San Francisco Neighborhood Guide


San Francisco, how I love thee — let me count the ways… somewhat literally. Since moving here I’ve made it my mission to  track down every shop, cafe, bar and restaurant, park and theatre, museum and landmark I can get my hands on, and it’s only natural that I pass on the results of my investigation to you. Despite the fact that SF has plenty of great professional sources for the latest and greatest, I really find it worthwhile to get a local’s discriminating opinion  — especially if I can find someone who’s tastes run similar to mine (and if you’re reading this blog, hopefully you feel that connection!). These are spots that I personally and enthusiastically recommend for visitors and locals alike.

A note on the map — nothing upsets a San Franciscan more than tampering with neighborhood names and boundaries, but — for numerous reasons — I opted out of dividing the city into its 36 official sections (to say nothing of microhoods) and instead focus here on a handful of direction-based regions bordered by permanent streets, parks, and natural boundaries that make the most sense for the city and for you, the explorer of said city. Pick a region you’re interested in, and get ready to chose your own adventure!


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West of Divis

Including the Richmond Districts, Lake District, Laurel Heights, Presidio Heights, NoPa, Lone Mountain, Anza Vista, the Presidio, and more

to EAT:

Cassava — a super cute, all day cafe with handmade goods and macarons

B Patisserie — French pastries, tartines, four barrel coffee… the works



Lands End — unique views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay, great hiking, and the oldest fort on the West Coast.

South of Lombard

Including Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, Lower Pacific Heights, Western Addition, the Fillmore, Alamo Square, Hayes Valley, and beyond

to EAT:

Souvla — mind-blowing Greek food in a sleek and gorgeous setting. Make sure you order the juicy potatoes 

20ht Century Cafe — lovely little nook with Eastern European fare 

Chantal Guillon — consistently the best macarons in SF

Jane on Fillmore — healthy and lite cafe fare and drinks



Azalea — love this place for jewelry, jeans, and cute indie fashion

Rare Device — cute corner shop with collectables, gifts, art and unique treasures 

The Perish Trust — another awesome spot for unique finds, vintage, handmade and locally sourced

Old Town & Along the Water

Including the Marina, Russian Hill, North Waterfront, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Fidi, Nob Hill, Downtown,Tenderloin & Civic Center

to EAT:

Alta CA — late night spot good for small plates and original cocktails 

Farm Table — yummy breakfast and lunch in a cozy setting 

Trou Normand — French style bistro, high quality dishes of all kinds; blogged about here and here 


Comstock Saloon — amazing bartenders in one of the oldest remaining bars in historic San Francisco 


Grace Cathedral — beautiful landmark of SF history. Take a cable car here for the full experience.

Outside Land & South SF

to EAT:

Outerlands —  a must visit. My favorite meal here is lunch — order an open-face sandwich, lots of side dishes, and a loaf of bread to leave with. Also makes killer cocktails.

 to DRINK:

The De Young Museum — one of my favorite museums in the city, for their amazing curation of shows as well as their permanent collections. Blogged about here & here. Make sure you visit the James Turrell skyspace in the North courtyard, which is free to the public during open hours.

South of Fell

Foreign Cinema — make sure you get a dinner reservation after dark so you can dine on Mediteranean-California cuisine while watching their latest indie or foreign film 

Rice Paper Scissors — delicious and authentic Vietnamese in this permanent pop-up

Padrecito — California-Mexican fusion with a strong cocktail menu and amazing chilaquiles 

Coffee Bar – home of my favorite kale salad. Great for late lunches and all-day computer work


Linea Caffe — love their coffees, waffles and salads

 to VISIT:

[/blogged]Balmy Alley — collection of some of the Mission’s oldest and most controversial murals [/blogged]

The Painted Bird — funky vintage and thrift shop in the heart of the Mission

Succulence — adorable indoor/outdoor nursery for your urban plant needs
Belljar — my favorite local boutique for inspiration and pretty little things

South of Market East of Hwy 101

to EAT:

Bar Agricole — best bartender, best drinkers, amazing brunch, delicious dinners 

Serpentine — the place to go for local and seasonal fare after some exploring in some of SF’s more industrial neighborhoods

 to DRINK:


Flora Grubb Gardens — stunning design and a quirky, talented eye for beauty indoors and out

Building Resources — scrapyard at the end of the city ripe for treasure hunting