It’s hard to move to a new town. Whether you’re relocating to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Houston, or other major cities, finding yourself in a new city isn’t easy. You have to make a new community, get used to a new landscape, acclimate yourself to your new locale’s specific habits and customs. It can take a while to get into a new groove.

You also have to find you’re tried and trusted local businesses. Everyone needs a coffee shop that they trust to brew their coffee just right, a salon with professionals who can get the right hair color and haircut, the local diner that makes your eggs the way you like them. You’re not going to trust just any stylist with your hair, and you’re not going to trust just any optometrist or ophthalmologist with your contact lenses. It can be hard to find vendors you trust to give you the best care and the best prices, especially if you’re relocating to an expensive city like San Francisco or New York.

Usually, when you move to a new city, you take your two legs and try out different shops. Maybe you’ll sit in a coffee shop to work one morning and sample the pastries. Maybe you’ll go to the salon down the street, just for waxing, and chat with the stylists to see if they have the right vibe. The problem is that now, in the age of COVID-19, you can’t just meander about the Bay Area sampling pastries anymore. Everyone is holed up in their apartments, making their roommates crazy, and waiting for the insanity of 2020 to subside. So what’s a new San Franciscan to do? Should you venture onto the BART and hope for the best?

If you just moved to San Francisco and want to know what the locals say about everything from optometry to CBD products, read on for some East Bay tips to unlock the San Franciscan in you. You’ll be feeling at home in no time.

First, take some time to relax.


Moving is hectic, even if you’re excited about the relocation. Gathering up all your belongings and hauling them to a new location in the United States is a lot to handle, and the first thing you should do when you arrive in your new home is take a deep breath. You’re here. You did it. The first part of the adventure is completed.

One thing to know about California is that the cannabis plant is not taboo. In fact, quite the opposite—CBD (cannabidiol) and other hemp products are used by folks from Palo Alto to Los Angeles or San Diego for various wellness purposes. You may see that your local coffee shop offers CBD infused lattes, and that’s not weird. CBD is completely legal since the extraction practices make sure CBD products include little THC (the psychoactive element in the cannabis plant). What’s left is the relaxation you get, and that can be a relief as you meander about your boxes and wonder how you’ll ever get it all unpacked.

The founders of Northern California companies like The Legion of Bloom are invested in the conscious cultivation of high-quality CBD products to benefit people who need stress relief. If it’s your first time using cannabis products, make sure to speak to the doctor first to ensure that the CBD infused cup of coffee you’re drinking doesn’t have any interaction with medications you may already be taking.

Search Yelp for a salon you’ll love.


Do not skimp on your salon needs. Your stylist should be like a family member—someone you can talk about your problems with but who also gets what you need in terms of hair color and haircuts without you having to explain it too much. It would be best if you had a salon you can trust to be hush-hush about any waxing needs you have—a full-service hair salon that will be a one-stop-shop for all your beauty needs.

Full-service hair salons that you absolutely adore are not as commonplace as some clients might think. Finding the best place for your haircut demands some research, so thank goodness for sites like Yelp. Take your time with this one, and make sure you read everything locals have to say. Check out the stylists’ Instagram feeds to see photos of their recent work. A truly great stylist will take great pride in their work, and you can look to see if they’ve worked with your hair type before. If you have curly hair, consider a hair salon that employs curl specialists. Use the online tools available to make an informed decision when choosing the right hair salon for you.

Check out online reviews for eye doctors (or any doctors).


Again, you don’t want to relinquish your eye care to just any optometrist or ophthalmologist you find. A clear vision should not be taken for granted, and even if someone has a Doctor of Optometry degree, that doesn’t make them worthy of handling your vision care. Take a while reading online doctor reviews before committing to an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Optometry is a very involved field, and vision care should be treated with the ultimate discretion. Even if you’ve had contact lenses or eyeglasses for ages, you want an optometrist or ophthalmologist who can diagnose eye diseases as well. Things like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts can be handled efficiently if caught early enough, so make sure you have an optometry specialist who can do it all. That way, you’ll be sure to avoid any unnecessary eye emergencies. Also, consider whether you want someone with a private practice or not. If you don’t mind about that, make sure to reach out to your health insurance to see which optometrists in the San Francisco Bay Area they’ll cover.

Beware of Craigslist scams.


Craigslist is one of the greatest resources out there when it comes to tenants outfitting their new house or apartment with all the comforts of home. Used furniture, used fixtures, movers—you can find it all on Craigslist and usually for the best prices. That being said, there are plenty of Craigslist scammers to look out for who are just waiting for someone to slip up. If something seems too good to be true, like someone offering you way more than your asking price for an item you’re trying to sell, it probably is too good to be true. Even though you need to use online resources to navigate your new area to maintain social distancing guidelines, you should still be a cautious consumer when doing so.

Moving to a new home is an exciting adventure and one that can be full of new, enriching experiences. Don’t let the COVID-19 times ruin your time exploring your new neighborhood. After all, you only get to see a new city with fresh eyes once. Locals may be disillusioned with their town, but you bring a renewed energy to your view of the Bay Area or anywhere else you’re moving to. Keep an open heart and an open mind, and do your due diligence when checking local businesses. That’s the best way to learn to love your new town.