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The Curbed Guide to San Francisco Neighborhoods, As Told By Locals

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Though San Francisco is a world-class city, for locals it can feel more like a loose affiliation of small towns strewn over the hills, threaded together with gravity-straining streets, an astounding 220 public parks, and dozens of hidden staircases. For a city that's roughly just 49 square miles, it seems crazy that you can walk not five minutes and seemingly pass through four totally different neighborhoods. Wikipedia lists a whopping 119 'hoods (some of which seem a bit fishy to us) in San Francisco proper. New neighborhoods are attempting to be born all the time (anyone ever heard of this business called "Transmission"?). But we digress. With the onslaught of great specialization comes the demand for great expertise. The best way to experience the far-flung corners of San Francisco like a local is to ask one. For the very first installment of the Curbed Neighborhood Guide, we've rounded up 16 local luminaries to dish on what makes their neighborhoods great, from San Francisco magazine editor-in-chief Jon Steinberg (Glen Park) to Castro fixture Donna Sachet.

BayviewBernal HeightsThe CastroDogpatch
The ExcelsiorGlen ParkHayes ValleyMission District
Nob HillNoe ValleyNoPaNorth Beach
Potrero HillRichmond DistrictSoMaTenderloin

Bayview

Median home sale price: $650K

Median asking rent, April 2015: $2,400 (all unit sizes), per Zillow

Your guide: Dan Dodt, Bayview homeowner and advocate

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
Bayview has a large inventory of well-built single-family homes from 1920-1950, most with ample floor layouts and all with backyards, most with off-street parking. Several art-deco and midcentury gems are to found in the area. Some three-to-nine-unit apartment buildings date from the same era. Townhouses and duplexes on both Bayview Hill and Hunters Point hill date from the late 1970s through the 90s. Newer condos, both owned and rentals, have developed over the last 10 years or so.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
This community has the largest concentration of homeownership in San Francisco, according to the 2006 census. Some single-family dwellings are selling and being retained as primary, owner-occupied dwellings; other are being converted to two units for renters or owner occupancy with in-law apartments. Prices remain very competitive on a price-per-square-foot basis as compared to the rest of San Francisco, and there are deals to be made.

Do you need a car to get around?
It helps to have a car—very useful if living on the hills and areas not served by public transit.

Most reliable public transit:
The T line runs along Third Street. Bus lines 44, 24, 24, and 29 provide crosstown access. Stops are plentiful in most of Bayview, yet some hilltop areas are less than adequately served.

Nearest grocery store:
Super-Save on Third Street; Foodsco on Williams Avenue; Smart and Final on Bayshore. Alemany farmers' market (Saturday mornings) provides the quality produce and an outdoor shopping and community experience: many Ferry Building vendors sell here (at about two-thirds the price).

Good for kids?
Yes. The Joe Lee Gym, YMCA, Bayview Opera House, BMagic, and other organizations serve kids with art, educational, and outdoor experiences. More families are moving into the area, many with younger children.

Notable residents:
A San Francisco 49er or two. Community elders: Espanola Jackson; Essie Webb; Dorris Vincent; Charlie Walker; a very well-known SF poet; filmmakers Kevin Epps and William Farley.

Best place to get a coffee:
Trouble Coffee, Ritual Coffee at Flora Grubb Gardens, and many more.

Best park:
Bayview Hill Park with wildlife, wildflowers and astounding views of downtown, the bay, and beyond.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
All Good Pizza; Sam Jordan's Bar; Speakeasy Brewery and Taproom; Radio Africa Kitchen; and Butchertown Gourmet.

Best-kept secret?
The best weather in San Francisco. Fifteen minutes from downtown or SFO. The singing heard from the many churches on Sunday morning. The multiple artist communities. The Dirtbag Challenge.

Stereotypical residents:
Artists; retired, working and younger professionals; techies; doctors and nurses; musicians, blue-collar workers; technicians; contractors; architects; churchgoers; students; educators; designers; realtors; kids.

Are the stereotypes true?
Yes and no; the Bayview defies stereotypes.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
Bayview is not "tragically hip," nor is it wanting to reinvent itself into a new neighborhood. If seeking a generic and predictable experience, one
would likely be unhappy here. It is rarely foggy. Those wishing to write a tension-filled story about Bayview, and not finding people willing to play in that sandbox are probably unhappy.

Most common sight:
The sun!

Stay away from:
Negative press. The 101 North approach in the morning or at rush hour. Those T line and railroad tracks if on a bicycle.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
The Beatles played their last concert in Candlestick Park Stadium.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
Bayview is a rare and genuine, authentically diverse San Francisco community, continually evolving and warmly welcoming new residents who bring generosity, passion, and action to the mix.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
That it really is in San Francisco and just a short T line ride south of Dogpatch. We welcome your visit.

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Bernal Heights

Median home sale price: $1.31M

Median asking rent, April 2015: $4,000 (all apartment sizes), per Zillow

Your guide: Todd Lappin, editor of Bernalwood

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
Housing in Bernal is quirky. The lots are smaller than other parts of the city, the contours of Bernal Hill are something that can't be changed, and much of the housing stock was built on the cheap in the decades between the Great Earthquake and World War II. Most of all, you never know what you'll find when you walk through the front door.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
Bernal is primarily a neighborhood of homeowners rather than renters. If you're not renting an entire house, expect to find lots of oddball in-law style units here. Many of the one-bedroom rental units in Bernal come with strange layouts and ship-like compactness, but what you lose in square footage you may well gain in cuteness and overall neighborhood livability.

Do you need a car to get around?
No, but it helps. As an alternative, some Bernal residents have turned to electric bicycles to flatten the hills and make it easier to get around. The New Wheel bike shop on Cortland specializes in e-bikes.

Most reliable public transit:
The 24th Street BART is the best bet; after that it's the 14 Mission bus. The 67 Bernal bus connects the south side of Bernal with the 24th Street BART station.

Nearest grocery store:
On Bernal's south side, the Good Life on Cortland is a very solid market with a good selection of fresh food. On the north side, Harvest Hills at the corner of Folsom and Precita is a small corner store that carries a very sophisticated selection of food. Prices and selection are fine at the Bernal Safeway, but be forewarned: The checkout lines can get very long.

