Having lived in San Francisco for my entire life, I like to think that I know a thing or two about urban living, especially considering that San Francisco is one of the most densely populated cities in the United States. But despite the fact that so many people want to live in urban cities like San Francisco, there are undoubtedly a lot of hurdles to deal with when it comes to everyday life in urban areas.

For example, traffic is a huge pain, particularly if you are commuting into the center of the city for work (although commuting to work outside the city can still be quite the struggle). With so many people all driving to work at the same time every day, there is no wonder why traffic is always bad in urban areas. And with all those cars on the freeway, it is that much more likely for an accident to happen due to a drive not paying attention to the road, which only ends up creating even worse traffic jams.

Because of this terrible traffic (as well as potentially having issues finding street parking for your car once you do get to your destination, depending on where you work), it is advisable to use other forms of public transport whenever possible. Most urban cities have a comprehensive bus system, if not a subway or train system, which should be more than enough to get you to your destination, ideally saving you time (and potentially money) in the process.

Another downside to urban living relates to the sheer magnitude of people living and interacting around you. Unlike a rural area or small town in which most residents know one another, urban cities are full of many different characters, meaning you need to always be aware of your surroundings in order to stay safe. Pickpockets are typically very prominent during the day, and muggers can also be present at nighttime, so you need to definitely keep a close eye on your belongings and yourself whenever you are out in the city (especially if you are traveling alone).

Those are the major downsides to living in an urban area, which can definitely sound like a bummer. But rest assured, that there are many benefits as well. For one thing, living in a city means you have access to a wide range of stores and services that otherwise may not be available in a small town. Whereas people from rural areas may need to take a long drive just to get to a particular store to buy something of need, in an urban area you don’t have to worry about that situation ever happening.

In addition, the high population of people in urban areas inevitably makes everything more vibrant and exciting.  Most cities have a highly diverse population, which helps to expose you to various cultures and ideologies. For kids in particular, this is great for opening up their minds to new ideas, that otherwise might not be as prevalent in smaller populations.

Urban living is not for everyone. There is a reason why large portions of the country remain in rural areas, rather than moving to urban cities. The urban lifestyle is definitely unique, with multiple pros and cons – but to be honest, any place you live will come with their own pros and cons as well. What I can say is that if you are willing to take the good with the bad when it comes to living in urban areas like San Francisco, the end result will be a fulfilling and ultimately enjoyable life for both you and your family.