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15 best neighborhoods to rent and live in San Francisco

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15 best neighborhoods to rent and live in San Francisco
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Are you planning on moving to San Francisco soon and wondering where the best places to live in San Francisco are? Doorstead is a full-service property management service that serves hundreds of diverse properties in San Francisco, and we’ve rounded up the best neighborhoods in San Francisco in this article based on tenant satisfaction. From what we've seen from customers and housing data, here's our list of the ten best neighborhoods to live and rent in San Francisco.

So whether you're looking for a quiet area with plenty of green space or a lively district with plenty of nightlife and restaurants, we've got you covered on where to live in San Francisco. So read on to learn more about these unique San Francisco neighborhoods and find your next perfect home!

SOMA

The South of Market neighborhood, also known as SOMA, is a popular district and it tops our list for one of the best places to live in San Francisco. It's home to tech companies and startups, including SalesForce, Yelp, and Airbnb. This vibrant area also has plenty of amenities, such as trendy restaurants, bars, and cafes, which is one of the reasons why we think it’s one of the best areas to live in San Francisco. In addition, it's easy to get around since you're close to BART stations and other public transportation options. Plus, you can take advantage of the many parks in SOMA for a breath of fresh air.

SOMA is also home to many of San Francisco's most famous museums, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Children’s Creativity Museum, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

SOMA is where it all started for the urban lofts in San Francisco. If you like this style of urban architecture, this is one of the best places to live in San Francisco. If you go back to 1990, warehouses and vacant lots gradually filled up with condominiums constructed on small alley side streets. Today, beautiful buildings are utilized as SOMA condos ranging from brick and timber renovations to contemporary concrete designs. We rank SOMA as topping the list on where to live in San Francisco due to its vibrant nightlife, cultural attractions, and proximity to public transportation.

Union Square

Union Square is known for its iconic plaza (with the famous hearts of San Francisco) and underground shopping mall. It's one of the famous San Francisco neighborhoods that is home to some of the city's best restaurants, cafes, and theaters. Union Square is also an excellent place for art lovers; you can check out the many smaller galleries and museums in the area. Plus, it houses some of San Francisco's best hotels and luxury shopping destinations.

Union Square is one of San Francisco's most popular tourist destinations, known for its shopping and dining options. The square has a Westfield San Francisco Centre Mall and high-end retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, and Bloomingdale's. If you love to shop and dine and have easy access to malls, this is one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco to live.

Union Square displays many historic San Franciscan homes and is a great area to live for those who enjoy walking and biking. If you want to live in a big city similar to New York, and love the downtown streets of New York, this neighborhood could be one of the best places ot live in San Francisco. You can find apartments hidden among all the tourists and shopping traffic here and communal living spaces and condominiums with great views.

Located near the theater district, San Francisco Chinatown, and shopping districts, Union Square is lively, with plenty of restaurants, shops, and galleries to explore. It’s central to many other San Francisco neighborhoods. If you're looking for a central location to commute from, Union Square has direct access to BART and MUNI lines and easy access to highways like US-101. You can take advantage of being close to the BART or MUNI if you want to explore beyond the neighborhood or visit other cities in the Bay Area.

Marina District

The Marina is one of the best areas to live in San Francisco, especially for young professionals. The Marina District is one of San Francisco's most affluent neighborhoods, known for its high-end shops, bars, restaurants, brunch spots, and clubs. You’ll find many recent college graduates and young tech-workers in this area in recent years.

The area is known for its beautiful Marina Green, which offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. The Marina district is one of the best places to live in San Francisco if you're looking for a lively neighborhood with plenty of bars, restaurants, and cafes nearby.

The Marina district also has several parks where locals can enjoy jogging, biking, and picnicking. In addition, there are many waterfront activities to choose from, such as sailing, kayaking, and windsurfing. San Francisco neighborhoods are all distinct, but Marina has a great and balanced round-up of San Francisco's strengths.

The Marina district will be one of the best places to live in san Francisco if you want to be near the city's natural attractions, shopping, dining, and convenient social gatherings and nightlife.

Sunset District

The Sunset District is one of San Francisco's most populous neighborhoods, known for Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park. Standard homes in this area have two bedrooms and one bathroom, but some blocks with larger houses have three or more bedrooms.

The Sunset District is also home to an array of restaurants, coffee shops, and stores for all your needs. The neighborhood is home to several of San Francisco's most popular attractions, including the Cliff House, the San Francisco Zoo, and the Sutro Baths.

