Faros sf neighborhoods illustration

A neighborhood for everyone

You've just received the news: you're moving to San Francisco! And once the excitement of new adventures subsides you realize...you have to figure out where to live. Thankfully, in San Francisco, anyone can find a new place to call home as long as they know where to look.

For a city that's only 49 square miles, San Francisco is divided into a constantly-debated number of neighborhoods — somewhere between 35-60. Each neighborhood has its own personality, so each San Franciscan can find at least one to call home. When you move to San Francisco and meet others, you'll often hilariously fit into the persona of your new neighborhood, much like how dog owners look like their furry friends.

Bayview-Hunters Point

Herons head park Bayview
Heron's Head Park, originally intended to be Pier 98

Overview

Bayview has a colorful history and is now home to one of the largest developments in the city's history, The San Francisco Shipyard. The area boasts parks with trails to walk and piers with fish to catch at the India Basin Shoreline Park. The community in Bayview-Hunters Point has been historically diverse. Home to primarily Italian residents in the 1930s-50s, Bayview transitioned into a pivotal part of the Civil Rights Movement as the home of many prominent activists. In recent years, Bayview has become home to many artists, and builders are significantly developing the area. It's one of the more affordable neighborhoods and only a 25-30 minute bike to downtown.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $2,800

2-bedroom: $3,500

3-bedroom: $4,200

Notable attractions

Bernal Heights

Bernal heights hill and neighborhood
Photo Credit: sf.funcheap.com

Overview

Residents of Bernal Heights love the feeling of community and small-town vibe. In this neighborhood, you can find families, first-time homeowners, and fried chicken touted as the city's best. Residents that live in Bernal Heights love the laid-back feel of the neighborhood. The best and worst part about living there is climbing the hill. The climb is well worth it for the view and rope swing at the very top.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,100

2-bedroom: $3,900

3-bedroom: $4,900

Notable attractions

  • Bernal Hill in Bernal Heights Park: spectacular 360-degree views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, downtown, and the hills of East Bay
  • Alemany Flea Market: Sunday flea market where you'll find unexpected treasures
  • Barebottle Brewing Company: pet-friendly, warehouse-style space with food trucks, games, and their own brewed beer

The Castro

Castro rainbow crosswalk
Photo credit: Stephen P. Wald Real Estate Associates

Overview

The Castro is often referred to as the "Gay Mecca" of San Francisco. The Castro was one of the first established gay neighborhoods in the United States and continues to be a prominent location for LGBTQIA+ around the world. According to those who live in The Castro, there is always something to do, whether it's catching a movie at the famous Castro Theatre or catching the game and having some brews at Hi-Tops, San Francisco's first gay sports bar.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,400

2-bedroom: $4,600

3-bedroom: $5,800

Notable attractions

  • Rainbow crosswalks: the crosswalks in The Castro were re-striped in rainbow colors, a reflection of the neighborhood's rich history in the LGBTQIA+ community
  • Castro Camera and Harvey Milk residence: Harvey Milk's retail photography shop, home, and headquarters (from 1973-1978) for his public office campaigns to establish and fight for gay and lesbian rights
  • Castro Theatre: movie "palace" that plays all movies, old and new

Chinatown

Downtown Chinatown San Francisco
Grant Avenue in Chinatown | Photo credit: Kārlis Dambrāns

Overview

San Francisco's Chinatown is not only the oldest Chinese community in the United States but also the largest enclave of Chinese residents outside of Asia. The Chinatown community is one where Chinese culture and custom is maintained while also being one of the largest tourist attractions in the state — it attracts more tourists annually than the Golden Gate Bridge. Because of its influx of tourists and the residents that live there, Chinatown gets pretty crowded, but residents say that navigating the crowds is worth it for the authentic cuisine and experiences. If dim sum and endless supplies of fresh fish and cheap produce is your jam, then Chinatown is your kind of place.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,400

2-bedroom: $4,500

3-bedroom: $6,000

Notable attractions

Cole Valley

Central Cole Valley
Intersection of Carl and Cole Streets, where the N Judah line runs | Photo credit: Paul Churcher

