Best places to live in San Francisco: neighborhood guide

What does it mean to live in the Bay Area? It is a real paradise if you reside in one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco. It is the only American city where even residents do not know the exact number of neighborhoods and borders between them. The average number indicated by experts is about 70.

Where to live in San Francisco? In fact, each of the city districts has its pros and cons. The city downtown has a very high crime rate though there are great amenities and rather high prices for homes. More affordable neighborhoods are located in the north-west and north-east corners of the city, but you will have to spend hours commuting to the center. If you want to choose the most suitable place for living, our San Francisco movers prepared the following list of the best places to live in the Bay Area to consider.

1. Pacific Heights

San Francisco

When it comes to the quality of life, Pacific Heights is one of the top neighborhoods. It is located within the central part of the city at the elevation of 380 feet. There are unbelievable views of the coast, bridge, island, the Presidio, so it is not surprising that this neighborhood is home to “Gold Coast” – one of the most expensive areas in the US chosen predominantly by billionaires. At the same time, there are cheaper areas for living as well including the Western Addition, for example. However, this district is always described as chic, elite but also the most expensive one. There are luxurious restaurants and boutiques that can be afforded not by everyone, as well as several schools including Waldorf one, for boys only, Academy of Thought and Industry etc.

Pros

  • Luxurious;
  • Eye-catching views of the city and bay;
  • Relatively safe;
  • Good job opportunities;
  • Excellent amenities;
  • High median income – $147,213;
  • Low unemployment rate of 2.8%;
  • Several nice schools.

Cons

  • Expensive housing – median home price is $2,119,500;
  • Densely populated – 22,917 people per square mile;

2. Noe Valley

San Francisco

Located in the central part of the city, the neighborhood was named after a Mexican mayor who used to own it as a Rancho. It has gradually transformed from a working-class area into an upscale district chosen by professionals for a living. People prefer to stroll there admiring a sunny and warm microclimate created thanks to the Twin Peaks adjacent to it. The main street of the neighborhood is lined with cafes and small boutiques.

Pros

  • Safe;
  • Excellent amenities;
  • Multiple job opportunities;
  • Warmer microclimate;
  • No heavy traffic – strolling and cycling dominate;
  • Low unemployment rate of 3.8%;
  • Good for kids.

Cons

  • Expensive housing – median home price is $2,138,500;
  • Limited traffic access.

3. Sunset District

San Francisco

Being the largest neighborhood in San Francisco, it is also the most populous one – over 85,000 people live in the area of 5.709 square miles. The western border of the neighborhood is the Pacific Coast, while other borders have no clear definition. However, this neighborhood is often called The Avenues due to the numerous avenues with numbers stretching there. There are 3 sub-neighborhoods differentiated including Central Sunset, Outer Sunset, and Inner Sunset. The last one is considered one of the coolest neighborhoods for a living with excellent job opportunities.

Pros

  • Spacious;
  • Home to a variety of local businesses;
  • Not that expensive – median home price is $1,656,700;
  • Safe;
  • Low unemployment rate of 2.9%;
  • Developed facilities;
  • Several schools and universities;
  • Green: several parks and recreational areas.

Cons

  • Often foggy and chilly;
  • Used to be sandy dunes.

4. Seacliff

San Francisco

This neighborhood has a north-western location and is famous for its spacious houses and breathtaking views of the ocean. It is one of 8 residence parks planned by a landscape architect in the city. It has access to the small beach and is a peaceful silent district with impressive mansions and wealthy neighbors.

Pros

  • Private and discreet;
  • Affordable homes – median home price is $719,700;
  • Safe;
  • Walkable;
  • Good job opportunities;
  • Low unemployment rate of 2.5%;
  • Scarcely populated – about 1,500 people only.

Cons

  • Lack of public transportation;
  • No public schools, only 2 private ones.

5. Presidio Heights

San Francisco

In search of secluded SF neighborhoods located in the central part of the city, it is worth paying attention to Presidio Heights – an area where millionaires of the Silicon Valley live next to ordinary people. It borders on the city’s alluring trails and parks, but the neighborhood itself is a paradise for people who enjoy eating out and want to put down roots of the serene family life. There are eye-catching views of the coast to admire but you need to work hard to afford living there.

Pros

  • Quiet peaceful area;
  • Many recreation opportunities;
  • Quick commute – about 30 minutes;
  • Safe;
  • Excellent facilities;
  • Nice selection of jobs.

Cons

  • Expensive housing – median home price is $4,889,100;
  • Regular tourists staring at the local mansions.

6. Marina

San Francisco

Not only a central location but also the highest number of white non-Hispanic people make Marina an attractive place for a living. Located on the oceanic coast, this neighborhood has received its name due to municipal boat marina located there. The main sight of the area is the Palace of Fine Arts, while Chestnut Street serves as a destination for going shopping, eating out, and having a vibrant nightlife.

Pros

  • Excellent amenities;
  • Affordable housing – median home price is $576,400;
  • A variety of employment opportunities;
  • Low unemployment rate of 3.2%;
  • Domination of white young people;
  • Good recreation;
  • Education: an elementary school and Academy of Art University.

Cons

  • Relatively high crime rate;
  • High population density – 20,035 people per square mile.

7. Richmond District

San Francisco

Located in the north-western part of the city, the area features a variety of parks and green spaces. The neighborhood is quiet and serene, so it is great for family life. There are 4 sub-neighborhoods including Outer, Inner, Central Richmond, and Lake Street. The first one is considered to be one of the best places to live thanks to its merchant corridor and diverse ethnicity. There is a great impact of Chinese culture there as well as deep Russian and Irish roots.

