Category: Exploring San Francisco (23)

San Francisco occupies the northern tip of a peninsula in Northern California and is nestled between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the San Francisco Bay to the east. The city covers 46 square miles and is its own county. Among the city’s most iconic features are the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, rows of Victorian-style houses, and year-round fog. The city is shaped roughly like a square, and, despite the hilly terrain, its planners favored straight, grid-like streets to a fault — resulting in the precariously steep streets that made cable cars necessary.

If you’re planning to move to San Francisco, you’re sure to have some questions about life in the city — and we have answers. Keep reading to learn about what to expect in The Golden City.

A Little History

The city of San Francisco can trace its history back to 1769, when a group of Spanish explorers led by Gaspar de Portolá became the first Europeans to see the San Francisco Bay. Despite being one of the world’s best natural harbors, San Francisco was initially reached by land. For over two centuries before its discovery, seafaring explorers such as Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, Sir Francis Drake, and Sebastián Vizcaíno had sailed past the Bay’s entrance without realizing what they were missing.

A few years later, in 1775, Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala dropped anchor in the Bay, and, in 1776, the beginnings of a settlement were laid down with the construction of a military outpost and the Mission San Francisco de Asis. In 1835, an Englishman founded a village nearby, which was renamed San Francisco when the United States claimed the area in 1847. California was officially annexed and paid for under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.

San Francisco’s development accelerated in 1849 with the discovery of gold. The small town with a population under 400 people exploded as nearly 80,000 gold hunters made their way to San Francisco. The cost of food, real estate, and basic amenities skyrocketed, and the city experienced financial upheaval and unchecked violence until the bubble burst in 1857. A couple years later, silver was discovered in Nevada, and several of the city’s residents grew rich as bankers, speculators, and lawyers. By 1870, the population had grown to nearly 150,000 people.

The city has been thriving ever since, despite facing its share of challenges — including the earthquakes of 1906 and 1989.

San Francisco’s Weather

Given the city’s location in sunny California, many people moving to San Francisco expect clear skies and warm temperatures year-round. Fortunately, this stereotype isn’t entirely wrong. On average, the city has 259 sunny days per year, with temperatures that rarely dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. However, its weather is better characterized as “mild” instead of “warm,” with highs between the upper 50s and the low 70s.

Like most cities along the California coast, San Francisco has a Mediterranean climate, which is typically marked by wet, mild winters and warm, dry summers. For better or worse, however, San Francisco falls short of those idyllic summers. Although its winters are wet and mild compared to those in other parts of the country, its summers are cooler than you might expect, with average highs in the 60s.

Cool, Foggy Weather in the Summer

San Francisco lies between a hot valley and a cold ocean, and the resulting weather patterns function as a natural air conditioner for the city. As the hot air in California’s Central Valley rises, cold air from the Pacific Ocean is pulled inland. This creates a steady flow of cool air over San Francisco, which keeps temperatures from reaching the sweltering heights often experienced in other parts of California.

This current also accounts for San Francisco’s infamous fog, which can make the city feel even colder. The summer months tend to be the foggiest, especially in neighborhoods closer to the Bay. A typical summer day includes heavy fog in the morning with temperatures in the 50s. By 10 a.m., the sun has usually warmed the city and cleared the fog. However, in the mid- to late afternoon, cool winds from the ocean pull the fog back into the city for a chilly night.

You may hear these cool, overcast, foggy conditions referred to as “Gray May,” “June Gloom,” “No Sky July,” and “Fogust.”

Mild, Rainy Weather in the Winter

Long-time residents recommend dressing in layers to adapt to San Francisco’s fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. However, on winter days, you may also want to have an umbrella or a raincoat. San Francisco averages 24 inches of rain each year, and most of it falls between November and March.

The winter months are among San Francisco’s coldest, but, even in the dead of winter, the average low is only 46 degrees. The average highs stay in the high 50s and low 60s, so you don’t have to worry about snow. Not all winters are equally wet, though. Sometimes the city will have an extended dry spell; at other times, the city can get a month’s worth of rain in one or two days.

Spring and fall are San Francisco’s most pleasant seasons. Fall offers some of the year’s warmest temperatures, while spring is mild.

