10 Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco
If you’re planning to relocate to the cultural and financial hub of Northern California and one of the most densely populated US cities, you might want to know more about the best neighborhoods in San Francisco? Depending on your expectations and needs, you can choose from a variety of areas, and one thing is for sure – SF does have a district to suit every taste.
A Few Interesting Facts About SF
This hilly city in northern California is not large – a population of around 830,000 residents lives here, within the borders of the eponymous county. The entire Bay area, however, is home to more than 7 million inhabitants, so you surely won’t get lonely here.
If you’re planning to move to SF, it’s good to know some interesting facts about it, such as that it was built on more than fifty hills and represents the birthplace of the San Francisco International Wine Festival, which takes place every February. Last but not least – there are hundreds of earthquakes every year in the SF area. But most of them are less than 3.0 and are mostly harmless.
Your first step should be to take your pick among many diverse districts. They are divided into ten areas according to the geographical location. There are neighborhoods situated in the northwest, southwest, central, or east part of the bay area.
Whether you’re a student, young professional who’s moving alone to another state, or family person, you should accept the game of give-and-take – you might find a thriving neighborhood that suits your lifestyle, but keep in mind that nothing’s perfect and everything comes with a price. Define the reasons why you should move so you can be carefree when the big day arrives and avoid relocation depression.
For that purpose, we’d like to give you the facts on SF’s most attractive neighborhoods to help you turn the adventure called moving to San Francisco into a total breeze.
Things to Know Before Moving to Some of the Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco
The City by the Bay has a little bit of everything for everyone. It is teeming with entertainment possibilities, but at the same time, it is the cultural mainstay and a famous food hub with more than 3,500 restaurants. However, it all comes at a price. Besides high housing expenses, grocery shopping and healthcare are also more expensive than the national average. Consider the cost of living in San Francisco so you can work out your budget:
- The median price for a single-family home: $952,400
- The median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment: $3,100
- Daily parking rates: $30
- The average price of a gallon of gas: $4.20
- Monthly food spending per person: $425
It’s worth repeating that SF is quite expensive when compared to the national average, and the privilege of being its resident demands a high monthly income and meticulous financial planning. Luckily, the definition of the best places to live in San Francisco depends entirely on you. Its areas vary in amenities and prices and can easily suit anybody’s taste and budget. There are plenty of things to do in San Francisco, and, as soon as you plan your moving budget and become a resident, you will see all the benefits of relocation.
St. Francis Wood – a Small-Town Vibe Within the Metropolis
Located in the southwestern corner of SF, it is a community that embodies the highest ideals of neighborhood planning of the early twentieth century. As a strictly residential part of town, it is home to just over 1,000 residents and is like a small-town community within a metropolis. Family homes are designed in the Italian Renaissance revival style, and the whole architectural plan has a specific aesthetic balance – harmonious color schemes, the minimum setback from the street required, and mandatory landscaping and fence heights.
If you’re relocating with kids, you should know that there is no school in this community, and the majority of children take the bus to public or private schools. Still, with a low crime rate and hilly, tree-lined streets, this quiet neighborhood might be one of the best places to raise a family in California. Just keep in mind that the real estate prices are high, even for a smaller home.
Lakeshore – an Affordable Area by the Ocean
As a great spot for strolling and enjoying the outdoors, this tranquil neighborhood is an excellent alternative to more pricey areas. Its median monthly rent is far below the SF’s average, and that’s just one of many Lakeshore’s amenities. Some of the benefits of living here are:
- Plenty of outdoor spaces despite the overall urban feel
- Proximity to the Pacific Ocean
- SF State University’s campus and the Stonestown Galleria Shopping Center are situated here
- You can enjoy tasty food and amazing views of Lake Merced
The Castro – SF’s Cultural Hub
The Castro is known as a historical “gay mecca” and is a great tourist hotspot. It is also one of the largest LGBT neighborhoods in the US and represents the cultural heart of SF. With its notable landmark, the Castro Theatre, whose exterior resembles cathedrals in Mexico, this “gayborhood” has a plethora of amenities to offer. You can try some of the local food specialties, take a historic walking tour, or just relax in one of many parks, such as Corona Heights Park, Kite Hill, Mission Dolores Park, etc.
One of the Neighborhoods Welcome to Everyone
Many families find this place very suitable to live in, as well. It is one of the safest places in SF with many restaurants, bars, and shops. You might also be tempted by some of many city’s walking tours related to its history. In fact, guided tours are a great way to get to know your future home.
Financial District – Perfect for Job-Seekers
If you crave the hustle and bustle of downtown, or you want to move near the center because your job requires relocation, the Financial District is just for you. In case a new job is the reason you are planning on getting moving services or figuring the cheapest way to move out of state and relocating, this neighborhood might be the perfect pick for you. There are also some of the most remarkable architectural and historical sights here, and one of them includes the epochal Transamerica Pyramid.
