San Francisco Neighborhoods

Featured Neighborhoods in San Francisco

1 Chinatown

San Francisco's bustling Chinatown, the largest in the United States, is a tightly packed warren of Chinese tourist shops, restaurants and Chinese grocers. The main tourist strip starts at "Dragon's Gate" on Grant and Bush Streets and continues until Broadway. Those looking for a more authentic Chinatown experience should head one block west to Stockton street were numerous produce vendors, meat and poultry shops and seafood markets carter to local residents. The LiPo Lounge is a great stop for a Chinese Mai Tai at the heart of the neighborhood. [Photo Credit: Andrey Bayda / Shutterstock]

2 Cole Valley

Cole Valley is a quaint San Francisco neighborhood with a distinct community feel. A small neighborhood just south of the Haight, mom and pop businesses make up the majority of this neighborhood’s shopping opportunities. There are several cafes and restaurants, including brunch destination Zazie's. Finnegan's Wake is a classic neighborhood bar with a small back patio with ping-pong, pool tables, an awesome collection of Elvis memorabilia and a great crew of regulars. Check out view from Tank Hill. It offers a panoramic view of the city without the crowds at Twin Peaks.

3 Castro

San Francisco's Castro District is the epicenter of LGBT culture and community in San Francisco. The neighborhood is bustling with energy all hours of the day and night as locals go about their business at boutique shops, excellent dining destinations and a thriving bars scene. The famed Castro Theatre anchors the neighborhood with its neon scene and Art Deco architecture. It still screens classic movies and independent and hosts numerous special events. [Photo Credit: Travis Wise / flikr]

4 Downtown/Financial District

Also know as the “FiDi," the Financial District neighborhood of San Francisco is aptly named for an abundance of modern and historic buildings that house headquarters of corporations like Charles Schwab, Gap Inc., Visa, the 12th district of the Federal Reserve and more. However, this area is not all work and no play. Shopping areas like Embarcadero Center and Crocker Galleria cater to business shoppers and travelers staying at downtown hotels. By virtue of all the businesses in the area, there are also plenty of cocktail bars and dining destinations, although it can sometimes seem like a ghost town on weekends. The Financial District is home to the iconic Transamerica Pyramid (closed to public tours) and California's oldest restaurant, the Tadich Grill, first opened in 1849.

5 Fisherman's Wharf

Popular with tourists and sea lions, Fisherman's Wharf is full of shops, silly museums and family fun. Visitors who look closely will see it is still a working wharf, particularly busy during peak crab season in December. The Wharf offers boardwalk-style family entertainment with seafood vendors and attractions, such as Pier 39, Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum and a wax museum. The Red & White Fleet offers several cruises and trips across the bay. For maritime-lovers and WWII buffs, the San Francisco Maritime Museum is at the foot of Polk Street. and the massive USS Pampanito is docked at Pier 45. [Photo Credit: Fisherman's Wharf]

6 North Beach/Telegraph Hill

North Beach is almost a city within a city. There's the historic Italian charm (and numerous restaurants), a lively bar and nightclub scene, several landmarks from the beat generation and a row of strip clubs that somehow maintains a higher level of class than other cities. Meander through the narrow streets off the central Columbus corridor and see why this is San Francisco's "Little Italy." Like its Italian heritage, this San Francisco neighborhood still holds onto its 1950s Beatnik legacy with the bohemian City Lights Bookstore at the corner of Columbus Ave. and Jack Kerouac Alley. At the opposite end of the neighborhood sits one of San Francisco's grand cathedrals, Saints Peter and Paul Church, where Joe DiMaggio once served as an alter boy. The neighborhood is also home to Coit Tower and the Saloon, San Francisco's oldest bar. Pizza fans won't want to miss the world-famous pies from Tony's Pizza Napoletana, while Original Joe's offers old-school charm with a hearty meal and a martini. Diners can find a more adult-oriented fare with the full menu from the award-winning team at Penthouse Club, and one of the best cocktail bars in San Francisco is right down the street at the Comstock Saloon. [Photo Credit: Anatoliy Lukich / Shutterstock]

7 Pacific Heights

One of San Francisco's more exclusive neighborhoods, Pacific Heights houses more than its share of mansions and gorgeous parks, with sweeping views of the marina and the San Francisco Bay below. On Fillmore Street, visitors will find up market shops and boutiques, fantastic restaurants and the occasional watering hole for those looking for a late-night drink.

8 Haight-Ashbury

Also known as the Upper Haight, the Haight-Ashbury is a hub of activity with hip boutiques, head shops, bars and eateries. Historically, this was the center of 60s psychedelia and the hippie counterculture movement, anchored by neighborhood residents the Grateful Dead and regulars like the Jefferson Airplane and Santana. The neighborhood retains its hippie counterculture vibe, but it continues to evolve with new businesses (some of the best street wear and sneaker shops in the city are here) and newcomers to the neighborhood. [Photo Credit: Michael Warwick / Shutterstock]

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