The Sunset District has a relaxed atmosphere with easy access to downtown San Francisco. With its proximity to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Oakland airports, MUNI, and BART, you can quickly get around the city. Living in the Sunset district provides easy transportation to other San Francisco neighborhoods and cities in the Bay Area.

Sunset District is one of the best areas to live in San Francisco if you're looking for an affordable and safe rental option in San Francisco. You can be close to Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, and other nearby parks like GrandView Park and many neighborhood places to explore and relax.

Richmond District

The Richmond District is one of San Francisco's most populous neighborhoods, known for its Chinatown and sizeable Russian population. Out of comparable San Francisco neighborhoods, the Richmond District is known for its affordable housing options, with many condos and single-family homes available. Richmond is going to be one of the best places to live in San Francisco if you’re budget-conscious while still wanting the full experience of living in this city.

With more people moving in, there are increased numbers of newly renovated homes incorporating modern and traditional styles. Rental units come in various sizes, such as 4-unit condos or flats. You'll also have garage parking here--a luxury not found everywhere across San Francisco. This might be one of the swaying factors of where to live in San Francisco if owning a car in the city is important to you.

The Richmond District is notoriously foggy, but the streets are roomier and have more curves than the rest of the city.

It's connected to the rest of the bay area and San Francisco by Muni and BART and highways like US-101, I-280, and I-80. The site offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and cafes, as well as easy access to the Golden Gate Bridge. In addition, the neighborhood is home to St. Ignatius Church and the San Francisco National Cemetery.

The Richmond District may be just right for you if you're looking for an affordable rental option in San Francisco close to all the attractions and amenities. It's beautiful streets and diverse cultural offerings make it a great place to call home, which is why we’re ranking it as one of the best places to live in San Francisco.

Bernal Heights

Bernal Heights is a great region to live and rent due to its excellent location—it's a short commute to downtown San Francisco and other San Francisco neighborhoods (the Mission District & SoMa are just a few blocks away).

The neighborhood is known for Bernal Heights Park, which offers stunning city views. This area has a mix of older homes (built before 1940) and newly built structures with modern energy-efficient features. Standard homes here have one to three bedrooms and one to two bathrooms.

Many older units feature hardwood floors, detailed molding around windows and doors, and charming curved walls. Bernal Heights has a wide range of housing options available in all price ranges. This can be helpful and give you more options when you’re deciding where to live in San Francisco.

Local families love Bernal Heights because it's away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, has plenty of green space, and is close to kid-friendly parks. Because of it’s spaciousness and higher level of safety, we rank it as one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco. And if you need to commute, the nearby Glen Park BART Station makes getting into San Francisco or Oakland a breeze.

Financial District

The Financial District, near Downtown, is San Francisco's central business district, home to many banks and financial institutions. This district is one of the best places to live in san Francisco if you're looking for something close to entertainment and your workplace.

Downtown SF has become one of the most beloved San Francisco neighborhoods, with many company offices, old apartment buildings, and a diversity of attractions.

You've got the Exploratorium–with exhibitions all year round– the Waterfront Restaurant, the Pacific Heritage Museum, the Transamerica Pyramid, and the Ferry Building Marketplace–all great for those days when you want to escape the nine to five stress.

The area has two great choices for cinema and theater lovers: the Embarcadero Center Cinema and the Gateway Theater. Home to some of San Francisco's rising stars, the theater is close to the Sydney G. Walton Square, a charming little park full of public art. Financial District might actually be one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco for art lovers.

Castro District

This list of best places to live in San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without mention of this neighborhood. The Castro District is one of San Francisco's most vibrant neighborhoods, known for its lively nightlife. Add to that the lively nightlife and ever-changing population of new arrivals, and you have one of the most exciting neighborhoods in town.

With recent renovations like wood floors and updated appliances, the homes in this area now match or exceed those of any new development. In addition, the city's architecture allows for various housing options – from luxurious high-rise condos to more traditional split-level homes with oak flooring and vintage details.

If you're looking to live in a vibrant and proud LGBTQ+ community, the Castro district in San Francisco is perfect for you. The neighborhood hosts a fantastic Pride Parade yearly, and the streets are full of rainbows year round. The neighborhood's core is 18th Street and Castro, or Market and Castro Street. There are plenty of places to drink and dine in the community, which makes its nightlife perfect. This area is known to be LGBTQ+ friendly, which might be a swaying factor for you in where to live in San Francisco.

