Images of the great Golden Gate Bridge straddling the bay come to mind when thinking of San Francisco. But the city's beauty doesn't stop there. Classic bay-window architecture, steep hills with vintage trams crawling up them, bustling Union Square, the nearby Muir Woods, and the gorgeous harbour are all part of the city's charm.

The Bay City has a history of attracting visionaries and entrepreneurs who are often at the creative cutting edge of their time. Expats moving to San Francisco join a rich tradition of pioneers, from the gold miners who started the first European settlements, to the counter-cultural movements of the 20th century and the venture capitalists of the tech boom. As much as it is known for its history, migrants continue to be drawn to the city for its landmarks and the liberal lifestyle it offers residents.

Living in San Francisco as an expat

San Francisco's diversity and the city’s spirit of progress are likely to shape expats’ experiences of living and working in San Francisco. The largest contributors to the city’s economy are the financial services industry, tourism and of course the high technology of Silicon Valley. A remnant of its role in the California Gold Rush, the city is still one of the largest centres of finance in the United States.

San Francisco’s public transport system is comprehensive and efficient, helped by its compact grid layout. The city’s bus system reaches most areas, while residents can also make use of the Bay Area Rapid Transit rail service.

The healthcare system in San Francisco is one of the best in the country, and the city is one of the few places in the USA where uninsured residents have access to subsidised healthcare. It also has some of the best hospitals in California. Most expats will, however, require medical cover to access these.

Cost of living in San Francisco

In some ways, the city is a victim of its own success and long-time residents often bear the burden. The extremely high cost of living is pushing many residents out of their neighbourhoods which are, in turn, gentrified by wealthier inhabitants. Families are increasingly moving towards San Jose and other parts of the Bay Area. 

Expat families and children

Newcomers will have access to a variety of accommodation in the neighbourhoods of San Francisco, from leafy suburbs to gentrified areas with loft apartments. Parents can choose from a variety of quality public, private and international schools. The city also provides a wide selection of options for further education, including the University of California, Berkeley.

It is also a child-friendly city and kids in San Francisco can hardly be bored given all the attractions and activities for the young and the young at heart. Expat families can spend time in a variety of museums, picnic in Golden Gate Park or enjoy weekend shopping at one of the city’s malls and shopping districts.

Climate in San Francisco

With cool to mild weather throughout the year, San Francisco has a pleasant climate. There is little variation in average temperature from season to season. Areas immediately on the coast are the mildest in terms of climate. As one moves inland, the climate becomes more continental with slightly cooler winter temperatures and warmer summer temperatures.

San Francisco has much to offer those who can afford it or are willing to cut costs by commuting and living sustainably. It is a city that hums with cultural vibrancy, where industry meets imagination and people from all walks of life come together. Constantly reinventing itself, expats who move to San Francisco might find themselves a part of history in the making.

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance

Cigna Global

Cigna Global can tailor an international health insurance plan to perfectly fit the needs of you and your family. With 86 million customers in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.

Get a quote from Cigna Global

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell

William Russell is a boutique insurance company, that values itself on its great customer service and is underwritten by Allianz. They provide health, life, and income protection insurance for expats around the world. With a global network of 40,000 hospitals and doctors, their health insurance plans are designed so that they follow you to whatever country you move to next.

Get a quote from William Russell

Moving Companies

Sirelo logo

Moving Internationally?

Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Get your free no-obligation quotes now!