Cost of Living in San Francisco, CA. Prices Updated Dec 2020.

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I’ve been living in SF since 2014 and I have to say Cost of Living is misrepresented. It’s a lot more expensive now (2020) than posted. 1-bdr in center is $3,500-$4,000 + $200-$300 for parking + $100-$200 for utilities. Almost impossible to find month-to-month rent, so this is for 1-year lease. Coffee for two + a pastry is easily $20. Dinner for two never less than $50, unless it’s fast food (+20% tips are expected) and if you want actually something good it’s at least $100 for two. Airbnb is $150+ for a room, god know how much for a whole place. We’ve been living rather frugally, and our total bill a month is $6,000-$8,000 (we almost never go out and have our own car). I would not recommend living here unless your income is AT LEAST $150,000/year (for basic). We started feel comfortable with our expenses only when our total income hit $300,000. In terms of safety, it’s really really bad. We live on a quiet street, but we have cars broken-in right under our window literally every week. I (female) don’t go out alone after dark. And that’s given that our place is one of the safest (South Beach) and quietest in the central part of the city.

5 months ago

Considering California cities, it’s a nice option to be a Nomad but very very pricey and full of big city issues.

I would highly recommend take a look around the cities in Silicon Valley: Palo Alto, San Jose, etc. because the offer of coworking places is very good. Although they could be as expensive as SF. Palo Alto was my favorite place.

1 year ago

Lived there for 5 month on a contract project in one IT company, With my monthly income of $3,400 it was disgustingly hard to have a normal lifestyle. The city is also very dirty, specifically the Mission. Would not recommend moving there as an expat.

1 year ago

A mixture of piss, weed, unwashed nerdy men, overpriced reality estate, passive-aggressiveness, homeless people and freaks

1 year ago

When I arrived in San Francisco in 2002, I could afford to split a 2 bedroom apartment on Haight Street right across from beautiful Buena Vista Park while making $15/hr as an architecture intern in North Beach. The city has changed completely since then. All my artist and musician friends have long since moved to Oakland and then to Los Angeles and other locations where the living is good but cost is much lower. Now SF is swarming with tech nerds in plaid shirts who add nothing to what was once a vibrant artistic community. Also, the homeless and druggie problem has gone off the charts. Don’t even get me started on traffic and tourists. SF used to be a gem of a city. Now, at best, it is a place from which to base your work while you live far far away. I’m embarking on a chapter of digital nomadism myself, in just a couple of days!

1 year ago

The other two reviews are spot-on. I’ve been living here for 6 years and it’s terrible. Nothing but nerds with no social skills, and trust me even the people working at top tech companies are struggling financially. You have legit homeless towns in some parts of the city, where you see 50-100 tents with homeless people. Some of them even have desks and BBQ grills. This is not a good place anymore and hasn’t been for some time. Don’t believe the hype.

1 year ago

Beautiful location but it’s just way too expensive. You need to work full time at a tech company here to really afford it. It’s also quite small. The divide between rich and poor is obscene, including a lot of homeless and many people asking for money all over. The tech workers who dominate the transplant crowd that you’ll be around are mostly workaholic spoiled privileged people full of themselves, not the type I enjoy hanging out with. All the artsy, alternative, and activist types the city used to be known for either live in Oakland or left. The gender ratio is way too heavy on single males, so good luck getting a date, let alone a long term relationship, if you’re a straight guy. Obviously, Internet speeds are great, plenty of spots to work from. Nightlife is pretty lackluster as you can imagine.

2 years ago

One of the worst places I have ever lived. Cost of living is horrible and living there makes no sense unless you want to work 100% of your time. Save your time and money and live somewhere where there is actual sense of community. I was able to afford it there, but it still didn’t made any sense.

2 years ago

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Visiting San Francisco for TechCrunch Disrupt and was wondering if anybody would be interested in meeting up for drinks this Sunday ?

I’ve been looking for a short term rental for over a month in SF. My expected arrival date is this week and I have nothing, thinking about just going somewhere else. I had three rentals from CL that fell apart right when I was about to book them.

It seems most people are using airbnb and the monthly rates are really inflated, You can’t find a studio with a monthly rate under 3.5k, while the same exact listing is going for 2600 on CL.

Does anyone have any recommendations on where to look for rentals?

Have you looked into residential hotels?

That’s what I always used in SF in my backpacking days and they’re probably still the quick and affordable option.

Private room + usually having to share a shower with half the floor.

I’d avoid the Mission District though. Eck.

I always use Craigslist for SF accommodation & have never had trouble – mind you, I was only looking for a room.

Is a studio/private place absolutely essential? I was just looking yesterday as I plan my next trip back there & you can easily get rooms in the Mission (close to Bart & Valencia st) for $1000 p/m.

I’ve also only sorted places at the last minute so I wouldn’t worry about the timing so much. I’d get an AirBnb for a couple of nights when you arrive so you can actually see the longer-term places – it’s easier to manage when you’re actually meeting the people vs just emailing.