Overview

A popular place for families with babies or dogs, Cole Valley residents love that their neighborhood is a one-stop-shop for everything they need. It's a small-town feel much like Bernal Heights with more accessibility to the things residents need and want. The proximity to Golden Gate Park provides opportunities to venture, while Cole Valley proper is home to pretty much every type of food you can imagine. The community encourages pets so much so that you can bring your dog to dinner at Zazie's every Monday night.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,200

2-bedroom: $3,700

3-bedroom: $5,500

Notable attractions

  • Zazie: French bistro with outdoor patio, known for its weekly Bring Your Dog dinners
  • Ice Cream Bar: vintage soda fountain and ice cream parlor with alcoholic milkshakes
  • Luke's Local: organic and local groceries and takeaway sandwiches

Cow Hollow

Lyon street stairs cow hollow
Lyon Street stairs | Photo credit: Willis Lam

Overview

A space that was formerly home to cows grazing and fishermen looking to be close to work, Cow Hollow is now a generally affluent area that is home to spas, wellness centers, and boutique shopping. It's also home to great restaurants...and you can hit the gym after. Cow Hollow is currently home to many young professionals as well as younger families who enjoy a city feel without being enveloped in the city itself.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,300

2-bedroom: $5,000

3-bedroom: $6,800

Notable attractions

  • McElroy Octagon House: 1 of 3 octagon-shaped homes in San Francisco, the McElroy house was saved from an almost certain demise in the 1950s and is now open as a museum for those looking to learn more about the rich history of SF.
  • Palm House: tropical-themed brunch dishes and cocktails
  • Lyon Steps: series of 332 stairs that lead to a view of Alcatraz and the bay

Duboce Triangle

Historic Duboce Triangle
Corner of Waller St. and Carmelita St., a part of historic Duboce Triangle

Overview

Most notably, Duboce Triangle is home to the Victorian architecture and tree-lined streets that identify San Francisco. Residents of the Triangle stood firm against the demolition of this style of home in the 1960s, instead choosing to restore and renovate existing architecture. While small, Duboce Triangle is one of the most dog-friendly neighborhoods in the city — in fact, it's home to the best off-leash dog park — and while it's close to Market and Castro St. for great eats and shopping, it's tight-knit neighborhood helps residents feel at home.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,500

2-bedroom: $4,500

3-bedroom: $5,600

Notable attractions

  • Duboce Park: perfect for picnics, lazy days in the sun, and dog-walking

Dogpatch and Mission Bay

Spark social in Mission Bay
Spark Social, home to a dozen food trucks, has become a popular area at nights and on weekends. | Photo credit: Spark Social

Overview

Thanks to its location, Mission Bay and Dogpatch don't receive visits from Karl the Fog, making it one of the sunniest neighborhoods. Historically, Mission Bay was actually part of the bay, and the industrial Dogpatch held warehouses and docks. Since 1990, builders started converting those warehouses into industrial condos, apartments, and offices including one for Uber. Young professionals and artists are on the rise, along with rent prices. Throughout all of the Mission Bay and Dogpatch, construction is a common theme with new apartment buildings, shops, and restaurants rising from the ground every year.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,900

2-bedroom: $5,000

3-bedroom: $6,800

Notable attractions

  • The Ramp: restaurant and bar for waterfront dinner, drinks, and dancing as you watch massive cargo ships glide through the bay
  • Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous: specialty ice cream and ice cream cakes
  • Just for You: beignets, pancakes, and chicken and waffles
  • Marcella's Lasagneria: the best family-owned lasagna restaurant in town
  • Spark Social and SFF Soccer: an all-in-one outdoor complex with two turf soccer fields, a lively food truck scene, miniature golf, and giant teepees

Financial District (FiDi) and Downtown

Aerial view of Salesforce Park in Financial District
Salesforce Park

Overview

Like any other city, the Financial District in San Francisco is home to the city's skyscrapers and big office buildings. Not many people actually live in the Financial District since it's primarily commercial real estate. Butted up against Market Street, you can find lots of MUNI stops that will take you to and from work, and just a few blocks away, you'll find Union Square, penthouse bars, and dozens of hotels.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,700