The People of San Francisco

San Francisco’s population has been growing steadily since the mid-1800s. Recent estimates have more than 850,000 people living within the city limits. When you consider the larger metropolitan area, however, the population estimates jump to 4.6 million — and this number, in turn, nearly doubles when you include the entire San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland metro area.

Although San Francisco is only the 11th-most-populous city in the nation, it ranks second in population density, with 6,266 people per square kilometer. Only New York City is more packed. San Francisco is also diverse. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015, the city’s population was 53.6 percent white, with 41 percent identifying as non-Hispanic white. African Americans make up 6.1 percent of the population, while Hispanic and Latino residents make up 15.3 percent.

At 35.3 percent, the city’s Asian population is the largest ethnic minority. More specifically, slightly over 21 percent of the city’s population is Chinese, and the second-largest Asian group is Filipino, at 4.5 percent. The city also has a significant number of Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Thai, Burmese, and Cambodian residents.

Even if you had a few misconceptions about San Francisco’s weather, you’ve probably heard at least a few stereotypes about San Francisco that do hold up. The city is very liberal, with a large and thriving LGBT community. About 15 percent of the population identifies as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

The average age of a San Francisco resident is 38.8 years old, and children make up only 13 percent of the population. This is the lowest proportion of every major metropolitan area in the U.S. Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of San Francisco residents are immigrants and transplants. Only about a third were born in California, while roughly 25 percent came from another state and more than one-third came from another country.

The San Francisco Lifestyle

San Francisco has been named both the happiest city and the snobbiest city in America, ahead of even Washington D.C. and Seattle. Even on lists where it hasn’t placed No. 1, San Francisco consistently ranks near the top for happiness. And, since singles make up 39 percent of its population, it’s a great place to meet someone. San Francisco also tends to be a very casual city. Its residents favor a laid-back, carefree lifestyle, and this attitude applies to everything from clothes to dinner plans.

Thanks to the city’s diverse population, you can find a variety of niche cultures and alternative lifestyles. Whether you’ve felt isolated because of your ethnicity, your sexual orientation, your faith, or your sense of style, you’re likely to find an entire community of people here who share your experiences and preferences. Because the city actually has more dogs than kids, you can also find a stunning array of amenities for your loyal companion, from luxury dog hotels to a long list of dog parks.

San Francisco strives to stay healthy and eco-conscious. PETA considers it one of the most “veg-friendly” cities in the U.S., with a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Organic food is easy to come by, and the city boasts a long list of parks, recreational activities, and exercise options. The city diverts the vast majority of its waste away from landfills and aims to achieve zero waste by 2020. Already, residents and businesses must sort their trash into three different bins: landfill waste, recycling, and compost. The smaller your landfill bin, the more money you save.

San Fransisco’s Neighborhoods

If there’s one downside to living in San Francisco, it’s the high cost of living, which is 62 percent higher than the national average. The average monthly rent for an apartment is nearly $3,500. In addition, the average house costs more than 9 times the city’s median income, putting homeownership well beyond the reach of most residents. As a result, home sales in the city have slowed down as residents have begun to look elsewhere for homes. To afford a median-priced home in the city, you’d need to earn about $158,000 a year, and your mortgage would end up being over $3,600.

All of this means that price may be the deciding factor when you’re deciding where to live in San Francisco. Although the city doesn’t have any truly affordable neighborhoods, some are cheaper than others. In general, you’ll find the lowest rental prices near the city’s outer limits and in its suburbs. Start your search in Outer Mission, Outer Richmond, Bayview, Presidio Heights, and Inner or Outer Sunset. Young professionals favor trendy neighborhoods such as Dogpatch, Hayes Valley, Lower Pacific Heights, and The Marina. Pacific Heights, meanwhile, is home to some of the city’s wealthiest residents.

Among the most affordable neighborhoods for families are Bernal Heights and Glen Park. The former boasts several parks and kid-friendly restaurants, while the latter offers a quiet community and a convenient location. Potrero Hill is a great fit for upper-middle-class families. The Castro has a large number of LGBT residents, and Excelsior is among the most ethnically diverse and affordable neighborhoods. Inner Richmond has a relatively large Chinese population as well as strong Irish and Russian roots. Dog owners will like Cole Valley, Duboce Triangle, and Noe Valley, which are all popular among families with kids as well.