Home of the Largest Companies in San Francisco
As the city’s business center, it is home to some of the most significant SF banks, corporations, and law firms located in Kearny Street and Sacramento Street. Also, there is a perfect spot for a meal and photos – it’s located in the beautiful Ferry Building. This place brims with Mexican and seafood restaurants. In case you prefer art and science, the museum called the Exploratorium might be interesting to you. Your kids may find it very amusing, too.
Bernal Heights – an Up-and-Coming District
According to residents, this is the place with the most beautiful view in the whole SF – some of them will say even in the entire world. Bernal’s vibes will make you feel like part of a small town with its own lifestyle, despite being close to the center. It attracts families and couples, dog-owners, and artists. Many people enjoy hiking, having a picnic on the top of the mound, or just enjoying the astonishing view and sunset. When it comes to public transit, you shouldn’t worry, since there is a direct bus line from downtown SF to Bernal Heights. It takes approximately 16 minutes to reach the center.
If You Are a Family Type, This Is the Place to Be
Bernal Heights earned its nickname “Maternal Heights” as one of the most family-friendly places. If your wish is to find a cozy and sheltered place for you and your kids, consider the following:
- Bernal Heights has plenty of sunny days
- Lively farmer’s markets are great places to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables
- There are many playgrounds and parks
- Most of the restaurants are kids-friendly
Lower Pacific Heights – the Glimpse of Japan
Considered a historical area, this is an excellent place to visit and live in. It is the first option of young professionals and of all people who can’t afford the rest of the Pacific Heights. Lower Pacific Heights, also known as Upper Filmore, was well-known for its jazz age in the past, and it is the residence of SF’s Japantown with authentic sushi. There is a shopping mall with a plethora of little shops with an excellent and large offer.
Haight-Ashbury – a Hippy Paradise
The area surrounding the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets, also known as the Summer of Love, evokes the vibes of the 1960s counterculture movement. It is a melting pot of professionals, hipsters, and hippies. Strolling down the city streets, you can enjoy the area’s unique history and charm – Charles Manson’s garage and the house of newspapers heiress Patty Hearst, for instance. Some of the most precious examples of Victorian architecture can be found here, often decorated in multiple colors.
Don’t think there are no shops, restaurants, and happenings here – Annual Street Fair is, for example, a traditional phenomenon that began in the 1970s. During the festival, street music, food, and drinks attract numerous visitors.
Cole Valley – Enjoy the Golden Gate Park at any Moment
Secluded between Haight Ashbury and Castro Neighborhood, this district is family-friendly, relaxed, and community-oriented. If you are wondering whether this place is a proper choice for a pleasant life, you should know several facts about it. They can help you realize all the positive sides of Cole Valley:
- It is the location of one of the world’s most reputable medical research and teaching hospitals
- Tank Hill Park is the locals’ favorite place for hiking and enjoying the beautiful view
- Golden Gate Park is only a twelve-minute walk away from Cole Valley
- There is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor with an authentic 1930s counter from Michigan
- Mexican and French food, as well as sushi, are common here
Russian Hill – a Place to Experience Stunning Views
It seems like one might find everything they need within this community’s borders – from many outdoor spaces, great food, and drinks, homemade ice cream, places where mouth-watering cheese is served, to a vibrant nightlife. Above all, Russian Hill is home to the Art Institute, Academy of Art University, and Alice Marble Tennis Courts.
The Right Hill for Sightseeing
One of the most unusual activities that offer magnificent views of the area is riding cable cars. This route, with its popular stop at Lombard Street, is unmatched for unforgettable views down the hill on Hyde Street. If you visit Russian Hill Park, climb to its top and take photos of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, SF Bay, and Sausalito.
Marina District in the North Bay Area
This beautiful neighborhood has many wonderful things to offer. Located on the edge of SF Bay, it is filled with shops, historical landmarks, and some of the best restaurants in San Francisco. Here are some of the most exciting places and activities if you are planning to relocate:
- Palace of Fine Arts is a major tourist attraction
- In Chestnut Street, you can see some of the most popular restaurants
- Take a walk or bike ride on Crissy Field Beach
- Fort Mason Center Farmers Market is located here – it is Marina’s primary market
- The famous Pier 39 offers more than 90 shops and a lot of family entertainment
- An indoor trampoline recreation ground named House of Air is located in a historic airplane hangar in Presidio
- Marina Green Park is second to none greenery place for running or walking
Some of the Number-One Restaurants Are Located on the City’s North Shore
If you see Marina District only as an array of attractions, you will be surprised by how many eateries there are. No matter what kind of food you are attracted to, this place will provide you not only with the best service but different specialties as well. Besides pizzas, portions of pasta, small plates, good beers, and hard liquor, there are places where you can swap your boring burger for an Italian sandwich made with mortadella or provolone. In Lucca’s Delicatessen, the 80-year-old Italian shop, Italian salami hangs from the ceiling. If you’re vegetarian, rest assured your taste will be satisfied with Greens Restaurant and its blow-your-mind menu.