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Hello all ... a few questions for San Francisco residents, as my wife and I are contemplating a relocation. We currently live in Manhattan, Kansas and have never lived outside of the Midwest (although I've travelled extensively).

We know it's expensive, but how expensive? I've re-searched on the Web about cost of living, but I'd like to hear from someone actually living in the City.

Can you subjectively rate the standard of living? (ie cultural opportunities, entertainment etc.)

How is the job market for educated intelligent liberal arts types (you know, smart people with no tangible skills like computer programming or auto mechanic)? My wife is a veterinarian so she's quite employable ... I currently work as a disaffected police officer.

Other random comments also appreciated!

A big genuine hearty midwestern thank ya'll!

Best
Jason
 

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aka Zonic Man
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j-son said:
Hello all ... a few questions for San Francisco residents, as my wife and I are contemplating a relocation. We currently live in Manhattan, Kansas and have never lived outside of the Midwest (although I've travelled extensively).

We know it's expensive, but how expensive? I've re-searched on the Web about cost of living, but I'd like to hear from someone actually living in the City.

Can you subjectively rate the standard of living? (ie cultural opportunities, entertainment etc.)

How is the job market for educated intelligent liberal arts types (you know, smart people with no tangible skills like computer programming or auto mechanic)? My wife is a veterinarian so she's quite employable ... I currently work as a disaffected police officer.

Other random comments also appreciated!

A big genuine hearty midwestern thank ya'll!

Best
Jason
Well, the riding is outstanding. As for the house stuff, there are a lot of links on the internet regarding cost of living differentials, etc.

If you're intersted in riding (roadbikereview.com) I can help you out with some great references to rides, local shops, etc. cycling related.
 

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Great lifestyle, but you DO pay for it

Hey. As cycling city, I would that San Fran is probably the best city in the county. The terrain is perfect, the weather is (usually) great, and the atmosphere is quite pro-cycling. Also, the amount of land surrounding the city that is park or preserve is incredible; you can find "secluded" rides five miles out of town. There are thousands of serious cyclists, ton of organized rides, and dozens of races and events all year round. It's as close to perfect as you're going to find. And, overall, the cost of living is comprable to the rest of the country, although our gasoline is famously expenisve.

The HUGE exception is housing. It's, in a word, outrageous. The average cost of a single family house is most of the surrounding counties is $500K+, and it's much more expensive in the city.

Even that doesn't tell the story. Most of those $500K homes are old '60s beaters or new zero-lot boxes in the grassy, somewhat sunbaked eastern burbs. If you want to live in a close-in or "quaint" town like Sausilito, Mill Valley, Tiburon, Corde Madera or--god help you--Woodside, you're looking at more than $750K for anything standing. PLUS, most homes go for about 20% more than the list--it's a nightmare.

Of course, you make more money here, but the current employment scene is BLEAK. My wife has a great job, thank god, but I've got an MBA, yadayada, and I've been out of work for a WHILE, and there ain't much on the horizon.

Still, the quality of life here is fantastic. Culturally, culinarily(?) it's endless, and the city isn't "urban" per se, it's surprisingly small and low-rise. It's also a lot less hippy-dippy than many people think it is; it's a fairly "normal" place to live.

If you have the chance, I'd say go for it. Rents have gotten much more reasonable and easily available, and I'm sure you could always gt back into law enforcement fo you want. Hey, you can always go back, you know? Why not try it out before it's too late?

Here's some incentive:
 

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I hate you!!!

I am interviewing for a job out in San Fran this week. I have 3 interviews this week, 2 in NY and 1 in San Fran. God help I actually get a few offers and have to decide. I am currently in NYC but those pictures may persuede me otherwise. Ahh sun and warmer weather.
 

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As long as you have no immediate desire to buy a house, no immediate desire to have kids, don't mind spending a lot on rent for a small apartment, it's about the best place to live, ride and of course eat. Figure about $2000 a month for a half-decent 2 bedroom apartment in SF and go from there.
 

