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San Francisco is the perfect city for coworking spaces. For starters, there’s the cost of real estate in San Fran, which, as most everyone knows, is the highest in the United States; one-bedroom apartments frequently rent for $3,500 per month or more. Renting an office space in San Francisco, meanwhile, is even more expensive than renting an office space in Manhattan.
Despite the high cost of commercial and residential real estate in the Bay Area, tech workers and start-up companies continue to flock to this creative epicenter of Northern California. Whether you’re a geek with a million dollar idea or an artist about to change the world, San Francisco is still the place to be.
That’s where coworking spaces comes into play. A coworking space, in case you’ve never heard of it before, is an office space that’s shared by a variety of individuals and/or small companies. Some coworking spaces can be rented by the hour; others can be rented by the week or the month. Instead of one small company shouldering the heavy burden of San Francisco rent, a collection of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and start-ups can get together and share that burden. Think of it as a commune for white collar workers.
Take a closer look at these seven coworking spaces in San Francisco, which are some of the most popular in the city according to online reviewers.
Pricing: $50/mo. for a “mailbox;” full-time rates start at $345/mo.
PARISOMA is everything that a San Francisco hipster could dream of in a coworking space. With permission to bring your dog to the office, a free indoor bike parking garage, 24/7 access, and regular events like the monthly Creative Mornings and hackathons, PARISOMA is a dream come true for many of San Francisco’s brightest geeks. A roomy, modern, loft-type space, PARISOMA consists of open desks and soft seating on the lower level, with more private spaces on the upper level.
Home to more than 200 companies, membership at PARISOMA starts at just $50 per month for the right to spend one day there per month. For $345 per month, members can have a spot at one of the open desks any time they want along with 3 hours per month of conference room use; for $595 per month members can have 6 hours of conference room use and an open desk. Companies interested in private offices and 12 hours of conference room use per month should contact PARISOMA directly. As is the case in most coworking spaces, members get free coffee and tea, free WiFi, free office supplies, and a members’ breakfast every Friday.
Locations: SoMa, Union Square, Potrero Hill, Berkeley, San Jose
Pricing: Community Membership, with access to members and mailing lists, starts at $25/mo.; other membership options range from $59/mo. to $2,560/mo.
NextSpace has several different spaces sprinkled throughout the Bay Area. In addition to the four spaces listed above, NextSpace also has locations in Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Besides the office space, shared conference rooms, and other benefits that are standard for most coworking spaces, NextSpace also offers a number of other perks to its members, including:
- Zipcar: NextSpace members get a free membership with Zipcar, along with half off the annual Zipcar member dues.
- Rewardii: Rewardii is a site that offers deals on software and services. NextSpace members can request whatever deals they want; Rewardii will coordinate the crowdsourcing to make it happen.
- NextKids: At some NextSpace locations, parents have an opportunity to get work done while their kids play nearby in activities and games that support child development.
3. Sandbox Suites
Locations: SoMa, Union Square, South Park, Berkeley, Silicon Valley
Pricing: $50/mo. for a mailbox and discounts; $295/mo. and up for a desk, conference room hours, and business hours access; $345/mo. and up for the above plus 24/7 access
In many ways, Sandbox Suites offers the same kind of San Francisco coworking environment that the other places on this list offer. One attribute of Sandbox Suites that sets it apart, however, is the quiet. Several online reviewers commented on how quiet the environment is, especially compared to other coworking spaces, but not to the extent that it’s “too” quiet.
Part of the reason for the quiet inside Sandbox Suites might be their phone conversation policy. Members are welcome to have a chat on the phone, but they are asked to keep their conversations to five minutes or less unless they are speaking in a private conference room. This phone policy helps reduce the noise pollution at Sandbox Suites.
Another unique feature here is the security. Sandbox Suites uses both video cameras and thumb-print monitoring to secure the space. If your thumb print isn’t registered in the system, the door won’t open for you. For people who need to store belongings overnight, Sandbox Suites offers personal lockers.
Location: The Mission
Pricing: Book a half-day pass in advance for $12.50; rent by the month for $300 and up
20Mission is a new work/live/play space in the Mission. Most of the coworkers are doing just that — working there. However, 20Mission also features 41 bedrooms as living spaces. While the living spaces look like any comfortable apartment bedroom, the workspace itself is clean, white, and almost stark; it doesn’t have the hipster’s loft feel that a place like PARISOMA or NextSpace does. According to 20Mission, part of the reason for the antiseptic feeling of their coworking space is that the building was only recently renovated and they’re still working on making it warm and cozy. They invite their members to help with the decoration of the new space.
