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San Francisco Neighborhoods

Union Square Area

Named after the park bounded by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton streets, Union Square is SF’s main shopping and theater district and is centrally located with easy access to cable cars and BART and walking distance to many famous spots.


Located in Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge, offers both urban culture and the great outdoors. Check out Muir Woods and Stinson Beach while on this side of the bay.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Go for the incredible seafood and awesome view of the bay. Stalls of mouth watering shrimp, and crab or clam chowder in Sour-dough bread bowls, right on the water with spectacular views of the bay and Alcatraz. It’s touristy, but fun.


The best way to see Chinatown is to explore some of its smaller streets and alleys. You won’t have any problems finding an inexpensive place to eat.

Lombard Street

It’s the most crooked street in the world (it’s also steep). It takes just a few minutes to steer down but you can see clear across parts of the city from the top.

Mission District

Considered the home of the Latino community. You’ll find bakeries, bars, nightclubs, cafes, little shops, colorful outdoor murals and the historical Mission San Francisco de Assisi (Mission Dolores), one of the oldest buildings in San Fran. Its redwood roof timbers are still lashed together with rawhide. Inside is a small museum with old manuscripts and mission artifacts.

Haight Ashbury

This was the center of the hippie world in the 1960’s, including the likes of the Grateful Dead. Cheap rent attracted young musicians, artists and other counter-culture types to the area. Times have changed and now you’ll find almost a yuppie feel to the place. It still has a variety of secondhand shops, boutiques and coffee places and it can be a fun place to people watch and have coffee.

Castro Street

Castro Street, a few blocks west of Market St., is the heart of the gay community. Street life is vibrant with many restaurants, bars and shops. Halloween is a great time to visit with the spectacular costumes, colors, music and fun of the Halloween parade.

Golden Gate Park

The park includes the Japanese Tea Garden, Natural History Museum, Asian Art Museum, the Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Conservatory of Flowers, a herd of buffalo and two windmills. There are also miles of hiking, jogging, skating and biking trails. Free guided walking tours of Golden Gate Park are offered by Friends of Recreation and Parks.

Fort Mason

Fort Mason was once a World War II embarkation point. Today it houses theaters, workshops, galleries, studios, cafes and a restaurant.

North Beach

North Beach (there’s no water here) is sort of the Little Italy of San Fran. There are tons of restaurants, outdoor cafes, coffee shops and plenty of nightlife. It is also known as the West Coast heart of the Beat Generation of the 1950s. City Lights Bookstore, at 261 Columbus Ave., is a landmark from that era. Owned by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the store has been in operation since the 50s and has been important to several generations of writers, most notably Beat authors Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.

The Presidio

Now being converted into a national park, has walking and biking trails along the shoreline of San Fran with impressive views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.


Just a short BART ride away from the city, you can visit Berkeley home of UC Berkeley campus and Telegraph Avenue. Plenty of bookstores, boutiques and street vendors here. The City has a track record for activism during the 1960’s, remnants of which include People’s Park. A past gathering spot for antiwar activists, this park has continued to be a symbol and place of protest for a variety of social and political causes.  Nearby Oakland has been gentrified during the recent years and is worth a visit. Check out Jack London Square and Lake Merrit.

Marin County

Across the Golden Gate Bridge, offers both urban culture and the great outdoors. The drive along Rte. 1 is spectacular (a winding road along the cliffs overlooking the ocean). Places to visit include Sausalito, Stinson Beach, and Muir Woods (giant redwoods and peaceful trails). Further on up the coast you can go to Point Reyes Peninsula with its secluded beaches and miles of hiking trails.

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