San Francisco Is The Best City For Millennials & Techies

San Francisco is the best! GGB By Mrs. Samurai
GGB By Mrs. Samurai

San Francisco is the best city for millennials and youths. There is so much to offer here. Diversity, great eats, Google, Apple, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp HQ and more! SF is #1!

Yet according to the Wall St. Journal, the Top 5 “youth magnet cities” are:

1) Washington DC – Didn't realized that's how they spelled San Francisco.

2) Seattle

3) New York

4) Portland

5) Austin – Washington DC

Dear Wall Street Journal, have you never heard of the Bay Area? My main question is: “Where is SF?!” The researchers who compiled the list clearly did not spend any time in the Bay Area. San Francisco is the best city for millennials. And the tech companies prove it.

San Francisco Is The Best For Tech Jobs

I can walk over to the headquarters of Twitter and ask the VP of development why my Twitter account name can only be @FinancialSamura and not @FinancialSamura(i).

Then I can grab a bite to eat with Googler‘s across the street at the Water Bar, and then go drink some beers with some marketers at Facebook. How can San Francisco not be one of the Top 5 magnet cities for youth? 

Yes, the San Francisco is an expensive coastal city. $500,000, 600sqft studios anyone? But, the young guns at the city's tech heavy companies all make a lot of money. And they are going to make a ton more once they get acquired or go public! 

Oh yeah, ever heard of YouTube? They're based here too as I was reminded one day checking out a $2.5 million open house for fun. The agent told me the young 28-year-old owner and her husband were selling to move back home to Iowa!

San Francisco and Silicon Valley are the absolute meccas for social media, venture capitalism, and the internet. Every single management consulting firm and major financial institution (a populist “boo”) are here too.

If you're in college, or are thinking about transferring to a new city, think about San Francisco. Take it from a guy who has lived in DC, New York City, and has been on countless business trips to Portland and Austin. SF rocks!

Related: Why Living In San Francisco Is Better Than Living In New York City

San Francisco Is The Best For Lifestyle And Weather

Whether or not you work in tech, there are plenty of other reasons why San Francisco is a great city for millennials and youth. The lifestyle and weather are sublime.

When you live in San Francisco, you can drive just 3 hours up to Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe and snowboard in a foot of fresh powder. And the very next day you can play tennis in 70 degree weather back in the city. Why would you live anywhere else? 

I spent 10 years on the east coast freezing my bum off every winter, and sneezing my head off every spring and fall because of allergies. If only I had discovered SF sooner.

The weather in San Francisco is also mild and great for those who like the outdoors. Winters are mild with highs of 50-60 degrees. And spring, summer and fall range from 60-80 degrees. It's a great city for wearing layers. There's no humidity, the air is clean, and the ocean breeze is refreshing and good for the soul.

San Francisco Is Both A Big City And A Small World

San Francisco is also a city for funny coincidences. It's big enough that you can wander around and not recognize anyone. And it's also a small enough world that you'll randomly bump into people you know at a coffee shop or your favorite bar.

A couple weeks ago, I was playing golf with a client and his friend who works at Federated Media. I had no idea what Federated Media was because I'm a noob. But, I soon realized they are a fantastic advertising platform which counts Wise Bread and Mashable as their clients! 

We're going to have coffee this month so he can explain to me the hurdles of getting represented by them. Is someone with a similar offering going to be competitive with someone who can have a face to face conversation straight with the source? No.

Networking In San Francisco Abounds

Just this past weekend, I went hiking with 8 friends up in Muir Woods (great redwood trees). And it turns out one of the hikers is the VP of Sales at Adbrite, one of the Top 5 advertising platforms on the web. 

I started asking her how they planned to take on Google Adsense and improve their technology. During my own test trials of Google Adsense, I was pretty disappointed in the ad relevancy. One time I woke up to see Russian mail order bride ads on the site! I was not happy about that.

It was so fascinating to hear her speak about her company's strategy and innovation.  I'm pretty sure Adbrite will continue to improve and be bought out someday.

