Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chicago vs. San Francisco

After a decent night of sleep and brunch with two great friends (Beth and Tony), my head feels more clear. Oh, sure, I still hate my job, and I'm dying to get out of this rut, but I don't feel a need to ugly cry.

That may change when I set my alarm for work tomorrow, but it's a little easier knowing the end is a year away. Brent all but promised we would move next year, and even though I don't want to give up our amazing new apartment (that we haven't even moved into yet - ha!), we would be moving to one of two amazing cities.

Unfortunately, I'm having trouble deciding between the two. Obviously, after living there for a summer and visiting a zillion times, Chicago is more familiar and feels like home. To be fair, though, I've never been to San Francisco, and who's to say I wouldn't fall in love at first sight like I did with Chicago?

So, I decided to compile a list of pros and cons. I did a lot of research on San Francisco today: web articles, Craigslist ads, blogs, Google images, and their transit websites for MUNI and BART.



- Familiarity. I can ride the CTA blindfolded. I know which neighborhoods are decent/affordable. Point for Chicago.
- Restaurants, theatres, concerts. No difference there.
- Lake Michigan. I love being on the water. Again, no difference.
- Various ethnic neighborhoods. Unsure if SF has comparable areas like Little Ukraine, Little Italy, Greektown. SF does have a Chinatown.
- Cubs/Wrigley. Point for Chicago.
- The CTA is expansive. We wouldn't need a car as long as we live within the system. Unsure if SF's system is as expansive.
- Reasonably close to my family. Five hours on Amtrak to Ann Arbor/Livonia, and a six-hour drive to Gaylord. Point for Chicago.
- Snow for Christmas. Point for Chicago.
- Moving there involves a moving van. Point for Chicago.


- WINTER. Winter is brutal in Chicago. Point for San Francisco.
- Lack of hiking/nature areas, despite being a pedestrian city. Point for San Francisco.
- The job market. Brent might be able to find something. I might be able to find something. Unsure if those "somethings" will pay enough for a two-bedroom apt.

San Francisco:


- Restaurants, theatres, concerts. No difference.
- Pacific Ocean. MORE water. And sharks! :)
- BART/MUNI public transit. Unsure if it services every area, but it's better than nothing. (I'm looking at you, L.A. Your transit system sucks.)
- WEATHER. The climate in San Francisco is absolutely perfect. Foggy and not too hot, not too cold. No ice storms. No 90% humidity. Just spring/fall weather year-round.
- Nature, hiking, the whole nine yards. Close to Napa. A weekend drive for the redwood forest.
- The job market. Brent can get a job at the snap of his soft, non-calloused, computer programmer fingers. I can probably find something. Even though the cost of living is a bit higher than Chicago, his salary would be enough to make up for it.


- The cost of living. Dear god. Even though we'd be making enough, it's hard to stomach paying that much for an apartment.
- I have NO IDEA where I'm going, but that's what maps are for. Still. Eek!
- We might still need two cars, despite BART/MUNI. If Brent works in Silicon Valley, he'll have to commute since we can't afford to live there.
- Giants, Sharks, '49-ers, and a bunch of other teams I don't care about. I could learn, though.
- Moving there involves selling most of our stuff and shipping the rest in boxes, unless we feel like driving a moving van across the country (no).
- No snow for Christmas. I know this sounds silly since I hate winter, but I do like having snow for the holidays. Of course, it might not matter since we spend every Christmas in either Gaylord (metric fuckton of snow) or Albuquerque (dusting of snow).

Given that I keep justifying my cons for San Francisco, we may have a winner. While it's scary to move to an area I'm unfamiliar with, we do know people there, so we wouldn't be completely lost. We could take a trip on the California Zephyr, something we've been meaning to do for a long time, and visit our friends and get a nice tour of the area.

The weather and the job market, along with the scenery, are a big push for San Francisco. I'm completely jazzed about being on the ocean (or at least close to it) and not having to deal with winter. Wearing a hoodie year-round? Yes, please.

However, if we ultimately decide to live in Chicago, that's fine too. Sure, the weather sucks, but I love that city so much. It might be tricky to find a job, but the cost of living is much lower (especially since we won't need a car), so we'd be okay.

Since I have the evening all to myself, I'm going to look up old episodes of "House Hunters" on Hulu since I know they've done a bunch in the San Francisco Bay area. That might help me place things, learn about the culture of each neighborhood, and put everything in better perspective. I'll call it research. ;)


On a somewhat un-related note, I'm feeling pretty happy today. I've already dropped three of the six pounds of weight I gained last week, and I might have the other three pounds gone by my weigh-in Friday morning. I've been spot-on with my calories all week. Even if I don't get back down to 339.8 again, though, at least I know I didn't totally biff up. ;) I should be back at that point within a week. If anything, I've learned a valuable lesson about which foods create havoc with water retention and general blargh-ness.


  1. I've only lived in Chicago, but I've visited both as a tourist and enjoyed them each for different reasons.

    SF has cultural neighborhoods - not the same as Chicago, but there are a few. The Mission District = Pilsen, Castro = Boystown, Little Italy and Chinatown = Little Italy and Chinatown. It's not a grid city like Chicago, but a few days of exploring will help the city make sense to you! As far as public transit, it's not the CTA by any means - we took the BART and MUNI and they weren't as often, as conveniently located, or as dependable as in Chicago. Cabs were heinously expensive. Most people drive there, I think, or walk/bike.

    I'm in the middle of moving via mail so you probably don't want my opinion on that one. :P

    Having lived in Chicago, I appreciated visiting SF, but knew after a few days that it was a place I could only visit, not thrive as a resident. If you can, I'd suggest a trip out here before making your big decision - cities most certainly have personalities, you want to make sure it's a good fit!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...