Good for kids?
Bernal is AMAZING for kids, and my daughter will back me up on this. There are plenty of public playgrounds, plenty of parks to run around in, and a very active and supportive community of parents who even have their own mailing list.

Notable residents:
Bernal is home base for much of San Francisco's progressive political establishment. Writers Chris Colin, Dan Duane, and Liz Weil live in Bernal. Zillions of artists live in Bernal. Carlos Santana was raised in Bernal, and began his career by playing free concerts in Precita Park. Simply by moving to Bernal, you too will become notable.

Best place to get a coffee:
On the north side, Precita Park Cafe is the local gathering place. Progressive Grounds is a classic bohemian coffee house with free Wi-Fi; Pinhole Coffee on Cortland is relatively new, but it serves incredible coffee in a beautiful space that makes you want to strike up a friendly conversation with whoever is sitting nearby.

Best park:
No contest here: Bernal Heights Park at the top of Bernal Hill is not just Bernal's best park, or one of San Francisco's best parks, but it's probably one of the finest urban parks anywhere in the world. I mean, it even has a 4.5 star rating on Yelp.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Wild Side West is a venerable lesbian bar that's been on Cortland since pretty much forever. On the north side, the functional equivalent is El Rio, which consistently draws diverse crowds for live music shows performed in El Rio's glorious back patio.

Best-kept secret?
The streets of Bernal are full of secrets: Secret stairways, secret gardens, secret views, secret houses, secret slides, and hidden messages inscribed in secret places. You can live your entire life in Bernal and you will never stop discovering them.

Stereotypical residents:
This one is easy. The stereotypical Bernal resident is probably a lesbian. Usually has a dog. Perhaps is a straight family with kids. Very progressive, highly creative.

Are the stereotypes true?
Oh god yes. That said, a surprising number of Bernalese work in technology, because that's creative work too.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
The nightlife in Bernal isn't so much; after 8 p.m. it starts to feel like a sleepy little town (which in many ways it is).

Most common sight:
Everwhere you go in Bernal, you'll see dogs walking their humans.

Stay away from:
The housing projects on the south side of Bernal near Alemany Boulevard are a longstanding trouble spot. Otherwise, no worries.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
Bernal was a hotbed of far-left radicalism during the 1970s; Patty Hearst's kidnappers from the Symbionese Liberation Army had an active safe house on Precita near Folsom.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
Bernal Heights lives life off-leash.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
Not telling. Sorry. Ask me when you live here.

The Castro

Median home sale price: $1.57M

Median asking rent, May 2015: $3,650 for a one-bedroom, per Zumper

Your guide: Donna Sachet, community activist

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
The larger Castro neighborhood has a great variety of residences, ranging from multiple-unit complexes to freestanding homes and everything in between. Shop carefully since some buildings have lots of visible charm, but need extensive work.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
Both rental prices and real estate prices are following the city-wide trend towards exorbitant. For new residents, I encourage roommates so that you can share expenses and obtain a bigger place.

Do you need a car to get around?
I've been in the Castro for over 20 years and have never owned a car. I use Muni and primarily Uber to get around, but most of my basic shopping needs are within walking distance.

Most reliable public transit:
MUNI's 24 bus, F-line trolley cars, and the underground are what I use most often and are generally dependable.

Nearest grocery store:
Mollie Stone's is the most convenient. Variety is limited, but it works for most things and they provide a free shuttle bus when you get overloaded.

Notable residents:
Many of my friends live in the area and by walking and shopping here, it is easy to get to know your neighbors. Prominent figures in the leather community, Pride leadership, Imperial Court, and many nonprofit organizations are nearby.

Best place to get a coffee:
My favorite without question is Spike's on 19th Street.

Best park:
For a big experience, Dolores Park provides a gorgeous view and lots of activity. (The major reconstruction should be completed soon.) For smaller experiences, I visit State Street Park.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
The Edge at 18th and Collingwood has always been my special hangout, often hosting local fund-raising events, welcoming every segment of our diverse community with a friendly staff, and just making each guest feel special.

Best-kept secret?
Cliff's Variety Store Annex carries a great assortment of eyelashes!

Stereotypical residents:
This is constantly changing, but the Castro still reflects the high percentage of LGBT residents in the city, and typically they are engaged and actively participate in their neighborhood.

Are the stereotypes true?
While I try to avoid stereotyping, I am most struck by the negative traits of the visitors to the Castro as they seek to experience the lifestyle of this special place without respect for our traditions, history, and protocol.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
If you are not an urban individual with an open mind and an appetite for rich experiences and broad diversity, you would be miserable in the Castro.

Most common sight:
We have lots of friendly dogs, hard-working volunteers, and politically active citizens, and they can be found on the streets at nearly any time.

Stay away from:
As with any urban environment, don't take shortcuts down poorly lit side streets late at night.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
Not everyone will have the incredible experiences I have in the Castro, being recognized and thanked for my activism, but everyone can find a place of comfort and belonging in this expansive and welcoming neighborhood.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
The Castro is much more than the two or three blocks around the Castro Theatre. It extends down Market Street, up into Twin Peaks, and in all directions with delightful shops, views, and attractions everywhere, most best experienced by walking around without headphones.

Dogpatch

Median home list price: $1.049M (no recent sales data)

Median asking rent, May 2015: $3,910 for a one-bedroom in Mission Bay/Dogpatch, per Zumper

Your guide: Susan Eslick, longtime Dogpatch resident and business owner

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
Historically Dogpatch is made up of some of the oldest houses in SF—this area wasn't affected by the 1906 earthquake. The historic core of Dogpatch is filled with single-family homes and two-unit buildings. Over the past 10 years, live-work lofts and now new apartment buildings have been filling in.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
It is for both when there are units available. Since this is such a small neighborhood, it means there isn't a whole lot of housing and rental stock. Within the next five years, that will change because so many already approved projects will break ground. Not a lot of turnover with the single-family homes.

Do you need a car to get around?
You do not need a car to get around. Dogpatch is flat, so it's perfect for riding a bike. We are directly on the Muni T line and next to the 22nd Street Caltrain stop. It's a 12-minute walk to the commercial strip on Potrero Hill.