Russian Hill

Russian Hill is home to Lombard Street, the Cable Car Museum, and Coit Tower. So if you're looking for a breathtaking, highly sought-after neighborhood, look no further than Russian Hill for where to live in San Francisco.

It's perfect for residents who want to be close to the iconic San Francisco landmarks without sacrificing privacy. Most residents in this area are single or married professionals with no children who rent their homes. The hill is not as densely populated as other neighborhoods, and its winding streets make it ideal for walks and jogging. If this is striking a chord with you, Russian Hill might be one of the best places to live in San Francisco.

Russian Hill offers various housing options, from luxurious high-rise condos with spectacular views to single-family homes or apartments. Some of the houses are vintage Victorians or even Craftsman bungalows.

Although mainly residential, there are still a few quaint shops and eateries sprinkled throughout Russian Hill. Residents who live on the hill can take advantage of the breathtaking views from Coit Tower and enjoy exploring the winding streets at their own pace.

Numerous public transportation options, including cable cars and Muni buses, also serve the area.

With its famous Lombard Street, stunning views of the Bay, and stretches of tracks for iconic cable cars to run through, it's no wonder why this area is so popular and is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in San Francisco.

Mission District

The Mission District has always been a hot spot of activity in San Francisco and continues to be so today. Located between Noe Valley and Potrero Hill, it is one of the most walkable San Francisco neighborhoods and is known for its colorful murals, street art, and graffiti.

The Mission District is home to a vibrant and diverse community with an exciting mix of people from all walks of life. The Mission District is one of San Francisco's most culturally rich neighborhoods and has a strong Mexican influence. It’s a popular area for people who are new to San Francisco to move to, and due to it’s friendly and diverse culture, we rank it as one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco.

The architecture in the area ranges from historical Victorian homes to modern high-rises, which makes it an excellent place for renters looking for something different.

Mission Dolores Park is a stunning location with iconic skyline views- it's perfect for unwinding on the weekends with friends. With nearly 16 acres, this will be your go-to spot to sunbathe or picnic with friends.

If you want to be close to nightlife, this might be one of the swaying factors of where to live in San Francisco. The Mission District has a vibrant music scene with plenty of live venues. So it's no surprise that the area is packed with millennials and younger professionals looking for an urban lifestyle filled with nightlife and entertainment.

The Mission is a trendy and exciting neighborhood that has something for everyone. With popular bars and clubs, upscale restaurants and street food vendors, and a fantastic art and music scene, it's no wonder young professionals love the vibrant culture of the Mission and why it’s one of the best areas to live in San Francisco.

Glen Park

Glen Park is the perfect affordable residential region for families looking for a central yet quiet neighborhood in the Bay Area. Out of the various San Francisco neighborhoods, Glenn Park is one of the best areas to live in San Francisco if you’re coming with family.

The Glen Park neighborhood offers good schools, quiet nightlife, a small-town feel, and foggy mornings. It's a vibrant and cozy neighborhood with plenty of tree-lined streets, old Victorian homes, and cottages. This peaceful charm makes Glen Park one of the best places to live in San Francisco. If you have family or would like to bunker down with a group of friends and are looking for where to live in San Francisco, this might be the perfect neighborhood.

The area offers plenty of amenities to keep you entertained and well-fed. Shopping options are plentiful in the nearby Village Square Mall, while restaurants and bars are easy to find.

Glen Park is also excellent for outdoor activities like bike rides, walks around the neighborhood, or a day at nearby Glen Canyon Park. This cozy community has plenty of parks, playgrounds, and sports fields for kids to explore too!

You'll be pleasantly surprised at all the great options available if you love music. You can catch weekend jazz concerts in the neighborhood or attend the Glen Park Festival.

The Glen Park neighborhood offers excellent value for renters looking to live in a safe and affordable area of San Francisco. It's ideal for families, young professionals, and anyone who loves an urban lifestyle without the hustle and bustle of downtown living.

Noe Valley

Noe Valley is one of the most desirable residential neighborhoods in San Francisco and definitely one of the best places to live in San Francisco. Noe Valley is one of the most affluent of San Francisco neighborhoods, known for its Victorian architecture and views of the San Francisco Bay.

It's a family-friendly area located between Twin Peaks and Glen Park. The neighborhood is home to several of San Francisco's most popular restaurants, bars, and clubs.

Noe Valley is a neighborhood in San Francisco that offers residents the best of both worlds: quick access to urban life but with more spacious homes and green spaces than Downtown. For this kind of convenient lifestyle, Noe Valley can be considered one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco.