As you’ve found, the housing market in SF is pretty insane right now. That being said, a “hacker house” might work for you. Also check out!student-housing/cvpm


I looked up current reviews of 1080 Folsom (the housing from I’m familiar with) and the new ones are pretty mediocre. I suggest you look up reviews of particular houses on Yelp first.


Considering a trip to Salt Lake City area, with a side trip to Moab, UT. Thinking of renting a Class B RV (Sprinter van size) to test out Van Life.

Looking for any suggestions/input on:

  1. Organizations that might be interested in a presentation on “Your website is more than a Brochure”. (Informative, not a sales pitch)
  2. Outdoor activities within 4h (see below)
  3. Best places to meet people interested in Tech and the outdoor activities.

Looking to do some easy to moderate:

  1. Mountain biking
  2. Cross country Skiing
  3. Rock Climbing

Wondering what months I could do each. I’d love to do a late September trip if it’s not too late.


Moab in September should be pretty perfect weather…any sooner and its way too hot IMO. SLC has been having milder winters lately so you’ll be in for perfect weather and great fall colors in September.

How about Moab in October?

(I’m planning on Denver starting Oct 2 or so, for 2 to 4 weeks)

Hi Norway folks—I’m planning a February trip to Tromsø hoping to see the northern lights, but honestly I can’t find anything about how likely I am to see them. Are they out every night and it’s just a matter of cloud cover, or are they like once a week?

Any info would help me decide whether to pull the trigger.

You can find some information on the trend of activity, but that’s about it. There’s no real rhyme or reason. It may happen every day for 2 weeks or go 2 weeks without seeing it. Generally, though, you’re in a downward cycle, so they will likely be less intense and few of them overall.

Your best bet it to rent a car and cross over into the far north Finnish border in the Kilpisjärvi area. Because of its location, the climate is clear and dry. You won’t have to contend with the same issues as far north Norway. If you have access to cabins in the northern fjords, that would be great as well.

Let me know if you want a connection – I know a number of people with cabins about 3 hours north of Tromso and I know they sometimes rent them out.

TMobile advises their international plan requires me to reside in the US for 3 months of each year, however I may be there only 1 month (or less). Anyone using their plan continuously? Rigid requirement?

Have had Tmobile for 2.5 years, with about 60 total days in the US that entire time, and a couple of months ago in Ireland I got an explicit warning text from them that I was not spending enough time in US. I am in canada and mexico for the rest of the year and no issues there as I am on the north american plan anyways, but they may be cracking down…

Anecdotally, it seems the requirement is having it register on a US tower every few months or so. If you travel back to the US regularly, it shouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for many years, a nomad for a few of those, and haven’t had any issues, including the year I was out of the U.S. for 11 out of 12 months. They never mentioned any requirement to me. However, some folks have said suggested this might be because I’ve had service with them for so long.

I’m looking to switch to Google Fi anyway due to lower cost, and the fact that I don’t make all that many calls any more. Plus I’ve had some problems with voicemail and receiving calls.

Have been on the T-mobile plan for over three years now. Usually spend about 10 months out of the year outside of the US (returning back for month stints twice/year), and have not had any issues.

We used T-Mobile for about a year outside of the US before they gave us notice and cut us off. We switched over to Google Fi and it’s working out well. It was kind of a hassle when they canceled us (gave us 30 days notice) because Google Fi has to be activated inside the US (at least it did a year ago) and I wanted to port our numbers. I was able to get a short extension from T-Mobile.

I’ve heard others say they haven’t had an issue with staying outside of the US, but that was not the case for us.

We also sometimes use local SIM cards because it’s often dramatically less expensive if we’re going to use lots of data. Once you get used to it the local SIM card thing is really easy in most places.

Small towns with:

  1. beautiful nature (mountains or sea)
  2. progressive (clean energy, digital, social justice, etc)
  3. laid back attitude
  4. affordable
  5. good startup community

    It seems to me that if 2 and 5 then it’s hard to have 1 and 3. e.g. Berlin for startups is too big, not great nature, a bit too cold. Am I asking too much?

Aosta is pretty close to Boulder. Less prestigious university and slightly light on on the start-up scene but growing.

If you where considering Berlin, you might want to look into Leipzig. It’s not too far from Berlin (about 1-2 hours south) and has a similar vibe, but is smaller and more affordable. Climate will be roughly the same of course. But lots of lakes around, very bike friendly and very good kayaking in and around the city. No mountains though…

I definitely recommend Brighton, it’s got a great alternative scene, lots of decent beer and burger joints, and very closer to the south downs.

The weather probably matches Portland closely, it’s pretty miserable in the winter but the summer is glorious.

I wouldn’t say the tech scene is thriving but better than average.

The vibe in Brighton seems definitely more laid back than in London. I liked it when I visited for a couple of days. Although I gotta say, the outdoors in England are quite repetitive and the sea is not very enjoyable. It’s more personal than anything else, after 5 years of UK I’d rather go somewhere else!

From what I’ve read so far, it seems that most laid back and progressive locations with some startup community can be found in the north side of Europe, which is a shame as the south is so beautiful and much warmer. I have a strong connection with the mediterranean sea and I feel happy just by smelling the vegetations and seeing the warm colours. It would be jackpot if I could find a Boulder near the mediterranean sea, or even within 100-200k range.