Most reliable public transit:
The Muni is crowed and slow going but we are on several lines.

Nearest grocery store:
This is the single biggest missing thing in Dogpatch. There's the Goodlife Grocery on 20th Street on Potrero Hill, Whole Foods on Rhode Island and 17th Street on Potrero Hill, and Safeway on 16th Street in the Potrero Center.

Good for kids?
We have lots of preschools in the neighborhood, all private, however. We don't have a ton of open space—Esprit Park has been mostly taken over by dogs, so that's a challenge. It's an urban area to raise a kid. But that's SF, right?

Notable residents:
We have the SF chapter of the Hells Angels and Dennis Herrera, the city attorney, living on the same block. Michael Recchiuti, the famed chocolate maker, lives here.

Best place to get a coffee:
We have some amazing coffee places in Dogpatch. Piccino, Neighbor Bakehouse, La Stazione, and now Philz Coffee.

Best park:
Progress Park—a park conceived of, designed by, funded by, and maintained by neighbors. Esprit Park.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Dogpatch Saloon and Yield Wine Bar—sure to run into neighbors all the time. And Piccino.

Best-kept secret?
It's so quiet here on the weekends. Since it's the city's original mixed-used neighborhood, during the week it's busy and noisy with commercial businesses, industry noises, construction, etc. On the weekends it feels to some like nothing is happening and it's a wasteland, but to the residents it's the time to chill, run into to neighbors, and enjoy the relaxed feel.

Stereotypical residents:
It used to be funky, crusty oddballs but now it might be hip and cool youthful creatives.

Are the stereotypes true?
We have terrific people in Dogpatch. People who are authentic, creative, innovative, artistic, and neighborly.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
Someone who is into to glitz, fancy stuck-up restaurants, lots of retail, and who wants to dress up all the time.

Most common sight:
People waking dogs, trucks being loaded and unloaded with freshly made chocolates, meats, pastries, ceramics, paintings, and just a whole lot of stuff made by hand. And people hanging out and relaxing talking to other neighbors.

Stay away from:
The fog, because you won't find it here.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
Some people think Dogpatch got its name from the packs of dogs that used to roam around the old meatpacking area south of the neighborhood, but my old neighbor who lived in Dogpatch for 79 years (who has since passed away) said the name came from a bunch of "koots" drinking at the bar on the corner (Dogpatch Saloon), who came out and said, "It ain't nothing but a dogpatch 'round here." And it stuck.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
Dogpatch is the city's original mixed-use neighborhood with the best weather and with a bit of a rough-and-tumble feel.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
Don't judge Dogpatch by riding the T line along Third Street. Get off the train and walk around to get the feel and vibe of the neighborhood.

The Excelsior

Median home sale price: $748K

Median asking rent, April 2015: $2,650 (all apartment sizes), per Zillow

Your guide: Stephanie Cajina, executive director, Excelsior Action Group

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
Single-family homes, carved-up Victorians, a few low-rise apartment buildings, new buildings, and old buildings.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
Both! It's perfect for folks that want to buy or rent a home/apartment in San Francisco with all the conveniences of being in the city, without the San Francisco price tag.

Do you need a car to get around?
Nope.

Most reliable public transit:
MUNI (14, 14R,14X, 8,29,43,54, 52, 49, J, K, M) and BART (Balboa or Glen Park Station). I'm a big fan of the 14R.

Nearest grocery store:
Safeway, Manila Oriental Market, and Whole Foods.

Good for kids?
Yes! Lots of parks (Balboa, Crocker Amazon, Excelsior Playground, and McLaren Park) and family-friendly activities (Excelsior Arts and Music Festival, Art Walks, Sunday Streets).

Notable residents:
Jerry Garcia, DJ QBert, Joe Cronin, and Philip Lamantia.

Best place to get a coffee:
Mama Art Cafe and Cumaica.

Best park:
McLaren Park.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Mama Art Cafe, Pissed Off Pete's, Dark Horse Inn, Broken Record, Taqueria Guadalajara, Pacitas Salvadorean Bakery, Good Orchard Bakery, Baby's Eatery and Palabok.

Best-kept secret?
Excelsior Water Tower, Bernard Zakheim Murals (Coit Tower muralist) at the Alemany Health Center on 45 Onondaga, Doctor's Lounge Sunday Brunch, Jerry Garcia House, Saturday in Park and Jerry Day. The Excelsior was originally an Italian neighborhood and many families still live in the area.

Stereotypical residents:
Families, homeowners, long-time residents (more than three generations), community members of diverse cultural backgrounds, blue-collar folks

Are the stereotypes true?
For the most part, yes. Along with being one of the last blue-collar neighborhoods of the city, we're seeing an increasing number of young families moving into the area. The Excelsior is still a place where kids can play in the street and celebrate the Fourth of July at a neighborhood party.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
I can't think of anyone that wouldn't. Possibly someone that is looking for a more downtown feel. The Excelsior has a small town feel with a metropolitan edge.

Most common sight:
People greeting one another from across the street.

Stay away from:
The bus stop on Persia and Mission at around 3pm on school days—it gets really crowded. Get some coffee or bubble tea instead and wait out the crowd.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
Most of the streets in the Excelsior are named after countries and cities. Some are even named after Native American tribes, such as Onondaga, Seneca, and Oneida. In the early 1900s certain street names were changed from India, Japan, and China to Peru, Excelsior, and Avalon, respectively.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
The Excelsior is a diverse, authentic, and close-knit neighborhood with passionate and incredibly proud residents.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
Most people have not discovered how well connected it is, which to some degree has made it a local's best-kept secret. Once folks experience the Excelsior, the hospitality of its residents, the pride from long-time residents, and the warmth of the local merchants, you can't help but love the neighborhood as well and become a local.

Glen Park

Median home sale price: $1.58M

Median asking rent, May 2015: $2,810 for a one-bedroom, per Zumper

Your guide: Jon Steinberg, editor-in-chief, San Francisco magazine

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
Pretty much all two-story, single-family houses, many with driveways and small yards, all squished together on steep and rolling hills. The buildings mostly date back a century, to when developers rolled out Glen Park as the new surburban oasis for the growing city hordes. It was basically the Peninsula before the Peninsula.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
Isn't life always better for buyers? I wouldn't know—I'm a renter.

