San Francisco is undoubtedly a captivatingly charismatic city. We have pretty people, amazing architecture, and wonderful weather (usually). Believe it or not, our compact, walkable, seven-by-seven metropolis is actually comprised of more than 100 distinct neighborhoods, each with a cultural flare all its own. Though each one is unique, only five are smoking haute right now. Today’s Haute 5 is your personal treasure map to the crème de la crème in San Fran neighborhoods.
SOMA (South of Market)
Once a place that warehouses went to die, SOMA has been transformed into a cultural center for art, nightlife, entertainment, and fine dining. Deemed unsafe in its earlier life, plenty of time and money has been poured into the area, making it a modern day mecca for luxe–loft living. Young professionals and older urbanites alike clamor to SOMA for the proximity to downtown, a breathtaking view of the Bay, and Pac Bell Park at South Beach. Go Giants!
The Marina/Cow Hollow
Famous for its grocery store, Safeway, which is affectionately known as the “Singles Safeway”, the Marina is a beautiful neighborhood with rich history and an unbeatable view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands. Both Union Street and Chestnut Street offer a plethora of dining, shopping, and drinking options, which make it lively any day or night of the week. Once filled with mostly established wealthy families, the Marina is now a calling card for young executives who work hard but always want to play harder.
Though in the midst of a bustling city, Pacific Heights offers a park-like respite from the chaos that surrounds it on all sides. Arguably one of the most prestigious, stately neighborhoods in San Francisco, Pacific Heights sits high atop the hills residing over the sparkling Bay beneath it. Temperate climate, proximity to Japantown, and wonderful dining and shopping on Fillmore Street make Pac Heights a destination to covet.
The Mission District
Each neighborhood in San Francisco exists with its own microclimate. The Mission happens to be insulated from the fog and wind to the west making it warmer and sunnier any given day of the year. Beyond its spectacular weather, the Mission has come up in recent years with a shiny new nightlife scene, loft living, and a wide variety of coffee shops to keep you buzzed all day, every day. Beyond all that, they boast the most spectacular Mexican burritos in the city, Bi-Rite Creamery for salted caramel ice cream, and the infamous bacon apple donut at Dynamo Donuts. If that’s not a tempting reason to visit, then something might be wrong with you.
If it’s natural beauty you’re after, then it’s Sea Cliff you’re looking for. Exactly as described, it is a jutting, rocky cliff over a beautiful blue sea. Beyond a collection of stately homes, lovely beaches, and amazing scenery, there isn’t a whole lot else, but that’s alright because when you have all that, what else would you need? Past and present prestigious residents include Jefferson Airplane guitarist Paul Kantner, actor Robin Williams, actress Sharon Stone, actor Cheech Marin, Gap founder Donald Fisher, and Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett.