Bay Area

Advice for moving to the Bay Area

Ahmad Zahran Non-Linear Thinker | Strategist | Entrepreneur

January 30th, 2014

After 6 years of running my startup from Dubai I'm now moving it to San Francisco and relocating there with my wife. I know this is probably a broad question but what advice would you give to someone moving to the Bay Area? Anything at all from finding a decently priced home, keeping costs low (I am an entrepreneur after all), to best eatings spots or hangout places for entrepreneurs. No wrong answers here folks! 

Andrew Jaeger

January 30th, 2014

I found the best place to try and find a house was Craigslist, had the most offerings and is pretty straightforward to get in touch with the posters.  If you want to try and live in an affordable (but not stabbable) area, I'd suggest Haight, certain parts of the Mission or Lower Pac Heights.  Soma, Pac Heights, Marina etc. are VERY expensive.  And not entrepreneur related but check out Monk's Kettle if you enjoy beer whatsoever, they literally have a tome of beers and lambics to choose from.  Welcome and good luck!

Fred Hawkins

January 30th, 2014

staying east of the bay is generally much cheaper than alternatives on the peninsula for everything from housing costs to food. I like Berkeley a lot because it is close to SF, but many prefer to be south, closer to Silicon Valley. If the city of San Francisco is where you're going, I'd suggest thinking about something in SOMA close to Market street, Potrero or the Mission district. All of the areas have a lot to offer young companies. I'd suggest that wherever you go that you plan to rent an apartment temporarily so that you can find something permanent that fits. The San Francisco Bay Area is sufficiently costly and the neighborhoods and each of the burbs are so different from one another, that planning for a temporary place to live is a good way to prepare to 'ease into it' and find what you like. Cheers and good luck Fred

Leena MBA Content & Publication Manager at NetApp

January 30th, 2014

I got the best of all worlds by living in Rockridge, which is a nice, "gentrified" part of Oakland. It's close to the Piedmont neighborhood and College Avenue (the latter leads straight to Berkeley). A little further up is the Gourmet Ghetto area on Shattuck and further up from that, the Solano area with its art galleries and shops. You get the best of all worlds with great cafes, restaurants, bars, gyms, parks and a pain-free commute either from the MacArthur or Rockridge BART stations. Pretty safe area, and an 18 minute BART ride to the Embacadero (first stop in SF). Not bad at all. In fact, it often takes longer to commute WITHIN San Francisco than to come in from the east side. You will pay a lot to live here, but you won't be gouged like you will in SF. Well, who am I kidding, you will be gouged no matter where you live in the bay area, if you are avoiding the bad neighborhoods.

I think SF is overrated, personally (I can hear a collective gasp right now), if you don't mind the east bay, you can get everything for a better price and a damn good commute, too.

For the best pizza on earth, seriously - try the Cheeseboard on Shattuck, and make sure you get a bulb of their roasted garlic to eat with it, and a cold ginger beer to wash it all down.

Steven Zeiler Software Architect at Ripple Labs

January 30th, 2014

You will find San Francisco proper to be shockingly expensive, as I did when I moved here one year ago. The Easy Bay cities of Berkeley and Oakland are thriving, are significantly more inexpensive, and are a short train ride from San Francisco.

Scott Sanchez Director & Lead Cloud Evangelist at Rackspace // Business Strategy // Product // Marketing // OpenStack

January 30th, 2014

Consider Austin! #justsayin :)

Jon Clement Founder at

January 30th, 2014

Good luck, some amazing scenes and people.
Checkout the Truilia map, especially the tab for "communte times" and crime.  Will give a good overview of the city.,CA/map_v/


Robert Clegg

January 30th, 2014

If you are hiring younger employees, locate near BART, the train system. Locating in Oakland will allow those in SF to commute to you. Commuting is a huge deal here. Google/Yahoo have buses bringing their employees from SF to outer areas.

Game companies are located in San Rafael north of the city over the Golden Gate Bridge. So talent can be found in the North Bay. (No BART to the North Bay). Reasonable housing in the San Rafael and surrounding areas. If you want an ideal place to live including the best weather around, Sausalito. There are a number of office spaces there that are available now. It's not a college town, and it's not the "start up" buzz of the city. But it's out of the way, easy to get to, and you avoid a lot of the hassles of the city. Easy commute into the city. You can take the Ferry if needed. Great restaurants - Sushi Ran, best sushi around. Salito's Prime Rib and Crab House to name a couple.

... ps - and if you play basketball, look me up. We have a fun community pick up game on a great little outdoor court during the week. All skill levels and sizes. it's fun.

Lawrence Lerner Digitalization and Transformation Coach

January 30th, 2014

I suggest you try  There are a lot of networking groups.  I run a Relocating to Seattle Meetup and I'll be there's at least one (or more likely a dozen) for the Bay area.

Good luck

Peter Sankauskas Founder & CEO at CloudNative

January 30th, 2014

From experience, without a California driver's license, social security number or credit history, you don't exist. 

Get you SSN as quickly as possible. Once you have that:

 - Go to the DVM and do the knowledge test - book for the driving test (month or so in advance)
 - Open an account with any of the big banks. You will need checks.
 - Negotiate with them on getting a credit card (probably a very small limit, and secured)
 - When you buy a car, even if you don't need a loan, finance at least part of it. 

Buying a place is very hard right now unless you have cash up front.

If you are going to rent, because you have no credit history, be prepared to pay 2 months in advance, plus double the deposit.

Be strong. Policy has a way of wearing you down. After a few years, you get over it and accept it.

Erin Abdelrazaq Computer Software Professional

January 30th, 2014

I recently moved here too and I second the advice of using craigslist and meetup to find resources and discover places and people.  I would say keep your mind open when finding a place to settle in, the Bay Area is so diverse and each part has a lot to offer.  Living away from the city is definitely cheaper, but commuting can be expensive with the distance and the bridge tolls, so if you have the patience and can find something affordable in the city or in the Peninsula area, I would say go for it.  Having a car is pretty crucial if you want to explore and get a feel for the whole area, but in the city of SF, everything is pretty accessible.  And for hanging out and eating, check out the Marina, the Wharf, and definitely the entire Mission district.