The point I'm trying to make is that 1) it must be easy to get a job as a writer for the WSJ since they've never heard of San Francisco. And 2) if you live in SF, you are surrounded by people in fast growing, and potentially highly lucrative fields. 

I didn't seek out these people, they just so happened to be people I bumped into while enjoying some hobbies. For those who are driven and want a fast paced work environment, San Francisco is the best place to build your career.

San Francisco Is The Best City

Don't get trapped in Austin, or do “equities in Dallas” as Liar's Poker Michael Lewis famously wrote. Once you're stuck, it's very hard to get out. I wouldn't write as one-sided if it wasn't for Wall Street Journal's snub. But here is San Francisco's defensive as it is. 

Build your resume in San Francisco, New York City, Washington DC, London, Hong Kong, and from there you can make your fortune and go anywhere. Once you retire, you'll have an immediately bigger nest egg because everywhere else is so much cheaper.

Readers and younger folks, what cities do you have your heart set on for work? If there's anybody from Austin, feel free to stand up and defend your city. If anybody will be watching the President's Cup on TV this weekend, we're going to do our best and wave to the readers with our FS logo at Harding Park. Go USA!

Related Reading

Here are some other great articles I've written about San Francisco. I've lived here since 2000 and love every minute of it.

Wherever you end up living, I hope you set goals to reach financial independence, invest, and plan for retirement.

Here are some additional resources I’ve put together that will help you on your financial journey to earn more, save more, and live the lifestyle you've always wanted.

If you enjoyed this article, please sign up for the Financial Samurai Newsletter here to receive exclusive content. Further, you can subscribe to the Financial Samurai podcast for even more insights and tips.

22 thoughts on “San Francisco Is The Best City For Millennials & Techies”

  1. “If you have never experienced NYC or SF, then go to Dallas. But once you realize there are so many better places to live, Dallas will tank to the bottom of the list.” Ah, I don’t think there is a single list, and mine would probably not be similar to yours. Personally, having lived in DC, Los Angeles, and Chicago, I am quite sure that Dallas is not near the bottom of my list. For one thing, at this point of my career, it offers a much higher quality of life than I could afford elsewhere. Paying a hefty premium for things that other people value a lot more than I do does not strike me as likely to maximize happiness in either the short or the long term.

    If money were absolutely not an issue, I think Tokyo or Singapore would be far superior to San Francisco in any of the metrics that would be particularly important to me. What do you feel the advantages of San Francisco are for you?

    1. I’ve lived in Kobe, and visited Singapore and Tokyo many times. Not bad, but crowded.

      SF is amazing because of the weather, food, culture, scenery and massive amount of high paying jobs. It’s nuts out here in terms of opportunity.

  2. The dream of the 90s may be alive in Portland (and Seattle), but the dream of the 2000s is alive in Dallas — there are jobs paying $50-60K for BAs with basic mathematical skills in a market where homes in okay areas are available for $75-150K. No state income taxes. Friendly business climate. I find the people to be very friendly (albeit aggregate crime is worse than the national average, but at the neighborhood level, you can split a 2 BA/2BD apartment in a really pleasant area for a total rent-and-utility cost of less than $800/m/person).

    I’m not familiar with Austin specifically, but anecdotally I’ve heard that it’s like a more liberal and slightly more expensive version of Dallas. If you were thinking about San Francisco or Manhattan but could not afford them, I think Austin (or Durham) would probably be a serviceable alternative.

    For 20-somethings whose goals include paying off significant student debt and/or home ownership, especially those without a science/tech/engineering/mathematics background, I’d recommend looking into Dallas, Raleigh, Atlanta, and maybe Austin ahead of high-cost markets like San Francisco, DC, and New York. If you have the skills to command $80,000+ in a STEM position and are really drawn to the cultural/liberal vibes of these higher-cost areas, then you might enjoy those better than low-cost areas (which are typically more conservative than major urban markets, especially SF/DC/NYC).

    1. I donno Brian, Dallas? Have you read Liar’s Poker and the famous “equities in Dallas” saying?

      If you have never experienced NYC or SF, then go to Dallas. But once you realize there are so many better places to live, Dallas will tank to the bottom of the list.