San Francisco’s Schools

With more than 57,000 students, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is the seventh-largest school district in California. The SFUSD includes the following:

  • 64 elementary schools.
  • 8 alternatively configured schools.
  • 13 middle schools.
  • 15 high schools.
  • 12 early education schools.
  • 14 active charter schools authorized by the district.

Most students attend elementary school between kindergarten and fifth grade, followed by middle school for sixth through eighth grade. However, some attend alternatively configured schools that combine elementary and middle school. High schools cover ninth through 12th grade. According to GreatSchools, the best schools are Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, Lawton Alternative Elementary School, Lowell High School, Ulloa Elementary School, and Sunset Elementary School. In general, the northern and western parts of the city seem to have better schools than the central, eastern, and southern parts.

In addition to public schools, San Francisco has a large number of private schools, which serve more than 27,000 students. Roughly half of these schools are religiously affiliated. The following private schools have an A+ rating on Niche: San Francisco University High School, Lick-Wilmerding High School, The Urban School of San Francisco, Convent & Stuart Hall, and French American International School – San Francisco. Several private schools outside the city limits have also earned A+ ratings.

San Francisco also boasts several colleges and universities. These include City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and the University of California – San Francisco. Stanford University and University of California – Berkeley are nearby.

The Job Market in San Francisco

The cost of living in San Francisco is notoriously high. A family of four can expect to pay about $91,785 a year for necessities, which translates to $7,649 per month. For a single person, that number is $43,581 a year (or $3,632 a month). Fortunately, the average annual salary in San Francisco is higher than the national average, at $69,110 compared to $49,630. And its median household income is nearly double the national median, at $96,677 compared to $57,617.

At 3.3 percent, the unemployment rate in San Francisco is about 1 percent lower than the national average. Encouragingly, the city’s unemployment rate has been dropping more quickly than the national rate. U.S. News also gives San Francisco an 8.8/10 rating on its job market index, which means the city has a healthier job market than most similarly sized areas.

Many people assume that the tech industry dominates San Francisco’s economy. Although tech companies and venture capital funding have certainly helped fuel the city’s steady growth, the tourism and finance industries are also exceptionally strong. Among the city’s top employers are Wells Fargo, Salesforce, PG&E, Deloitte, Amazon, and Uber. Jobs in the health care field are also plentiful thanks to employers such as Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, and California Pacific Medical Center. Other major employers include government entities and local schools, colleges, and universities.

Transportation in San Francisco

Given the city’s population density, it’s not surprising that San Francisco experiences its fair share of traffic problems. In 2017, the city was ranked the fifth worst in the world and the third worst in the nation for traffic congestion. With no room to expand, San Francisco’s only option for alleviating traffic is to streamline its existing infrastructure. Its efforts have included pay-to-use express lanes, HOV and bus lanes, and bridge tolls to fund public transportation.

Fortunately, getting around San Francisco without a car is not only possible but, in many cases, preferable. Both Lyft and Uber, as well as several traditional taxi companies, operate in the city. In addition, San Francisco boasts an enviable bus and metro system, known as Muni. Bus and metro stops are scattered throughout the city, so public transportation is easily accessible wherever you are. Routes and times can be accessed by calling 511 or through the 511 SF Bay Transit Trip Planner, a smartphone app.

San Franciscans also have access to a system of cable cars and streetcars in the downtown area. The three cable car lines are Powell-Hyde, Powell-Mason, and California Street. Fare can be paid on-board with exact change, or you can purchase tickets through the MuniMobile app or at various locations.

People looking for a healthy and inexpensive way to get around will be happy to learn that San Francisco is a very walkable city. It also consistently ranks as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. Over the last couple decades, the city has added traffic signals that give cyclists the right of way, several bike parking areas, and over 20 new miles of bike lanes. Bikes can be taken on public transit, and bike-share programs are available.

The San Francisco Food Scene

San Francisco is a foodie’s paradise, with local artisan-quality restaurants throughout the city. If you’re struggling to decide where to eat, head to one of the city’s most popular food neighborhoods and stop by the first restaurant that catches your eye. North Beach is the premier destination for Italian food, and the Mission neighborhood boasts a few world-class taquerias. For the best Chinese cuisine, head to the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods, where you’ll also find authentic Russian, Korean, and Japanese fare. The Tenderloin and Hayes Valley are other great foodie areas.