Do you need a car to get around?
No way: One of the great perks of the neighborhood is having your very own private BART station. All told, you don't need a car, unless you live on top of steep-ass Melrose Avenue.

Most reliable public transit:
BART, definitely. But there's half a dozen MUNI lines passing through too.

Nearest grocery store:
Canyon Market when you're feeling flush, Safeway on Monterey Ave. when you're not.

Good for kids?
Absolutely. The kids of Glen Park have no idea how lucky they are. Bonus: Glen Park School (a.k.a. the big blue whale of a building you can see from the 280) is a wonderful, diverse, community-supported elementary.

Notable residents:
The Big Mustache himself, Mayor Ed Lee, lives in a cul-de-sac within earshot of Glen Park Village.

Best place to get a coffee:
Lots of people like Bello, but I'm partial to Cup. The proprietors are this really sweet older couple who give my kids free steamed milk all the time.

Best park:
Hands down, Glen Canyon. It's a rare gem. Look for the coolest rope swing in all of SF, toward the western end of the canyon, beneath the biggest eucalyptus you can spot.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Tyger's is the greasy spoon everybody craves (even though it's nothing special). Tataki is an above-average sushi spot with a good happy-hour prices. Gialina is the bourgeois bohemian choice for fancy-pants pizza. Bird & Beckett hosts charming free jazz concerts on Friday nights. And Glen Park Station is one of the classier dives in town.

Best-kept secret?
Destination Bakery has the best—seriously, the best—croissants in San Francisco. Better than Tartine, dammit, and with an infinitesimal fraction of the hassle and cost. Don't tell anyone else, please.

Stereotypical residents:
Lately? Young, tech-employed parents and DINKs (double-income, no kids) who outbid their rivals to grab ahold of a quiet residential market with great transportation and decent amenities, thus making the neighborhood wildly unaffordable to everyone else. In other words: priced out of Noe Valley.

Are the stereotypes true?
Uh-huh.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
People who like nightlife beyond Glen Park Station. People who like more than two blocks of commercial activity. People who like Walgreens.

Most common sight:
Hyper-alert moms and dads praying silently to their personal deities before leading their oblivious kids across treacherous Bosworth Street.

Stay away from:
I have a thing against the Rockit Swirl yogurt shop, but it's probably just my thing; other people seem to like it.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
Any place that has wild coyotes two blocks from an artisanal cheese shop is alright by me.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
It's in the fog belt, closer to the Sunset climate-wise than to the nearby Mission.

Hayes Valley

Median home sale price: $830K

Median asking rent, May 2015: $3,250 for a one-bedroom, per Zumper

Your guide: Robin Levitt, architect

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
Low-rise apartment buildings, single-family homes, carved-up Victorians, residential high-rises, new buildings, old buildings.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
It depends on how much money you have.

Do you need a car to get around?
Definitely not. The neighborhood is very walkable, bikable and has good transit. In fact, a car is a liability here.

Most reliable public transit:
Muni lines 7, 6, 22, 21, 5, the F-line, and MUNI metro all run through or adjacent to Hayes Valley. Plus the Civic Center and 16th Street BART stations are a 15-minute walk away. AC Transit and Golden Gate Transit also have stops nearby.

Nearest grocery store:
Nick's Market on Page and Nabila's on Hayes are the closest markets. But for larger markets with more variety, Rainbow Grocery, Whole Foods, and Safeway are a short walk/bike ride away.

Good for kids?
Though I don't have kids, I would say so, despite all the traffic. There are several playgrounds, recreation centers, even a skateboard park in the vicinity. The John Muir Elementary School and the International School are both in Hayes Valley.

Best place to get a coffee:
I don't drink coffee but, like everywhere else in SF, there is a plethora of coffee shops in Hayes Valley. The original Blue Bottle is here. Mercury Cafe on Page and Octavia is a great neighborhood cafe.

Best park:
Patricia's Green is very popular but often very crowded. Koshland Park and Rose-Page Mini Park are hidden gems.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Marijuana?

Stereotypical residents:
No one and everyone. It's a very diverse neighborhood with people from many different backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. Don't get confused by Hayes Street. The folks who shop and hang out there are for the most part not neighborhood residents.

Are the stereotypes true?
As with most stereotypes, whatever it is is usually not true.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
Politically conservative, closed-minded folks who depend on cars to get around and who are uncomfortable with some street people and grit.

Most common sight:
Traffic, unruly drivers, honking.

Stay away from:
Oak and Fell streets. The traffic is nasty.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
After the 1906 earthquake, there was supposedly what is called the Ham and Eggs Fire that somehow saved the neighborhood from the conflagration that burned down the rest of SF.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
This from the Market/Octavia Plan: "Envision an urban neighborhood that provides for a mix of people of various ages, incomes, and lifestyles—a place where everyday needs can be met within a short walk on a system of public streets that are easy and safe to get around on foot, on bicycle, and by public transportation."

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
Most newcomers and visitors don't realize that just 10-15 years ago, Hayes Valley was a war zone with drug dealing, crime, and prostitution. No one wanted to live here. It was also bisected by an elevated freeway that was demolished in 2003. Patricia Walkup was a Hayes Valley activist who organized the neighborhood to combat both. Patricia's Green is named after her.

Mission District

Median home sale price: $925K

Median asking rent, April 2015:$4,200 (all unit sizes), per Zillow

Your guide: Lydia Chavez, managing editor, Mission Local.

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
The Mission has some of San Francisco's oldest housing. According to some, even its oldest house, at 1266 Hampshire Street. Turn-of-the-century Victorians fill South Van Ness and Shotwell, and warehouses and older industrial buildings, some now artists' studios and converted live-work spaces, still dominate the eastern part of the Mission.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
Right now, a zany real estate market has made it difficult for both buyers and renters and insecure for the neighborhood's long-term renters. There are many of the latter—more than 70 percent of the Mission's residents rent compared with 64 percent citywide. If the mayor's office ever gets going on building affordable housing or in purchasing it through its small-sites program, the Mission could have a good chunk of affordable housing. In the meantime, there's a lot of market-rate development going on. In addition to bigger developments on Mission Street and some medium-size projects on Valencia, there's a lot of renovation and smaller condo projects on some of the neighborhood's loveliest streets.

