California : Safety by City
- Chino Hills
- Chula Vista
- Costa Mesa
- Daly City
- El Cajon
- El Monte
- Garden Grove
- Huntington Beach
- Lake Forest
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- Mission Viejo
- Moreno Valley
- Mountain View
- Newport Beach
- Palm Springs
- Rancho Cucamonga
- Redondo Beach
- Redwood City
- San Bernardino
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- San Leandro
- San Luis Obispo
- San Mateo
- Santa Ana
- Santa Barbara
- Santa Clara
- Santa Clarita
- Santa Cruz
- Santa Monica
- Santa Rosa
- Simi Valley
- South Gate
- Thousand Oaks
- Union City
- West Covina
Daly City, California, sits just south of San Francisco and rides about three miles of the Pacific Ocean coastline.
What the city doesn’t want to talk about is the real reason it even exists in its current form — the 1906 earthquake.
With San Francisco decimated by the quake, because what didn’t fall down burned down in the weeks after, people sought refuge south on land owned by John Daly.
In 1911, Daly City was incorporated.
This is now a more residential area, with some shopping and outdoor opportunities.
Daly (pronounced: Daily) City was the inspiration for the 1962 folk song Little Boxes.
There’s a large Philippino population here and all the exciting culinary experiences that go with that cultural gain.
It’s popular with some of the locals for a lower cost of living than in pricey San Francisco.
It’s popular with those who live in San Francisco for the many shopping amenities.
Warnings & Dangers in Daly City
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk in Daly City. Crime statistics are incredibly low compared to national and California averages. It's a bedroom community with little nightlife and a lot of hard-working people.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Daly City has several public transportation options, but depending on where you stay in the city, that might not be much of a benefit. There are two Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations and you can connect to Caltrain via one of those routes. There are rideshares and taxis, and all options come with low risk. Walking isn't ideal, as this is a city that is spread out with a lot of hills.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
With 15 pickpockets or purse snatchings reported, that's a low risk in a city of nearly 105,000 people.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
That earthquake in 1906? It was centered just off the coast of Daly City. Historians will argue this point, but anyway you read about it, Daly City is an active and dangerous earthquake zone. While a big quake is imminent, it could be another century before that happens. We'll call this a medium risk in the hopes you'll research earthquake safety before you arrive.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here too. Robberies trends fall just below the national average, and very few of the reported robberies involved crimes against travelers.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in the San Francisco Bay area for three reasons; military presence, technology, and security businesses, and a large population.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
This one surprised me. The Daly City website lists 16 scams to be aware of when spending time here, including a psychic scam, a sweetheart scam, and a pigeon drop. Check it out before you arrive so you're reading to tell a scammer that you're not a sucker. That's going to be a medium risk just because there are so many possible scams you could face.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
It's a low risk. There's no reason for a woman to have an extra concern here. The crime rates are low, and the people are friendly. Be sure you follow the basic safety rules, like not walking around at night alone and don't drink too much so you don't make dangerous choices.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The water utility takes several steps to not only get safe water to homes and businesses but goes the extra mile to add in sample stations throughout the city and alert residents when any notices might impact the water. This is a low risk and if something goes wrong, you'll know about it quickly.
Safest Places to Visit in Daly City
Serramonte Center is the shopping hub of Daly City with just about every big chain store you can imagine, with plenty of restaurants dotting the outside as well.
There is an open-air section and an enclosed section, perfect for shopping in all kinds of weather.
Along the beach you have several options:
- Mussell Rock Park
- Northridge City Park
- Phillip Burton Memorial Park
- Fort Funston
On the east side of the city limits, you’re in the San Bruno Mountains.
This is a rare island in the middle of metropolitan life and where San Bruno Mountain Park is located.
This mountain isn’t a difficult climb as it peaks at just 1,314 feet but still offers spectacular views if it’s not too foggy.
There are nine trails throughout the park.
Much of the rest of Daly City is neighborhoods and strip malls with some amazing hidden Thai, Chinese, and Filipino restaurants mixed in.
I saw one hometown local who said Shine Thai Cuisine is better than San Francisco Thai food.
Places to Avoid in Daly City
There aren’t those rundown, dilapidated parts of this city to avoid.
The monotonous look of the housing is what inspired the song Little Boxes because as the artist was driving through she felt all the homes looked the same in a cookie-cutter fashion.
One Redditor commented, “West of 280 you are more likely to have raccoons bite you late at night walking your dog than being mugged.”