  3. Washington DC as a youth area? WTF? This is one of the least “young” cities I’ve ever been to. Even the 20-somethings here act like they’re 40. DC shouldn’t even be on the list, but Austin should.
    .-= Kelsey´s last blog ..On Balancing Realism and Enthusiasm =-.


    Sure, San Fran has a few popular tech companies but it can’t match the sheer number of opportunities offered by the gov’t in DC especially for those starting out. Not to mention multiple higher ed institutions, way affordable housing than San Fran and a much better metro system etc… DC’s #1 spot is well deserved.

    1. Booo, I disagree Jane! :) I lived in the DC area for 8 years and the weather is absolutely atrocious. Yes, if I wanted to get a government job, DC is #1 on the list, but anything else not so much. Banking, management consulting, internet, social media, advertising is all better served in NYC, SF, and LA.

  5. Daniel @ Sweating The Big Stuff

    I live in Washington, D.C. and I have to say, there are LOTS of young people here. All the government work creates lots of jobs and there are several colleges right in the heart of the city, plus others (University of Maryland & Johns Hopkins) not too far away. I came from Maryland and it seemed like everyone wanted to move to D.C. or New York.

    Like you said, lots of consulting companies, which do a lot of work for the government. I think #5 is a little low, but maybe I’m biased. Still, I agree that New York should beat it out.

    1. Hey Daniel – Yeah, you’re right…. Georgetown, UVA, William & Mary, Johns Hopkins, Mary Washington, American University, George Washington, George Mason, UMD all there! DC over Portland for sure! No better place to go than to DC if you’re into politics and government. Thnx for stopping by! FS

  6. San Francisco was and still is my first choice. But I am retired and have other priorities, otherwise, I would find a way to move there now!

    Many of those consulting firms in Washington DC hire former government employees now retired!

    1. Hi Suzan – Interesting to note about consulting firms hiring former government employees. Must be good for them to work both in the private and public sector.

      Perhaps you can seek out friends or family in SF and hang out with them sometime? Enjoy retirement! I am envious! :) FS

  7. @Cheapskate Sandy
    Every single major 2.0 web business is here, at least the ones that I’ve heard of. Yes, no offense to Austin… love the BBQ and music scene and all, but if you go to Austin and want to get out, it will be very tough.

    Washington DC is awesome for politics and government for sure. Not sure about other sectors. Lots of consulting companies, which would be good. DC is #5 on the list, in replace of Austin :)


  8. Cheapskate Sandy

    I get your argument. The largest web 2.0 businesses are there so I guess that spells youth right? Austin can drop off but Washington, D.C. should most def. be on the list. Think of all the very young staffers that are attracted to our nation’s capital and those bad boys turn over every year.

  9. @Suzan
    Thnx, I’ll be sure to tell her! She took it during a bike ride of ours a couple weekends ago.

    Rents are definitely higher here in San Francisco than most parts of the world, but incomes are also commensurately higher. The article really is about highlighting the best cities for finding good jobs, and San Francisco is second to none.

    Besides, it really is amazing to live here. I’ve lived in 7 different countries and 10 different cities, and SF is by far the most enjoyable. It shocks me the WSJ doesn’t even recognize San Francisco.

  10. That is quite a picture taken by Mrs. Samurai! I can almost hear the water splashing against the rocks!

    I think the title of WSJ’s article, The Next Youth-Magnet Cities, is misleading or at least not clear. When I saw the title, I thought it was going to talk about the most wonderful cities for young people to live. You would have been right if that was the case. But when read, it seemed to be talking about “cities that job seeking college graduates most likely choose to move to” to find jobs! After the recent recession, the high cost of San Francisco’s rental alone would have scared away most of the first-time job seekers. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  11. @canz Because Twitter has a max name length of 15 characters! :) It can’t be that hard to make it 16 or 20 characters long right?

    BTW, what city are you writing from and do you have any particular cities in mind where you’d really like to be? FS

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