Below are a few local favorites:

  • Pizza: Pizzetta 211, Pizzeria Delfina, Golden Boy, Delarosa, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Za Pizza.
  • Ice Cream: Bi-Rite Creamery, Swensen’s Ice Cream, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, Humphry Slocombe, Smitten Ice Cream.
  • Sushi: Ryoko’s Japanese Restaurant & Bar, Roka Akor, Akiko’s Sushi Bar and Restaurant, Sakana, Ebisu.
  • Mexican: Tato, La Taqueria, Nopalito, Tacorea, El Farolito, Matador.
  • Bakeries: Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop, Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop, Boudin Bakery, Tartine Bakery, Golden Gate Bakery, Liguria Bakery.
  • Vegan: Gracias Madre (Mexican), Shizen (sushi), Mensho Tokyo (ramen), Vegan Picnic (deli), The Flying Falafel.

San Francisco also boasts a wide variety of food trucks. Many are conveniently grouped together in food truck parks such as SoMa StrEat Food Park (11th Street) and Truck Stop SF (First and Mission Streets). Off the Grid brings together food trucks and local vendors for events at various locations such as Fort Mason and the Presidio.

No matter what you’re craving or what dietary restrictions you follow, you’ll be able to find several great options in San Francisco. The city has 55 Michelin-starred restaurants. Farm-to-table restaurants with locally sourced ingredients are the norm, and vegan and vegetarian dishes are easy to come by. San Francisco is also famous for its craft beer, which you can find at pubs, bars, and breweries throughout the city. Fort Point Beer Company, ThirstyBear Brewing Company, 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant, and Black Hammer Brewing are only a few of the many top-notch local breweries.

Annual Events in San Francisco

San Franciscans value community, and it shows in the city’s lineup of annual events. Regardless of when you move to San Francisco, you’ll be able to jump right in to the social scene. Free outdoor events are never difficult to find, which means that even those on a tight budget can have active social lives.

Here are some of the biggest annual events in San Francisco:

Spring (March-May)

Every April, San Francisco’s Japantown hosts the Cherry Blossom Festival, which has a Grand Parade and traditional Japanese activities. Attendees can enjoy a variety of food booths, cultural performances, live bands, and martial arts displays. The city also has the Craft Brew Festival in March, the San Francisco International Film Festival in April and May, and the International Beer Festival in May.

Summer (June-August)

Given San Francisco’s large LGBT community, it should be no surprise that the annual Pride Parade is one of the city’s biggest events. The parade is always held in June, with the exact route and dates posted on the San Francisco Pride website. Another popular — and free — event is the two-day Fillmore Jazz Festival, which is held in Pacific Heights District on Fourth of July weekend.

Perhaps the most highly anticipated summer event is the Outside Lands Festival. Held in Golden Gate Park for three days in August, this outdoor music festival draws thousands of attendees and doubles as a food, wine, and beer festival. Local artists display their work, and dozens of restaurants and food trucks sign up as vendors.

Other summer events include the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Juneteenth, Eat Drink SF, Oysterfest, Fourth of July Fireworks on the Bay, and the Craft Spirits Carnival. Summer also brings neighborhood street fairs such as the North Beach Festival and Union Street Festival as well as races such as the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and the San Francisco Marathon. Residents can enjoy free concerts throughout the summer on Sunday afternoons in Grove Park.

Fall (September-November)

Every September, San Francisco’s comedians thank their community for its support by performing at a free comedy festival. Held in Golden Gate Park, Comedy Day features dozens of local comedians in a PG/PG-13 show. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival and A Taste of Greece are also held in September, in addition to the Folsom Street Fair, a BDSM and leather subculture street fair that is among the city’s most unique events and decidedly not kid-friendly.

October brings the Castro Street Fair, Fleet Week, Wharf Fest, the Treasure Island Music Festival, and the Fall Antiques Show, where more than 60 dealers display high-end antiques from the U.S. and Europe. Residents can enjoy free live music at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and choose from two weeks’ worth of literary events during Litquake. In November, check out the fall edition of San Francisco’s Craft Brew Festival, the Pinot Days wine festival, or the SF International Auto Show.

