During my first couple months of living in San Francisco, I didn’t even know where the Inner Sunset was. When people told me they lived there, I just smiled and nodded while imagining a far away place, where Karl the Fog never leaves. Why would anyone live there?
But after my boyfriend and I had to leave the one-bedroom apartment in the Lower Haight we were subletting from a guy who had 15-year long rent control, we had a horrible realization: San Francisco is a freaking expensive and competitive place to live. We had just moved from North Carolina, where one-bedroom apartments were aplenty and started at $500. Now we were looking at one bedrooms for $2,500 and above, some were depressing hellholes with no windows or dank basements trying to pass for a living space. And don’t even get me started on the line around the block that forms when any apartment in the city is having an open house. If I had to fight off one more couple throwing folders full of renter credentials and money at the landlord’s feet, I was going to go crazy.
Until, that is, I started looking in the Inner Sunset. Then everything changed, and now I love living in the Inner Sunset. And I’ll tell you why.
A lot less rent than you. The apartments in the Inner Sunset are ridiculously cheaper than anything east of Golden Gate Park. And when I showed up for the open house, there was no line. I was the only person there and was actually able to chat with the landlord. I signed the lease a week later, no sweat. Plus, my landlord isn’t a crazy slumlord, he’s actually a good guy who lets me paint my walls a different color and start a garden in the backyard – not a corporate real estate company where you never actually see the landlord’s face.
Those are amenities you’d think you could only find in the East Bay. The Inner Sunset really does give more bang for your buck. We have so much more space, including a back porch, a large backyard, and a parking space. Yes, having a car is possible in my neighborhood. Our garden isn’t a patch of grass on the sidewalk passing for a green space, where your neighbor lets his dog pee every morning; it’s a huge fenced-in backyard. We actually have a mini urban farm back there, with a worm box for compost and delicious fresh vegetables growing.
Ah, the Inner Sunset. Where you can get a breakfast special of coffee, pancakes, eggs, bacon, AND sausage all for five bucks from Howard's Cafe. Where you can get a $6 bowl of hot pho for those inevitable foggy nights from Yummy Yummy. Where you can grab a double hashbrown sandwich for $7 at Art's Cafe. Where Arizmendi Bakery provides a beyond satisfying $1.50 cup of coffee and $1.50 pumpkin muffin for those mornings when you just miss the N Judah after chasing it down the hill.
I live a couple blocks from my two favorite parks in SF: Grand View Park, and, of course, Golden Gate Park. Grand View Park has the most breathtaking vista in San Francisco (eat your heart out Instagrammers). I live so close to Golden Gate Park that during Outside Lands, I can hear the music from my back porch. Another big plus: I actually go to the beach. No, not like once a year during Bay to Breakers like all the other San Franciscans, I go all the time. My Sunday morning ritual is to go on a run down to the beach, grab an iced coffee from Trouble, and sit in the sand. That is the California living I grew up wanting.
Stop your monthly crying session whenever you have to write your life away in the form of a rent check, and move to the Inner Sunset. You can buy me a beer at Social Brewery to thank me when you do.
Check out more neighborhoods that we covered in our "Why I Love ..." series here.