Do you need a car to get around?
No. We haven't had one in years.

Most reliable public transit:
We have MUNI like the rest of the 'hoods and BART. It could be worse. We could be in the Sunset.

Nearest grocery store:
The Mission is filled with great corner stores and any number of upscale larger stores—many of which have been here for decades—including Duc Loi on Mission and 18th, Bi-Rite on 18th and Valencia, and Whole Foods. Interestingly, all of them were started by immigrants or second-generation immigrants.

Good for kids?
I raised mine here from the fifth grade on. I wish we had moved here when they were even younger.

Best place to get a coffee:
If you judge by the crowds, Philz on 24th, but I also like La Boheme, Haus and L's Café on 24th. Off the beaten path, Linnea Café at 18th and San Carlos on a sunny day. La Taza and the Grand Café on Mission Street and, of course, there's Valencia, where Borderlands and the Fig are always cozy and have Wi-Fi! No one should miss the 4:30 lineup for bread at Tartine—go midweek and there is no line.

Best park: To watch soccer, Garfield Park and Mission Playground. To watch people, Dolores Park.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Nearly every block has a place where residents go, so it depends on where you live. La Taqueria on Mission Street. Papalote on 24th Street, Mission Pie at Mission and 25th. Lost Weekend Video is struggling, but it is beloved by those of us who live nearby and rented there for years.

Best-kept secret?
The Mission Arts and Performance Project (MAPP), a bimonthly, loosely organized arts event in which anywhere from six to more than a dozen businesses or people open up their doors and invite strangers in to listen to music and poetry. Also: the conceptual artist David Ireland's house at Capp and 20th.

Stereotypical residents:
Ah, we're a mixed group: low riders, tech workers, artists, foodies and not-so-retired revolutionaries.

Are the stereotypes true?
Absolutely.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
It is impossible to imagine not being happy in the warmest neighborhood in San Francisco.

Most common sight:
Increasingly, tourists.

Stay away from:
16th and Mission after midnight.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
In the 1970s, the Galería de la Raza on 24th Street held an exhibition that included paintings by Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Rene Yañez and others at the Galería felt that residents were intimidated by the gallery space, so one Sunday, the Galería hung the paintings nearby on Balmy Alley. The crowds came, the people saw great art, Mission accomplished.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
The Mission is filled with history, change, engaged residents, and good drama.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
The Giants played their first game in San Francisco in the Mission.

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Nob Hill

Median home sale price: $1.4M

Median asking rent, April 2015:$3,400 (all unit sizes), per Zillow

Your guide: Sally Kuchar, Curbed Cities Editor

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
Nob Hill has a healthy mix of old and new architecture, swanky abodes and practical apartments. While each block varies slightly, you'll usually find a hodgepodge of housing types: $2 million-plus condos with doormen in luxury towers next to no-frills rent-controlled buildings packed with studios or tiny one-bedroom apartments. We don't have really cheap rentals, but we also don't have condos going for more than $5 million.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
Both, and the stereotype that it's really expensive is only partially true. You can still find decent apartments for rent without having to spend your entire paycheck.

Do you need a car to get around?
Absolutely not. In fact, unless your apartment has parking included, I'd suggest getting rid of your car. We're a cramped and dense neighborhood with very limited street parking.

Most reliable public transit:
Cable cars!

Nearest grocery store:
Le Beau is the neighborhood staple. Trader Joe's is also really close (though farther down the hill, so hauling groceries back home can be a pain).

Good for kids?
The oldest public elementary school is in Nob Hill, and Huntington Park just spent a bunch of money making the playground super great. That said, there doesn't seem to that much other stuff for kids. Most parents in the neighborhood shuffle them to other, more kid-friendly neighborhood for kid activities.

Notable residents:
The pack of very fancy purebred dogs paired with the adorable rescue dogs at Huntington Park. It's a big party.

Best place to get a coffee:
Contraband Coffee.

Best park:
Huntington Park, no question. (p.s. there's free and fast wifi, and the majority of the trees in the park has power outlets.)

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Le Beau for small grocery runs or a delicious sandwich, Nob Hill Cafe for date night. Toast for brunch or any time you need a breakfast of ham and eggs and hash browns.

Best-kept secret?
The hidden alleys and lanes of Nob Hill are rich with architecture and lush with foliage. Do try to spend a day searching them all out.

Stereotypical residents:
Well-heeled seniors and entitled 30-somethings who don't work in tech.

Are the stereotypes true?
Yes, but at least they're friendly. Every day a friendly face or two says hello to me on the street.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
People who like to party. You have to head down the hill to California Street or Polk Street if you want to do the bar scene, and it's a pain to crawl back up after you've knocked back a few glasses of buttery chardonnay. It's also not a great place for inexpensive daily food, which is a real problem that needs fixing.

Most common sight:
It seems like everyone in this neighborhood runs.

Stay away from:
A friendly reminder that once you walk down that hill you have to walk right back up to get home. You'll have great legs but lord almighty does it get exhausting.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
A loud minority of rent-controlled tenants are always worrying that they're going to be priced out of Nob Hill. Nob Hill's pretty built out though so I don't see that happening—at least on the same scale that we've seen in the Mission or SoMa.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
Established and sincere in its identity.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
It's not full of snobs. It's full of San Franciscans who deeply care about the integrity of the neighborhood and the community we have here.

Noe Valley

Median home sale price: $1.65M

Median asking rent, May 2015: $3,170 for a one-bedroom, per Zumper

Your guide: Kevin Ho, real estate broker and attorney
What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
You'll see rows upon rows of Victorian and Edwardian houses with the errant corner apartment building sprinkled in, with more modern homes running up and down the hills.

Better for renters or buyers or both?
Both. Buyers can make out like bandits, especially if there's a view. And renters can benefit from rent-control protections for the majority of places that are for rent here.

Do you need a car to get around?
Even though the J-MUNI line runs along Church Street and the 24 along Castro, the neighborhood is predisposed to drivers.

Nearest grocery store:
Whole Foods on 24th Street. Getting in and out of the store's small lot can be a melee more often than not.

