couple of months ago...I saw tons of places, all of which were listed on craig's list.

As far as neighborhoods go, we live in North Beach and really like it: bars, restaurants, shops, lots of sun, and easy to get to work downtown (but you have to like/tolerate tourists and it can be a bit of a trip to get to places like the Mission to go out). I would suggest checking out Pac Heights (around Fillmore), Cole Valley, Duboce Triangle, and Hayes Valley. Noe is cute, but depending on where you are in the neighborhood, it can feel far from downtown. I also would not live in the Mission.
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Old Oct 6th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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Omitting Pac Heights was not an oversight on my part. I don't find it a particularly great neighborhood. Nice views and caché, yes, but also lacking a "neighborhood" feel. Too much corporate housing, I guess.

The Marina does sound like the best option, though I've never considered it. When the big one comes, I'd want to be on terra firma, thanks! Cow Hollow would be my recommendation.
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Old Oct 6th, 2004, 12:04 PM
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And I don't recommend Hayes Valley. It hasn't cleaned up enough. There is still way too much violence and break-ins to be worth the $$$.
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Old Oct 6th, 2004, 02:47 PM
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As you can see picking a neighborhood is very much a matter of personal preference. I live in Cole Valley, which I think is great; I have friends who live in Noe Valley, the Castro, SOMA, the Mission, the Marina, Nob Hill and Hayes Valley and they all love where they live. I like Cole Valley because it is my small village inside SF, they all love where they live different reasonsi.e. it is sunnier, it feels more urban, it's more hip, it's younger, there's more to do, etc. Some parts of SF have a more city feel to them than others, some feel more residential, only you know what will work for you. Many post college newcomers tend to gravitate towards the Marina--sort of UES/2d Ave feel to it; some are attracted to the hip, edgy feel of the Mission, or lower Haight. BTW Pac Heights is probably the most expensive neighborhood (excluding Seacliff and Presidio Terrace) --think multimillion dollar homes. There are few apartment rentals in Pacific Heights proper--there is an area that describes itself as lower Pacific Heights which has more rentals. SF is not that big and neither are the neighborhoods and you will be able on a very short visit to determine the areas you like the best.
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