2-bedroom: $6,900

3-bedroom: $8,200

Notable attractions

  • Salesforce Park: a brand new park that's already being considered one of America's most beautiful parks (it has a High Line feel to it for those of you who've been to NYC)
  • Manual cable car turnaround: the famous Powell Street cable car is manually turned around there by an operator (since they can't run backwards)
  • Union Square: shopping, shopping, and more shopping at Macy's, Apple, Nike, DSW, Warby Parker, ZARA, Tiffany's, and dozens of other stores

Fisherman's Wharf

Fishermans Wharf of San Francisco
Photo Credit: Fisherman's Wharf

Overview

At Fisherman's Wharf, thousands of tourists flock the streets. While you won't find many houses or apartments there, you will find places like the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Not surprisingly, its most notable cuisine is seafood, and it's tough to walk around there without running into hundreds of tourists.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,200

2-bedroom: $4,400

3-bedroom: $5,400

Notable attractions

  • Pier 39: shopping, dining, views of Alcatraz and lots of sea lions
  • Ghirardelli Square: chocolate factory and store all your tourist gift-shopping chocolate needs
  • In-and-Out: the famous burger chain's only San Francisco location

Glen Park

Tygers Coffee Shop in Glen Park
Tyger's Coffee Shop on Diamond St., a local staple for coffee and good eats.

Overview

Glen Park is primarily residential, and the residents like to keep it that way. Most residents will try to convince you that "no one ever goes there," and they love its lack of tourists. Thanks to the commitment to keeping their community small, most would say that Glen Park has a fantastic village feel.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,200

2-bedroom: $4,300

3-bedroom: $5,500

Notable attraction

  • Glen Park Canyon: a gorgeous park with one of the few remaining free-flowing creeks in San Francisco

Hayes Valley and Civic Center

Hayes Valley public area
Photo by Angela Decenzo for Virtuoso's "A Perfect Fall Weekend in Hayes Valley, San Francisco"

Overview

While Hayes Valley used to have a pretty seedy reputation, it's recently undergone a revitalization. In 2013, SF Jazz Center was opened, the first free-standing building dedicated to jazz performance and education. Throughout revitalization, Hayes Valley and the Civic Center area has maintained a diversity that shows in its entertainment, small boutique shopping, and an exciting nightlife (by SF standards).

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,600

2-bedroom: $4,500

3-bedroom: $5,600

Notable attractions

Haight Ashbury

Haight Ashbury shops
Photo credit: SF Gate's "The Best Places to Shop in the Haight"

Overview

Haight-Ashbury was the epicenter for hippies and the Summer of Love in 1967. It's named after the corner of Haight and Ashbury, where hippies would gather in their tie-dye clothes and peace sign necklaces. Today, Haight-Ashbury capitalizes on its past, with vintage clothing shops, second-hand stores, marijuana shops, tattoo parlors spread all along Haight Street for its hundreds of tourists each day.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,100

2-bedroom: $3,500

3-bedroom: $5,500

Notable attractions:

Ingleside & Oceanview

The view from Ingleside to Oceanview with Twin Peaks in the distance
The view from Ingleside to Oceanview | Photo credit: Eric E Castro

Overview

With a history of hosting shooting ranges, the Ingleside Jail, and rowdy saloons, Ingleside and Oceanview don't attract as many people as Noe Valley. Rows of colorful but worn-down single-family homes line the winding streets, making it an affordable area for first-time homebuyers. In 1934, the jail was turned into City College, and now many of those students rent in-law units (legally or illegally) in the neighborhood. While most of the area is residential, residents can find major amenities like Whole Foods and Target on Ocean Avenue. Although the neighborhood is typically cold, foggy, and generally quiet, locals predict Ingleside and Oceanview will become a vibrant, community-focused neighborhood in the future.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $2,300

