No. San Francisco is a dirty city (physically) full of ultra liberal software engineers and homeless people. I don’t know a single person who has ever picked San Francisco over NYC, assuming they didn’t already have ties to SF, except a gender studies major I went to school with who wanted to open a combo sculpture and second-hand clothing store. The store was open for two months and then she had to close it because no one wanted to buy crappy amorphous blobs made by the stoner next door and grandma’s jeans in the same place.

 

I have the lowest opinion of NYC out of anyone I know, yet I would still live here a thousand times over if it meant avoiding the Bay. I visited SF a couple years back and while I definitely appreciated the natural beauty of some areas (presidio and Golden Gate Bridge area is gorgeous), what I saw in the actual city shocked me. That place has been run under the ground. 

 

Can echo this point. I visited the Bay a couple of times and it felt like it’s only gotten worse after each time I have gone. Yes, there are beautiful parts and the weather is great, but those are the main amenities you are getting. SF is a poorly run city and is way past its prime. For families, public schools generally aren’t great for the money you’re paying and for the areas with good schools (Palo Alto, Saratoga), the house prices are insanely high. Also, if you’re a single male, good luck in the dating market, it’s quite rough over there.

 

Agree with this but wanted to note the weather is actually pretty cold all summer. I get the moderate year round temperature argument from SF ppl but the constant need for a jacket isn’t ideal. 

 

Depends on what you value in life (WLB, exit ops, finding a partner, etc). Despite the SUPER elevated rent, cost of living, non-sense you hear on the news, I would still stick with NY. To be fair, I would say that SF wasn’t terrible a few years back as you had the vast resources of a metropolitan city coupled with the calmer vibe of a smaller town. However, COVID / poor leadership, has definitely taken a toll on the city. SF has since lost its luster. Alternatively, going down South could also be an option. Especially, if you want better weather / pay adjusted by the cost of living.

 
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To offer a bit of a different viewpoint, I was born and raised in NY but ultimately moved out to SF last year. There's no city quite like NYC and SF is much less exciting, but the Bay has its appealing factors to me as well. The weather is a material improvement (I never realized how big of a deal it was until I traded in the sticky summers and freezing winters for 60-degree year-round weather), but I think the best-selling point for SF/Bay area is not the city but NorCal. For someone who's into hiking/skiing/sailing and getting out of the city on weekends, what SF and NorCal offer is much better than what NYC offers, and that ultimately led me to make the jump. For someone into the outdoors like me, the ability to do day trips to Tahoe and weekend getaways to Yosemite and Big Sur is unmatched. I feel like SF's professional culture is more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of NYC, as the finance bubble is much less pervasive there.

 

Agree with a lot of this as a fellow NYer. I love visiting the Bay Area but personally couldn't see myself live there. Didn't see this mentioned but SF's closer proximity to LA/Vegas for weekend trips is also quite nice. One of my younger relatives has often taken advantage of that.

Visiting SF / Bay Area later this year for the first time in nearly 10 years. Looking forward to it!

 
Controversial

If you’re young and want to party, NYC. SF is more of a town than a city.

If you want a more balanced life and really enjoy nature, SF. Lake Tahoe, Napa, Yosemite, beaches, etc. are all weekend trips and most people spend weekends outdoors / being active. NYC is a concrete jungle booze fest.

Lived in NYC for 6 years when younger and it was a blast, now in SF and you could never convince me to move back to NYC
 

The stories of SF being a hellscape are just absurdly untrue. It’s like going to Skid Row in LA and saying LA is a hellscape. Yes there is a really terrible homeless problem but it’s contained to a specific area (Tenderloin / SoMa). Unfortunately many people visit SF for work and just see downtown and those areas and get the wrong idea. Every time I have a friend visit, we drive 10min across GG to go on some of the best hikes in the world, down to Santa Cruz to do some of the best mountain biking in the world, or hit a beach, or go to GG park, etc etc and they without fail say they were completely wrong. If anything, SF is trending up and NYC is trending down in this regard IMO.

Both are amazing places depending on your interests (which generally correlate to your age / stage of life). 

