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  • Victoria Taveras
  • "Where is the best neighborhood to stay in San Francisco?"

Victoria Taveras

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Where is the best neighborhood to stay in San Francisco?

Im going to San Francisco but I want to know what is the best neighbourhood to stay in, in terms of activities within walking distance and availability of public transportation.

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12 Answers

Most Mentioned Places for this Question

  • Union Square (attraction)

    San Francisco California

    7 mentions

  • Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)

    Jefferson St. & Taylor St. San Francisco CA 94133 (415) 674-7503

    5 mentions

  • Nob Hill (neighborhood)

    California Street San Francisco California 94108

    4 mentions

  • Debbie Lee

    top answer by

    I suggest staying downtown around the Union Square area. From there, public transportation to most parts of the city is pretty easy. You can take the BART subway train, MUNI bus, and it's very easy to hail a cab if you need to. It's pretty much the center hub for public transportation. Just don't plan on renting a car there because parking is a nightmare! That's close to a lot of shopping at Powell Street , San Francisco Chinatown , and you can also walk to the Ferry Building , which is a very famous spot in San Francisco full of specialty food stores.

    Union Square

    Other neighborhoods in that same area that you can look into are Nob Hill , Financial District , and SOMA . With SOMA, look for places that are closer to Union Square/Market St. because otherwise, SOMA also reaches out to the water away from public transportation and attractions.

    If it's your very first time in San Francisco, the Fisherman's Wharf area could also be a fun place to stay, but it's mostly very touristy and a little more difficult to get around than the downtown area.

    One neighborhood that I would try to avoid is the Tenderloin . Though very close to Downtown, things get sketchy really fast there. There are some okay parts there, and it's getting better, but there are also some really scary parts, too. I'm okay walking alone there in the day time because I'm familiar with the area, but I wouldn't suggest anyone new to the area walk around there by themselves or even in a group because you don't want to make a wrong turn there. It's a very small part of San Francisco, though, so anywhere else, you'll fine :)

    San Francisco's great and you'll have a lot of fun. Let me know if you have any other questions!

    ETA: Some of my favorite places in SF since you asked in a comment, and I swear you could even get a glimpse of all of these in a long weekend, so 5 days is perfect to really enjoy everything!

    • Ferry Building : Try to come here on your Saturday morning in SF because that's when the famous farmer's market is! It's not just for buying fresh, local produce. There are also a ton of great gourmet food stands (a lot of which have actual restaurants), so you can experience the awesomeness of San Francisco food. Inside the Ferry Building itself is also great to experience. If you like cheese, got to Cowgirl Creamery And if you like coffee, you have to go to Blue Bottle Coffee
    • Cupid's Span : While at the Ferry Building, walk over to Cupid's Span for a great photo op of the sculpture and the Bay Bridge.
    • Waterbar: If you like oysters at all, walk a little further down to Waterbar. It's a gorgeous restaurant with a beautiful view of the Bay Bridge and the water. It's a pricy restaurant, but they actually have an awesome happy hour menu. From 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM every day, they have $1 oysters! Try to go earlier in the day though, because they don't take reservations and they get packed.
    • Palomino Restaurant : If Waterbar is packed, go across the street to Palomino. Around lunch time is when the sun hits their patio the most, so try to go there then. Another gorgeous restaurant that looks pricy, but actually has an awesome all-day happy hour menu.
    • Justin Herman Plaza : If you walk across from the Ferry Building to the right, you'll see the Justin Herman Plaza. The egg head sculptures are fun to photograph and there's an amazing industrial-looking waterfall structure that you can actually climb and also walk through (just discovered this the other weekend!).
    • Fisherman's Wharf : There's the Pier 39 here which is full of restaurants. Tons of seafood here and you should at least try clam chowder from a bread bowl, which you can get at most restaurants there, or even from a street vendor. You can see sea lions here. There's also an In-N-Out Burger there if you like burgers. It's a well-loved chain of burger restaurants that's mostly in California.
    • Alcatraz : You can take a ferry over to this old prison island. It's pretty fascinating.
    • Golden Gate Bridge : Something else that's fun to do is to rent a bike and bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also walk across it. It's typically an all-day thing, though, if you can allot the time for it.
    • Golden Gate Park : There are tons to photograph here because it's a huge park! de Young Museum is beautiful on the outside even if you decide not to go in. Stow Lake is gorgeous, as are the Japanese Tea Garden and the San Francisco Botanical Garden . The outside of the botanical garden is beautiful, and if you want to go inside, it's only $7.
    • If you want to go barhopping, the Mission District and Polk Street are great streets to walk through.
    • For a fun place to picnic, you have to go to Mission Dolores Park midday to picnic! It's the thing to do! Grab a bottle of wine Bi-Rite Creamery , maybe some ice cream at the Bi-Rite Market , and a sandwich from Ike's Place or a burrito from El Farolito and just laze in the sun.

    Comments (4)

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    • Victoria T.

      Victoria T.