Pros

  • Beautiful green nature;
  • A high number of jobs;
  • Low unemployment rate of 2.8%;
  • Top-notch amenities;
  • Several schools and libraries;
  • Nice recreation.

Cons

  • Expensive housing – median home price is $1,491,700;
  • High population density – 23,487 people per square mile;
  • Crime stats are not pleasing.

Best places to live without a car

Walkability is a very important factor in choosing the best neighborhoods to stay or live. Even in a big city, it is more comfortable to walk to the closest store and workplace rather than commute to them for hours. Though it may sound unbelievable, San Francisco has several neighborhoods where you do not need to own a car to get the most of the amenities required on a regular basis and is considered one of the most walkable cities in the US. There is the top 4 best places where a car is not a necessity already.

San Francisco

1. Chinatown

San Francisco

This Chinatown in San Francisco is the largest Chinese settlement outside Asia. It features its unique customs and traditions having been influenced by the immigrants that arrived here after its establishment. The area features all the basic amenities and narrow streets, so only major roads feature traffic. Moreover, it attracts thousands of tourists who discover local sights mostly on foot.

Pros

  • The highest walkability score;
  • Easy access to public transport (30-Stockton and 45-Union transit lines, Central Subway);
  • Exclusive atmosphere;
  • Excellent amenities;
  • Median list price is $738,000.

Cons

  • Many people speak one foreign language;
  • Domination of the Asian population;
  • High crime rate.

2. Downtown

San Francisco

It is natural that walkability is a basic characteristic of most of the cities’ downtowns. San Francisco is not an exception. Union Square and its surroundings offer excellent walk, transit, and bike scores. It is an economic, financial, cultural and shopping district where you can make your life vibrant and bright any time of the day and night.

Pros

  • A variety of things to do and see;
  • Excellent job opportunities;
  • Possibility to get to any point of the city thanks to the developed transit system;
  • Central business district with headquarters of many global companies.

Cons

  • Hustle and bustle of the city;
  • Expensive housing – median list price is $849,000.
  • San Francisco crime rate in Downtown is high.

3. Lower Nob Hill

San Francisco

Dreaming of living among the upper class and having no car? It is a reality in the Nob Hill neighborhood with the third highest walkability, transit, and bike scores. It is the highest-income neighborhood in the whole country and there are a variety of luxury places to spend your money too.

Pros

  • Many historic sights and luxurious places;
  • Great variety of well-paid jobs;
  • Many green parks with excellent recreation;
  • Perfectly safe;

Cons

  • Very expensive housing – median list price is $863,000;
  • Very densely populated – 65,000 people per square mile.

4. The Tenderloin

San Francisco

Another area from San Francisco neighborhood guide is located in the central part of the city and has avery high walkability, transit, and bike scores. There is quick access to the subway and many types of passenger transportation which will take you wherever you wish. The greatest drawback of this neighborhood is high crime rate because of drugs, homelessness, prostitution, but it also covers theatre and shopping districts partially as well as has a vibrant art scene, so you will not feel sad there.

Pros

  • Developed culture;
  • Excellent amenities;
  • Several parks and playgrounds for kids;
  • Cheaper homes – median list price is $624,000.

Cons

  • High crime rate;
  • Dirty and smelly.

Nice and affordable places to live near San Francisco

Naturally, not every single person or a family can afford to live in San Francisco even with a rather impressive salary. Unfortunately, the housing is so expensive that you should share one room with other people or give a big sum of money to be able to live alone. That is the reason why many people look for more affordable places to live near San Francisco. There is the top 5 of the best areas for living outside the city.

San Francisco

1. Los Altos Hills

San Francisco

This small city is located 41 miles from San Francisco and it takes about 44 minutes to get to it. This city is considered to be one of the best places for living in California, especially for families with kids. There is quality school education and many basic amenities.

Pros

  • Safe;
  • Good education;
  • High median household income;
  • Quiet;
  • Beautiful nature and scenery.

Cons

  • Expensive housing – median home value is $2,000,001.

2. Palo Alto

San Francisco

There are 28 miles between Palo Alto and San Francisco, but it is very difficult to move quickly in rush hours. It is one of the most expensive cities for a living with a very high percentage of educated people. It is an economic center of Silicon Valley with excellent employment opportunities, but many people choose this city for moving.

Pros

  • Quality education;
  • A variety of jobs;
  • Developed transportation system;
  • Good recreation opportunities.

Cons

  • High crime rate;
  • Expensive homes – median home value is $1,989,300;
  • Horrible commute.

3. Oakland

San Francisco

This city is located rather close to San Francisco – only 13 miles. It is a large port city located in the suburbs of San Francisco that used to be and partially remains a powerful agricultural center. There is one of the most diverse ethnicities and excellent employment opportunities. The city can boast a very high GDP too, so the quality of life is high here as well.

Pros

  • Cheaper housing – median home price is $734,900;
  • A developed job market;
  • Fresh products and goods;
  • Great entertainment and recreation opportunities;
  • Significant art scene;
  • Bright nightlife.

Cons

  • Safety issues.

4. Mountain View

San Francisco

It will be necessary to cover 39 miles from Mountain View to get to San Francisco. However, living in this city is comfortable, because it is friendly for pedestrians, there are many tech companies including Google headquarters and greatly developed transportation system.

Pros

  • Excellent employment opportunities;
  • Peaceful;
  • A variety of amenities;
  • Good recreation.

Cons

  • Expensive housing – median home value is $1,863,700.

One of the most important aspects of moving is the right choice of the neighborhood in San Francisco. If you plan a relocation to the city or the Bay Area, try to make it smooth and stress-free with the professional help of California Movers team. Our full-service company is always at your service no matter to what distance you move, so turn to the trusted and reliable San Francisco Bay area movers and your life in the new place will start only with good emotions!

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