The eastern boundary of the city is a little jagged with city limit lines, and right in the middle of the city is another area called Broadmoor.
It’s not quite a city, but it is its census-designated area.
There’s also a city called Colma on the southeast boundary of the city.
My point, sometimes it might be a little unclear if you’re even in Daly City or not.
I would also caution you to avoid feeling like you HAVE to have a hotel in Daly City because there aren’t that many options.
Just to the east in South San Francisco, there are many places to choose from just 15 minutes away.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Daly City
- To get a better grasp on crime trends during your visit, check out the police department’s crime mapping tool with up-to-date information.
- It’s very foggy here. Like, all the time. I touched on this earlier but didn’t want to announce it too early in case it might deter you from visiting Daly City. When you read reviews from people who live there, they either love the cold, foggy nature of the city or feel suffocated by it. Regardless, you’re going to be in a foggy place and you can enjoy it for the unique feature that it is.
- Sign up for crime alerts via Nixle.com. This way, the police can send out community notifications right to your smart device and you’ll be up to speed on what’s happening during your visit.
- If you’re riding a bicycle, use extra caution, and it’s required that anyone under 18 have a helmet. Fog and hills make for a dangerous combination in Daly City. When driving, take special note of cyclists and do your part to share the road safely.
- It’s always best to go into a bank during business hours to get money. I’ve reviewed a lot of police department websites in my travel journalism career, and Daly City has an EXTENSIVE section on ATM safety, which tells me there have been issues in that area. Please review it and make sure you follow safety at ATMs.
- There are a lot of rules at San Bruno Park. As tempting as it might be, you cannot pick wildflowers. You cannot fish or hunt there. You can’t smoke on the trails or anywhere in the park. Don’t leave the marked trails for any reason and certainly don’t feed the wildlife there.
- For a visit to Fort Funston, you need to be aware that it’s a rocky, steep path to get to the beach. This isn’t a good place for someone with bad knees or poor balance. Wear sturdy shoes here. Erosion has closed the main entrance to Fort Funston, so you’ll have to get there via Phillip Burton Memorial Beach.
- Mussell Rock Beach is a geographical wonder and about as close as you can get to the epicenter of the 1906 earthquake without a boat. This area is very prone to landslides, and there are signs that warn about eroding cliffs that some people just ignore. Don’t be one of those people.
- Parking throughout the city is metered, and you’ll pay by the hour. There isn’t an app to pay when you arrive, you need to actually feed the meter.
- The police department produces weekly newsletters with crime statistics and details of the crimes that happened. These are a great way to learn about crimes happening just before your visit.
So... How Safe Is Daly City Really?
It’s a safe city, albeit not that exciting unless you like outdoor activities or shopping and trying out various restaurants.
It’s definitely the suburban side of the immediate San Francisco area.
Here’s how crime chances break down:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 546 chance
- Theft: 1 in 100
- Robbery: 1 in 1362
The crime rate is 30% lower than the California average.
You can feel safe riding BART here, even if you arrive or depart after dark.
If you are going to be walking at night, be sure to travel in a group.
There is some gang activity on the east side of town, but generally, gang members are involved in crimes against each other.
Don’t let the low crime numbers make you any less vigilant about your safety.
You are still in a major metro area and crimes can still happen.
Another complaint from some people who live or visit here is that there aren’t public transportation options after midnight.
You’ll have to rideshare or taxi home, and that could take 30-45 minutes from downtown San Francisco and be more costly than you might like.
How Does Daly City Compare?
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- Visas - You're good with Visa requirements once you get through the airport, so enjoy the rest of your time in Daly City, California.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the currency here and there's no need to carry around large amounts of cash. A credit card is the safest thing to use for transactions and it offers the best fraud protection when compared to a debit card.
- Weather - It's hard to tell winter from summer in Daly City. The high temperatures are generally around the upper-50s or low-60s and the lows drop into the 40s or 50s throughout the year. While you don't need winter clothes, you'll want some layers and a jacket.
- Airports - The closest and biggest option is San Francisco International Airport. It's just 9 miles south. The map says it takes 10 minutes, but with traffic? Double that estimate. San Jose's airport is 40 miles away. Oakland's airport is 28 miles away.
- Travel Insurance - The fog in San Francisco is notorious for causing flight delays. Wildfire air quality impacts and other variables can lead to delays and cancellations as well, so you'll want to book travel insurance for your trip to Daly City, California.
Daly City Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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