Good for kids?
Other neighborhoods like West Portal have been dubbed the "new" Noe Valley. Fewer actual kids live here as space is limited and entry-level homes for younger families are far fewer and far between. Nowadays you're likely to see a dog walker as much as you are a stroller.

Notable residents:
Depending on your definition of Noe Valley we can count such folks as Tracy Chapman and Mark Zuckerberg as neighbors.

Best place to get a coffee:
There are plenty of them around the neighborhood but Philz and/or Martha and Brothers. But this comes from someone who doesn't drink coffee!

Best park:
Noe Valley Courts is actually a nice and secluded but yet very inviting dog park, basketball court, tennis court, and children's playground rolled into one, located at Douglas and 24th and Elizabeth Streets—and there's decent street parking.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
The weekend farmers' market on 24th St. is where you'll see everyone mingling on an especially sunny day.

Stereotypical residents:
The middle- to upper-management tech/biotech/professional folks who could take the shuttle to work but otherwise drive their Prius/Audi/BMW to work around 10am to avoid rush hour.

Are the stereotypes true?
Yes.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
The ultimate urban dweller who has no car and walks.

Most common sight:
The Porta-Potty followed by the attendant building permit notice in marker.

Stay away from:
The Porta-Potties.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
Many of the bricks used in the area's foundations were from the brick factory in Corona Heights

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
Let me dictate the answer to that, which I'll text/direct tweet/message you or post on Facebook via my Apple Watch. Oh? Wait, you don't have "the email," you say...

NoPa

Median home sale price: $925K

Median asking rent, May 2015: $2,950 for a one-bedroom, per Zumper

Your guide: Carolyn Alburger, Eater Cities Editor

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
NoPa is a hodgepodge of low-rise apartment buildings and single-family homes with rows of showpiece Victorians and Edwardians as you get closer to the Panhandle.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
I think it's good for both.

Do you need a car to get around?
Nope.

Most reliable public transit:
The 5R (Fulton Rapid) is the best way to get downtown IMO. People bike a lot in these parts too. You can pedal into the Panhandle or easily take the wiggle over to the Mission.

Nearest grocery store:
Lucky market on Fulton Street. My all-time favorite market—for price, quality and SF homegrown charm—is not technically in NoPa but it's nearby enough: Haight Street Market.

Good for kids?
I don't have them, but there are kids of all ages here. Parents are often pacing the blocks after their helmet-strapped kids on swervy tricycles.

Best place to get a coffee:
For Sightglass coffee there is Matching Half on McAllister Street, or you can get Four Barrel at the Mill on Divisadero—just don't ask for a Splenda packet if you dislike the stink-eye. I adore Central Coffee, which has that solid, unpretentious neighborhoodiness that's getting harder and harder to feel in SF.

Best park:
You've got two to choose from! Go laze with the Old English-guzzling gutterpunks and rosé-sipping gentrifiers in the middle of the Panhandle, or skip on over to Golden Gate Park, where Sharon Meadow and the grassy knoll in front of the Conservatory of Flowers await.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Tim and Mike Selvera keep it real at Bar Crudo. Just get there before 6 p.m. or there will definitely be a wait.

Best-kept secret?
Big SF restaurant players are eyeing the neighborhood for developments in the next five years. If you think NoPa has good food now, get ready—we're poised for another food boom.

Stereotypical residents:
UCSF college students, aging hippies and artsy types, millennial techies, African American community stalwarts, young middle-class families, single hipsters, wannabe single hipsters, and moneyed yuppies—a true melting pot.

Are the stereotypes true?
Stereotypes are stereotypes.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
Middle- to upper-class new parents who don't want to enter the baby rat race. Anyone without rent control and a salary less than $100K who is feeling the San Francisco squeeze.

Most common sight:
A neighborhood newbie toting a Josey Baker loaf and $4 coffee, pretending not to notice the park punks trolling for unlocked bicycles.

Stay away from:
Herbivore on Divis—overpriced, underloved vegan food for health-nut suckers.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin and co. used to a spend a lot of time at 1360 Fell Street.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
A two-inch slice of almond buttery $4 toast heals all wounds.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
If you don't live on Divis, it can actually be quiet at night.

North Beach

Median home sale price: $1.08M

Median asking rent, May 2015: $2,980 for a one-bedroom, per Zumper

Your guide: Scott Lucas, web editor, San Francisco magazine

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
In the flat parts, the neighborhood is mostly standardized post-quake walkups. (The building I live in dates back to the 20s or 30s.) You get rent control, which is nice, but a lot of them are showing their age, which is not so great. Up the hill are higher-end rentals and single-family homes.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
If you can afford to buy on Telegraph Hill you don't need me giving you life advice.

Do you need a car to get around?
Heck no! We've never owned one in the three years we've been here, and never had trouble. Parking is impossible here anyway.

Most reliable public transit:
The Muni that runs from North Beach through Chinatown to Market Street gets a bad rap sometimes, but there are enough different lines that run through it—the 30, the 45, and so on—that you can almost always find a bus.

Nearest grocery store:
The Nature Stop on Grant Avenue is way, way, way too expensive—I paid $9 for a small bag of tortilla chips and some crappy salsa there once. Union Street Produce is much better. Get the fresh-squeezed orange juice! The Trader Joe's is great too, as is Molinari's deli and Little Vine.

Good for kids?
Bwahahahaha. We live in a tiny-ass third-story walkup studio that looks out on a row of bars on Grant Street filled with skeevy dudes trying to lure people into the strip club, lost German tourists, and drunk sorority girls puking on the sidewalks from Thursday to Sunday nights. I love it now, but, come on.

Notable residents:
Fewer than there used to be. Lawrence Ferlinghetti lives around the corner from us, and even has a street named after him. Paul Kantner, the guitarist for Jefferson Airplane, does too (he doesn't have a street, tho). It's cool to live amid that history, although I will admit that there aren't as many notable residents who are less than 80 years old. Does Aaron Peskin count? I'm told somebody who was on Project Runway lives here too, but idk.

Best place to get a coffee:
If you want to hang out with those 80-year-olds, go to Caffe Trieste. But, and I'm going to get in trouble for saying this in public, the coffee there is, um … well … uh … it's … just … Let's just say that the coffee served down the hill, where you'll find Reveille and, my favorite, the Station, tends to attract more plaudits.

