Tackle it with a helluva thick skin and chutzpah.
Do that and you just might not end up in the Tenderloin.
It’s taken me 4 weeks, 3 apartments, 202 emails, 47 miles, 646 [espresso] shots, 7 forms of public transit and 1 college dorm room to discover an inevitable fact about SF:
If the apartment hunting process doesn’t chew you up into bite-size, San Francisco bedroom-size pieces, roll you around like fresh Sushi or spit you out a less hairy, nail bitten, burned out version of your former self, the sticker shock from rent cost surely will.
Here are 7 things I wish I knew when I first started hunting 4 weeks ago.
Hopefully these can help you stave off balding, receding nail beds, all-nighters and endless coffee:
- Deflate your rent ego. Inflate your budget ego.
Only way to adjust to the insane rent prices (average in SOMA for 1BR is $2,000) is to cut expenses and share.
- Try to nix the daily Americano.
Hold out for the occasional local beans. Four Barrel Coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee or Philz Coffee. Opt for splitting meals. JJ&F Deli, Driftwood Deli, Pluto’s or Mediterranean Wraps all yield 2-3 dinners each.
- Plan your neighborhood tours around the weather.
Anywhere in the city, the weather starts dropping at 4pm. By 5pm, it’s 10 degrees colder. Despite being only miles apart down Market Street, each neighborhood has its own micro-climate. The Presidio could be foggy and 57. SOMA could be 67 and sunny. Bernal Heights could be 54 and partly cloudy. Jackets are your best friend. Don’t leave home without or face looks.
- Think happy thoughts. Bright, striped flamboyant, happy thoughts.
Any pre-existing notion, idea or thought you’ve ever had of the word “gay” can be thrown out the window. You have to see gay to believe. Men, and women, are gay-er, prettier, sexier, tanner, taller, way better clothed and happier. To the extent, I wonder if we can all aspire to that kind of happiness.
- Get amped for the party. SF is like the ongoing circus that never, ever ends.
More festivals, markets, events, attractions and random cultural events in the 46.9 total square miles than any other US city. Except for NYC. From Sausalito’s “Little Italy” to the Island of Alcatraz to the SF Giants Stadium to Sonoma Country to sailboat racing to Half Moon Bay to Farmers’ Markets to the Russian River to the world-renowned SF Symphony Orchestra – there’s nothing you can’t find.
- Stay smart about the homeless, beggars, crackheads and nomads, but don’t be worried.
Perhaps an uglier side to SF, but an inevitable facet of any major warmer city: homelessness. The even temperature, year-round and general sunny, friendliness are a sell for any warm body. Worse parts where exists: Tenderloin /Civic Center areas.
- Microbreweries rule.
Get that sissy domestic ‘outta here. Always a hearty helping of something local. Here’s two I’ve tried and two more on the list: Lagunitas and Liberty. Toronado and the Monk’s Kettle.
- Learn the difference between the 7 most popular forms of transit. MUNI, BART, Cable Car, CAL train, taxi, lift car and bike all have their wonder and idiosyncrasies and differences. The best way to speak the language? Purchase a “clipper card,” $3.00 at any drugstore.