 

Main takeaway is that you better be an introverted nature lover to prefer SF - very avid surfer, hiker, skier etc.( and I mean very avid as in you want nothing more than to wake up at 6am to catch waves and want to spend most of your time doing that kind of thing, not "I kind of like hiking"). And even then I'd still recommend Socal where you can still do a lot of that stuff and enjoy a much better social life.

Otherwise hit to your social life (it will be tremendous) isn't worth it. IMO SF is a small, sleepy, anti-social, quiet place with a lot of other issues..

 

Wild extremes are so in these days. It’s like saying to enjoy NYC you need to be an avid drinker (and I mean black out drunk at brunch on a Saturday). Yes NYC/SF cater to different interest but it’s not that extreme in either direction. More people does not mean better social connections either; NYC always felt way more superficial and lonely (probably an age bias while I was there); you just don’t get to know folks as well blacking out at brunch as you do surfing or hiking for half a day.

IMO most people can find happiness in either place. If you fall on an extreme (live for bottle service or live to wake up at 6am and chase waves), then yes you should probably choose accordingly though.

 

I wouldn't have been so extreme had it been anywhere other than SF but the difference in social opportunities, liveliness, etc is very stark between NY and SF so there better be a very strong reason why you'd pick SF (like wanting to devote a large part of your free time to outdoor sports)

SF is definitely also very superficial and lonely... People in general aren't very sociable and welcoming. The people in New York are a lot more gregarious. A lot of people in SF already have friends and aren't that receptive to making more. The guys in tech and finance are just as insufferable, if not more. Not all political inclinations are welcome and you will get ostracized if you don't think the way you're supposed to think. This idea that the people in SF are a lot more genuine, down-to-earth and tolerant is a misconception. 

Most people I know who liked SF really enjoyed nature, time outside, nights in, smaller friend groups etc etc. Everyone else I met there really didn't like the city. I do think it caters to a specific personality type..

Also you criticize extremes then say "You just don't get to know folks as well blacking out at brunch" as though that's all one does in NY.

 

if you are working at an office outside of SF i will guarantee you will not run into a homeless person ever. the banks that have offices in menlo park, san jose, palo alto, walnut creek etc. are in extremely good areas. u might be able to find one near a bart/cal train station. personally i find sf good compared to other cities (specifically european cities, never been to nyc) but idk

 

They are very different places. I think they are both great.

The issue with most WSO threads is they tend to "Rank" things that are not comparable.

NYC has everything you need for the rest of your life within a small radius. Entertainment, activities, people, etc.

There is no real reason to leave the island.

The Bay is where you work and sleep, and you spend your time combing the coastline and mountains.

Your weekends will never be spent indoors.

 

People act like you have to get fucked up every weekend in NYC. To me that’s the biggest sign someone is a transplant. There are so many activities, foods, cultures, types of neighborhoods in this city that everyone is taken care of.

People say you cant be in the coty if you like nature. Wrong. You can live in Mamaroneck and during the week commute to the city in 35 min via train, and then can drive around during weekends. Deep Queens and Brooklyn can get you the samething albeit a longer commute.

 

As someone who currently lives in NYC, but has a lot of family in the SF bay, I personally think NYC is a far better city these days. Sure, there are pockets of the Bay Area that are a lot nicer and cleaner than most parts of SF proper and even a few parts of Manhattan, but to be frank I wouldn’t recommend anyone who is in their 20s to move to the bay unless they have deep family connections. “Silicon Valley” has somewhat lost its luster, especially since the rise of other LCOL regional tech hubs such as Austin, Miami, etc. Unlike LA, July is one of the coldest months in the Bay Area, so you wouldn’t have the ideal “west coast” weather per se. Lastly, NYC generally has better food options, women, and arguably a more diverse career/opportunity set as the Bay Area is overly reliant on the tech industry, which many believe is one of the key contributing factors to the City/Area’s decline amongst other things.

 

Have lived in both SF and NYC, NYC for longer now though. SF just kind of sucks if you’re in finance. It’s great if you’re a crunchy liberal tech guy who loves the outdoors. Old college roommate of mine still lives there and he takes full advantage. Kitesurfs, parasails, skis, DJs, surfs every day. He’s been in grad school there. Great city for getting up at 6am for a hike.