Best park:
Washington Square Park is dope. On weekday evenings, you can hang out with the dogs, which is so much fun. On weekends, it turns into a smaller, slightly frattier version of Dolores Park. Topless dudes playing corn hole. Bikini-wearing women drinking rosé. That kind of scene. But the best part of the park is weekday mornings and nights, when older Chinese American women practice synchronized dances with fans. I get hypnotized watching them.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Don Pisto's, the universally beloved unmarked Mexican restaurant that serves a glorious michelada and fish tacos you could live on. I kind of do. Also: Glow Yoga, for when you need to work off the effects of all those fish tacos. I should go there more.

Best-kept secret?
The Sotto Mare restaurant will sell you fresh fish at retail. Snap up some sand dabs and cook them at home.

Stereotypical residents:
A chain-smoking, espresso-drinking artiste wearing a black beret who really, really wants to talk to you about the later films of Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Are the stereotypes true?
Eh, not so much. The neighborhood has a higher percentage of Chinese Americans (we are right next to Chinatown) and a lower percentage of Italian Americans than the reputation—and all the pasta joints—suggest. In the last few years, my building has gained a lot of young professionals. I think that's where the neighborhood is probably going: A lower-rent Marina.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
People do it, but bringing up kids here seems hard to me. The people who had my apartment before me moved out because they had just had a baby. Speaking of which, at night some streets can be loud and not scary, but a little sketch. I'm sure it could work, but I don't know if I would chose to do it myself.

Most common sight:
Tour groups zipping around on Segways. I don't know if there's just one company that runs them, or a bunch, but they're everywhere.

Stay away from:
A lot of—but not all!—the Italian restaurants in the neighborhood aren't as great as you'd think they'd be.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
You know how Tosca has a well-known back room in which stars like Lena Dunham and Beyoncé eat when they're in town? One night while I was there researching a story (really!) a longtime patron told me that there's a secret back room behind the back room. I don't know what happens there. Probably Illuminati stuff. Tosca is baller like that.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
A part of the city that the tech boom hasn't rearranged—yet.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
Beach Blanket Babylon is amazing. Original Joe's is amazing. Those are two stalwarts that still have life in them yet.

Potrero Hill

Median home sale price: $1.15M

Median asking rent, May 2015: $3,450 for a one-bedroom, per Zumper

Your guides: Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, married Potrero residents and partners in IwamotoScott Architecture. Scott is a professor of architecture at CCA; Iwamoto is a professor of architecture at UC Berkeley.

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
Mostly single family, but mixed with duplexes, apartment/condo buildings and neighborhood commercial.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
Both renters and buyers like the neighborhood, but owners seem to outnumber renters. It certainly feels like a homeowner neighborhood.

Do you need a car to get around?
Even thought it's steep, it's easy to get around on foot and public transportation. Car ownership is pretty common, aided by the ease of getting on 280 and 101, but plenty get by without cars.

Most reliable public transit:
The 22 and the T are both reliable, and reliably unreliable. The T is interminably slow, but gets you there eventually … The most reliable is probably Caltrain (for longer trips south) down on 22nd.

Nearest grocery store:
Whole Foods toward the north, and Good Life Grocery on the hilltop—which is super to have in the neighborhood, especially if, like for us, its not a big hill away.

Good for kids?
Yes. There are lots of families with kids, and more continuing to move here (higher-than-average SF neighborhood kid numbers). There are parks and playgrounds, and 20th Street has its family-friendly Potrero Hill Festival, with crafts, baby animals, and treats. There's also the Potrero Hill Public Library.

Notable residents:
Real: Wayne Thiebaud, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, O.J. Simpson, Joan Jenrenaud, Danny Glover, Jim Campbell, Robert Bechtle, Blanche Thebom, Timothy Pflueger. Fictional: Dirty Harry, Streets of SF's Lt. Mike Stone, and Party of Five. And although he didn't live here, Steve McQueen tore through Potrero Hill in his green Mustang in Bullitt.

Best place to get a coffee:
Farley's Cafe is the classic neighborhood coffeeshop; relative newcomer Front is a great serious coffee option; and there's La Stazione next to 22nd Street Caltrain.

Best park:
McKinley Square for strolling, playground, and a nice community garden with great sunset views and chickens, at the end of 20th Street. For sports, there's Jackson Park in the flats, or Potrero Hill Rec Center on the hilltop.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Chez Maman. Haven't been to their new location yet, a few doors up 18th (former site of their parent restaurant Chez Papa). A bittersweet move, but glad they have more seats so the wait won't be as long.

Best-kept secret?
Vermont Street's scrappier, even more crooked version of Lombard's "crookedest street in the world"—the current home of the annual Bring Your Own Big Wheel race.

Stereotypical residents:
Creatives and techies.

Are the stereotypes true?
Somewhat, mixed in with families and longtime residents, including those in the public housing projects.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
Someone who doesn't like nice people, hills, views, and as much sunshine as you can expect in SF.

Most common sight:
Wedding photos being taken on the hilltop, with the SF skyline in the background.

Stay away from:
Just use common sense like anywhere in the city.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
Secluded yet connected, Potrero Hill is homey, convenient, quiet, sunny, and filled with great neighbors, small businesses, and amazing views.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
Its has something of a close-knit, small-town vibe along with its urban vibrancy and locale.

Richmond District

Median home sale price: Inner Richmond: $1.75M; Central Richmond: $1.37M; Outer Richmond: $1.17M

Median asking rent, April 2015: $3,500 in the Inner and Central Richmond, $3,800 in the Outer Richmond (all unit sizes), per Zillow

Your guide: Sarah Bacon, blogger, Richmond SF

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
The Richmond District has a little bit of everything—large apartment buildings, single-family homes (some with breathtaking views of the Pacific), old Craftsman bungalows, and Edwardians.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
More people have begun looking to the west side of the city for home buying. But the Richmond District is still a great place for renters, with lots of apartment buildings and, for the moment, reasonable rents.

Do you need a car to get around?
Having a car can be handy because we all know Muni is not the most reliable. ;)

Most reliable public transit:
We hear the most kudos for the express bus lines that run in the mornings during the week along the 1 California, 38 Geary, and now 5 Fulton lines. With fewer stops, even Outer Richmond residents can get downtown in about 30-40 minutes.