Winter (December-February)

Winter brings an exciting list of holiday events, including the Union Square Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, the SF Ballet’s Nutcracker Performance, NYE Fireworks Over the Bay, and the Chinese New Year Parade held in Chinatown. Since Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, the exact timing of the parade varies, but it is typically held in early February. Other events in January or February include SF Sketchfest, the ZAP Wine Festival, the SF Giants Fan Fest, the Chronicle Wine Tasting Event, and the Pacific Orchid Expo.

Things to Do in San Francisco

In a city as large as San Francisco, you’ll never have trouble finding something to do. Whether you want to shop ’til you drop, cheer on your favorite team, or explore the great outdoors, San Francisco has you covered.


If you’re in the mood for a home interior or head-to-toe makeover, head over to Fillmore Street, where you’ll find boutique clothing, decor, skincare products, and more. The Mission District is packed with vintage items, handcrafted products, and local art. For some brand-name retail therapy, visit Union Square, the city’s largest shopping district, or head over to the Westfield San Francisco Centre. Other popular destinations include Chestnut Street in the Marina District and the shops in Hayes Valley, which span roughly three blocks.


San Francisco is a great place to be a sports fan. The Bay Area has at least one professional team in every major sport, as well as local collegiate and semi-professional teams.

Baseball fans can catch a San Francisco Giants or Oakland Athletics game between early April and early October. NBA games are played from October through April at Oracle Arena, where the locals root for Oakland’s Golden State Warriors. During the football season, you can cheer on the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara or the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum, which they share with the Oakland Athletics.

For hockey and soccer, Bay Area residents have the San Jose Sharks and the San Jose Earthquakes, which play in the NHL and MLS, respectively. Plus, six local universities play NCAA Division I sports. During the college football season, you can root for the California Golden Bears (University of California – Berkeley), the Stanford Cardinals, or the San Jose State Spartans. Stanford and Berkeley also have men’s basketball teams. Locals also cheer for the Saint Mary’s Gaels, the San Francisco Dons, and the Santa Clara Broncos — three Division I teams without football programs.

Art and History

Art lovers and history buffs will appreciate the wide variety of museums and historical sites in the Bay Area. Among them are the Asian Art Museum, the Legion of Honor, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Cable Car Museum, the de Young Museum, and Fort Mason. You can also explore the history of Alcatraz Island, Fort Point, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mission Dolores, and other landmarks.

The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is a particularly impressive attraction, with a whole fleet of historic ships docked on-site. This fleet includes a square rigger, a schooner, a steam ferryboat, and a scow schooner from the late 1800s.


For some hands-on fun with the kids, check out the Exploratorium, the Randall Museum, the Children’s Creativity Museum, or the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Kids will also enjoy the Walt Disney Family Museum, the Presidio (a national park), the Julius Kahn Playground & Clubhouse, and Urban Putt indoor mini-golf. In addition to all of the exciting activities and attractions listed above, San Francisco has hundreds of miles of natural beauty for the whole family to explore, including numerous parks and beaches.

Regardless of what brings you to San Francisco, it won’t take long for you to feel right at home. You’ll join a bustling, diverse community of people who’ve made their way to the Golden City after a local, cross-country, or international move. Take advantage of the city’s active social scene to meet new people, see the sights, sample the local brews, and explore your neighborhood.

San Francisco is a city that is always full of life, and if you are one of our tenants living in our affordable San Francisco rooms, then you already know the never-ending list of activities you can do in this city. If you aren’t living in our San Francisco housing, don’t worry, you can still book one of the fully furnished single rooms or affordable shared rooms on our website! Today, we are going take you beyond just your average SF housing group and guide you through a tour of the famous beautiful and mysterious science museum of Pier 15: The Exploratorium!


The Exploratorium is a ceaseless learning laboratory that features over six-hundred exhibits in the museum. You are also free to explore any of your subject of interest as the laboratory features galleries and showings based on phenomenons such as making your own telescope, making a battery from a penny, and even turning garbage into gold! There are an endless number of fun activities to do in the museum and we are going to reveal some of our favorites!


Distorted Room


Are you a fan of Alice in Wonderland? If you are, then definitely take a peek into this seemingly normal room and you’ll see how people seem to get bigger and smaller as they walk around this exhibit, just like in the movie! This unusual room is made to give of an illusion of an average square room, but in reality, the ceiling on one side of the room is actually twice as high as the other! Don’t forget to bring your camera for some unforgettable pictures in this wonderfully bizarre room!


