Moving From Pittsburgh, PA, to San Francisco, CA

Moving from Pittsburgh to San Francisco

You’re not just moving, you’re really moving! Nearly twenty-six hundred miles, to be exact! It’ll be a nice change, though; coastal California is lovely. With summer highs in the upper 60s, winter lows in the mid-40s, nearly endless sunshine, and the nearby Pacific, San Francisco is a great change of pace. Plus, San Francisco (also known as The City by the Bay, Golden Gate City, Fog City, and Frisco), is Northern California’s financial and cultural center. To make your transition easier, check out some common questions about your new home.

What does the Economy Look Like?​​

The economy is pretty solid right now in San Francisco. The unemployment rate is nearly 2% lower than the United States average (only 3.5%). Recent job growth is higher than the national average, as well, and is projected to rise steadily over the next ten years. Average salary is just under $78,378/year.  

Major employers are social assistance and healthcare, technology, tourism, education and government services. However, Fog City has a diversified economy, so employment is widely spread across many fields.

Expect 8% income tax and 8.75% sales tax. 

What Kind of Living Costs Should I Expect?​​

Golden Gate City is known for a very high cost of living. Think of it this way: if the United States average cost of living is at 100, San Fran’s is at 272.6. If you’re worried about that, though, keep this in mind: household income in San Francisco is 96% higher than the household income in Pittsburgh! The higher cost of living is offset by a higher paying job market. Plus, because of the rising costs, many lower- and middle- income families have begun migrating from the city itself into the suburbs and commuting in for work.

Housing is the major factor in the high cost of living; healthcare, food/groceries, and transportation are all higher in San Fran than they are in the home of Steeler Nation.  Utilities actually tend to be a bit cheaper than the rest of the United States.

Should I Drive or use Public Transportation?

Good question – that depends on why you’re out and about. For leisure time, public transportation is the way to go. One reason for this is because The City by the Bay is notoriously hilly, so parking can be tricky. The city’s famous cable cars are still quite popular (and fun to ride); in fact, they’re a popular tourist attraction. The San Francisco Municipal Railway, commonly called Muni, is the most used public transit system in the area. It crisscrosses all over the city and boasts over 200 million rides a year.

If you’re going to the office, the public transportation system is still a great option. A lot of residents use it to get to work. However, most people (about 80%) drive their own vehicle to and from work since many people live in the suburbs. The average commute time is 36 minutes. 

Fun Fact: Several thousand residents make their daily commute via bicycle!

Are the Educational Opportunities Worth the Move?

For higher education, you’ll have multiple college and university options, and several of them are notable for various reasons. For example, San Francisco Art Institute prides itself in being the oldest art school west of the Mississippi River. University of California, San Francisco is one of the top five medical schools in the entire country. City College of San Francisco, with an enrollment of over 100,000 students, is one of the country’s largest two-year programs. Cali’s oldest law school (University of California, Hastings College of Law) is here, as well.

If you’re moving with children, they can take advantage of the San Francisco Unified School District. Fog City is unusual, though, in that about 30% of residents send their children to private school (around 20% more than the nationwide average). Between public and private, the city offers hundreds of schools to residents, from preschool all the way up to high school. 

Do I need to Worry about Earthquakes?

The city itself doesn’t sit directly on a fault line, but the Hayward Fault and San Andreas Fault are near enough that minor earthquakes are a fairly regular occurrence. Major quakes are rare; the last one happened in the late 80s. The smaller tremors, along with the threat of more major earthquakes, attribute to Frisco’s solid infrastructure. Newly built structures are designed with continually upgraded building codes. 

However, since San Francisco has a long history, many older buildings are still susceptible to earthquake damage. So when you’re finalizing a new place to live, you’ll definitely want to verify your new home’s building integrity.

What can I do on a Weekend?

The possibilities are endless! San Francisco has tons of stuff to do.

  • Visit Alcatraz or, if you’re brave, participate in Escape from Alcatraz, a mile-and-a-half swim from Alcatraz Island over to San Francisco’s shore.
  • Take pictures with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
  • Watch some of pro sport’s finest at a Golden Gates Warriors NBA game, a 49ers NFL game (they’re technically not in San Francisco anymore, but the drive to watch them in Santa Clara isn’t far), or Giants major league game.
  • See an opera at War Memorial Opera House.
  • Picnic at Golden State Park
  • Take the kids to the Walt Disney Family Museum.
  • Ride the Napa Valley Wine Train.

And much, much more!

How do I get There?

Once you’ve decided to move to the San Francisco area, getting there should be the least of your concerns. Let U-Pack® take care of the details for you. We can move your things across the country, deliver them to your new home, and even store them at a service center if you haven’t got the perfect place picked out yet. Get a free online quote or call 844-362-5303844-594-3077 to let one of our friendly moving consultants help make your move easy!