The beautiful city of San Francisco is a melting pot of cultures and professions. Because of this, all the districts tend to have their own distinct characters, and even their own unique micro-climates. This is a brief guide to the districts of San Francisco, and what to consider when moving to the city.
The historical region of North beach is full of great views, and is recognised as a safe, family friendly area. The area has great public transportation options and just as well, as the parking situation can be horrific. Despite the area’s family friendly reputation, there’s still a good amount of nightlife, but perhaps more orientated towards an older, more sensible crowd. There’s plenty of green space in the area and whilst it can seem a little over crowded at times, on the whole, this is considered a great area to live in.
This ethnically diverse, edgy and artistic area experiences some of the best weather in the city. However, the streets can be crowded, loud and can appear a little run down and grimy. There’s little greenery in the area, and like North Beach, the public transport’s great, but the parking is awful. The area is perhaps more suited to 20-somethings, although there are a lot of families in the area too.
Plush, posh and upmarket are just some of the superlatives that can be used to describe the Marina. Rent and house prices are very high here, but it’s easy to see why when looking around the area. There are lots of open spaces, including the setting for the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts, a major attraction in the area. As with most of San Francisco, there are plenty of great restaurants, bars and clubs, as well great shopping centres.
The Castro caters mostly for the huge gay scene in San Francisco, with a plethora of gay bars and nightclubs in the district. There’s a wide variety in terms of shopping and restaurants, and also a few parks in which to enjoy the sunshine. Rent is average in comparison to the rest of the city, but this area is not what you’d call family friendly. This is definitely an area for the younger, more nightlife-orientated crowd.
This is an affluent district, similar to The Marina but on a smaller scale. Once again, the shops and nightlife options are plentiful, but traffic in the area can be a nightmare. There’s very little green space, and rent is in the higher bracket for the city. There are plenty of younger couples with children in the district, and the number is on the rise. The area can be a little overshadowed by the surrounding hills, but the rest of the city is only a tram ride away.
This is a small, quiet community with a progressive attitude. This is perhaps the most family orientated area in San Francisco, but can at times feel a little cut-off from the rest of the city. However, this may be a desirable situation for those who want the option of escaping city life when needed. There are parks for the children, while the shopping and restaurant situation is good, but perhaps there’s not as much variety when compared to other parts of the city. Parking is OK in the area, but public transport is limited.
The Richmond and Sunset
This district has a true neighbourhood feel to it, a rarity in modern city life. With beaches nearby and decent public transport and parking, this area is wonderful for families. There’s even great shopping and nightlife. Unfortunately, due to San Francisco’s unique micro climate, this area can be foggy and cold, even when other areas of the city are enjoying sunshine. Rent is average for the city, but this area does offer some of the best value for money on the market.
Russian and Nob Hills
Located in the centre of the city, these hills are home to a great number of young professionals. The hills are steep, but some parts of the district are very easy on the eye. There are isolated areas with a high crime rate, but this is generally a safe place to be. The house prices are moderate, and this is one of the rare areas of San Francisco that can offer both good public transport and parking.
The Haight is a vibrant, diverse district. The area is crowded, arty and full of life, with lots of character-filled boutiques and unusual restaurants and bars. Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of poverty in the area and beggars are commonplace. Generally, this is not a family friendly area, although some pockets of the district have become a haven for family life, with a great deal of green spaces and parks nearby. This is another area that can offer great value for money.
Often considered the “coolest” district in San Francisco, SoMa (South of Market) can offer some of the of the finest warehouse and loft spaces in the city. Its close proximity to downtown adds value to house prices here. Some pockets of the district are unsafe after dark, so these crime hotspots should be avoided if moving into the SoMa area. This area is very popular with the young and wealthy, and rental costs are high.
San Francisco has been an incredibly desirable place to live for years, and this is reflected in the cost of renting and buying homes in the area. Prices have risen even further since the dot com boom of recent times. The computing epi-centre of the west, Silicon Valley, is in close proximity to the San Francisco Bay area, meaning the city has become a hub for technological innovation. The rental price of a one bedroom apartment in the area is roughly $1,500 per month, and co-renting is commonplace in the area due to the steep property prices.
However, San Francisco can offer one of the best job markets for young, skilled workers. Just walking around the city makes it obvious why so many people are keen to move to the area. There’s a district to fit almost anyone’s personal tastes. Homes are so sought after in the area that it is sometimes best to go by word of mouth, and ask around for advice on properties that may be coming on the market in the near future. Keep on the look-out and it won’t be long till you have your dream home, set in the stunning beauty of Northern California.