10 Great Neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area

In the San Francisco Bay Area, home sweet home can range from an urban loft to a refuge in the hills. Discover 10 diverse Bay Area neighborhoods to find the one that's best for you.

SAN FRANCISCO

The City by the Bay has long been a destination for daring iconoclasts. Rather than a melting pot, it's a gently layered lasagna of ethnicities, cultures and lifestyles, sharing the same 49 square miles yet remaining distinct. The Castro is known as a haven for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, though families have been encroaching in the last few years. The Sunset is residential, low-key and family-oriented — not to mention foggy. Sea Cliff, with its large estates and sweeping, dramatic views of the ocean, is home to some of the city's wealthiest residents. The fun part about living in the city? Walk a few blocks and you could be in a completely different world (and climate), each with its unique collection of restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment. Here are some of the in-demand neighborhoods:

1. THE MISSION

This traditionally Latino community is also a hipster haven with a lively nightlife. Mission Street, the community's main drag, runs the gamut from chi-chi restaurants such as Foreign Cinema (where patrons can watch a film projected onto the wall as they dine) to modest family-run gems providing, say, Chinese-Peruvian fare or the greatest burrito you've had since that one on the last block. Valencia, one block parallel, features art galleries, bookstores, and quirky shopping. Its proximity to downtown and easy access to public transit make it one of the more sought-after areas. 

The Neighbors: A diverse mix of families, young professionals and blue-collar workers

Also Consider: Bernal Heights, Glen Park

Further from downtown, on the outer edge of the city, Bernal Heights feels like a little piece of country in the middle of the city. It's quiet, tree-lined and family-oriented, and its main drag, Cortland Street, has its share of pleasant restaurants, workout studios, bars, and the artisan food court at 331 Cortland. 

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