Moving from Phoenix, AZ, to San Francisco, CA

Planning a new life in the City by the Bay? Here’s what you need to know 

San Francisco is a beautiful world-class city that attracts millions of visitors every year. But touring it and living there are two entirely different experiences. If you’re examining a move from Phoenix to San Francisco, we’ll help prepare you for what to expect. You’ll also learn about a long-distance moving option that spares you the hassle of driving a rental truck for 750 miles. 

There’s a steep price to pay 

Cost of living is one of the first questions that comes up for anyone seriously considering a move to San Francisco — and for good reason. With its combination of limited space (47 square miles) and sizeable population (875,000 residents), San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. That’s also factoring in higher-than-average costs for state income and property taxes, food and groceries, transportation and health care. 

Expect to pay more than double in San Francisco compared to what you pay in Phoenix for a comparable standard of living. This cost of living calculator can help you determine the financial differences between the two cities. 

Pro tip: Unless you’re set on living in the city proper, compare prices in more affordable nearby areas like Oakland, Alameda, Pinole, Daly City, Vallejo and Concord. Many Bay Area residents get better value by opting to live outside of San Francisco while still being close enough to commute and enjoy all it has to offer! 

You’ll need some long pants and long sleeves 

Both cities get more than 250 sunny days per year, but San Francisco gets more than twice as much precipitation. San Francisco also is much cooler, even in summer. The average July high there is 67 degrees, compared to 105 in Phoenix. There’s usually a strong breeze, so invest in a good windbreaker and prepare to dress in layers! 

The food variety and quality is exceptional 

You may miss Phoenix’s wide range of tasty and charming dining spots. But you’re in luck — your new city happens to be one of the top food destinations anywhere. Seeking great seafood, fresh sourdough bread or decadent chocolate? San Francisco has it all. 

How good is the food scene in San Francisco? WalletHub ranks it No. 4 overall among Best Foodie Cities in America and No. 1 in diversity, accessibility and quality. Aside from the high-end dining, you’ll find local gems and food trucks serving delicious and diverse offerings that match the city’s international flavor. There are also farmers markets in every neighborhood! 

Job prospects go beyond Silicon Valley 

Many find that the opportunities for career advancement outweigh the expense of living in San Francisco. Salaries are typically higher here than in other major metropolitan areas because many require specific skill sets or advanced degrees. 

While the technology industry tends to attract the most attention, tourism is actually the largest economic sector. Other major areas of employment include finance, education, health care and biotechnology. 

Owning a vehicle isn’t a necessity 

It’s hard to imagine getting around the great wide open of Phoenix without a car. If you’re planning on bringing yours to San Francisco, prepare to add parking costs to your budget. San Francisco is the second-most densely populated large city in the U.S. (behind New York City), which makes driving and parking a challenge. Rideshare and rental services are plentiful. 

Fortunately, San Francisco operates a robust and affordable public transit system, with numerous buses, streetcar and cable car routes on the Muni. The electric subway trains of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) are fast and connect to surrounding communities. 

Be a tourist in your own backyard 

Like Phoenix, San Francisco is a haven for those who enjoy being outside. San Francisco’s beauty and geographical diversity make it a great place to explore. Golden Gate Park, the largest man-made urban park in the world, sits right in the city and offers one of the best places in the area to watch sunsets. Head to the beach for great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, hit the many hiking or biking trails in and around the city or hop a ferry to Alcatraz or Angel Island. The possibilities are endless! 

Ready to live and play by the Bay? Go U-Pack

Navigating the narrow and hilly streets of San Francisco is no easy task. When you move long distance with U-Pack®, you leave that to a professional driver. All you do is pack and load into our equipment, and we deliver it to your new home. It’s the value of DIY combined with the ease of full service! See our coverage map for more details

Find out how U-Pack® can help you move efficiently and affordably. Get a free quote today.