2-bedroom: $3,300

3-bedroom: $3,600

Notable attractions

Lower Haight

Lower Haight graffiti art
Photo Credit: Jay Galvin

Overview

If you're looking for a neighborhood with good and cheap food, laid-back bars, and easy to bike streets, Lower Haight is your place. Lower Haight sits directly to the east of Upper Haight (AKA Haight Ashbury) and is known to be grungier and more bohemian than its upper counterpart.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,600

2-bedroom: $4,500

3-bedroom: $5,600

Notable attractions

  • Rooky Ricardo's: vinyl record shop with an expansive soul and jazz selection
  • Toronado: Bar with a huge selection of beers on tap and a punkish atmosphere
  • The Wiggle: a "wiggly" bike path that allows you to avoid the nearby hills

Lower Pacific Heights

Lower Pacific Heights restored Victorian home
Photo from SF Curbed article about a restored Victorian

Overview

Previously called "Upper Fillmore," Lower Pac Heights was renamed to draw in the prestige of Pac Heights, its neighbor to the north. While it doesn't have the views that Pac Heights is known for, Lower Pac Heights has fewer hills, fewer tourists, and great shopping and restaurants. For live music lovers, Lower Pac Heights is home to two major venues: The Fillmore and Boom Boom Room.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,400

2-bedroom: $4,450

3-bedroom: $6,100

Notable attractions

  • Roam Artisan Burgers: artisan burgers made with locally sourced ingredients by a company focused on sustainability
  • Sweet Maple: brunch spot known for it's "Millionaire's Bacon" and endless mimosas
  • The Fillmore: historical music venue that was a focal point of the psychedelic music and counterculture
  • Boom Boom Room: nightclub with live funk, jazz, and blues

The Marina

Side-by-side homes in The Marina
Photo from L' Italio-Americano article that highlights The Marina, where baseball player Joe Di Maggio once owned a house

Overview

According to locals, the Marina is known for its lack of diversity, particularly with a majority of young, attractive professionals who wear athleisure and are like to party. With bars and clubs packed on its streets, the Marina is known for its "college-like" scene of heavy drinking and lots of singles. The neighborhood is also home to incredible restaurants, high-end shopping, spas, loft apartments, and single-family homes. The weather tends to be sunny, and its flat topography makes walking and biking much easier.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,350

2-bedroom: $5,000

3-bedroom: $6,800

Notable attractions

  • Crissy Field: a retired military strip, revitalized as a stretch of land perfect for running, biking, volleyball, and frisbee
  • Palace of Fine Arts: beautiful structure built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition
  • Bar None: Free skee ball, beer pong tables, and lots of people who want to party all night long

The Mission

Dolores Park in The Mission looking over downtown San Francisco
Photo by Courtney Sabo, Faros

Overview

The Mission is named after San Francisco de Asis church, the oldest standing structure in San Francisco. The church stands next to the immensely popular Dolores Park, the neighborhood highlight. Diversity stands out in The Mission, and gentrification, eviction, and housing projects are hot topics there. The two main cultures are long-standing Latinx families and the younger people who work in tech, which fuels gentrification there. The neighborhood's two main streets, Valencia and Mission, run parallel to each other. While Valencia is known for its hip bars and boutiques, Mission is known for taquerias and corner stores. Zoning laws prevented the construction of buildings taller than 4-5 stories, so lots of older Edwardian and Victorian houses line the streets.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,100

2-bedroom: $4,200

3-bedroom: $6,300

Notable attractions

  • Dolores Park: park known for picnicking, people watching, sipping on rum-filled fresh coconuts, marijuana smoking, and a picture-perfect view of downtown San Francisco
  • Bi-rite: grocery store with neighboring creamery, known for its sandwiches and ice cream
  • Tartine: deemed "one of the best French-style bakeries" by New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman. Everything made there is exquisite — croissants, morning buns, bread pudding, cakes, cream pies, and so much more.
  • El Farolito and La Taqueria: best burritos in town

