San Francisco is an ideal place to live, work and play. The city offers a vibrant economy, unique neighborhoods and close proximity to world-class museums, universities, national landmarks and natural landscapes. San Francisco was recently named America’s Best City in Bloomberg Businessweek.com’s best places to live ranking. The city also continues to rank among the top cities to visit in the Condé Nast Traveler magazine Reader’s Choice Survey. Whether you’re planning a visit, thinking of moving, or already live in San Francisco, the following guide will help connect you with information and resources to make the most of your San Francisco experience.
Easily reached by the historic F-Line street car, the Castro encompasses Eureka Valley and much of the Upper Market neighborhood. The Castro is the first, largest and best-known gay neighborhood in the nation and one of the most prominent symbols of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activism around the globe. Offering many amenities such as pedestrian-friendly streets, an array of stores and cafés, as well as a vibrant nightlife, the Castro is a popular destination for residents and visitors alike. Average home values range from $482,000 to $6,000,000.*
The “Dragons Gate” is the main entrance to Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in North America and the one of the largest Chinese communities outside Asia. This neighborhood is a city within a city and can best be explored on foot stopping in exotic shops, food markets, temples and small museums. Visitors here can buy herbal remedies, try tea samples and enjoy an authentic “dim sum” lunch. Average home values range from $354,000 to $2,400,000.*
Civic Center/Hayes Valley
Boasting galleries, antique shops and restaurants, Hayes Valley is just a short distance from the city’s Civic Center. Running right down the middle of the Civic Center is San Francisco’s widest street, Van Ness Avenue. Just beyond the Asian Art Museum’s front door, an area has been designated Little Saigon. Around 250 Vietnamese owned businesses are concentrated in this and in the nearby Tenderloin. Average home values range from $233,000 to $2,500,000.*
The Embarcadero literally is where one embarks, lined with many deep-water piers, there is so much to see and do here. The Ferry Building, at the foot of Market Street, is a vibrant public space housing a food hall, restaurants and a farmers market. Piers 4-17 offer views of the Financial District skyscrapers and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Across the bay is Treasure Island, a man-made island that was the site of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. Average home values range from $451,000 to $4,200,000.*
This world-famous neighborhood is one of the city’s main attractions including: fishing boats, sea lions, seafood stalls, seafood restaurants, sourdough French bread bakeries and much more. Souvenir shops and historic ships add to the atmosphere while historic F-Line street cars and two cable car lines run though the area. Sightseeing boats and boat charters link to Alcatraz, Angel Island and other points around San Francisco. Average home values range from $470,000 to $3,500,000.*
Famous for liberal activism in the 1960s, the Haight-Ashbury district (commonly known as the Haight) is world famous for its “Summer of Love” in 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on the neighborhood creating a cultural and political rebellion. Today, the Haight offers an array of eclectic stores, delicious cafés and a vibrant atmosphere popular among young artists, activists and professionals. The Haight’s proximity to Golden Gate Park also makes it a popular destination for visitors. Average home values range from $439,000 to $4,800,000.*
Only one of three remaining Japantowns in the U.S. and the oldest, this neighborhood was founded in 1906. Offering a small slice of Japanese life, San Francisco’s Japantown is just a few skips away from the Fillmore neighborhood, which is currently witnessing a revival of its once prominent jazz heritage. An annual open-air jazz festival takes place to celebrate that heritage. The New York Times recently named the area north of the Golden Gate Park panhandle (or NoPa) an “urban frontier,” this area has also become a late-night hot spot for foodies. Average home values range from $336,000 to $3,300,000.*
One of the city’s most scenic areas, the Marina is a bustling neighborhood that is home to many young professionals. The Marina also includes the site of the 1915 Panama – Pacific International Exposition, the Palace of Fine Arts. Nearby Cow Hollow, historically known for its dairy farms, today boasts quaint architecture and easy access to the Marina, Pacific Heights, North Beach and other areas. Average home values range from $401,000 to $5,000,000.*
Mission District/Potrero Hill/ Dog Patch
Some of the best weather in the city can be found in the Mission District, Potrero Hill and Dog Patch. While new restaurants and nightspots are a draw, Mission Dolores, the oldest structure in San Francisco, entertains visitors and locals, many of the city’s pioneers are buried in an adjacent cemetery. Buildings, fences, and walls throughout adorn murals, the largest concentration in the city. Nearby the Potrero Hill and Dogpatch neighborhoods offer growing and vibrant communities of artists, professionals and families centered around neighborhood areas of commerce. Average home values range from $219,000 to $2,800,000.*
Once home to the silver kings and railroad barons, Nob Hill is most famous as the neighborhood with Grace Cathedra, a replica of Notre Dame in Paris. The world-famous Lombard Street, “the crookedest street in the world,” is also just a few steps away while cable cars take a rest when not in service. Russian Hill, named for burial sites of Russian hunters who were active in California walers in the early 1800s, is right next door. Average home values range from $379,000 to $2,900,000.*
Adjacent to Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf and Russian Hill, North Beach is San Francisco's Little Italy. The neighborhood is home to a sizeable Italian American population and is famous for its narrow streets, lively restaurants and nightlife and as the historic center of the city’s beatnik subculture. The neighborhood boasts amazing views and easy public transit. Average home values range from $456,000 to $3,000,000.*
Located in the large area South of Market Street, the area includes several smaller neighborhoods such as South Park, Yerba Buena and South Beach. The area is home to more than a dozen museums and includes Yerba Buena Gardens, and the largest concentration of art west of the Hudson River. AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, is nearby as well as The University of California – San Francisco, which boasts the largest biomedical university expansion in the United States. Average home values range from $228,000 to $2,300,000.*
Union Square is the central shopping, hotel and theater district that surrounds the landmark Union Square plaza in the heart of downtown San Francisco. The area is a major tourist destination as well as a center for the arts and entertainment. Average home values range from $266,000 to $2,200,000.*
Planning a move is stressful no matter where you are relocating from. San Francisco has several resources to ensure your move runs as smoothly as possible, regardless of how far you’re traveling.
Several moving companies are at your service in the Bay Area. Among them:
Cor-O-Van Moving & Storage Company
Tri-Star Office Moving, Inc.
To store your belongings securely during your move, consult one of these storage companies:
RENTING & LEASING
San Francisco offers a variety of housing options. From renting a flat or apartment, to leasing a loft or contemporary condominium, to buying a Victorian home, many resources are available to help newcomers and current residents make the right housing choice. Rental resources include:
Azari Property Management
Lightner Property Group
Property Management Systems
Trinity Corporate Living
San Francisco Association of Realtors
For a comprehensive guide to realtors in the Bay Area, visit SFChamber.com.
Insurance is a necessity, and the Bay Area is prepared to have you covered. Whether you’re in need of auto, health, dental, homeowners, rental or even earthquake insurance, there is an agent in San Francisco ready to assist you.
Barbary Insurance Brokerage
The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies
Lockton Insurance Brokers
Pennbrook Insurance Services
For a full listing of area insurance agents and brokers, visit SFChamber.com.
UTILITIES & TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Gas & Electricity
Pacific Gas & Electric Company
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Recology Sunset Scavenger
Recology Golden Gate Disposal & Recycling Co.
Level 3 Communications
Internet Service Providers
Health & Wellness
San Francisco and the Bay Area boast many world-class hospitals, healthcare and medical facilities. Some of these include:
California Pacific Medical Center
Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, A Dignity Health Member
Saint Mary’s Medical Center, A Dignity Health Member
San Francisco General Hospital
UCSF Medical Center
VA Medical Center
For a full list of member medical services, visit SFChamber.com.