Located near 3Com/Candlestick Park (home of the San Francisco 49ers), just beyond the most congested part of Hwy 101 during rush hour, Bayview consists of large industrial and warehouse areas as well as some housing. Its lack of public transportation to downtown makes it feel almost like a city of its own, Rents are quite low compared to the rest of San Francisco. Bayview can be less than desirable for some from a personal safety perspective.
Comprised primarily of single-family homes and small apartment buildings and relatively off the beaten path, Bernal Heights has good freeway access, making it a viable option for Peninsula and South Bay commuters. The neighborhood is home to Precita Park on the north side of the hill, as well as a small retail area along Cortland Avenue with a few shops and some good restaurants.
A vibrant neighborhood near Market Street with lots of city life and energy, the Castro is the center of the city’s gay and lesbian population and hosts an abundance of aitemative lifestyles. The neighborhood offers convenient urban amenities such as shopping, transportation, laundry, and cafes. Many of its older buildings were restored by the gay and lesbian community that adopted the area in the 60’s and 70’s. The Castro is host to a variety of festivals, street fairs, and activities throughout the year
Bordered by Waller to the north, Tank Hill to the south, Upper Terrace to the east, and Arguello to the west, Cole Valley is comprised mainly of families and young professionals. A small commercial district boasts mom and pop stores and great cafes and restaurants. Its amazing city views (including Golden Gate Bridge views for some), ideal location (with close proximity to the UCSF Medical Center and Golden Gate Park), and quiet, residential atmosphere make this a desirable San Francisco neighborhood.
The neighborhood between Pacific Heights and the Marina (defined roughly as the area between Lombard Street, Union Street, Van Ness, and Presidio), Cow Hollow was originally a cow pasture, but it bears little resemblance to a farm today. Comprised of slightly older residents and more upscale than the Marina, Cow Hollow architecture is what most people think of as “classic San Francisco.” On Union Street, Cow Holiow’s main shopping area, cafes, great restaurants, and lively bars abound. A popular gathering place for the after-work crowd is Union Ale House on Union Street, while Betelnut and Balboa Cafe offer more upscale, but still casual, dining.
A well-maintained, residential neighborhood comprised mainly of working and middle class families, Crocker Amazon’s boundaries are Geneva Avenue, Mission Street, and the San Mateo County Line. This neighborhood offers inexpensive rents due to its location on the far southern end of the city,
A popular area among the 20s and 30s crowd, including young families, students, artists, and professionals, Diamond Heights offers a variety of newer and older rental units. This neighborhood is located near Noe Valley and the Castro, so it offers good access to shopping, laundry and transportation (including the J Church Muni train). Due to its being higher in elevation, it is somewhat cooler and foggier than the valleys immediately to its east, but it offers good views for some.
Also known as the Financial District, San Francisco’s downtown is relatively quiet at night when the workers go home. The Downtown area offers some residential housing and many bars and restaurants to serve those getting off work, and if you happen to work downtown as well as live there, your commute will be unbeatable!
Centrally located and home to beautifully restored Victorian homes and a great dog-friendly park, Duboce Triangle offers its residents close proximity to Lower Haight and Castro area restaurants, coffee houses, bars, shopping, and Safeway, as well as easy Muni access. The area’s fantastic location and fairly reasonable rents make Duboce Triangle a popular San Francisco neighborhood.
Excelsior Almost a separate city unto itself (and indeed, farmland until the 1950’s), Excelsior is quite a ways from the heart of San Francisco. It does, however, offer good rents and fairly good transportation.
This very charming, slightly secluded and largely yet-undiscovered neighborhood is located just south of Noe Valley and north of Hwy 280. Residents enjoy its cafes, restaurants, and character, and the fact that it’s just 10 minutes from downtown via BART.
Hunters Point A working class neighborhood on the southeast side of the city, Hunters Point has a mixture of single-family homes, apartment buildings, and factories, and inexpensive rents. It can be less than desirable for some from a personal safety perspective.
Near City College and San Francisco State University, Ingleşide is a quiet neighborhood with great rents. It offers easy street parking and relatively easy access to downtown via the K Ingleside Muni train.
Bounded by Ocean Avenue to the north, Hwy 280 to the south and east, and Junipero Serra to the west, Ingleside Terrace is comprised mainly of single-family homes. This neighborhood has become increasingly culturally diverse in recent years.