Like the other coworking spaces mentioned here, 20Mission hosts events geared towards its members. Unlike some of the other venues, 20Mission’s events have a more light-hearted, playful feeling to them. For example, “Button Smashing Night” encourages members to participate in video game tournaments, while the December 2013 Christmas Party had an “ugly sweater” dress code theme.
5. Citizen Space
Pricing: Drop-in pricing ranges from $8 per hour to $60 per week; membership prices range from $150 per year to $425 per month.
With lots of natural light, bamboo floors, and high ceilings, Citizen Space has a funky, converted loft-feel to it that most of its visitors love. Bathrooms are co-ed and themed with things like music and the “TikiRoom,” adding to the creative vibe that people love about Citizen Space. Four blocks from the BART station, Citizen Space is easy to get to and filled with creative types and entrepreneurs. Reviewers say that the space is clean and quiet, unpretentious, and includes a well-stocked kitchen and all the coffee you can drink.
However, it should be noted here that Citizen Space suffered a spate of negative reviews on Yelp.com with regards to their Living Social and Groupon deals. Almost all of the negative reviews seem to be related to these deals and not to the space itself. Therefore, if you’re looking for coworking spaces in San Francisco, definitely keep Citizen Space on your list, unless you’re planning on buying a Living Social deal from them for a photography class.
6. Hatch Today, formerly The Hatchery
Pricing: Not available online
People who love Hatch Today love it, with the kind of unconditional absoluteness most people reserve for talking about their dogs and their children. It’s hard to find five-star reviews of coworking spaces in San Francisco that express quite the same level of adoration that the five-star reviewers of Hatch Today express. What do they love about it? For one, the weekly happy hour, which they say is a great time to meet other people in the community and have excellent drinks from an excellent bartender. Another aspect they love is the location. One is on Second Street, which is close to everything a person would need on Second Street but still on a relatively quiet block. The other location is on Harrison Street. Members are happy that they are located right in between both BART and CalTrain.
Like a few other coworking spaces mentioned on this list, Hatch Today gives members a mailbox and 24/7 access to their desks. Unlike some of the other spaces listed here, Hatch Today also gives members private lockers. There are more than a dozen conference rooms, equipped with whiteboards and with room for more than 20 people. All in all, Hatch Today is definitely a coworking space worth checking out if you’re looking for a place in SoMa.
Location: SoMa, Golden Gate
Pricing: Prices start at $45 per month for a one-person desk and $650 per month for a private office. For two to six-person office, prices range from $1150 per month to $3000 per month. Prices are slightly higher than that at the SoMa location.
Friday brunches. Happy hours. Office hours with industry leaders. Parties. Cupcakes: These are the things people say they appreciate about WeWork. The other thing people like about it is how simple it is to get started. For example, you’ll notice above that the pricing structure at WeWork is very simple and very straightforward, unlike some of the other places that we’ve reviewed on this list. As one reviewer put it, there are no hoops to jump through at WeWork. You just write them a check and you’re done.
Maybe it’s easier because WeWork is a national business, with locations in San Fran, Chicago, New York, L.A., Boston, and Seattle. WeWork members also get access to ZipCars and — get this! — health insurance if they want it. It doesn’t end there, either: Each summer, WeWork members from around the country are invited to go to summer camp. Yes, an actual summer camp, complete with canoeing and rock climbing, just like you might have participated in when you were a kid. With perks like these, WeWork takes the “community” idea of coworking and takes it to the next level.
These seven Bay Area coworking spaces are certainly not the only ones to choose from in the region; San Francisco is a particularly good environment for coworking spaces, so many coworking businesses thrive here. The seven spaces listed above, however, are all alike in that they have received exceptionally high reviews from their members. Each of them has a slightly different “feel;” a place like PARISOMA is more likely to attract entrepreneurs and telecommuters, while 20Mission’s seats are filled with just as many freelance artists as start-up businesses. Given the different culture at each coworking space, it’s important to check out several before deciding on a coworking home. Visit in the middle of the work week to get a feeling for what the space is really like when many of its members are present.7 Top San Francisco Coworking Spaces by chase