As Matt and I spent time in our old stomping grounds, I reflected on our time since we moved away in 2015. The Bay Area is one of the largest metropolitan areas on the west coast and has so much to offer to just about anyone who moves out here. I lived in the Bay Area for 15 years and am grateful for my time spent here developing both personally and professionally, all of the friends I made during that time, and of course the fact that I met my husband here in 2012. ❤️ Without the Bay Area, I would not quite be who I am today. This is where I started bike racing, learned how to rock climb, earned my CPA license, and met people from all walks of life. It truly is a melting pot, which is part of what makes it an amazing place to live.
The weather is rather mild, the views are spectacular, access to nature is second to none, and there are a plethora of personal and professional avenues you can pursue here with a large number of educational institutions and wide array of industries supported. It is an area known for its arts and entertainment, world-renowned restaurants, and unique architecture. It has an extensive public transportation network, is pedestrian- and bike-friendly, having developed parklets, closing access to certain streets either permanently or temporarily, so people can move about safely without the threat of vehicles, and most cities in the Bay Area are top ranked for access to public parks, with four major Bay Area cities making the Top 50.
However, like many metropolitan areas, it doesn’t come without its issues. One of the primary reasons people, including myself, move away is the cost of living, which can range from 75% to 175% above the national average. Median housing costs are out of this world, ranging from $925,000 to $1,600,000, while median incomes range from a paltry $55,000 to $130,000, which means housing costs can range from 40% to 55% of your gross income or more! The high housing costs also contribute to the homeless crisis on the west coast, which is hard to ignore as you walk around.
With the pandemic, traffic has become lighter, but more aggressive. The other big reason I left The Bay was because the aggressive nature of drivers here made me feel unsafe. Nearly every day over the last two years of my time living in the Bay Area, I was threatened by someone in their vehicle. Whether I was walking, biking or driving made no difference as to how those drivers acted. It was incredibly stressful and unsustainable for me. And compared to the surrounding areas, the roads are pretty awful here…most of them are on a 100+ year repaving cycle, so make sure that if you have a vehicle, it has awesome shocks or struts. 😂.
The summers are indeed like Mark Twain wrote long ago: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Thus, the autumn season is probably the best time to visit, when the fog is not ever-present and the temperatures are still warm. This area, like most of California, enjoys lots of sun, averaging around 255 days per year. With so much sun and not enough rain, drought conditions have been an issue for over a decade, leading to frequent wildfires and bad air quality from the smoke.
Like most locations, you have to weigh the pros and cons. It is a place of great opportunity, diversity, and leads the country in progressive measures to protect and support the people, the environment and make living here more sustainable. It is a very liberal place politically, so having an open mind certainly helps. What is important to you when looking for a place to live? You can always visit BestPlaces.net as a starting place on your journey to find out whether it’s right for you. Although I would not live here again, I do not regret my time spent here, and cherish the memories I have and the relationships I developed from this jewel by the Bay.