San Francisco Relocation Guide

Living in, Moving to, and Relocation Guide to San Francisco, CA: For First-Time Home Buyers and New ResidentsSan Francisco Relocation Guide

Schools in San Francisco, CA

Public Schools

San Francisco has an extensive public school system. There is one public school district supervising the operations of all San Francisco public schools, The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). This school district is California's seventh largest district, serving more than 50,000 students each school year. San Francisco is one of California's largest cities, it is also the name of the county that the city resides. The SFUSD supervises all schools in the city and San Francisco County.

There are 132 Schools in SFUSD: this includes 13 early education schools, 66 elementary schools serving students in pre-K through fifth grade, 6 alternatively configured schools serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade, 6 county schools, 13 middle schools serving grades six through eight, 3 continuation schools, 11 charter schools, and 14 high schools serving grades nine through twelve.

San Francisco has some highly successful public schoolsLowell High School is ranked number 13 on the list of Best Public Schools in California on niche.com and Yu Ming Charter School is ranked number 11 on the list of Best Public Elementary Schools in California and the #1 Charter School in San Francisco by niche.com

For more third-party information about the public schools of San Francisco look at information on websites such as greatschools.org and niche.com to read reviews and find statistics.

Private Schools

San Francisco and San Francisco County are home to over 400 private schools. 116 are in the city limits. San Francisco has seemingly countless options for attending a private school and finding specialized curriculum or college preparatory programs. Some schools offer bilingual programs, some offer schooling from religious organizations, some are all-boys and all-girls schools, and some schools are merely focused on providing the highest quality education with smaller class sizes. Many private schools in San Francisco are the highest ranked in the state and the country.

Colleges and Universities 

San Francisco has no shortage of furthering education through both private and public colleges and universities. Whatever you are looking to study, either to receive a degree or to gain more knowledge for fun, there is an institution where you can most likely find a class. 

Private Institutions

Public Institutions

San Francisco ParksSan Francisco Parks

San Francisco has an extensive list of public parks and outdoor spaces used as parks. some of these parks are national parks, some are state-owned parks, and the majority are city parks. There are several hundred parks to enjoy in the city of San Francisco. Some of the most popular San Francisco Parks include: 

  • Golden Gate Park:  The Golden Gate Park is enormous and offers several attractions. There are many playgrounds, lakes, museums, Japanese tea gardens, and more. 
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area: includes several islands, the redwood forest, Alcatraz, and national historic landmarks. There are over 100 miles of trails that wind through the entire Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the Presidio of San Francisco this is home to the Walt Disney Family Museum and four-point. This area of the park is popular for its hiking trails and bike paths as well.
  • Muir Woods National Monument: Feel like you have escaped one of the largest cities in America and dive deep into the majestic old-growth redwoods of California. Some of the trees in the forest are more than 1200 years old and tower over 260 feet.
  • McLaren Park: With a size of 313 acres, this is San Francisco's second-largest park. Enjoy all the trails and paths winding through the park, six playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, amphitheater, clubhouse, dog area, golf course, reservoir, baseball diamonds, views of downtown, and much more.
  • Presidio Heights: Presidio Heights Park is a very popular spot for San Francisco families with children of all ages. The park was recently renovated and popular for its amazing play structure and basketball court. There's also plenty of picnic and open spaces.
  • Walter S, Johnson Park: Walter S Johnson Park is popular as the home of the Palace of Fine Arts which is the most photographed spot in the city of San Francisco. Is a popular spot to take a leisurely stroll or have a quick lunch and enjoy the water features and amazing architecture of the rotunda.
  • Alamo Square Park: Alamo Square is a small park tucked into the middle of a neighborhood, but is one of the most recognizable landmarks. It is the park across the street from the famous painted lady homes featured on several movies and shows including the hit 1990s sitcom Full House. The park is more than just a patch of grass, it features walking trails, tennis courts, a dog park, and a playground.
  • Mission Delores Park: sometimes referred to as just Dolores Park this popular outdoor space is located in the mission district. It is a great space to enjoy the view and a picnic while you people-watch in the city. It is a favorite spot for San Francisco locals to get out their picnic blankets and beach chairs and soak up the sun. In addition to this extremely large lawn is a play structure and tennis and basketball courts. The southwest corner of the park is a great spot to view the San Francisco skyline.
  • Bernal Heights: Bernal Heights is a great laid-back outdoor area with a beautiful backdrop and a very large playground. Just up the hill from the gardens is the recreation center which is an amazing spot to get acclimated to the city of San Francisco with several family-centered programs and activities.
  • Salesforce Park: this is a 5.4-acre rooftop park that is above the Salesforce Transit Center. This impressive park is located in the heart of Soma. In the shelter of towering skyscrapers are 200 species of plants creating a lush landscape that is home to a wonderful playground, amphitheater, and some great places to eat. This park is unique because you need an escalator or elevator to access it. Another popular way to get to the park is hopping on the gondola lift.