Nob Hill

Nob Hill street cars with the Bay in the background
Photo from Wiki Travel, "Nob Hill"

Overview

Considered one of the more swanky and upscale areas, Nob Hill is named after the Central Pacific Railroad's barons, who built massive mansions on the hill and were known as "nobs" (a slang term meaning "wealthy people"). The 1906 earthquake and fire wiped out almost all of the homes. Now, the area is full of a mix of old and new styles. On all parts of the hill, you'll find lavish hotels and restaurants, tourists riding cable cars, remaining "old-money" families, and lots of nightlife on Polk Street.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $2,950

2-bedroom: $4,600

3-bedroom: $5,400

Notable attractions

  • Cable cars: a ride on the only operating cable car system in the world provides amazing views of Alcatraz and the bay
  • Grace Cathedral: Episcopal cathedral that sits majestically on the west side of Huntington Park
  • Tonga Room: tiki bar with water features and punch bowls, located in the Fairmont Hotel
  • Top of the Mark: a bar and lounge on the top floor of Mark Hopkins Hotel, displaying 360-degree views of the city

Noe Valley

Noe Valley apartments
Photo by torbakhopper, featured in "An Insider's Guide to Noe Valley by J.K. Dineen"

Overview

Noe Valley is indeed a valley — it's surrounded by hills, making the neighborhood feel intimate and cohesive. The new town square, located on 24th street, is home to boutique shops, live music, and the Saturday farmer's market. While the neighborhood seems picture-perfect with its ever-present sunshine, beautiful Victorian houses, and quiet nature, some locals mention that it's great for buying artisanal goods but not always basic needs like weekly groceries or household supplies.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,000

2-bedroom: $4,500

3-bedroom: $6,000

Notable attraction

North Beach

North Beach Italian restaurants
Photo from "Where to Find Italy in America"

Overview

Thanks to its diverse past, North Beach is home to one of San Francisco's most prominent cultures. Commonly referred to as "Little Italy," Italian culture is still present in North Beach today throughout Italian cafes, delis, and restaurants. The Beat literary movement gave the neighborhood an avant-garde edge, but most of those creative residents moved away after rent prices increased. The red-light district used to span throughout North Beach, and neon signs at strip clubs still line Broadway Street. Most of the homes are walk-ups that are tucked away on small streets.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,200

2-bedroom: $4,300

3-bedroom: $7,000

Notable attractions

  • Homemade Italian Company: homemade pasta that costs less than $15
  • Cafe Trieste: coffee and pastry shop where you'll find poets, artists, and odd characters
  • Molinari Delicatessan: old school Italian deli with meats, cheeses, breads, and takeaway sandwiches
  • Tony's: pizza shop regarded as the best in San Francisco, owned by a 13-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani

Outer Mission & Excelsior

Rows of homes lining Excelsior streets
Rows of homes line Excelsior streets | Photo credit: Eric Heath

Overview

On the southern border of San Francisco, these neighborhoods are often grouped together because of their proximity and similar vibes. Excelsior also includes the smaller Mission Terrace, Portola, and Crocker-Amazon neighborhoods. People with lower and middle-class incomes live there due to the lower cost of housing, which primarily includes single-family homes with in-law units, making it a popular area for renters.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $2,350

2-bedroom: $3,500

3-bedroom: $4,100

Notable attractions

  • McLaren Park: San Francisco's second largest park with 7 miles of walking trails across 312 acres
  • The Dark Horse Inn: New American restaurant with 8 rotating craft beers
  • Excelsior Festival: early October event that celebrates diversity with multi-cultural food

Pacific Heights

$27 million Pacific Heights mansion
Photo from: SF Curbed article about the sale of the $27 million Pacific Heights mansion

Overview

It's a nice place to visit...but it's quite expensive to live there. When the 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed the wealthy residents' homes in Nob Hill, they built new homes there. Today, Pac Heights is characterized by these gorgeous mansions and a lack of public transportation. While Pac Heights is home to many rich and famous folks, it also feels very "neighborhoodly," according to residents. Besides Fillmore Street that boasts high-end boutique stores, the neighborhood is fairly residential.