The area is popular among families and retirees for its low crime rates and good schools. Noe Valley also attracts singles and young professionals who want a mix of city and suburban living.

Its tree-lined streets are filled with Victorian homes, luxurious and spacious houses that have been restored and enlarged, and trendy restaurants, boutiques, and coffee shops.

The neighborhood also offers excellent public schools and easy access to public transportation.

Noe Valley is an ideal option for where to live in San Francisco for young professionals or families looking for a safe neighborhood with easy access to the rest of the city.

Nob Hill

Nob Hill is a historic neighborhood in downtown San Francisco that offers some of the most beautiful views in the city. It's known for its prestigious hotels, restaurants and bars, and luxury apartments. In addition, Nob Hill is unique for its steep streets and cable car lines, which provide easy access to the rest of the city and other San Francisco neighborhoods and attractions.

The area is home to a mix of professionals, families, students, and retirees who all enjoy the city lifestyle. Out of all San Francisco neighborhoods, Nob Hill is ideal for those who want to live in the heart of the city without sacrificing the charm and comfort of a residential area. It's also great for young professionals who love city life or want to be close to their workplace. If this resonates with you, Nob Hill might be one of the best areas to live in San Francisco.

The neighborhood offers an excellent blend of urban sophistication and convenience with its bustling restaurants, bars, and shops and its close proximity to public transportation. It's also a perfect option for those who want to take advantage of the city's cultural offerings, such as art galleries and museums. If you want a well-rounded and convenient city lifestyle, this will be one of the best places to live in San Francisco.

Living in Nob Hill is expensive, but the neighborhood offers a variety of luxurious apartments and condos with stunning views of the San Francisco skyline. The area is also known for its quiet streets, making it an ideal place to relax after a long day. And if you ever get tired of city life, nearby Golden Gate Park provides plenty of outdoor activities to explore and enjoy.

Nob Hill is an excellent option for an upscale neighborhood with all the amenities of urban living. It's also a great place to rent if you want a luxurious apartment with stunning city views.

Haight-Ashbury District

The Haight-Ashbury District is an iconic neighborhood located in the heart of San Francisco.

Home to the largest concentration of single-family Victorian houses in San Francisco,

The Haight is a neighborhood rich in history, dating back to the hippie culture of the late 1800s. It has become one of San Francisco's most desirable neighborhoods, filled with restaurants, bars, and shops. This abundance of culture makes it one of the most exciting and best areas to live in San Francisco.

The area is popular with young professionals, families, and retirees looking for a diverse and lively community. It's known for its eclectic mix of culture and art, making it an ideal place to explore. It's a neighborhood that perfectly balances the old and new, full of culture and history yet still modern and edgy. If you love the culture and history of the city, this could be one of the best places to live in San Francisco.

The Haight is an ideal neighborhood for young professionals looking for a vibrant, diverse atmosphere with plenty of entertainment options. The Haight is also popular with families and retirees who appreciate its historic charm and laid-back feel.

Pacific Heights

Pacific Heights is one of San Francisco's wealthiest neighborhoods and is known for its spectacular views of San Francisco Bay.

The area is home to many of the city's finest restaurants, shops, and boutiques. In addition, Pacific Heights offers a variety of housing options, including spacious single-family homes and luxury condominiums. If price is less of a factor of where to live in San Francisco, Pacific Heights could be the next ideal experience of the best areas to live in San Francisco.

Pacific Heights is the perfect neighborhood for affluent singles and families looking for a luxurious yet safe place to call home. It has some of the city's best restaurants, shops, and cafes.

It's popular among families and retirees who appreciate its peaceful atmosphere and proximity to parks and other recreational activities. Pacific Heights is also home to some of San Francisco's best schools, which might make it one of the best areas to live in San Francisco if you have younger children.

These are just a few of the top San Francisco neighborhoods for renters in 2023. With its eclectic mix of cultures, beautiful views, and vibrant nightlife, San Francisco is a great city to call home. So whether you're looking for an urban experience or something more relaxed, there's sure to be a neighborhood that fits your lifestyle. We hope this article helped you narrow down some of the best places to live in San Francisco for your own preferences and needs.

Did you find this article on the best places to live in San Francisco helpful? If so, please share it with your friends! And if you're looking for more helpful tips and resources on San Francisco property management, visit the Doorstead blog.

Ally Gong
Ally Gong
Content Specialist

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