Sports Options in San FranciscoSports Options in San Francisco

If you are an active person that enjoys taking part in or watching sports there are several opportunities to do so in San Francisco. The longer you live here the more opportunities you may discover to play or spectate your favorite sport. San Francisco has several semi-pro and professional sports teams to spectate. Let's take a look at the sports teams and venues in San Franciso

Basketball

The Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors National Basketball Association (NBA) team plays at Chase Center in San Francisco. They have a long history that started in Philadelphia and moved to San Francisco in 1962. They have seen two name changes their original name was the Philadelphia Warriors which then changed to the San Francisco Warriors and is now the Golden State Warriors. The team has been highly successful in recent history and has been home to several big names in basketball. One of the most recently popular is probably Stephen Curry.

Baseball

The Giants

San Francisco has a Major League Baseball team the Giants. The Giants play at Oracle Park which is easily accessible through many modes of transportation both private and public. If you want easy transportation without worrying about parking you can access the Oracle through Muni, Caltrain, or the ferry. The Giants were previously known as the New York Giants starting in 1883 and moving to San Francisco. The Giants are a well-loved team in the San Francisco area and the Oracle is an amazing venue that overlooks the bay.

Soccer

Bay FC

There have been quite a number of professional-level soccer teams that have come and gone from the city of San Francisco. This year in 2024 San Francisco plans to debut the Bay FC women's professional soccer team. The club owners believe that this time the team will have staying power and will stick around. Soccer is the world's most-watched sport and is quickly gaining more and more popularity in America every year. Get in on the fun and get a chance to say that you were there for the first games that this women's soccer team ever played.

SF City FC

The San Francisco City Football Club is collaboratively owned by community members in San Francisco. This team is part of the USL and one of the longest-standing soccer teams in the San Francisco area. The team officially plays in the USL level two.

Hockey

San Jose Sharks

San Francisco does not have a hockey team but many San Francisco residents who are hockey fans enjoy traveling to neighboring San Jose to watch the NHL team the San Jose Sharks. The sharks have been in the area since 1991 and play at the SAP Center at San Jose nicknamed the "Shark Tank". The Sharks have a significant fanbase and they all descend upon the Shark Tank during hockey season to cheer on this very beloved local NHL team.

American Football

The 49ers

America's most popular sporting event to watch is perhaps American football. The San Francisco 49ers are San Francisco's National Football League (NFL) team. They play in a newer gorgeous venue at Levi's Stadium which is officially in Santa Clara. If you're looking to hop on easy public transportation to get to the venue you can reach it through Valley Transportation Authority light rail as well as city buses or the Capitol corridor train. Caltrain will also take you directly to the venue

San Francisco's Arts and Culture SceneSan Francisco's Arts and Culture Scene

There is nothing else like the arts and culture scene of San Francisco. Full of rich history and long-standing tradition there is a vast vibrant collection of arts in the city. San Francisco is home to artists from every genre from street art and painting to media and performance. If you are a fan of the arts San Francisco has got something for you. 