Colored Shadows


In this exhibit, make your shadows come to life in all sorts of different colors as you stand in front of the wall. You can make these colorful shadows walk, jump, or even dance in hues of purple, red, yellow, green, and blue. Just because you are in a museum, doesn’t mean you can’t have your own little dance party!


Spectral Meadow


Another colorful phenomenon, the Spectral Meadow is a piece of art that consists of various arrays of lights created by a rather unusual but famous artist… The Sun! Sunlight itself, after being filtered through diffraction gratings on the windows above the gallery, shines on the floor as well as the walls of the exhibit in beautiful colors. Being in this exhibit truly feels like you are immersed in the lights of a rainbow.


The Tactile Dome


Are you up for a challenge? The Tactile Dome is one of the most popular and loved exhibits in the Exploratorium where you have to walk, crawl, or climb your way out of a path completely covered by darkness! Heighten your senses to a maximum and challenge yourself to a maze completely in the dark!


Remember, the Exploratorium has hundreds of different exhibits available for all ages and these were only some of them. If you want to check out the rest of the fun activities, you can visit their website here.


We hope you have fun exploring!

Sweater season is officially here as San Francisco’s chilly weather slowly approaches. We know that sometimes students and workers just want to crawl under a warm blanket at their San Francisco room rental, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t occasionally go out and have some fun!

If you live at one of our wonderful affordable San Francisco housing options, then lucky for you, there are some beautiful beaches within a few minutes drive nearby! Don’t let the weather stop you from exploring all that this exciting city offers and explore the best beaches in San Francisco!

  1. Ocean Beach


Ocean beach is San Francisco’s widest beach and is the only one that has fire-pits and rings. From the month of March until October, visitors can use one of the sixteen fire rings located around the beach to warm up in the chilly evenings of San Francisco!


To the northern end of the beach, there is also a cute cliff house that tourists can visit and rest in. There are also restaurants there that can help fill you up after a long walk on this beach!

  1. Baker Beach
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Photo by Dave Robertson on

Baker Beach is one of the most popular beaches in San Francisco, and there’s a reason for that! It’s wonderful view of the iconic Golden Gate bridge draws tourists in and is a perfect place for photography. It is a truly representative scenery of San Francisco, and is an ideal place for pictures, picnics, and relaxation.

  1. Clipper Cove Beach


Clipper Cove Beach is a hidden gem in the big city of San Francisco. It is located on the east side of the beautiful Treasure Island and is mostly protected from the cold winds of the city as it is covered by a cove. The calm waters make this beach peaceful and relaxing, and is a great place to just sit down and enjoy the view of the Ocean.

  1. Fort Funston



If you are a dog-lover, then this beach will be the one for you! As the name suggests, this beach is a ton of fun for both you and your furry friend! Although many of the beaches in San Francisco allow pets, Fort Funston is no doubt the most dog-friendly beach in the city. Dogs are allowed to roam with or without a leash and you will always see someone playing fetch or just hanging out with their friendly pups.

What are you waiting for? Head over to one of these beautiful beaches over the weekend and enjoy all that San Francisco has to offer with these amazing views of the Bay.

Need San Francisco housing? Check out our website for available rooms in the city of SF here!

The weather is cooling imperceptibly as ‘Karl the fog’ has began to coat the city in a blanket of mist. The leaves are turning from their summer green into a pinwheel of warm hues. San Francisco college students don their Uggs and sweatpants and retreat to their San Francisco dorm rooms, like a bear to its cave, only with the intention to hibernate alongside hours of Netflix binge watching. Just like the annual cyclical ritual of a bird’s flight South in the Winter, so does your stomach promptly begin to crave Starbucks’ PSL and candy corn at the stroke of midnight on the first morning of October. Ghouls and ghosts, witches and spiders deck store windows all up and down Union Street, and some stores already have Christmas decorations up. Instagram has become flooded with photos of artfully foamed lattes with #sweaterweather punctuating a caption about ‘Falling for Fall’.

There is no doubt about it: Autumn is upon us.


