San Francisco vs South Bay

In case you don’t know me or talked to me about the decision of living in South Bay vs San Francisco when you decide to graduate or whatever you’re planning, I like San Francisco. Now this is highly dependent, I think both regions have their own benefits and advantages and it will depend on not only where you are in life but what you like to do.

I actually convinced my entire startup (inDinero) from moving from Mountain View to San Francisco. That’s how much I prefer the city. I think it’s better for younger people who want to explore and want to be active in terms of trying out new things and meeting new people.

Let’s start with South Bay!

South Bay:

  • Cheaper, you can find much nicer and roomier places for significantly cheaper.
    • I paid $700 for my room in East Palo Alto, though that was ghetto as fuck. No Parking
    • I believe my friends pay around $900~$1000 for their own rooms but come with lots of perks/parking
    • The apartments come with benefits like shared pools, etc.
    • There are places that are more and just as expensive as SF but in general. I believe you get more bang for your buck.
  • Easier Street Parking
  • Flat Ground. 
    • Running is a lot easier on my feet :(
  • Clear Biking Lanes
    • I biked 8 miles back and forth from work for a while. I had clear bike lanes and lots of room on streets to avoid cars.
  • Better Gym Facilities
    • The gyms come with pools, racquetball courts, etc.
    • Equivalent gyms in South Bay are better (Planet Granite in South Bay is better than SF)
  • Asian Food
    • No Ramen place in the city has yet to match Maru Ichi (disclaimer: I have not yet to visit any places in the Sunset / Richmond Districts where I’ve heard much better asian food resides)
  • Cleaner (I.E. Less bums)
  • 24 Hour Fast food
    • DONT JUDGE ME =(


  • Cars, cars, and more cars. You have to DRIVE everywhere. You need a car to go anywhere.
  • HOA organizations are plentiful in condos and apartments and I fucking hate HOA. If you want people who are just giddy with any local amount of power they have and abuse it, meet a Home Owner’s Association. 
  • Public Transit is terrible, this is kinda tied to the you need a car thing but I believe it’s more to do with other people coming to you.
    • Your friends have trouble visiting. Got a friend without a car? Good luck ever having him/her visit.
  • No Centralized Location for Work
    • Everyone kinda works far apart from each other to the point where getting lunch together is considerably less likely.
  • The Population is heavily suburbanite, while there exists plenty of open minded and younger people. I think the majority are families.
  • I’d like to call it the lazy man syndrome. As opposed to public transit, when you have to physically drive somewhere, you are less inclined to go out. This doesn’t affect everyone, but I believe it still exists. 
    San Francisco
    • Public Transit. You can actually get most places in the city by either BART, bus, or MUNI Train. 
      • Hell the city is 8 miles wide across at the largest point, you could probably just walk home (I live 2 miles from work, I could easily walk home)
    • Restaurants, SF has the most restaurants per capita and is one of the places where new places try to open up and try things. 
      • Some are silly *cough* the Melt *cough*. Grilled Cheese Sandwich restaurant?
        • I totally love their desert sandwich though it was a smore sandwich *drools*
        • Too expensive though :(
    • Nice Weather (depends on where you live)
      • I live in the mission where the fog doesn’t roll in so yay~
      • The areas closer to the ocean are considerably more foggier. 
    • Better Events. 
      • Every concert that I’ve enjoyed significantly has been in the city
      • Every random ass event has been in the city (Journey to the end of the Night)
      • You do not have to live here to attend these things, but it helps~
    • Variety of people, the neighborhoods variety considerably from sector to sector. 
    • Lazy Man Syndrome v2, depending on where you life it might be very difficult to get to places. Ex: It is very hard to get to the Presidio by public transit. It takes 3 buses, which is just one too many in terms of public transit. 
      • Fuck parking, fuck SF Parking Police. 1@$()*@$)(*@)
      • Way more expensive to live in, not only rent, but groceries, even food is more expensive.
        • Example: In downtown SF, the McDonalds dollar menu isn’t actually a dollar.
      • Dirty (oh god is that bum taking a shit?)
      • City Officials, the city has some weird ordinances including no plastic bags. 
      So this is just a few of the things I could think of over a period of time, now there are probably quite a bit more and honestly if you know of anymore reasons, just list them in the comments.

      Though I’ve listed a bunch of positives and negatives of living in both areas, I think what it comes down to for most people in terms of decisions are
      1) Whether you prefer your time in your room or you prefer going out. This pont though is less so… I think the advantages of South Bay are better if you prefer staying inside vs going out. I think San Francisco is easier IF you prefer going out.
      2) Where your closest friends are.

      Personal Stuff:
      The first point for me:
      I used to be a bit of a shut in, I preferred spending my time playing video games and the such (Oh god Civilization, how many hours I have spent playing that game). But slowly I changed and I do prefer going out and meeting new people, trying new things, and etc, even the stupid stuff (DEEP FRIED OREOS).

      Try everything ONCE, if you try it and don’t like it, then with certainty you can be like this is retarded (exceptions of hard drugs and obviously unsafe/dangerous things like join the military)

      The second thing is… honestly my friend group is kinda split. I have friends in both areas and I would say its 50/50 right now. But the thing is the South Bay friends I visit / they visit me on weekends and on occasions of event since they have cars and thus are more flexible in movement (Electric Six in October)!!

      Just my thoughts and stuff. I’ve set up Disqus so it’s easier to comment for people who want to comment.

      Side Note:
      From a programmer perspective (sorry non-programmer friends). San Francisco is far more web focused vs the south bay which has more “serious” programmers who are focusing on algorithmically focused problems (Ex. Search, Recommendations, Machine Learning, Robotics, etc.)