A middle-income, safe, family-oriented area, the Inner Richmond is located close to a variety of shops, laundry, and transportation. In addition, Clement Street restaurants offer an abundance of dining options. This neighborhood is relatively inexpensive and is close to Pacific Heights and Golden Gate Park.
The Inner Sunset is home to UCSF and is bordered on the north by Golden Gate Park. Easy access to the park offers this neighborhood’s residents a plethora of outdoor activities, including miles of jogging paths and numerous open spaces for picnics and impromptu of softball and volleyball. More diverse and less expensive than the Marina and Cow Hollow, the Inner Sunset has a lively commercial district with great restaurants and a thriving bar scene around 9th Avenue and Irving. UCSF is within walking distance for many residents, while the N Judah light-rail line provides easy access to the Financial District. Parking is relatively easy, and the area is both relatively safe and inexpensive.
Lake St. / SeaCliff is one of the most exclusive areas of San Francisco. Housing is expensive, and there are few rental properties.
Laurel Heights An appealing, quiet area between Arguello and Presidio and south of Presidio Heights, Laurel Heights offers convenient access to Laurel Village shopping on California Street and is just a short drive to Lower Pacific Heights. The neighborhood’s architecture tends to be older San Francisco-style Victorians and Edwardians, and its rents are more in line with those in the Richmond area.
Near the Castro, downtown, and Haight Street shops, clubs and restaurants, Lower Heights has some gorgeous older Victorians and relatively good rents. This culturally diverse neighborhood is walking distance to many conveniences, from independently-owned shops and restaurants (including Indian Oven, Squat and Gobble–a great breakfast joint, and Thep Phenom–home of award-winning Thai food), to Safeway, Blockbuster, and banks. The Lower Haight offers some great areas to live but also includes some areas that are less desirable from a personal safety perspective.
Lower Pacific Heights
Lower Pacific Heights offers some of the charm of Pacific Heights itself, but at lower rents. The trade-off? Lower Pacific Heights has more of an urban feel than its northern neighbor, and its residents don’t enjoy the views found in Pacific Heights. Still, older Victorians abound in this neighborhood, and there is a vibrant commercial district around Fillmore and California. As you travel north on Fillmore, the neighborhood eateries and bars tend to become more upscale, and the shops more expensive. Lower Pacific Heights is home to Metro-Rent’s San Francisco office,
Built on landfill for the 1915 Pan Pacific Expo, the Marina is an exceptionally popular neighborhood among the twenty-something professional crowd. Offering convenient access to San Francisco Bay, the Marina is bordered on the North by the Marina Green (a popular open space used for impromptu games of frisbee, soccer, and volleyball–bring your own net) and on the South by Lombard Street. The main shopping area is Chestnut Street, an area lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops. The Marina offers convenient access to the Financial District via public transportation and easy street access to both the Golden Gate Bridge (Marin County) and the Bay Bridge (East Bay).
Nob Hill’s cable cars, historical buildings, and good restaurants make it a neighborhood with plenty of San Francisco charm. Home to the Mark Hopkins Hotel (grab a $10 drink and enjoy amazing views at the Top of the Mark if you’re dressed for it) and the Fairmont, two of San Francisco’s most famous hotels, Nob Hill is within walking distance of Downtown (the Financial District), North Beach, and Russian Hill. Nightlife and reasonably priced restaurants are lacking on Hill itself, but the thriving nightlife and restaurant scene on Russian Hill (Polk Street) and North Beach are easily accessible. This is a diverse area: the south end’s proximity to the Tenderloin means that some parts of Nob Hill are less desirable from a personal safety perspective.
Noe Valley is a popular home to many young families, students, artists, and professionals looking to avoid the homogeneity of Northern San Francisco. Considered the “non-yuppie” Pacific Heights, Noe Valley has nice restored old Victorian and Edwardian rentals as well as a great commercial district on 24th Street with many cafes and independently owned shops and restaurants in fact, there is consistent talk of Noe Valley banning chain restaurants and chain coffee shops). One of the sunnier areas in San Francisco, Noe Valley
also has good transportation to the downtown area on the J Church Muni train.
Hill San Francisco’s “Little Italy,” North Beach’s main drags are Broadway and Columbus. This neighborhood offers great Italian restaurants and a vibrant nightlife with a high concentration of clubs and bars. With its classic, smaller apartment buildings, North Beach is an attractive housing option (although some streets can be noisy from the nightly crowds). Home to some of San Francisco’s best street festivals, and the center of San Francisco’s version of the Beat literary movement, North Beach is walking distance to the Financial District and downtown and provides easy access to public transportation.
