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The official birthplace of the hippie, Haight-Ashbury still has a strong whiff of the countercultural, but even clean-cut folks will find much to love in the ample eating and shopping opportunities. History: Before 1967's Summer of Love soli...

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The Castro

History: The stretch of Market Street running through Eureka Valley was too steep for horses, keeping this neighborhood remote until the 1880s, when a wave of settlers chugged in on steam-powered streetcars and created a melting-pot neighborhoo...

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Cole Valley

Just south of the Haight, Cole Valley is easy to overlook but distinctly more mellow and relaxed than its busier neighbors. History: Like many San Francisco neighborhoods, Cole Valley was originally farmland. (It had a pond too.) In the '20s...

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Nopa and Alamo Square

Don't let NoPa's functional name (short for north of the Panhandle) and unassuming Victorian character deceive you: Teeming with trendy restaurants and late-night clubs, it's becoming known as the new Mission. History: NoPa used to be subsum...

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Noe Valley

History: Noe (pronounced No-Ee)0 Valley, named after original landowner José de Jesus Noe, was first developed in the early 1850s by John Meirs Horner, a Mormon farmer who gave many of the neighborhood streets their names (Elizabeth Street was...

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The Fillmore

Still showing its cultural roots as a historic jazz district- but now with a growing sense of upscale chic- the Fillmore remains San Francisco's thumping musical heart. History: Once known as the Harlem of the West and the center of the Summ...

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The Civic Center

The imposing Civic Center is both the seat of city government and a hub of San Francisco culture. History: In the early 20th century, San Francisco civic leaders found their city just plain ugly (hotelier Alan Pollock bluntly described its b...

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Hayes Valley

Hayes Valley is one of San Francisco's great success stories. Little visited and barely noticed just as few years ago, today it is home to some of the city's most in-demand shops and eateries. History: Before Europeans settled in Hayes Valle...

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Clustered around the iconic five-tiered Peace Pagoda, these six square blocks offer as authentic a taste of Japan as you'll find on this side of the Pacific. History: The country's largest and oldest Japanese urban enclave (Nihonmachi), Japa...

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Union Street

History: Cow Hollow was once a pastoral landscape of vegetable gardens and cattle-grazing land that produced food for the city. The cows themselves were banished from the district in 1891 to address public health concerns, but the name stuck. A...

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