In some cities, it’s hard to tell when you’ve left one neighborhood and stumbled into another—not San Francisco. These seven-by-seven miles hold an Italian quarter striped with beatnik past (North Beach), a multicultural hipster mecca (The Misison), a surfer’s paradise (The Sunset), and oh-so-much more.
The Heart Of The City
The Embarcadero connects the northern and southern edges of the city while Market Street, the artery of San Francisco, runs east to west. Along it, you’ll find the Financial District with its towering skyscrapers, Union Square with its seemingly infinite shops and malls, and the scrappy Tenderloin neighborhood, full of local characters. On the edge of Union Square you’ll find the gateway to Chinatown.
South Of The Artery
Urbanity hits in prime in the neighborhoods south of Market Street. The Dogpatch, SoMa, and the Mission are all cement-clad hotspots for food, culture, and coffee. The southern Bernal Heights offers a view of it all.
The Northern Points
You’ll gain a bit of elevation wandering these neighborhoods. North Beach is home to Coit Tower and Nob Hill counts the Grace Cathedral and Top of the Mark as its residents. Closer to shore, you’ll find Fisherman’s Wharf. For the sweeping views of the Golden Gate, head to the Marina and Crissy Field.
In the belly of the beast, the arts and fashion reign supreme. Civic Center is home to the city’s cultural institutions. Luxury boutiques and local shops abound in the neighboring Hayes Valley while Japantown is a wealth of sushi and ramen/ The Fillmore District is just a few blocks the over, offering music for any palate—from jazz to indie rock.
Into The Hills
Travel further west and you run into some hilly terrain. But tucked between the knolls are quaint communities like Noe Valley and Cole Valley, as well as the vibrant Castro and Haight-Ashbury. NoPa serves as the intermediary and is chalk full of hipsters and hip new dinner spots.
Beyond The Golden Gate
Although the Golden Gate Bridge is considered the gateway to San Francisco, the city actually extends beyond its spans. The Richmond and Sunset districts have a bad rap for foggy weather, but bonfire beaches, a heft supply of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean food, and a solid surfer vibe make them worth the visit. In between the two is the iconic Golden Gate Park.