Now while you may fret and bemoan the change of season, Fall in your San Francisco housing is a beautiful time of the year. The large selection of San Francisco’s amazing coffee beverages sound extra warm and comforting, and absolutely nothing sounds better than turning on those twinkle lights and settling in for a Harry Potter movie marathon in your San Francisco room rental.

But perhaps best of all, Autumn in San Francisco means pumpkin everything – pumpkin spice lattes, a million pumpkin inspired goodies at Trader Joes, cute pumpkin decorations in every window of the city, pumpkin pie, and, best of all, time for your annual trip to the pumpkin patch! Often, living in a city means few local farms and pumpkin patches to get the full pumpkin picking ~experience~. Luckily for you, the Bay Area has dozens of local farms, farm stands, and seasonal pumpkin patches where you can go to pick out your perfect pumpkin pal! Many of these pumpkin farms patches offer so much more than pumpkins – seasonal fun activities like petting zoos, corn mazes, hay rides, and haunted houses! So whether you are a Bay Area parent taking your child or a student living in San Francisco, grab your ghouls and gals, your PSLs and LOLs,  and head on over to one of these fun little pumpkin patches to get spooky season off to a great start!


ABC Tree Farms & Pumpkin Patches

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A few locations – Hours: varies by location – Phone: 408-393-6303

This pumpkin patch chain operates 18 pumpkin patches across the Bay Area, mostly in the city!  This pumpkin patch has a ton of fun games and activities, inflatable carnival rides, photo areas, and a variety of beautiful pumpkin varieties grown on farms in the Pacific Northwest. This pumpkin patch runs from late September through October 31st. Admission is free, but there is an admission fee for children ages 2-12 that wish to play on the inflatable amusements.


Arata Pumpkin Farm

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185 Verde Rd., Half Moon Bay – Hours: Monday through Friday, 9am to 7pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 8pm. – Phone: 650-726-7548

Arata Pumpkin Farm is the oldest working farm in San Mateo County, and features a ton of fun activities including the 2-acre Minotaur- inspired Labyrinth Hay Maze, a train ride, and a petting zoo. You can pack your own lunch and enjoy it in the picnic area! Admission is free, but the corn maze and other activities have varied fees.


Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch

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850 North Cabrillo Highway, Half Moon Bay – Hours: Monday through Friday 9:30am–5:30pm; Saturday and Sunday 9:00am–5:30pm.- Phone: 650-726-4980

Half Moon Bay is the unofficial pumpkin spot, home to the world-famous Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch is best known for their wide range of pumpkins and squash – Over 60 varieties! This farm is also one of the only local pumpkin patches that wis dog friendly, so you can bring your canine best friend along for the fun! The pumpkin patch is open mid-September through Halloween.

Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival

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If you really, really, really love pumpkin season and you live in the Bay Area, you won’t want to miss this landmark local festival in Half Moon Bay. Now in its 46th year, the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival is one California’s most famous fall festivals. The event features the world-championship winning biggest pumpkin of the year, a parade, fall food and activities, live music, and kid-friendly rides, games, and activities. All proceeds from the festival benefit the Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee which funds local community service organizations and civic improvements.


Lemos Farm

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12320 San Mateo Rd. (Hwy 92), Half Moon Bay – Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 9:00am-5:00pm. – Phone: 650-726-2342

This farm is best for kids or forever young adults, including a variety of fun activities including hay rides, pony rides, a spooky Ghost Train, a bounce house, a petting zoo, and, best of all, the Scare Zone haunted house! The haunted house has a ‘Halloween Fun’ version for the easily spooked, and a super spooky Scare Zone for the scream enthusiasts. The farm is open every day in October. Admission is free but the activities have varied fees.


Perry Farms

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34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont – Hours: Monday through Friday, noon to 7pm. Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 7pm. – Phone(510) 793-6658

Perry Farms is unique in that it is located on the historic Ardenwood Estate in Fremont, which is now an organic farm. All of the pumpkins are grown on site! The farm includes a kids-size corn-maze, character cutout photo ops, a hay pyramid and hay rides.  The pumpkin patch is open every day in October. Admission is free Monday through Friday, $1.00 per person on Saturdays and Sundays. Children under two enter for free.


Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch

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Santa Teresa Blvd. at Bailey Ave., San Jose – Hours:  Sunday to Thursday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm,  Friday to Saturday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.  – Phone: 408-763-1093

Every fall, the cute family-owned Spina Farms opens their pumpkin patch in San Jose. This pumpkin patch features more than 60 varieties of pumpkins and a beautiful bounty of other fall produce, all grown locally in the Coyote Valley! The pumpkin patch includes a train ride, pony rides, a hay ride, and a petting zoo. This patch lets you pack your own lunch and enjoy it in their adorable picnic area, so grab some of Fall’s bounty and a piece of pumpkin bread and enjoy!  The Pumpkin Patch is open starting on the 28h of September and through the month of October.


Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park

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14485 Monterey Rd., San Martin – Hours: Open at 9 a.m. ; close times vary between 5-9 p.m. – Phone: 408-778-7225

This local Coyote Valley farm has so much more than pumpkin picking to offer! This local farm has a large variety of fun activities for kids and San Francisco students of all ages, including petting zoo, butterfly garden, train rides, hay rides, a corn maze, ‘pumpkin blasters’,  the famous Pumpkin Pyramid (a stack of 4,000 pumpkins!), and ‘the Great Pumpkin Weigh-off’, where pumpkin farmers from throughout the west coast can enter their big orange beauts to compete for over $25,000 in prizes. Open October 1-31. Admission is free and parking is free on weekdays. On weekends, there is a parking fee of $5. Cash only.



We hope we helped kick off your pumpkin spirit this October! Happy Fall to all!

Want to read about more fun things to do in the Bay Area? Check out our other blog posts exploring SF here!

Need Fall Housing? Check out all of our San Francisco rooms for rent on our website,


Post written by contributor Isabelle Kaplan



The streets of San Francisco seem even more overrun by business people lately. Men and women in button-down shirts and matching lanyards seem to be pouring out of every coffee shop in the city. Suddenly, cloud logos deck the walls of restaurants and museums, and art instillations have overtaken the pavement and windows. What is this all about?

Young techies, motivated businesspeople, and inspired future leaders from around the world flock to San Francisco in the Fall for two reasons: Oracle’s OpenWorld Conference and Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference.

Dreamforce is Salesforce’s annual tech conference, and is known as the most innovative software conference in the world, and is an event that is near and dear to San Francisco’s heart.  This year’s Dreamforce event marks the conference’s 15th birthday, and is estimated to bring in over 170,000 eager attendees, also known as ‘Trailblazers’. This vast number is probably the reason that, according to the San Francisco Travel Association, Dreamforce generates about $147 million of direct business sales in the the Bay Area each year. The speaker lineup this year is unbeatable, including Salesforce co-CEOs Marc Benioff and Keith Block, Al Gore, Unilever CIO Jane Moran, and NBA Champion Andre Iguodala.  Attendees have the opportunity to get hands-on with the latest of Salesforces technological innovations, have access to over 2,700+ sessions aimed to help every single role in the industry succeed,  and can network with other brilliant ‘Trailblazer’ attendees. But the event is not all business! The event caps off with an epic night of music,  where Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz will perform for the attendees.

Just a few weeks later, an estimated 60,000 tech enthusiasts will stream into San Francisco from October 22 to 25 for Oracle’s OpenWorld conference, a tech gathering at the Moscone Center downtown. Former Oracle CEO and current executive chairman, Larry Ellison, will kick off the event with a speech at 5 p.m. Sunday. The event’s spectacular speaker lineup includes Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO and Rick Welts, the Golden State Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer. With this conference, Oracle aspires to “transform tomorrow’s business, today”, by inspiring conversations about the future of our corporate world through four busy days filled with keynotes, learning sessions, networking opportunities with Oracle customers, industry leaders, and domain experts. The session catalogue includes 500+ available sessions, including Product Training, Customer Case Studies, and key content categories including integrated cloud platform and emerging technologies, among many, many others. After the lectures and workshops, conference-goers can relax, for Wednesday night of Oracle OpenWorld features Oracle CloudFest.18, an epic night of live music- Last years musicians featured The Chainsmokers and Ellie Goulding! This year, Elton John and Beck will perform at the Oracle Appreciation Event on Treasure Island, which will also include a Ferris wheel, arcade games and food.

Both of these events are available for the public – you can easily buy your tickets online, before they are sold out. Therefore, this Fall, for techies all over the world, San Francisco is the place to be.