It’s undeniably a gorgeous city in the parks, the Presidio, Marina etc. I lived in the Marina when I was out there which was very nice.

Still, though, the city is kind of fucked. It’s so ugly in the downtown with disgusting vagrants slumped over with needles hanging out of their arms. Not even an exaggeration just walk along market street any time of day. The city is so dysfunctional because of the bleeding heart libtard govt. If not for the massive growth of tech the city would have failed years ago. It’s like they’re actively trying to destroy it by permitting drug use and theft. “Quality of life” crimes actually matter contrary to what the top minds of the People’s University of Berkeley sociology / socialism department believe. NYC may be an urban jungle but at least the govt understands a city needs to actually enforce the law to function at a basic level.

Preferably we need a high tech city in the US with eastern / middle eastern style strict enforcement. Would be absolutely gorgeous and clean and create so much value. We need a cowboy Singapore. New York is close enough for now.  

 

yea. it's kinda sad. why not go to miami or charlotte, nc, why nyc and sf?

 

Tough comparisons because they’re quite different. Some thoughts:

- SF: more chill corporate culture that relies more on logic than “playing the office game” (ie in SF you don’t have to look busier/more stressed out than you are, can work smart not hard, etc.), strangers are more willing to have a conversation with you, dating screens less for traditional metrics and are more open minded but the girl/guy ratio is horrid, tech is seen as more respectable/prestigious than finance, shit everywhere and disgusting homeless ppl everywhere, great for outdoor activities 

NYC: traditional corporate culture on steroids, people are meaner but less fake, finance obviously runs the world, more extreme weather, fun mostly revolves around drinking/bars, dating is still tough but girl/guy ratio is less of an issue although girls are even more superficial

Depends upon who you ask and what you are looking for but these are some *obvious* key differences. 

 
JMac27

Tough comparisons because they’re quite different. Some thoughts:

- SF: more chill corporate culture that relies more on logic than “playing the office game” (ie in SF you don’t have to look busier/more stressed out than you are, can work smart not hard, etc.),

thanks for mentioning the part about focus on logic. i was apprehensive about living in sf for two years, but i think i'd prefer it over nyc.

 

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There can't be any serious comparison between NYC and SF until SF solves its crime problem.

Sadly, SF - and more broadly California - seems more into rigging its crime statistics to make it look like there are some improvements happening than really solving the issue.

image-20240523221403-2 

image-20240523221457-3

 

Take this with a grain of salt given I've never been there - however my cousin who is one of my closest family members has lived there ever since she left BB IB in NYC. They told me it was a great opportunity for her to break into VC/tech, which was what they were really interested in pursuing in the long run. Spent a ton of time doing amazing things with really cool startups. "I don't do this job for the money anymore, I love investing in world changing companies". Def some cool stuff going on in the Bay, but I have no idea about quality of life stuff. I will say the surfing sounds sick though.

 

SF is much safer / cleaner than public perception. It's true that parts of SF really suck (Tenderloin, SOMA), but you don't have to live in / go to these areas. The Marina, Cow Hollow, Pac Heights, Russian Hill, North Beach, Nob Hill, and parts of the Mission -- neighborhoods where the vast majority of high-earning young professionals live -- are all lovely, safe, and clean. It's like saying NYC sucks because Brownsville is dangerous.

The other thing to keep in mind is that very few parts of SF feel dangerous from a violent crime perspective -- it's moreso the case that some areas are very dirty and full of homeless people, but not explicitly unsafe.

 

I recently moved to SF from NYC, but I’m out of my analyst/associate years. I love it here, as does my SO, and prefer it to NYC, particularly when viewing from a family and raising children lens. It really does depend on what you value and enjoy outside of work. The city has its problems (I live outside of the city proper), but I genuinely don’t believe it is much worse than other major cities and tends to be quite localized to a few areas you just avoid.

I enjoyed NYC - just for a different part of my life. Younger, I’d strongly prefer NYC. Older, Bay Area is more what I’m looking for. 

 

Sure, nobody would dispute that, but that wasn’t the point of my comment - my whole point was that I value things ex-work that make the Bay a better fit for me.