      Thank You so Much! Everywhere I looked seemed like a good place to stay. Way too many options in San Francisco so this helps me narrow down my search a lot, so thank you. Im more interested in the non touristy things (event hough I am a tourist!) I'll be in the area 5 nights what do you think is something I just cant skip? · (1 likelikes)

    • Debbie L.

      Debbie L.

      My pleasure! I know what you mean about being/not being tourist! Just updated my answer with some suggestions :) · (0 likelikes)

    • Victoria T.

      Victoria T.

      Thanks so much for the update!! I want to do everything!! I arrive on Friday Night so I will definetly do the Ferry Building Famers Market! I love them. Do you think I can do your list in 2 days? Like maybe split that iteneray and cover that saturday and sunday or you think is too much? · (1 likelikes)

    • Debbie L.

      Debbie L.

      I think that the two things on the list that will take the longest are Alcatraz, because you have to ferry to and from the island and there's a lot to see there, and the Golden Gate Bridge if you decide to bike or walk across it. Those two alone can take an entire afternoon or even day if you want. Most of the other places though, are just things that you can walk through, maybe spend an hour at. SF's pretty small and a lot of these places are close to or on the way to one another. One sample itinerary of a day could be walking around the Embarcadero to see Justin Herman Plaza and Cupid's Span, and then going to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market for brunch, then take the ferry from there to Alcatraz, and then take the ferry from Alcatraz over to Pier 39 for dinner, then maybe cab it somewhere to barhop or shop :) · (1 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Union Square (attraction)
    2. Powell Street (attraction)
    3. San Francisco Chinatown (attraction)
    4. Ferry Building (attraction)
    5. Nob Hill (neighborhood)
    6. Financial District (attraction)
    7. SOMA (neighborhood)
    8. Union Square (attraction)
    9. Market St (unknown)
    10. Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)
    11. Tenderloin (neighborhood)
    12. Ferry Building (attraction)
    13. Cowgirl Creamery (attraction)
    14. Blue Bottle Coffee (restaurant)
    15. Cupid's Span (attraction)
    16. Waterbar (restaurant)
    17. Palomino Restaurant (restaurant)
    18. Justin Herman Plaza (attraction)
    19. Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)
    20. Pier 39 (attraction)
    21. In-N-Out Burger (restaurant)
    22. Alcatraz (attraction)
    23. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
    24. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
    25. De Young Museum (attraction)
    26. Stow Lake (attraction)
    27. Japanese Tea Garden (attraction)
    28. San Francisco Botanical Garden (attraction)
    29. Mission District (neighborhood)
    30. Polk Street (attraction)
    31. Dolores Park (attraction)
    32. Bi-Rite Creamery (restaurant)
    33. Bi-Rite Market (attraction)
    34. Ike's Place (restaurant)
    35. El Farolito (restaurant)

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  • Nicole Kent

    answered by

    Nob Hill , Noe Valley , Lower Pacific Heights , Cow Hollow , and the Marina District are all great neighborhoods. The perk of Nob Hill (snob hill is the nick name) is that it is close to Union Square and all the shopping and restaurants there. As for the Marina District, there is cute boutiques and fun bars as well close to North Beach District , Golden Gate Bridge and Crissy Field . Noe Valley is an adorable nice neighborhood that has cute restaurants and more of a family vibe. You can't go wrong with any of these spots. Hope that I have been helpful :) Have a nice trip!

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    • Victoria T.

      Victoria T.

      Thanks!! · (0 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Nob Hill (neighborhood)
    2. Noe Valley (neighborhood)
    3. Lower Pacific Heights (metro area)
    4. Cow Hollow (neighborhood)
    5. Marina District (neighborhood)
    6. Union Square (attraction)
    7. Marina District (neighborhood)
    8. North Beach (neighborhood)
    9. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
    10. Crissy Field (attraction)
    11. Noe Valley (neighborhood)

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  • Vikram Aravamudhan

    answered by

    Lower Pacific Heights is a nice place to live with the busy Fillmore Street which is good for nightlife. Few parts of Pacific Heights are upscale. SOMA SoMa is where all the techies are. Nob Hill is also a decent place to live considering the public transportation. But for May 2014, please start looking for places from Mar or April. Finding an apartment in SF is crazy. It took me 1.5 months and 30+ visits to finally get one. There are shady ones, there are good ones with 10+ people lining up before you.

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    • Victoria T.

      Victoria T.

      Thanks for the tip!! · (0 likelikes)

    • Courtney R.

      Courtney R.

      These are great suggestions, Vikram! I've added an "@" sign next to your suggestions so that they show up on the right hand side in a list and mapped. It's a really cool function on Trippy! · (1 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Lower Pacific Heights (metro area)
    2. Fillmore Street (attraction)
    3. Pacific Heights (neighborhood)
    4. SOMA (neighborhood)
    5. Nob Hill (neighborhood)

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  • christina lowe

    answered by

    I lived on Nob Hill for a time -- I highly recommend The Stanford Court San Francisco there. The views from the hill are great -- and if you're lucky, maybe one day you'll get to watch the fog roll in and swallow the city while you're high up on the hill watching. It's beautiful.

    Union Square is also full of activity (shopping mainly) and a variety of hotels. Although, if I'm not staying on Nob Hill, I'd stay in North Beach District close to Fisherman's Wharf .

