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San Francisco, Renting

15 best neighborhoods to rent and live in San Francisco

15 best neighborhoods to rent and live in San Francisco
Ally Gong
Content Specialist
December 22, 2022

Are you planning on moving to San Francisco soon and wondering which neighborhoods are the best? Doorstead is a full-service property management service that serves hundreds of diverse properties in San Francisco. 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. So read on to learn more about each neighborhood and find your next perfect home!


The South of Market neighborhood, also known as SOMA, is a popular place to live. 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. 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, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

SOMA is where it all started for the urban lofts 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 a great place 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 and underground shopping mall, but it's also 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 galleries and museums in the area. Plus, it's home to 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, Bloomingdale's, and Nordstrom.

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, this is the neighborhood for you. You can find apartments hidden among all the tourists and shopping traffic here, as well as 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. 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 most popular places to live and rent 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, and clubs.

The area is known for its beautiful Marina Green, which offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. This is a great place to live 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.

The Marina district is a great area to live and rent in San Francisco if you want to be near the city's natural attractions, shopping, dining, 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 SFO and Oakland airports and MUNI and BART, you can quickly get around the city.

Sunset District is a great place to live if you're looking for an affordable rental option in San Francisco. You can be close to Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, and other nearby parks like Grand View 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. The Richmond District is also known for its affordable housing options, with many condos and single-family homes available.

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.

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. Its beautiful streets and diverse cultural offerings make it a great place to call home.

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 the Mission District & SoMa are just a few blocks away.

The neighborhood is known for Bernal Hill 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.

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. And if you need to commute, Glen Park's 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. Downtown San Francisco is a great place to live if you're looking for something close to entertainment and your workplace.

You've got the Exploratorium–with exhibitions all year round– the Waterfront Restaurant, the Pacific Heritage Museum, the Transamerica Period, and the Ferry Building–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.

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

Castro District

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, and Market Square is nearby for more nightlife.

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.

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.

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.

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 neighborhoods in San Francisco 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.

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.

Dolores Park by Mission 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.

The Mission District also 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.

Glenn Park

Glenn Park is the perfect affordable residential region for families looking for a central yet quiet neighborhood in the Bay Area.

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. Glen Park is ideal for raising a family or settling with friends in San Francisco.

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. Noe Valley is one of San Francisco's most affluent neighborhoods, known for its Victorian architecture and views of the San Francisco Bay.

It's an affluent, family-friendly area 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.

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 young professionals looking for a safe and quiet 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.

The area is home to a mix of professionals, families, students, and retirees who all enjoy the city lifestyle. 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. 

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.

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're looking for 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.

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.

The Haight is an ideal neighborhood for young professionals looking for a vibrant, diverse atmosphere with plenty of entertainment options. The Height 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.

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.

These are just a few of San Francisco's top 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.

Did you find this article on the best places to live and rent 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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