This neighborhood, located on the far south end of San Francisco, is comprised mainly of single-family stucco and wood homes. Outer Mission offers inexpensive rents and a business district centered along Mission Street.
Thiş neighborhood is more predominately residential than Inner Richmond. Located near the ocean and Golden Gate Park, the biggest drawbacks to the Outer Richmond are its distance from downtown San
Francisco and the fog. If you crave the sun, this may not be your neighborhood, as the fog is thicker and stays longer the closer you are to the ocean.
Family-friendly and predominately residential, the Outer Sunset is relatively inexpensive and safe. The neighborhood has good parking and transportation, but it’s a ways from downtown. Located near the ocean and Golden Gate Park, the Outer Sunset has a fair number of cafes and shops. Beware: If you crave the sun, this may not your neighborhood, as the fog is thicker and stays longer the closer you are to the ocean.
Pacific Heights is, by most accounts, San Francisco’s most exclusive area. Restored Victorians and expensive smaller apartment buildings give Pacific Heights its great San Francisco character. If you’re on the “right” side of the hill, Pacific Heights offers some of the best views in the city. Fillmore Street, Pacific Heights’ main shopping area, features cafes, small shops and character, and Union Street, with its plethora of eating establishments and shops, is an easy walk away (although the walk back is generally uphill). Pacific Heights houses mostly professionals, many of whom work in the Financial District.
Parkside is a primarily residential area with a suburban feel. Its proximity to San Francisco State University and City College makes it a culturally rich neighborhood with a great mixture of older residents, families, and students. Parkside is close to Stonestown Mall and plenty of restaurants and laundry as well as decent public transportation to Downtown. The area can be foggy, but its proximity to parks and the beach make it a popular destination for bicyclists, rollerbladers, and joggers.
Located in the southeastern quadrant of San Francisco, Portoia is bordered by Hwy 280 to the north, Mansell Avenue to the south, Hwy 101 to the east, and Madison Avenue to the west. With its commercial district on San Bruno Avenue, the neighborhood maintains a good balance of city and suburban ambience. Portola has experienced an influx of new residents, including working professionals and young families, many of whom have renovated its single-family homes.
Potrero Hill is one of the sunniest areas in San Francisco and is popular among those commuting to jobs in the Silicon Valley because of its proximity to the 101 and 280 freeways (the major North / South arteries). Potrero Hill has older Victorians with San Francisco character and many older industrial buildings that have been renovated into loft spaces. While large sections of Potrero have been gentrified (the views of downtown San Francisco are impressive), there are some parts that offer less desirable housing options and raise some safety issues at night.
A former military base, the Presidio is now a national park with good hiking and biking trails and one of the best public golf courses in America. Rental housing is not widely available in this area.
Very similar in feel to Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights features charming shops and restaurants along Sacramento Street and is comprised mostly of large single-family homes. Rental housing is limited. This neighborhood has great access to Presidio Park hiking and biking trails, and some stellar views.
This area is more predominately residential than the Inner Richmond, although shops still abound on Geary Boulevard. If you are looking for a neighborhood with kids and lawn mowers, this is it. Near the ocean and Golden Gate Park, the Richmond has excellent access to the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin County,
Russian Hill boasts a great location: its residents enjoy convenient access to Downtown, Union Street, the Marina, and Fisherman’s Wharf. The neighborhood also offers very nice housing options; much of the architecture is considered “classic San Francisco,” and the views are some of the best in the city. Russian Hill attracts slightly hipper and younger denizens than Cow Hollow and is a bit less trendy than the Marina, making it a popular area for the late 20s, early 30$ crowd. Polk Street is the main shopping district; be sure to treat yourself to some of the best bagels in town at the Polk Street Bagelry.
With Pac Beli Park as its cornerstone, during the late 90’s South Beach underwent a rapid transformation from a warehouse district to a primarily residential area with lots of lofts and condos. This part of SOMA boasts bay views, new restaurants and bars, and great access to the Embarcadero, a popular spot for joggers and rollerbladers.