Anything in Southern Europe that matches my criteria above? Even if 4 out of 5

Agree with @gianluca_trombetta – would be nice to find somewhere hotter! Currently living in Brighton and although we have an ace kite surf and water sport scene, it’s not quite the med.

I’ve been looking at Tarifa and Lisbon as next possible locations…

Grenoble ?

  • Big university campus
  • Scientific Hub
  • Wonderful nature (Alps and prealps called Vercors and Chartreuse)
  • Startup ? I’m not sure but start it
  • Weather is not bad

Geneva ? (ok not affordable )

Maybe Lyon, Nice (expensive), Montpellier ?…

Cambridge in the UK is the closest town to Boulder that I’ve seen thus far, but it fails rather miserably when it comes to outdoor adventure opportunities. Other than that, all boxes checked–good startups, progressive + smart community built around a university, laid back, and about as affordable as Boulder or Portland (which is to say not very unless you live in a nearby village. Again, just like Boulder or Portland). It even has a large metropolis 40m away.

I can second Freiburg. It’s one of my favorite places. I used to live there for three years and this summer returned to do some nomading. Can even suggest some cafés to work from. In Summer you should absolutely hang out at Jos Fritz Café. They have a quiet shady beergarden with free wifi, and nobody cares if you don’t order something for hours.

But I’d have to add that it’s not a great place for IT/nomading if you care to meet other people with similar interests. Apart from the small IT faculty, there is barely any IT industry to talk of. People generally are a little anti-computer and all about being outdoorsy, political and sustainable. Don’t expect them to be super excited when you tell them what you do Maybe some people will even scowl.

Nonetheless, the vibes are awesome there and I’m sure they will broaden your horizon when you get to know them. Moving there was one of my best decisions so far.

Freiburg Im Breisgau Germany.

  1. The Black forest is beautiful and natural area with lakes nearby as well. Well located near France and Switzerland. Warmest region in Germany I think.
  2. Large green energy research and implementation from the universities there. Great public transportation and connections via bus, rail, light rail and airports.
  3. Vaubahn community might be Portlandesque. They even have a few food trucks. University towns are more diverse and alive, IMO.
  4. Germany isn’t inexpensive though, but might work if you are a frugal person on a budget.
  5. Vibrant university town, might be good for startups and talent or even flat sharing.

I’d love to be in this area, it’s in the so called blue banana zone.

How about 4 out of 5? Good enough? If 2 (progressive) is not crucially important, I suggest checking out Lisbon.

Yeah I think Lisbon ranks high despite not being very progressive. I think it’s still a little too big and messy for me, I really wanted something smaller.

@twaldorf is from Boulder and has visited few places in Europe, maybe he can give some mindful answer.

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, hits your first three (fails miserably on the affordable requirement, but is great if you have the money).

Ljubljana, Slovenia might be a good bet. I don’t know about the startup culture, but there’s at least one cool co-working space and it’s definitely affordable, close to nature (30 minutes by train and you’re in some of the prettiest landscapes in Europe).

I think Tallinn in Estonia may fit this description.

I’ve never been there, but if all the tales are true, Estonia seems like a great place to be a digital nomad and/or tech entrepreneur.

I’m actually thinking of moving a holding company there.

Can anyone can verify the lifestyle at Estonia?

Check out Bonn. Siebengebirge just around the corner is beautiful, Bonn is progressive with a good mix of nationalities (DPDHL, Telekom and NGOs means many Expats), smaller and less hectic than Berlin, more affordable than Munich and better weather than Hamburg.

Drawbacks include rising cost of living and the next startup community (small but growing) being in Cologne (30min by train).

I am traveling to the Canton fair where I will be for 16 days from April 18th to May 4th. There will be a couple 3 day gaps between working for mini excursions. I am contemplating going to Macau or HK during these times.

I am up for suggestions on similar areas i.e. close in proximity, simple travel arrangements, maybe a body of water as well.

Work may supercede these travel arrangements though if the journey isn’t too demanding it may be worth while.



@travelmore thanks! The hostel looks fun and a great spot. Im going to book a room there right now.

Also do you have any recommendations for nightlife? Or what areas to stay away from?


Yeah HK is good. Like a 2 hr train ride from Guangzhou. If you book flights early enough, you could go to Bangkok, Shanghai, Beijing, etc for pretty cheap. For accommodation, if you aren’t staying at a hotel, Lazy Gaga Hostel is amazing. Stayed there for 1 month last Oct for the fair.

✅ Pretty safe

✅ Fast internet

✅ Good air quality on average

✅ Nomad List members liked going here

✅ Many Nomad List members here all year round

✅ Very easy to do business

✅ High quality of education

✅ Great hospitals

✅ Roads are very safe

✅ Great freedom of speech

✅ Democratic

✅ Everyone speaks English

✅ Safe for women

✅ Family friendly

✅ Very friendly to LGBTQ+

✅ Not many people smoke tobacco

❌ Extremely expensive

❌ Not much to do

❌ Cold now

❌ Gets cold in the winter

❌ Humid now

❌ Feels crowded

❌ Very difficult to make friends

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