Fun fact: Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is a Pacific Heights resident.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,500

2-bedroom: $4,800

3-bedroom: $7,300

Notable attractions

Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights

Homes in Presidio Heights
From Compass' article about Presidio Heights neighborhood

Overview

While the hustle and bustle of San Francisco can be loud, both Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights are quiet neighborhoods, divided by California street, and inhabited by people who feel like they have everything they need to be content. Walk the tree-lined, orderly streets to visit old-school eateries and boutique clothing shops. Since most of the homes are owned by families, you won't find too many apartments for rent there. Locals say that if there was any problem at all, it'd be that the neighborhood can occasionally be too quiet.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,200

2-bedroom: $3,700

3-bedroom: $7,000

Notable attractions

Potrero Hill

View of downtown San Francisco from Potrero Hill
Photo by Courtney Sabo, Faros

Overview

Potrero Hill is unofficially split into two parts: the north side and the south side. New condos and larger apartment buildings sit on the north side, Victorians line the hills, and new "affordable" housing projects sit on the south side. Due to sunny days and rather steep hills, skateboarders and filmmakers are often found skating down the hill. With no real main street, tourists don't usually visit this part of town, but locals love the small shops, bars, and restaurants on 17th and 18th Streets.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,400

2-bedroom: $4,400

3-bedroom: $6,800

Notable attractions

  • Plow: Breakfast spot known for its dish "The Plow" and its 2+ hour wait on weekends
  • Ruby Wine: natural wine spot that attracts dozens of people to their Friday night special
  • Anchor Brewing: America's first craft brewery and America's oldest steam beer breweries
  • 20th and Wisconsin Street: an intersection with one of the best, unobstructed views of the downtown skyline
  • Jackson Playground: Small neighborhood park with softball and baseball leagues, a basketball court, and a tennis court

The Richmond

Inner Richmond

Side streets in Inner Richmond
Side streets in Inner Richmond | Photo credit: Salt and Wind

Overview

Residents love Inner Richmond's proximity to lots of parks and the availability of food from all cuisines, including Burmese, Chinese, Mediterranean, Lebanese, German, Polish, Japanese, French, Indian ... just to name a few.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $2,700

2-bedroom: $3,400

3-bedroom: $4,600

Notable attractions

  • Burma Superstar: Burmese cuisine, famous for their tea tree salad
  • Green Apple Books: a bookstore over 50 years old and a treasure trove of literary gold, routinely voted the best bookstore in San Francisco
  • Arsicault Bakery: hailed by Bon Appetit as the best new bakery in America, particularly for their croissants

Outer Richmond

Balboa Street in Outer Richmond
Photo credit: SF Citizen's blog about revitalized Outer Richmond

Overview

Compared to the rest of the city, Outer Richmond is a more affordable place where you can experience city and surf. Beware — it's almost always overcast, foggy, and chilly there, and commuting downtown takes longer than from most other areas of the city.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $2,100

2-bedroom: $3,800

3-bedroom: $4,000

Notable attractions

  • Baker Beach: an area with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the occasional nudist (since it's a nude beach)
  • Balboa Theater: independent movie theater with a mix of blockbusters and indie films
  • Camera Obscura and Holograph Gallery: a giant camera near Ocean Beach that reflects images of the landscape
  • Sutro Park and Baths: the remains of the previously existing public saltwater swimming pool complex
  • Cliff House: a restaurant serving California cuisine, seated on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean

Russian Hill

Top of Lombard Street in Russian Hill
Photo from Street Advisor's review of Russian Hill, a view from the top of the crooked part of Lombard Street

Overview

Russian Hill is a clean and quiet neighborhood with a low-key nightlife. At the highest altitude in the city, biking and walking there are challenging but good for those who want a workout. Picturesque Victorian and Edwardian houses line the streets, and parks, restaurants, and boutique stores allow residents to find everything they need.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,450

