San Francisco City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 18, 2008

USflagIMAGE200San Francisco is a city that is well known and loved all over the world, even by those who have never been there! It is truly a testament to the city’s unique charm and distinctive atmosphere that regular visitors keep coming back for more and that many people consider it the ultimate destination for future travel.

There are many different sides to the city, and one can choose what particular facet he or she wishes to explore in depth. Whether you are drawn in by its ultra modern and cosmopolitan flair, or if the more bohemian aspects of the city is more your style, San Francisco offers a unique blend of culture, history, sophistication and charm that truly earns it a place among the best cities in the world.

The city’s personality has made it a favored tourist habitué known for its chilly fog, steep hills, its eclectic architecture and the many sights, sounds and celebrations throughout the city.

Residential Places in San Francisco

In spite of San Francisco’s relatively small area, there are many different neighborhoods to choose from, each of them ideal places to live in, and unique in their own way.

If you are looking for a neighborhood that is far from the hustle and bustle of the city center, look into buying a property at Bernal Heights. Single-family houses are abundant in the area, and virtually all of them are located in quiet streets. Fortunately, the area was largely unaffected by the dot-com boom of the 90s, when many feared that the influx of new residents would drive prices of houses through the roof and ruin the quiet serenity that the area has enjoyed for so long.

The city is best known for its hilly terrain with many neighborhoods acquiring the name of the hill it is situated. These include Nob Hill, Pacific Heights and Russian Hill. One of the best places is Cole Valley, being a small, somewhat closely-knit community that is mostly made up of professionals and families. Although house prices have gone up in recent years, the area remains accessible and the residents have lost none of their warmth and friendliness.

Prices vary widely depending on where in the city you look, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $600,000 to $1.5 million dollars for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house. Apartment units, townhouses and condos typically start at $600,000.

The costs though for residences here in the city has changed because of factors identified in a post at the America Expat Forum last May 19, 2009:

I used to live near San Francisco – in Silicon Valley, to be precise. SF is an absolutely magical city, with loads of character (and plenty of characters roaming the streets) – but as you say, it’s pretty expensive.

Some areas to the south of the city used to be more reasonable, too, but I suspect that has changed – think South SF and that area (close to the airport) – or consider living along the coast to the south of the city. No public transport to speak of, but a bit more rural and laid back without being inaccessible.

Hospitals and Universities of San Francisco

In July of 2006, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a universal health care plan that would provide medical assistance to all residents who do not have medical insurance, no matter their immigration or employment status is. This has served to further improve the city’s reputation for having one of the best health care programs in the country.

Also contributing in large part to this reputation are the city’s many hospitals–both private and public–and specialist healthcare establishments, the most well regarded ones being: Chinese Hospital & Clinics at Jackson, St. Francis Memorial Hospital at Hyde Street, the Hernia Center of San Francisco also at Hyde Street, and The San Francisco Spine Center at Bush Street.

Many of the best universities in San Francisco are part of the California State University system. Perhaps the most famous of these is the San Francisco State University, which has a roster of nearly 30,000 students enrolled in more than 100 degree courses. The city is also home to the San Francisco campus of the University of California, which at present is the second largest employer in the city.

Other schools located in San Francisco are the University of San Francisco, Golden Gate University, The Academy of Art University and the California Culinary Academy.

Commercial Places in San Francisco

If there is something that you cannot find in San Francisco, it is probably not worth buying! With everything you can possibly imagine–from the latest in high fashion to the most exotic Chinese herbal concoction–there is little that a shopping expedition through the depths of the city will not unearth.

Union Square is one of the most fascinating, rewarding and–frankly–bewildering places to shop for bargains. Bordered on all sides by Taylor, Bush, Montgomery and Market streets, each of them are shopping havens in their own right, and you can happily lose a few hours there.

Of course you can’t miss a visit to Chinatown, where–in addition to cheap plastic toys and original paintings–you can pick up the herbs that we mentioned earlier, and Haight Street, which was once the bastion of the hippy culture but is now virtually an autonomous fashion universe unto its own.

Service Establishments of San Francisco

Electricity and gas supply services in San Francisco are handled by two companies: NRG Energy Center and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. NRG Energy Center can be reached at 410 Jessie St., Ste. 702, San Francisco, CA 94103, and you can call them at 415-777-3415. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. can be reached at 2435 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, and you can call them at 800-743-5000.

Water supply services in the city are the responsibility of the San Francisco Water Department. You can call them at 415-923-2400, or visit their website at for information about their various services or to get your water supply connected.

There is one main cable TV company in the city: Comcast, and you can call them at 1-800-COMCAST. You can also visit their website at

There are numerous telephone and wireless telephone companies that service San Francisco, among them AT&T, MCI Telecommunications, SBC, and Sprint (telephone), and Cingular Wireless, Nextel Communications, Sprint PCS, and T-Mobile (wireless).

Embassies in San Francisco

Consular assistance for British nationals in San Francisco can be obtained by contacting the office of the British Consulate-General right in the city, or if necessary, the British Embassy, in Washington D.C.

The British Consulate-General can be reached at Suite 850, 1 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104. You can call them at (1) (415) 617 1300, or fax them at (1)(415) 434 2018.

The British Embassy can be reached at 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008, and you can call them at (1)(202) 588 6500 for the embassy, (1)(202) 588 7800 for consular services, and (1)(202) 588 7830 to reach the British Council.

You can also fax them at the following numbers: (1)(202) 588 7870 for chancery, (1)(202) 588 7866 for management related concerns, (1)(202) 588 7901 for UKTI, and (1)(202) 588 7850 for consular services.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Heidestinnaps March 29, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Hi I just lost my job in San Francisco. I have applied to most of the job sites more times than thousand times and applied to 100s of positions. However, i have not been able to find a single good response to my applications. If anyone knows about particular job site where i can look for a good job, please revert me with the location details. I will be thankful to you for your early response.


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