San Francisco may be compact in size, but that hasn’t stopped its residents from dissecting it up into smaller and smaller neighborhoods, each distinct in character. You’ll want to spend plenty of time strolling through them; here are four of the best.


Home to elegant loft apartments and some of the world’s biggest tech start-ups, SoMa is emblematic of the new wealth that has made the city such a desirable place to live. Techies and entrepreneurs run rampant here; Twitter, Uber, and AirBnb all have their headquarters in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, artsy types can hang out in one of several stellar museums or in former warehouses that have been repurposed as hip boutiques, galleries, and cafes.


The heart and soul of the Mission is its Latin community, which continues to make its presence known in the many delicious taquerias and streetside markets. However, the neighborhood is gentrifying at a fast pace, with hip cafes popping up at every corner and some of the city’s best retail clustered around Valencia Street. If you’re an art enthusiast, street art covers many walls and has become embedded in the district’s DNA. It’s a transitional time in the Mission, and it’s an exciting time to be there.


It’s not too much of an exaggeration to call the Castro the center of the LGBTQI world. Rainbow flags are everywhere, whether or not it is the Pride Month; come June, the streets are practically saturated in color. During the day, you have plenty of healthy food options to choose from—a good preparation for the night, when you’ll want to party until the early hours at the dozens of bars and clubs.

Nob Hill

The classic cable car ride through San Francisco will take you through this picture-perfect neighborhood, lined with gorgeous old Victorian houses that overlook the city. Some families have lived here for generations, and their beautiful homes are now among the most expensive in the city. Up north is Russian Hill, where slightly younger residents live and which is home to a crooked street that famously zigzags its way toward the Marina to the north.