7 Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco, CA: Best Places to Live

September 10th, 2022

7 Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco, CA: Best Places to Live

7 Best Places to Live in San Francisco, California

Here are the seven best places to live in San Francisco, CA, with local information on each neighborhood!

Full of trendy neighborhoods, hip, and a little old school, San Francisco is one of the most exciting and diverse places to live if you can afford the high prices. From colorful and historic Victorian row homes to houses with perfect views of the infamous Golden Gate Bridge, living in this vibrant city has a lot to offer its residents. If you decide whether or not you should move to San Francisco, you might need some help figuring out where to live. Whether looking for an affordable, safe, family-friendly neighborhood or near all the hustle and bustle of city life, San Francisco certainly has a place for you.

Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco, CA - Here are the best places to live in San Francisco!

This neighborhood guide was created to help make your big move to California a little easier and will become your go-to when picking a neighborhood that is right for you. Read on to learn more about the 7 Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco, California!

Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco was named one of the best places to live in California. Thanks to the city's great neighborhoods, it is no surprise that it made the list. Perhaps one of the most iconic and most famous neighborhoods in San Francisco is that of Fisherman's Wharf. Located on the northern waterfront, this neighborhood is a popular tourist attraction and is home to many hotels and cute little souvenir shops. While Fisherman's Wharf may be crowded on most days, this part of the city is so widely recognized that it is hard not to love.

Known for being the location of the well-liked Pier 39, hang out with the local sea lions or find an array of restaurants, an aquarium, boutiques, live performances, and even a video game arcade. Great for families and young adults, the neighborhood of Fisherman's Wharf is prized for its low crime rates and never-ending things to do. As one of the main stops and turnarounds for San Francisco's cable cars, living in Fisherman's Wharf is a classic San Fran dream.

Local Favorites:

  • Alcatraz: Catch a ferry straight from Fisherman's Wharf to visit this once island prison and now turned tourist destination.
  • Boudin: Renowned for its delicious sourdough bread and recognized as one of the oldest standing businesses in San Francisco. This is a must-visit!
  • Ghirardelli Square: This three-story chocolate factory has been renovated into a shopping center filled with local shops and restaurants.
  • Buena Vista: Open in 1916, this restaurant has perfected the art of Irish Coffee. Try one for yourself!

Downtown San Francisco, CA is one of the best places to live in the bay area!

Financial District

Often referred to as "The Wall Street of the West Coast," the Financial District in San Francisco is the city's business center and the location of tall skyscrapers and iconic landmarks. Located downtown, this part of the city is close to high-end restaurants, fantastic date night spots, and fun nightlife that keeps San Francisco exhilarating. While this neighborhood is a great place to live for young professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs, the Financial District is also a great place to stay for travel or business.

Bordering the nearby neighborhoods of North Beach and Chinatown, the Financial District is bordered by Market Street, Grant Avenue, Embarcadero, and Broadway Street. If you are moving to San Francisco for work, this neighborhood might be the perfect place. Close to many companies and start-ups, walk to work without worrying about owning a car. Plus, home to one of three operating cable car lines, getting around the Financial District is super easy.

Local Favorites:

  • Wells Fargo Museum: This free museum is located off of Montgomery Street and is a great place to visit to learn about San Francisco's and Wells Fargo's history. There is even an original stagecoach and original mail from the Pony Express.
  • San Francisco Wine Society: Found on Merchant Street, this wine bar is a must-visit for any wine lover. Featuring wine from Napa Valley and wines from all over the world.
  • Portsmouth Square: This park and square near Chinatown is a great place to relax and watch local street performers.
  • Tadich Grill: Known as the oldest standing restaurant in San Francisco and the state of California, this restaurant has been around since 1849 and remains a popular destination for lunch and dinner.

Aerial view of San Francisco one of the best cities to live in the united states and in California

Mission District

Living in the Mission District will mean having more than just access to the best burritos in San Francisco. Named after the iconic 18th-century Mission Dolores, the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco, the Mission District is known for its authentic taco shops, hip local boutiques, lively nightclubs, and unique cocktail lounges.

This ever-evolving neighborhood has seen massive growth over the years as more families, and young professionals move to the area due to the technology industry. Surrounded by breathtaking murals and colorful streets, the street art alone should make you want to visit the Mission. While the neighborhood may not be known for its safety ratings, and you probably do not want to be walking around alone at night, this neighborhood is full of culture and should be considered a place to call home.

Local Favorites:

  • The Mission Dolores: Founded in 1776, this Spanish Mission was a key witness to the history of San Francisco, including The Gold Rush and the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. Visit the mission today for a service.
  • Dolores Park: Spanning 16 acres, this park sits on the edge of the Mission District and is known for its open green space, dog park, playground, soccer fields, tennis courts, and basketball courts.
  • La Taqueria San Francisco: When in The Mission, it is tradition to try a mission burrito that is most notable for its large size and extra rice. When in the neighborhood, this is a must-try.
  • Bi-Rite Ice Cream: Only four minutes from Dolores Park, this ice cream shop makes homemade organic ice cream in unique and classic flavors. Try seasonal flavors such as the peach cobbler or the blueberry crisp.

