Learn more about what makes San Francisco so interesting.
We are the City By The Bay, and we are more than just waterfront experiences. From Nob Hill to Russian Hill to the Presidio to Chinatown to Cove Valley, there is something for everyone in San Francisco. Discover the perfect neighborhood for you!
A national park within the boundaries of the city, the Presidio is both a lush getaway with hiking trails & creeks and a charming neighborhood peppered with restaurants, interesting old military structures, and beautiful, historic former officers’ homes. The area is also home to Crissy Field Center, an urban environmental education center with programs for schools, after school programs, summer camps and more. For both locals and travelers, this area frequently hosts exhibits, walking tours and nature activities that give a good glimpse into the area’s beauty and history.
The universally agreed Mecca of gay life is San Francisco's Castro District. The affluent North side of Market is home to a predominantly gay and lesbian community, excellent bakeries, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and of course, gender bending bars.
The famed Castro Theatre, the Castro's historic art deco movie palace, screens old and independent films from around the world.
The stretch of shops now referred to by San Francisco locals as the Upper Haight was the center of '60s psychedelia. Despite gentrification and proliferation, it still retains its hippie counterculture credentials, and is dotted with Victorian houses, anarchist bookstores, piercing salons and funky clothing shops.
Enter at "Dragon's Gate" at Grant Avenue and Bush Street. San Francisco's bustling Chinatown is a tightly packed warren of Chinese restaurants, shops, temples and street vendors. Great for exotic gifts, and fireworks on Chinese New Year.
Cole Valley is a colorful and quaint San Francisco neighborhood with a distinct community feel. Unlike it’s frequently packed neighbor, the Haight, mom & pop businesses make up the majority of this neighborhood’s shopping opportunities; the main drag is a bit more “big city” with dozens of cafes and restaurants, some of which are considered some of the best Bay Area dining spots.
Dramatic city views are perks of living in or visiting Cole Valley, especially if you drive up to the top of Tank Hill to enjoy the panoramic vistas.
Occasionally called “FiDi”, the Financial District neighborhood of San Francisco is aptly named for an abundance of modern and historic buildings that house headquarters of corporations like Charles Schwab, Gap Inc., Salesforce, Google, VISA, the 12th District of the Federal Reserve and many more. This area isn’t all work and no play, though; shopping malls like Embarcadero Center, the Ferry Building and Crocker Galleria frequently welcome spree-loving locals and leisure travelers.
By virtue of all the businesses in the area, there are also plenty of snazzy little bars where many corporate bigwigs have been known to enjoy a martini lunch.
With its close proximity to the San Francisco Opera, Symphony and Theatre district, Hayes Valley is ground zero for the downtown “Socialite”. Hayes Street teems with shoe stores, hip boutiques and quirky home furnishing stores.
Some of San Francisco's best restaurants surround this once socially decimated San Francisco neighborhood, including Absinthe, Zuni Cafe and the Hayes Street Grill.
As one of the most iconic neighborhoods in San Francisco, Nob Hill enjoys a well-deserved reputation for privilege, a swanky style and a broad array of landmarks. Nob Hill’s personality is truly unique in its marriage of both old and new – vintage barber shops and classic cocktail lounges mingle with upscale boutiques, sassy dive bars and huge nightclubs.
What Noe Valley lacks in nightlife, it makes up for in quaint cafes, craft boutiques and coffeehouses. City dwellers seeking a more relaxed pace flock to this progressive San Francisco neighborhood, where lesbian mothers push strollers and Labradors are common.
The heart of San Francisco's predominantly Latino neighborhood is 24th Street, which is home a colorful collection of authentic restaurants, taquerias, Mexican bakeries, produce markets, specialty shops and murals. Something that you can't miss is Mission Dolores at 16th and Dolores streets. This Mission the oldest structure in San Francisco (many of San Francisco's Spanish pioneers are buried on the site).
The Chardonnay swilling set trade business cards with each other, making dates and deals simultaneously. Grown up sorority girls fraternize with local real estate agents and club promoters. Shopaholics cruise Union Street looking at MAC makeup while young urbane professionals mingle on the Marina Green. This northerly San Francisco neighborhood affords gorgeous views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, and fantastic people watching.
A neighborhood packed with pretty architecture and plenty of culture, Japantown in San Francisco is a lively and colorful destination for both living and playing. There’s almost always something to do here, whether shopping in lively Japan Center (which houses dozens of restaurants and the largest Japanese bookstore in the US), visiting the eclectic shops on the streets adjacent to the Center, or hitting up events like the Cherry Blossom Festival. By virtue of the Japan Center garage, affordable parking is shockingly convenient in this slice of San Francisco.
One of San Francisco's more exclusive neighborhoods, Pacific Heights houses more than its share of mansions and gorgeous parks, with sweeping views of the marina and Bay below. On Fillmore Street, Pacific Heights neighborhood visitors will find upmarket shops and boutiques, like Kiehl's, Betsey Johnson and Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic. Restaurants like the Elite Café, Jackson Fillmore and Vivandi Porta Via keep locals happy with their casual chic and delicious food.
Rising over the west flank of North Beach, Russian Hill has always had an isolationist, artistic vibe. As late as the 1970s, this tony San Francisco neighborhood was considered rather bohemian (in fact, it served as the backdrop for Armistead Maupin's ribald "Tales of the City" novels). While it has moved decidedly upscale, Russian Hill's magnificent views, winding staircases and charming café's make it one of our favorite San Francisco neighborhoods.
Located in the heart of the city, Twin Peaks is a breath-taking neighborhood that rises above the rest (literally!). Occupying two of San Francisco’s highest summits, Twin Peaks offers a quiet seclusion from the city below. The neighborhood’s high altitude location may remove it from hurried urban activity, but the steep descent from its hilltops is worth it for the sweeping San Francisco vistas.
One of the most affluent neighborhoods in San Francisco, Sea Cliff is a stunning destination filled with multi-million-dollar homes, gorgeous landscaping and some of the most coveted views of the city, the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Francisco's sprawling South of Market District (SOMA, as it's typically known) is home to web gurus, urban warriors and offbeat artists. This San Francisco neighborhood is home to an industrial, warehouse nature.
Dance-hungry hipsters flock to bars like 1015 Folsom and the infamous End Up, while gay bars like the Eagle, the Stud and the Hole In the Wall draw a community more diverse than the Castro. In the daylight hours, look for substantial San Francisco discount shopping, like inexpensive fabrics, designer labels and furniture.
San Francisco's version of the Red Light District, North Beach at night is a bustling neon home to strip joints, bars, cafes and restaurants. But it's more than just that. Meander through the narrow streets off Broadway and see why this is San Francisco's "Little Italy.”
This San Francisco neighborhood still holds onto its 1950s Beatnik legacy with the bohemian City Lights Bookstore at the corner of Columbus Ave and Jack Kerouac Alley. The North Beach Jazz Festival occurs here every August.