Museums and Galleries

There is an extensive list of galleries and museums in the city. Here is a small list of the most popular. As you explore San Francisco you may find even more. 

  • Asiain Art Musuem-200 Larkin Street
  • Berggruen Gallery 10 Hawthorne St
  • California Academy of Sciences 55 Music Concourse Drive
  • Children's Creativity Museum- 221 Fourth St.
  • Contemporary Jewish Museum- 736 Mission Street
  • The de Young Museum- 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
  • Haines Gallery- 2 Marina Boulevard
  • The Legion of Honor- 100 34th Avenue
  • Minnesota Street Project- 1275 Minnesota Street
  • Museum of Craft and Design- 2569 Third Street
  • San Francisco Arts Commission- 401 Van Ness Avenue
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)- 151 Third Street
  • Yerba Buena Center for the Arts- 701 Mission Street

Performing Arts 

When most people think of performing arts they often think of theater. San Francisco has several opportunities to take in theater productions of all quality levels, including Broadway-style productions. There is so much more to the performing arts scene in San Francisco than theater. The options expand beyond amazing plays and musicals into dance, comedy, and opera. 

Comedy

San Francisco has a great collection of comedy venues to enjoy. Start by checking out the acts at the Masonic, Cobb's Comedy Club, and the Punch Line

Dance

The most notable dance performances in the city are probably found at the San Francisco Ballet.  The ballet company is large and produces several great performances every year from favorite classics to new and innovative. There are even world-renowned guest dancers who play parts in the productions. 

Theater

There is almost no end to the theater performances to be enjoyed in San Francisco. If you enjoy a good play or musical there is always one to catch in the city. Venues like the New Conservatory Theater Center, ACT's Toni Rembe Theater, SFBATCO, Orpheum Theatre, and We Players Theater Company will definitely keep you entertained. 

Music and Concerts

If you enjoy a good concert then you will not be disappointed to find performances across several different genres in San Francisco. From stadium concerts at Chase Center and Oracle Park to small street venues like the Midway and free concerts at Stern Grove. The San Francisco Symphony is recognized around the world and performs at the Great American Music Hall. If you enjoy a good music festival San Francisco has those too. The Portola Music Festival on Pier 80 grows in popularity each year.

Shopping Districts in San FranciscoShopping Districts in San Francisco

A favorite way to spend a leisurely day for many people is strolling through a good collection of stores. The good news? If you are relocating to San Francisco you will be excited to find out that San Francisco has some great shopping spots. 

Union Square

Union Square is San Francisco's most popular and recognized shopping district. The actual Union Square is a plaza that serves as the center pice for the area. Stores are found in the blocks surrounding the square which are large retailers that include a Saks Fifth Avenue, a huge Macy's store, Tiffany and Co., Louis Vuitton, and hundreds more. There are countless stores that branch off from here, other stores include Nieman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Barneys, Nordstrom, etc. Three blocks to the south of the plaza and you are at San Francisco Centre where you will find Calvin Klien, Banana Republic, H&M, and J.Crew and many other traditional mall stores this is where Nordstrom and Bloomingdales are found, it is the largest indoor mall in the city. 

Union Square is a fun place to take a stroll in the Spring. There are manicured flowerbeds and patches of grass that locals love to take a break on. It can get busy in this famous hot spot so early shopping is ideal for someone who likes to avoid crowds. 

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf is most popular with tourists and there are several stores that cater to the tourist vibe. But beyond the I Love San Francisco mugs and snowglobes there is a fun collection of shops with unique items and fun garb. There is a Sunglass Hut, the Alpaca Fashion Store, and more. Just a few blocks away is Anchorage Square where you will find California City Wear, LIDS, and DP Boutique. 