North Beach

Often called "Little Italy," the neighborhood of North Beach is home to a large population of Italian Americans. Living in North Beach is a great option for residents who work downtown close to the Financial District and Chinatown. Find authentic Italian pizzerias, trattorias, coffee shops, and gelato all over town. Also known as a nightlife district, find yourself surrounded by eccentric nightclubs and craft cocktail bars.

Since this charming neighborhood is prized for its local history and Italian heritage, North Beach has risen to the top as one of the many popular tourist destinations in the city. Perfect for families, young couples, and retirees alike, living in North Beach means being surrounded by many open green spaces and parks as well as an abundance of things to do. In our opinion - North Beach is one of the best neighborhoods to call home in San Francisco, California.

Local Favorites:

  • City Lights Bookstore: Known as one of the most infamous bookstores in the United States, City Lights features multiple author signings and publishing events throughout the year. Swing by today to pick up a new read and learn about this shop's significance in the city.
  • Comstock Saloon: As one of the city's oldest dining and drinking establishments, this saloon is a must-visit for excellent cocktails and a happy hour that you can not miss. Check out this spot for weekend brunch!
  • Washington Square Park: Found out in front of Saints Peter and Paul Church, this park is a local go-to. Great for people watching and relaxing on a warm sunny day, grab some classic Italian fare, and have an impromptu picnic on the lawn.
  • The Beat Museum: This museum houses artifacts and exhibits that remember the Beat Generation, which shaped San Francisco's history.

Downtown San Francisco, California at night time with the lights and the sunset

Russian Hill

The high-end upscale neighborhood of Russian Hill sits on one of the 44 hills in San Francisco. Initially named by settlers who discovered a Russian cemetery on top of the hill during the Gold Rush, this neighborhood is rich in history that the locals love to explore.

Home to one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, make sure to visit Lombard Street, which is known as the "Crookedest Street in the World." If you decide to bring your car to the city, it is a right of passage to drive down this street at least once. With plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars, Russian Hill has a perfect mixture of trendy and classic hotspots. The neighborhood is also home to multiple pedestrian walkways and open green spaces that provide a great workout or a nice place to enjoy the day.

Check out Russian Hill Homes for Sale.

Local Favorites:

  • Saint Frank Coffee: The best way to start the day. Every coffee lover should make sure to stop by this minimalist coffee shop.
  • Swensen’s Ice Cream: Now a worldwide chain, this ice cream shop is the original location and serves up excellent, unique flavors such as green tea alongside beloved classics.
  • Russian Hill Bookstore: Selling both used and new books, this bookstore has been around since 1974 and is sadly one of the last independently owned bookstores in the city.
  • Ina Coolbrith Park: Named after the famous librarian and poet Ina Coolbrith, this terrace park offers incredible city views day and night.


Part of the counterculture movement in San Francisco during the 60s and 70s, the neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury remains standing today as a remembrance of this revolutionary time. Now a historical area with a distinct free spirit and hippie vibe, those that choose to live in Haight-Ashbury are surrounded by funky storefronts, vintage boutiques, and quaint eateries. Considered one of the safest San Francisco neighborhoods, families and young professionals flock to this part of the city for its lively and eccentric atmosphere. Featuring many vibrant and colorful Victorian homes that line the streets, many celebrities such as Joan Jett, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix used to have homes of their own here.

Local Favorites:

  • Amoeba Music: Around for decades, this music shop is most notable for its massive supply of vinyl records and vintage posters.
  • Piedmont Boutique: Famous for its pair of legs hanging out of the window, this boutique happens to be the most photographed store in San Francisco.
  • Golden Gate Park: The third most visited park in the United States.
  • The Painted Ladies: One of the most notorious rows of Victorian homes in San Francisco. This famous historic landmark was used in many moves and television shows, including Full House.

Iconic San Francisco Homes used in Full House TV Show are known as The Painted Ladies Homes

Pacific Heights

If you want panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, look no further than Pacific Heights. Voted as one of the most prestigious and wealthiest neighborhoods in San Francisco, Pacific Heights features showstopping Victorian-style homes that bring many families to this residential community. Billionaire's Row is found in this neighborhood with the most extensive and expensive homes in the city that house most of the 48 billionaires currently living in San Francisco. Not only are the homes extraordinary, but Pacific Heights is known to have a below-average crime rate, making it one of the most desirable places to live in San Francisco. Living in Pacific Heights could be your next dream come true, surrounded by lively streets, picturesque parks, and famous homes, including the Mrs.Doubtfire house.

Check out the homes for sale in Pacific Heights.

Local Favorites:

  • Haas-Lilienthal House: Built-in 1886, this historic home has survived many earthquakes and fires. Visit the home today to see how an affluent family lived back in the day.
  • Lafayette Park: Found on a hill, this park and green space offer fantastic views of the city, a dog area, a playground, a picnic area, and tennis courts.
  • Alta Plaza Park: Found on the western side of the neighborhood, this park is the perfect spot for a picnic and to get some fresh air.
  • The Snug: This restaurant and bar serve comfort food and craft cocktails in an intimate setting.

The Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco, CA - The Bottom Line

San Francisco has a neighborhood to fit any lifestyle and culture. Before buying your own home in this city full of character, reach out to one of our knowledgeable and experienced Realty Specialists to aid and guide you through the home buying process. No matter your budget, our team is here to help. Contact us today to find a home for you in San Francisco, California!


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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.