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Parking

Another item to mention is parking. There is shortage of parking spaces so it can be a nightmare, at times.
You may want to think about commuting from someplace further down the peninsula, like San Carlos or Hillsdale. You can take the train to commute back and forth from work and use your bike to get around the City.
 

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you don't have to live in SF to enjoy it.

but it can be fun for awhile. i've lived off and on in SF over the past 10 or so years. now i live in sonoma county. but go down to the city to play about once a month.

if you do decide to move to SF and lucky enough to have parking then it can be a fun place. almost always something to do from good food, bars/pubs, dance clubs, sex clubs, you name it, you can find it.
 

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Love it here.

It's a great place to live and to ride. Endless ride opportunities and a great infrastructure supporting my passion, long-distance riding. There's SF Randonneurs, Santa Rosa Cycling Club, Davis Bike Club, and others. Cal Triple Crown rides are less than a day's drive away, plus you can get to Markleeville for the Death Ride in about four hours. Yay Sierra! (And in the off-season, alpine and XC cross training are real close.)

Also, you've got a lot of racing clubs that cater to every ability, so if that's your thing, you're set.

Sure, it's expensive, but I think it's a tradeoff. Also, you may find the politics a little more to the left of your liking. (I don't know your political leanings, so I'm assuming a lot.) SF is a lot more liberal than the rest of the state.

As for the LEO scene:
I can only speak fourth-hand-ish. My Brother in Law was Oakland PD then moved over to BART when he and my sis had kids. He told me that upon reflection, he would have preferred to be with San Jose, 'cause he believes that there's a lot more opportunity for professional crime-fighting there. Like I said, I may be talking smack here as I only know what I've heard.

(FWIW, every interaction I've had with SFPD has been positive, even when I've been the cause of the problem. They've always been professional and responsive, although they've gotten a bad rap in the press and for awhile, we've had a less than aggressive DA. We have a new one now.)

I grew up here, moved abroad, then lived in Chicago for a number of years so believe I have a bit of a transplant-Midwestern perspective. There can be sort of a weird neighborhood-chauvanist vibe going on; my advice would be to ignore it.

Re: Housing, there are some very nice lesser-known neighborhoods you can explore that have both parking and views!! Thing is, they're not in what are regarded as the "hippest" neghborhoods. However, where I live is close to the zoo, the beach, GG Park, 280 and 101 (the main arterials to Silicon Valley, SFO and Downtown.)

Believe it or not, sometimes when I ride in superb and spectacular conditions, I wish that everyone would have that same opportunity. So that would be my main reason for encouraging you to come here.
 

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If you don't take the job...

I'll take it! Well, if I can do it, that is. But seriously, this is a great place to be. I know NYC well and, I gotta tell ya, this is better. Most of the good stuff NYC| has, little of the bad. And it's pretty great even when the weather's not.

Here's a few from Bolinas this weekend:
 

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Best place in the world, but $$$$$$!!

I haven't lived there for several years, but my family's from there and I still visit once a month or so. Far as I'm concerned, coastal central California--from SF down to about San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara--is the best place in the world. The weather's great (I never saw a flake of snow or temperatures below freezing until I went into the Army), and in SF you can do EVERYTHING, culturally, that you'd ever want to do.
There are major traffic problems, of course, with no solutions in sight. Like everyplace else, they're forever working on fixes that might have been adequate 25 years ago, and nobody's going to give up cars. Wonderful riding in every direction from the city, though.
I left for a job I really wanted, and have lucked into a couple of other jobs that have kept me away. If I'd hung onto the house I had in 1975, I could sell it now, move to Reno and kick back for the rest of my days.
Starting fresh there now from someplace like Kansas, though, would be really hard. SF workers are living in places like Tracy and Morgan Hill, two-hour commutes away. Home prices are impossible, not just in the city but for miles around. Half a million dollars won't move you in. My dad sold his 3-bedroom tract house in Redwood City (25 miles south) for $240,000 in 1995. It sold again in '98 for $400,000 plus, and the one next door is on the market right now for $695K. Even at that price, they're drawing lots and taking bids ABOVE the asking price, and that's 45 minutes from the city.
 
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