South of Market
South of Market (SOMA) houses industrial as well as residential living spaces. Many old warehouses have been (or are in the process of being) converted to loft housing, white some relatively inexpensive rentals still exist in older Victorians. Just south of downtown San Francisco, much of the growth of South of Market has been driven by the development of Pac Bell Park (the recently built home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team) and the adjacent land. South of Market offers happy hour hangouts along the Embarcadero (Gordon Biersch brewery was one of the first brewpubs in the country) and plenty of other restaurants and bars throughout the area
St Francis Wood/Mt Davidson
There are not many apartments for rent in this exclusive residential area, but you may find some houses and in-law units. Mount Davidson’s summit is the highest point in the city.
With its population of families, older residents, and students of a variety of ages and cultures, Stonestown has a largely suburban feel. It houses Stonestown Mall and is close to San Francisco State University, San Francisco Zoo, and Lake Merced. Stonestown can be foggy, but its proximity to parks and the beach make it a popular destination for bicyclists, rollerbladers, and joggers.
This quiet, predominately residential area around Monterey Boulevard and City College is not quite as sunny as the name implies, but it’s not as foggy as the Sunset, either. Check out a hidden treasure at City College: a large mural painted by Diego Rivera, the eminent Mexican artist.
The Sunset is a culturally diverse neighborhood offering a variety of housing options from single-family homes to apartment buildings as well as shops, restaurants, and cafes (mainly around Irving and Judah). Street parking and public transportation are readily available, and the area is relatively inexpensive and safe. The Sunset becomes increasingly foggy the closer you are to the ocean.
The Tenderloin is currently one of the least desirable areas in San Francisco. While inexpensive rentals offering monthly leases can be found, crime, drugs, and prostitution are an ongoing problem. Still, the neighborhood offers great public transportation with easy access to the entire city and is near the main public library, the Asian Art Museum, City Hall, state buildings, and the Opera House.
The Mission is an exceptionally diverse area of San Francisco with a h2 Latino influence. The area hosts a lively and thriving nightlife scene, with bohemian cafes, trendy clubs, and restaurants in high concentration along 16th Street and Valencia, but also found throughout the entire area. While crime is still a problem in many parts of the Mission (particularly at night), rents are relatively reasonable and decent public transportation is readily available. This area has become increasingly gentrified in recent years.
Famous for its 1960’s feel, the Upper Haight, also known as the Haight / Ashbury area, is a great neighborhood for people watching. The Upper Haight hosts crowds of all ages, cultures, and fashions and is home to many new, young families, recent graduates, hippies, and professionals. It has a comfortable, small neighborhood feel with lots of Victorians and great access to Golden Gate Park (the place to go for volleyball fields, runs to the beach, polo fields if you’re bringing your horse, an arboretum, three museums, a Japanese Tea Garden–in short, San Francisco’s answer to Central Park).
Home of some of the best city lights and Bay Bridge views in San Francisco, Upper Market is a predominately residential neighborhood with plenty of street parking. This neighborhood includes Corona Heights and Clarendon Heights as well as the east side of Twin Peaks.
Upper Nob Hill
With its cable cars, historical buildings, and some good restaurants, Nob Hill offers plenty of old San Francisco charm. The views from the top of Nob Hill can’t be beat, and some of the neighborhood’s lucky residents have views spanning the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the Bay Bridge. While parts of Upper Nob Hill are inhabited by old-money San Franciscans, Upper Nob Hill also encompasses some areas with more reasonable rents, including Chinatown. Although parking on Nob Hill is notoriously difficult, and there is no BART station, its central location and easy access to other forms of public transportation make it a good location for car-free residents.
On San Francisco’s southernmost edge, Visitacion Valley overlooks 3Com/Candlestick Park, home of the San Francisco 49ers, to the East, and the Cow Palace to the west, and offers inexpensive rents.
West of Twin Peaks
West of Twin Peaks is a quiet, residential area with many single family homes, originally created with the intention of having a suburban feel within city limits. This neighborhood’s boundaries include Forest Knoll and Sutro Tower.
West Portal is a quiet, safe, and primarily residential area with a diverse range of housing options and a thriving commercial district that includes shops, laundry, restaurants and transportation. This neighborhood includes Forest Hill.
One of the more culturally and economically diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco, Western Addition has a variety of housing options, from low-income housing to gorgeous older Victorian and Edwardian buildings with lots of San Francisco charm. One can find relatively decent rents in Western Addition. This neighborhood is home to Japantown; Hayes Valley, well-known for its concentration of cool restaurants and bars; and Alamo Square park, featuring San Francisco’s quintessential photo op, the row of Victorians known as the “Seven Sisters,” or “The Painted Ladies,” and some of the nicer housing in the area.