    If you can, ditch having a car --- parking is a pain and it's not uncommon to have it broken into. Public transport is pretty good within the city -- and taxis are plentiful (as it's a small area, they aren't even that expensive).

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    Mentioned in this answer:

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    2. The Stanford Court San Francisco (hotel)
    3. Union Square (attraction)
    4. North Beach (neighborhood)
    5. Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)

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  • Kelly Weiss

    Trippy Ambassadors are elite members of the community, hand picked to help you travel better! Interested? E-mail us at ambassadors@trippy.com.

    answered by

    Hi. I like North Beach District it's a nice trendy area close to downtown. Walking distance to Fisherman's Wharf area and it has lots of amazing restaurants and bars. Little Italy is a nice area to eat and Washington Square Park is a nice place to hang out in around North Beach. There is a lot of public transit near. I would recommend hiring a bike and biking around the city and over the Golden Gate Bridge .

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    2. Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)
    3. Washington Square Park (attraction)
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  • Shrirang Joshi

    answered by

    For public transport, have a look at http://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/transit

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  • Alfredo Garcia

    answered first by

    I would definitely consider the Union Square area. Most of the public transportation is there, including the famous cable cars.

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    • Victoria T.

      Victoria T.

      Thanks! · (0 likelikes)

    • Courtney R.

      Courtney R.

      Hey, Alfredo--it's great that you've made this suggestion--I've added an "@" sign in front of it so it shows up on the right hand side in a list and mapped. It's a really cool function on Trippy! · (0 likelikes)

    • Alfredo G.

      Alfredo G.

      Thanks for the advice Courtney. Didn't even realize it was there. · (1 likelikes)

    • Courtney R.

      Courtney R.

      No problem, Alfredo! It's a really cool feature, so I'd hate for you to miss using it! · (0 likelikes)

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  • Jeffrey willson

    answered by

    Hayes Valley was a perfect place for us when we were there. Close to public transportation, felt like a neighborhood, lots if great stuff close by. I highly suggest it.

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  • Sharyn manns

    answered by

    Union Square area has proven to be my best location......anything you might need just a short walk. Bart is right there to take you to the outskirts, the Cable cars can get you down to Fishermans Wharf, etc. etc.

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  • Sandra Irick

    answered by

    We enjoyed staying in Dogpatch. Easy access to everything via Muni, bus, or walking. Great neighborhood, close to Portero Hill where there are several great restaurants and little shops. Dogpatch also has some great spots for eating and browsing.

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  • Kevin Berry

    answered by

    This is very subjective so I will do my best to describe your options:

    - Hayes Valley: Awesomely centrally located and on the better end of safety, issues are there are few hotels/places to stay. Good for couch surfing

    - Tenderloin: Terrible place to stay in regards to safety, but the low(wer) rents allow for a few hostels, which are few in SF. During the day it's safe and its central, though at night I recommend a taxi to the hostel

    - Union Square: Most hotels are here, and it's central and a bit touristy but really great to get around the city. If I could afford it and didn't want the 'local' experience, I'd stay here

    - Mission District: Mission is a mix of different cultures, but is predominantly driven by Central/South American culture mixed with hipsters. You can find a cheap burrito and an overpriced coffee, depending on where you are. I love this place for the Central/South American culture and highly recommend trying smaller restaurants that cater to the locals that have lived there for awhile. Not many hotels, but things to find.

    - SOMA: More expensive hotels close to market street, these are safe and have everything you need. They are central and convenient to the transit. Be careful with Soma, the farther from market (and some areas by 8th street) can be a bit dodgy. Totally fine, but one must be aware there

    Places I don't recommend:

    - Fisherman's Wharf: no locals actually go there, and they are just trying to get money from tourists

    - Marina District: Though beautiful and has a few motels/hotels, they are far from central SF

    Hope this helps - message me if you need anything else. Also for those that disagree with my statement, I always appreciate feedback/a different point of view so please let me know/comment otherwise!

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    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Hayes Valley (neighborhood)
    2. Tenderloin (neighborhood)
    3. Union Square (attraction)
    4. Mission District (neighborhood)
    5. SOMA (neighborhood)
    6. Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)
    7. Marina District (neighborhood)

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  • Fritzi Lareau

    answered by

    My favorite SF neighborhood is Hayes Valley. It's near Civic Center so lots of transportation options, and very un-touristy. It's flat, walkable and has lots of independent restaurants and shops. Another area I like is Parnassus Avenue, near Golden Gate Park. Don't go to Fisherman's Wharf, which is a total tourist trap. Union Square has every retail shop you can visit in any other city in America, so why go there? The Mission District has some local flavor, good shops and restaurants, but I find it still a little rough. Dogpatch is really fun in my opinion, it is in transition. It's all a matter of taste. SF is a small city with excellent transportation options so you can easily explore it. Have fun.

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    2. Civic Center (neighborhood)
    3. Parnassus Avenue (unknown)
    4. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
    5. Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)
    6. Union Square (attraction)
    7. Mission District (neighborhood)

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