2-bedroom: $5,000

3-bedroom: $8,000

Notable attractions

  • Lombard Street: claimed to be the "world’s most crooked road" (but not actually accurate)
  • Swensen's Ice Cream: ice cream parlor with dozens of flavors, founded in 1948
  • Bimbo's 365: nightclub specializing in live rock and jazz show

SOMA (South of Market)

SOMA aerial view of new developments
Photo from SF Examiner's article about the SOMA community coming together to improve the neighborhood

Overview

SOMA stands for "South of Market," and encompasses three areas: SOMA, Yerba Buena, and South Beach. The neighborhood used to be solely commercial, and today, the area is full of high rises on main streets and some smaller walk-ups and condos on side streets. While the neighborhood recently gained popularity with coworking spaces and tech employees, few families live there. Like the Tenderloin, homeless people live on the streets, which can make parts of this neighborhood feel unsafe at night. The north side of SOMA has lots of public transportation options, including buses, BART stops, and MUNI stops, and the south side has a punkier feel due to its bars and music venues.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,500

2-bedroom: $4,500

3-bedroom: $6,100

Notable attractions

The Sunset

The Sunset is divided into two neighborhoods — Inner and Outer Sunset, with the Outer Sunset towards the beach and the Inner Sunset located on the inside. (Clever, we know.) The Sunset used to be all sand dunes, and city assessor Aurelius E. Buckingham deemed the area "The Sunset" to counteract its reputation for always being foggy and gloomy.

Inner Sunset

Arizmendi Bakery in Inner Sunset
Photo credit: No Shame Adventures Blog about their adventure to Arizmendi's.

Overview

It looks like San Francisco, and it's got a lot of the same vibe, culture, food, and entertainment. People are pretty divided about it, though. They either love Inner Sunset, or they hate it. Either way, it's a stone's throw (or a bus ride) away from the city proper, even if your friends act like it's lightyears away.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $2,700

2-bedroom: $3,700

3-bedroom: $5,000

Notable attractions

  • Arizmendi Bakery: a local worker-owned bakery that specializes in gourmet pizzas, artisan bread, and pastries
  • Ebisu: Japanese restaurant with arguably the best sushi in town
  • Grand View Park: 4-acre hilltop park
  • The Beanery: coffee shop with two locations in Inner Sunset

Outer Sunset

Shops in Outer Sunset
While Karl the Fog does cover most of SF, the sun does still shine in the Outer Sunset | Photo Credit: Hidden SF

Overview

Located on the south side of Golden Gate Park, Outer Sunset looks similar to Outer Richmond. It's close to the beach, which means a lot of foggy days, but it's home to a lot of families and can feel more like the suburbs than a city. You can expect to live near some surfers, and if you're close enough, the sounds of waves can lull you to sleep.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $2,400

2-bedroom: $3,400

3-bedroom: $4,000

Notable attractions

  • Ocean Beach: beach area ideal for walking or warming up at a fire pit. Swimming isn't popular there since the water temperate rarely makes it above 63°F.
  • Outerlands: New American restaurant serving cozy fare and a popular brunch spot worth the wait
  • Devil's Teeth Baking Company: deemed the best bakery in SF by locals, especially for its breakfast sandwiches on buttermilk biscuits, daily baked sourdough, and Sunday beignets

Telegraph Hill

Apartments in Telegraph Hill
From Trulia's article about Telegraph Hill

Overview

Located above North Beach, Telegraph Hill is much quieter than its adjacent neighborhood. Much like North Beach, Telegraph Hill became an area for bohemian artists and poets. While most of the homes are packed into small streets, the Coit Tower and Filbert Steps give brave walkers a chance to view the beautiful houses and gardens.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,300

2-bedroom: $4,400

3-bedroom: $7,100

Notable attractions

  • Coit Tower: a paid-admission tower that boasts a 360º view of the city

Tenderloin

Streets of Tenderloin
Photo from KQed's article about why the Tenderloin hasn't gentrified like the rest of San Francisco

