San Francisco, California
Once upon a time, if you were young and seeking power and fame, you headed to New York or Los Angeles. Today the ambitious flock to San Francisco. The result: Rents are skyrocketing, luxury condos pop up while cherished lesbian bars close down, protestors hurl themselves before Google buses, and legions of would-be moguls search for new stuff to disrupt.
Do you really want to live here? Yes, you do.
The future is being made in San Francisco, and people know it. “Everyone you meet is working on something they believe has the potential to make an impact,” says David Hegarty, who moved here from Seattle five years ago, and after three failed start-ups, finally struck a nerve with Fixed, an iPhone app that helps users deal with parking tickets. Hundreds of start-ups like that are now based in the city’s South of Market district, amid omakase sushi joints and raw-food bistros.
On the other hand, the median home price here is nearly $1 million. In Hegarty’s Noe Valley neighborhood, a two-bedroom apartment rents for $5,000.
Who can afford to live like that? Most longtime residents will tell you: “Douchey guys driving Teslas.” Wen Shen, a surgeon here for 20 years, often gripes about the way his city is changing. Yet, when offered the chance to relocate not long ago, he decided to stay put. Why? Well, there was that “mind-blowing” dinner at Kin Khao, a Thai place near Union Square. And then there’s this: Amid so much change, it still is San Francisco. “When I’m driving home, I go up the back side of Twin Peaks,” Shen says. “When I crest over the top of the hill, I look straight out at the Marin Headlands and see the opening of the bay. The little hit of beauty, it’s one of the best moments of my day.”
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!Back to top