 

Early/mid 20s and single male, NYC is hard to beat. Better dating and far more lively. Settled down and having a kid soon, Bay Area 10000x over. For those who are shitting on SF, I would highly recommend spending a day in Marina, Cow Hollow, or Pac Heights. It is genuinely beautiful, clean, walkable, and great weather. It really changed my perception of the city. The drawback of raising a family in the Bay is the insane cost of living even in the (albeit very nice) suburbs. Hard to find a house under $2m within commuting distance of the city. Less of an issue for those that stay in finance 

 

Definitely No. Bay is the only place in the world that is both expensive and boring. NYC is expensive but it ain’t boring. Living in Bay is like paying NYC dollar to live in the mid-west.

 

“SF was my New York”.  That’s what I tell people why I picked SF.  I grew up in Hawaii and moved to SF after college,  I wanted to stay on the West Coast, work in Finance, and I wanted a walkable city with good public transportation.  

I moved to SF in 2005 out of college.  Living in Lower Nob Hill.  It was an amazing time as a young person.  There were a lot of bars and clubs packed.  The Tupac lyric from “California Love” the “state where you never find a dance floor empty” came to my mind often 2005 - 2009.  North Beach, Union Square, Marina, and the occasional warehouse parties in Showplace Square and Caesar Chavez.  SF back then still had a rep for it being hard to date (I moved with my college GF so it didn’t matter).  During the Great Recession, every bar with no cover with a dance floor was packed. 

The 2010’s and post-COVID, nightlife largely died out.  Things got more exclusive with private clubs, rise of dating apps, I partially blame EDM’s replacement of hip hop clubs, bottle service expenses, and as I got older, I don’t even know what younger folks do. And the best partying I went to recently was a mansion party in the Peninsula.  San Jose has an interesting Latino and Vietnamese clubbing scene, seems like there’s younger people there.

While shoplifting crime and homeless are blamed for Union Square’s retail rapid decline, I believe that is only 30% of the story.  70% of the story is WFH and negative media headlines, leading to fewer office workers, visitors, and conventions. Yes, workers here in the Bay have rebelled from the traditional work model more than any other place in the world, and many like me, do not want to go back to working in the Financial District.  That has killed Union Square and FiDi more than anything else, followed by Post-COVID online retail habits, aversion to taking BART, and then the homeless/crime headline risk.  People who rather drive than be amongst the dregs of public transportation (a mindset exasperated by COVID), are not going to pay $10 per hour for parking in Union Square and deal with Bay Bridge related traffic.  Retail is thriving at Stonestown on the West Side of the City, free parking, and at Serramonte Mall in Daly City. And more people working from home, means more foot traffic on weekdays in the neighborhoods.

The media headlines don’t point out the WFH impact.  The Tenderloin was always next to Union Square.  There were always homeless folks in SF.  
 

There is also a psychological operation motive to paint certain cities as hellholes for political purposes.  While it’s effective because there is some truth to it (homeless, retail extinction, expensive) it is way overblown.

I would say, public schools in SF are decently good.  It is a lottery system, so you can get a bad pick, but largely you can get what you want if you keep trying or decide to go to private school. Like others say, there are nice, mostly quiet suburban areas surrounding SF, with great public schools that you pay for with an expensive house.

SF Bay Area is a place I could see my kids settling in when they grow up (and visiting me).  There’s that much depth to the area.  Beautiful scenery, weather is fine.  I miss my Hawaii beaches though.  Ocean water is too cold in NorCal for me to swim, bodyboard.  But I don’t like the cold (not a huge Tahoe fan as a result).
 

I like the laid back culture.  A wealthy person doesn’t need to dress wealthy, in fact the more hobo looking you are the wealthier you are.  I think SF folks are nicer in general.  Historically more upward mobility (due to tech especially) so you kind of need to treat people with respect and value them for their potential.  Less Old Money, class/status.
 

SF lost its big night life scene (there’s always places to go).  It is a great place for raising kids and settling down.
 

So getting back to “SF is my New York”.  It is like comparing two big centers of gravity, with different tastes.  SF was bigger, more exciting, with more career growth opportunities than home for me.  Ultimately when you are deciding where to live, New York is New York, but SF can be “your New York.”  It’s the Finance Capital of the West Coast.  

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life. Check out my blog at MemoryVideo.com
 

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