Overview

Historically, Tenderloin has been a neighborhood known for its high crime rates, prostitution, drug use, strip clubs, and liquor stores. Tenderloin got its name from New York City's Tenderloin neighborhood after a police officer said he was going to be able to afford the best cuts of meat with the money he collected from illegal businesses in the area. At the heart of the city and surrounded by affluent neighborhoods, Tenderloin and its residents have shown resilience to gentrification throughout the years and has accepted people of all color and sexuality. Most of the housing is single-room-occupancy hotels, "affordable" housing projects, and studio apartments. Lately, residents of Tenderloin have begun spearheading a revitalization of the arts by highlighting local artists and their mediums of art including muralists and graffiti artists.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $2,450

2-bedroom: $3,450

3-bedroom: $4,800

Notable attractions

  • Glide Memorial Church: a church that served as a counterculture meeting point and is famous for its gospel choir
  • PianoFight: bar with dueling pianos, nightly entertainment, and occasional comedy acts
  • Brenda's French Soul Food: New Orleans-style cuisine in a small but cozy restaurant

Twin Peaks

Homes on the hill of Twin Peaks
Photograph of Twin Peaks in 2017 by David Gallagher

Overview

Surrounding two peaks, called "Twin Peaks," this neighborhood is a popular spot for an urban hike with 360º views of the city. Located in the geographical heart of the city and above its surrounding neighborhoods, getting to Twin Peaks requires a bus, car, or strong calves. The western side is foggier than the east side, with the peaks blocking the fog, and the top is quite windy. Built in the 1950s and 1960s, the homes on the neighborhood's winding roads have a retro feel to them. The residents tend to be older, less diverse, and since few businesses operate in Twin Peaks, the neighborhood makes for a sleepy lifestyle.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $2,700

2-bedroom: $3,900

3-bedroom: $4,950

Notable attractions

Western Addition

Painted Ladies in Western Addition
San Francisco's famous "Painted Ladies" | Photo by Alex Wolo on Unsplash

Overview

Western Addition was once the furthest west spot in San Francisco. Now, in the middle of city limits, the large neighborhood encompasses smaller areas too, including NOPA (North of the Panhandle), Alamo Square, and Japantown. Once the city's most multicultural neighborhood with a strong African American community, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday often played at clubs there. Today, Western Addition is home to many working-class individuals and families, as well as diverse bars and restaurants along Divisadero Street.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $3,200

2-bedroom: $3,600

3-bedroom: $5,600

Notable attractions

  • Nopa: a San Francisco staple restaurant known for its Californian dishes
  • The Mill: coffee and pastry shop that starts serving pizza at night
  • Alamo Square and Painted Ladies: park with San Francisco's "Painted Ladies," a set of Victorian homes that includes the "Full House" house
  • Church of 8 Wheels: abandoned church turned into a roller rink

West Portal

Homes in West Portal
Homes in West Portal | Photo credit: Aaron Tait

Overview

Residents call West Portal "The New Noe Valley," due to its similar culture. While more affordable than Noe Valley, West Portal attracts a similar group of people — typically more affluent, less diverse homeowners. Since SFSU and UCSF sit on either side of West Portal, lots of students live there, and with its foggier and sleepier feel, retirees tend to settle down in this area. People starting families also choose to live there due to its affordability of homes with more backyard space and proximity to schools, markets, dentists, and bookstores.

Average rent prices

Studio / 1-bedroom: $2,800

2-bedroom: $4,700

3-bedroom: $5,400

Notable attractions

Finding the right one

Searching for the best neighborhood for you is going to take some time, especially when you're in the time crunch of finding an apartment. If you have the chance to visit in-person, we recommend heading to the neighborhoods you're interested in and spending at least 2-4 hours there. Have a cup of coffee somewhere and see what the people are like who come in.

If you can't visit in-person, we recommend renting for just a few months through a site like Faros. Instead of signing a full year lease, you can move around as you discover which neighborhood vibe fits you best. Once you find it, we bet you won't want to leave!

Resources:

For rent prices: https://goodmigrations.com/city-guides/neighborhood-explorer/san-francisco