Cost of Living in San Francisco, CA, United States

Updated On July 28, 2023

How Much Does It Cost to Live In San Francisco, CA?

San Francisco is a major city in California, well-known for its liberal community, hilly terrain, summer fog, and huge, ever-present cultural diversity.

San Francisco is an amazing city on so many levels. Everything from the physical beauty of the architecture to the natural beauty that surrounds the city and the amazing destinations is just a short drive away.

There is massive investment going on which totally over-inflates the cost of housing here.

If you want to go out and party every night it’s a fun city to live in.

Cost of Living Index:
* Based on Research & User Data


There is some seriously good food in San Francisco and it’s only getting better and richer.

You can’t find a better street truck taco, and there are all the regular chain fast food restaurants where you can eat for only a couple of dollars.

But, if it’s finer dining you’re after, there is a ton of great high-end restaurants as well.



When it comes to groceries, 1,000$ a month is what you’re looking at.

If you are willing to purchase your vegetables from Chinatown, you can find some good deals over there.

Of course, the farmers market will be the place to score some great deals, and San Francisco is actually full of them during summer.



San Francisco has one of the most comprehensive public transportation systems in the United States, if not the most comprehensive system west of Chicago.

Transport services within San Francisco are provided by several companies, separate organizations, and tickets are not normally transferable across the systems.

Cable cars cost 7$ per ride (one way, no transfers), or 20$ per day.



Utilities are pretty inexpensive in San Francisco too, though it does depend on the amount of electricity you use and on the size of your apartment – and besides, it’s probably the only thing in this city that’s very cheap.

For example, for a bit larger apartment, of about 85m2, all basic utilities like heating, cooling, electricity, and gas will cost you around 272$.

Sports and leisure


The weather in San Francisco is ideally suited for bicycle riding, and bikes are a good way to explore the beachside communities.

The city is very bike-friendly so you can go cycling and exercise this way for free!

Going to the cinema and enjoying some movie time is expensive.

Prepare to pay around 16$ per ticket.

Clothing and shoes


When it comes to clothes – let’s just say that if you want it, the chances are likely you can get it in San Francisco.

There is a wide range of small and locally owned businesses throughout the city and Francisco’s most popular shopping area is Union Square, which has all the big national department stores.

Quality jeans will cost you around 65$, and you won’t find any good running sneakers without cashing out around 95$.

Rent per month


For apartments in the downtown area, the cost will easily amount to around 4,000$ a month.

But if you are willing to live at an in-law unit in the Sunset district, that will be less than 3000$ a month (around 2500$ – 2700$ for a larger one-bedroom unit).

Parking is not included so you have to get ready to spend hours to find parking on the street.

Rents are somewhat lower in the East Bay.

Cost of Living Averages Table for San Francisco, CA

*Note: All prices are indicated in USD.
Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant)$25.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter)$7.00
Water (0.33 Liter)$2.16
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter)$1.58
Loaf Bread (500g)$5.01
Eggs (12)$5.71
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket$2.75
Monthly Pass$89.5
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling)$272.76
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local$0.09
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)$70.92
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult$97.31
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour)$22.50
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release$16.00
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable)$65.30
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...)$49.46
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range)$94.60
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center$3317.11
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center$2603.09
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center$6031.26

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in San Francisco, CA?

Just look at those renting prices: it’s really no wonder that rent takes up more than 50% of one’s entire salary.

Food is definitely the second biggest expense for anyone living in San Francisco– though this is the situation in most countries around the world.

Food is an everyday necessity and when it’s not cheap, it amounts to a high monthly expense.

Other significant expenses for the people of San Francisco are restaurants (a very high percentage) and transportation, while clothing and shoes draw the least amount of money from them.

Average Costs Breakdown


San Francisco, CA: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

Although employment is at a high level in this city, it’s still an unpopular destination to live in, since the cost of living is probably even higher than in New York City!

The usual minimum wage is around 2600$ which is a very decent minimum wage that most people can earn for a normal life.

An average monthly salary in San Francisco is around 6200$ which is a shockingly high number, and absolutely enough for a comfortable life in this city.

This salary is, actually, typical of only the major and most popular and populated cities in America (and rare, even in them).

Average Salary$6185.76
Minimum Wage$2600.00
Mortgage Interest Rate6.41%

San Francisco Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: San Francisco Safety Review

Safety Index:

Cost of Living by City in San Francisco, CA

CityCost of Living Index
Albany, NY72.4
Albuquerque, NM72.4
Anchorage, AK72.4
Ann Arbor, MI72.4
Arlington, TX72.4
Asheville, NC72.4
Atlanta, GA72.4
Austin, TX72.4
Bakersfield, CA72.4
Baltimore, MD72.4
Bellevue, WA72.4
Bellingham, WA72.4
Berkeley, CA72.4
Birmingham, AL72.4
Boise, ID72.4
Boston, MA72.4
Boulder, CO72.4
Brooklyn, NY72.4
Buffalo, NY72.4
Burlington, VT72.4
Charleston, SC72.4
Charlotte, NC73.33
Chattanooga, TN72.4
Chicago, IL72.4
Cincinnati, OH72.4
Cleveland, OH72.4
Columbia, SC72.4
Columbus, OH72.4
Dallas, TX72.4
Dayton, OH72.4
Denver, CO72.4
Des Moines, IA72.4
Detroit, MI72.4
El Paso, TX72.4
Eugene, OR72.4
Everett, WA72.4
Fayetteville, AR72.4
Fort Myers, FL72.4
Fort Wayne, IN72.4
Fort Worth, TX72.4
Fresno, CA74.2
Gainesville, FL74.2
Grand Rapids, MI74.2
Greensboro, NC74.2
Hartford, CT74.2
Honolulu, HI74.2
Houston, TX74.2
Huntsville, AL74.2
Indianapolis, IN74.2
Irvine, CA74.2
Jacksonville, FL74.2
Jersey City, NJ74.2
Kansas City, MO74.2
Knoxville, TN74.2
Las Vegas, NV74.2
Lexington, KY74.2
Little Rock, AR74.2
Long Beach, CA74.2
Los Angeles, CA74.2
Louisville, KY74.2
Lubbock, TX74.2
Madison, WI74.2
Memphis, TN74.2
Miami, FL74.2
Milwaukee, WI74.2
Minneapolis, MN74.2
Nashville, TN74.2
New Orleans, LA74.2
New York, NY74.2
Oakland, CA74.2
Oklahoma City, OK74.2
Olympia, WA74.2
Orlando, FL74.2
Peoria, IL72.4
Philadelphia, PA72.4
Phoenix, AZ72.4
Pittsburgh, PA72.4
Portland, ME72.4
Portland, OR72.4
Raleigh, NC72.4
Reno, NV72.4
Richmond, VA74.2
Rochester, NY74.2
Sacramento, CA74.2
Saint Louis, MO74.2
Saint Paul, MN74.2
Saint Petersburg, FL74.2
Salem, OR74.2
Salt Lake City, UT74.2
San Antonio, TX74.2
San Diego, CA74.2
San Jose, CA74.2
Santa Barbara, CA74.2
Santa Rosa, CA74.2
Seattle, WA74.2
Spokane, WA74.2
Springfield, MO74.2
Syracuse, NY74.2
Tacoma, WA74.2
Tallahassee, FL74.2
Tampa, FL74.2
Toledo, OH74.2
Tucson, AZ74.2
Tulsa, OK74.2
Vancouver, WA74.2
Virginia Beach, VA74.2
Washington, DC74.2
West Palm Beach, FL74.2
Wichita, KS74.2

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