For the inside scoop, we turned to two locals: Bay Area native, photographer, and creative director Ashley Kane and photographer Justin Blomgren, who recently moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles, CA. “Each area is so different, so just make sure you’ve had a chance to get the lay of the land, find out where your local shops are, and see if it’s a good fit,” says Kane. “Take a day or two and spend time in each. I know so many people who move here and move to neighborhoods they haven’t spent much time in, and end up not enjoying San Francisco to the fullest.” That’s the approach Blomgren took for his move up the coast: Plenty of visits gave him time to scope out his perfect ’hood, factoring in noisiness, proximity to public transportation, and other, San Francisco-specific factors — like how hilly an area is or whether it’s consistently blanketed with fog. He ultimately settled on an apartment in a historic Victorian house in the Duboce Triangle.
Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular (and a few often-overlooked) San Francisco neighborhoods to consider, with tips and advice from locals in the know.