I've never lived in SF, but my mother-in-law does, and I have, mostly for business reasons, spent an average of 2 weeks in SF every year since 2000. So, that's over 6 months actually spent in SF. I've also lived in LA, Boston, and a midsized city in Canada, as well as a small town (where I am now) And I think that I've travelled more than the average person. I would not say that the Bay Area is the most awesome place to live. It's a great place to visit, yes. But live is something else. I actually rejected a move to the Bay Area. My personal feeling is that an area with a really high cost of living is not generally good for that community, since it naturally becomes highly class stratified. For adults, that's not so bad, but I don';t think that it is good for kids. They end up living in either a privileged bubble, or they are pretty disadvantaged. I really like that my kids can hang out with kids from all social strata and the the differences in wealth are not as obvious as your zip code.
We have neighbouring families firmly entrenched in the middle middle-class, and then a few who have real money (as in family money, mostly farming money) and then people who have HHI well under $50K/a, both parents working. And because it would be stupid to drive a Rolls Royce here, and because essentially no one cares about fashion, and because housing costs are much more flat than in a place like San Francisco, everyone can hang out and there is not obvious "haves" and "have nots". I mean, there are obviously still differences in means, but its not as easily apparent as in the Bay Area. I see this as a healthy thing for a community.