Noe Valley

The Noe Valley is a quiet neighborhood with several great boutique shops. If you are not a fan of the big commercial retailers this is a great spot for you. It goes far beyond great clothing finds that not everyone will be wearing, you can also find great home decor and other fun bits and baubles. Some of the most popular stores include Scribbledoodles, Echo Furniture, Isso, Two Birds, See Jane Run, and Common Scents. 

Haight-Ashbury

On Haight Street in the heart of the Haight neighborhood is a string of clothing boutiques. You can find something to suit every style preference on Haight. If you enjoy second-hand stores like Thrift Shops and vintage boutiques this is a great place to go. The best shops on Haight include Buffalo Exchange, Positively Haight Street and Stuf, Piedmont Boutique, Ambiance, Skate on Haight, Decades of Fashion, and more. 

You may have heard the name Haight-Ashbury before. This area of the city was once a thriving hotspot in 1967 what was labeled as the Summer of Love. Thousands of young hippies took over the neighborhood. Today's collection of vintage stores gives a nod to this well-known time in the neighborhood's history. 

SoMa

SoMA is more of a trendy shopping district than a touristy hotspot. Clothing stores in SoMa include Gama-Go Store, Brannan, Isda and Co, Stormy Leather, and Jeremy's, It is a great spot to shop bookstores such as Green Arcade, Foto-Grafix Books, and Alexander Book Co. There is such a great eclectic collection of stores you will not find everywhere, a true spot with a special San Francisco feel. 

San Francisco's Most Highly Rated RestaurantsSan Francisco's Most Highly Rated Restaurants

Dining Out in San Francisco offers seemingly endless options. If you have just moved to the area or are learning about the area, the restaurant scene may seems overwhelming. How do you know what to try? What restaurants in San Francisco have the best food? Take a look at our list of the top restaurants in the city. 

San Francisco Favorites

San Francisco offers pretty much any kind of food you can imagine. When you are looking for something you know won't disappoint we suggest these top restaurants and time-tested go-to's. Aziza offers some of the best Moroccan food you will ever eat. For a splurgy special meal head to Friends Only. Want a high-protein meal that provides a comfort food experience? Check out House of Prime Rib. The most popular lunch spot in the city is Zuni Cafe for that classic American dining experience. Order the roast chicken you won't be sorry. 106 years in the making you can't go wrong with the ulmate comfort food, bread, get a slice of famous focaccia at Liguria Bakery. 

Burritos

If you love a good burrito there are many to be enjoyed across the city. Who doesn't love this ultimate Mexican comfort food? Once you have tried the burritos adventure out into the other offerings at these amazing spots. Start with the legendary El Gallo Giro truck located on Mission. For a giant burrito check out the pollo asado burrito in super-sized form at Taqueria Cancun. Like your burrito with a slight crispy crunch to the tortilla? Go to El Farolito, La Taqueria for the carnitas super burrito and ask for it dorado. 

Pizza

Pizza, though a dish created in Italy, has become an American staple comfort food. While you can order from any major national chain pizza establishment because many of them have set up several shops in San Francisco, there are so many much more gourmet options for a good slice. If a floppy thin New York slice is what you are after head to Outta Sight. If you like a thick crust square-shaped pie with extra crispy corners then check out Square Pie Guys in SoMa and Ghirardelli Square. In the mood for more than one flavor and with a crowd of friends? Check out the pizza-tasting experience of Tony's in North Beach. At Washington Square Park you can find a classic traditional pizza from Golden Boy. 

Bars

Want to find a night spot to hang with friends or just enjoy a nightcap after a long day? There are several great places to try until you find a favorite. A newer spot on the scene is El Chato serving up Spanish wines paired with small plates. A luxury world-class cocktail experience is offered at True Laurel in Mission. Looking for a bar with the best scenery? Try the rooftop bar at Cavana in Mission Bay. Or Try the new Starlite in Union Square. One of the trendiest bars in San Francisco is probably the Felix. This speak-easy-style establishment is full of high energy and bumping music.