Nearest grocery store:
We have two Safeways in the neighborhood, as well as a Grocery Outlet and a Fresh and Easy. About one mile out of the neighborhood there is also a Target and a Trader Joe's.

Good for kids?
Yes, the Richmond District is a favorite for families. There are plenty of parks and beaches, good public schools, and many family-friendly restaurants and businesses. Plus it's a pretty safe neighborhood.

Notable residents:
Johnny Mathis attended the neighborhood's high school (where he was also a track star!), Ansel Adams once lived here, and Robin Williams called Sea Cliff home for many years.

Best place to get a coffee:
I'd say the quintessential coffee shop would be Simple Pleasures on Balboa Street, where you'll enjoy the nearby surf and fog while you sip. They also have one of the few parklets in our neighborhood.

Best park:
Golden Gate Park, hands down. A very close runner-up is the Presidio, which offers amazing views of the Pacific and a great network of walking trails.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Green Apple Books on Clement is a longtime favorite among locals, as is Angelina's Cafe at 22nd and California, which is a real neighborhood café. Giorgio's Pizzeria on Clement is also great.

Best-kept secret?
Lands End, which has great trails and amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge.

Stereotypical residents:
Thee are a lot of families in the Richmond District, and a great mix of nationalities, including Asian, Russian, Japanese, and Eastern European residents. It's a very diverse neighborhood.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
If you want to be able to walk out of your home and find a bustling nightlife, the Richmond District would not be the place for you. We've got plenty of bars—but they're more neighborhood watering holes.

Stay away from:
Coyotes you may come across in Golden Gate Park or Lands End.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
The Outer Richmond was once home to Anton Szandor LaVey, the founder and original High Priest of the Church of Satan. Known for his Satanic teachings and penchant for driving around the neighborhood in a station wagon with his pet lion, LaVey even had a role in Rosemary's Baby. Worshippers still visit the site of his former home on California Street and draw wax pentagrams on the driveway.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
The best of the city combined with beautiful recreation, and a real neighborhood where people are friendly and care about each other.

SoMa

Median home sale price: $900K

Median asking rent, April 2015: $4,000 (all unit sizes), per Zillow

Your guide: Brock Keeling, writer

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
It vacillates from high-end high-rises to leaky old Victorians to daunting SROs.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
Both, but definitely a better spot for renters.

Do you need a car to get around?
No.

Most reliable public transit:
The semifrequent 12-Folsom cuts right through the middle of the neighborhood.

Nearest grocery store:
Whole Foods. Outside of a farmers' market, it's filled with some of the finest produce. Entirely overpriced, too.

Good for kids?
God no. Take your little blessings to the Mission or Noe Valley, please.

Notable residents:
Hunter Pence, Sergey Brin, Marissa Mayer, Madison Bumgarner, Jack London (born on Third & Townsend), Jose (the "Jesus Christ Love You" guy).

Best place to get a coffee:
Gaslamp Cafe. Sightglass always seems like a good idea, but the long line of patrons will work your last nerve. (Topknots as far as the eye can see!) Save yourself from gnawing on a chunk of inner rage by hitting Gaslamp instead.

Best park:
South Park (where, among other factoids, they filmed Rent). Runner up: AT&T Park.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Powerhouse

Best-kept secret?
OneTaste, a sex cult located on Folsom and Moss. Its main focus is female orgasm and sexuality. While OneTaste bills itself as "a clean, well-lit place where sexuality, relationship, and intimacy could be discussed openly and honestly," former members (who, of course, have to pay to be a part of the cult) tell stories of coercion and manipulation ... with sexy results.

Stereotypical residents:
Yuppies in puffy North Face sweaters buying prepared foods at Whole Foods or big hairy daddies clad in leather chaps in search of the nearest beer bust.

Are the stereotypes true?
The former, yes; the latter, no (sadly).

Who wouldn't be happy here?
Middle-class renters.

Most common sight:
Blocks that seem to go on for miles and miles.

Stay away from:
Fifth and Sixth streets at Bryant and Harrison. It's a pedestrian wasteland of on-ramp and off-ramp chaos.

Piece of neighborhood lore:
Before today's effort to reduce the LGBT population in the city, another one occurred during the height of the AIDS crisis: bathhouses and bars were closed in the name of public health. SoMa used to be home to many gay spaces, at spots at 330 Ritch and 1285 Folsom, but that, sadly, is no longer the case. On some nights, if you're quiet and listen closely enough, you can still smell poppers in the air and hear the ghosts of sex-club past ejaculating hard to a fresh disco beat.

Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
Great for your calf muscles.

What do people not know about your neighborhood?
It was once referred to as "South of the Slot" (named the after the slots on Market Street where cable cars ran up and down gripping cables). Jack London even penned a short story using the same name.

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Tenderloin

Median home sale price: $775K

Median asking rent, April 2015: $1,850 (all unit sizes), per Zillow

Your guide: Erin Feher, writer/editor

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
There is one single-family home in the whole neighborhood. Otherwise, it's a mix of old medium-rise apartment buildings and new high-rises popping up everywhere you look.

Better for buyers or renters or both?
Both. We bought here eight years ago and live in a great building with a community of owners who are really invested in the neighborhood. There is also plenty of rental stock and, from what I hear, some "deals" can still be had.

Do you need a car to get around?
Not at all.

Most reliable public transit:
From here, they are all pretty good and frequent. Muni Metro is best—most frequent and fast—but BART, Muni buses, and even Golden Gate Transit and AC all have major stops here and are pretty reliable.

Nearest grocery store:
We have been dubbed a food desert, but it's not completely true. In addition to a handful of Asian markets that carry decent produce and some great specialty stuff like fresh noodles, the southern edge of the TL has Trader Joe's on California and Leavenworth. Otherwise, Harvest Market on Eighth and Folsom and the new Market on Market inside the Twitter building. If you're desperate and downtown, there is always Bristol Farms.

Good for kids?
I've got one, and we like it here. That said, I wouldn't exactly call it family friendly. Between the drugs, the homeless, the litter, and the crime, there are more "don't touch!" moments than not around here.

Best place to get a coffee:
We've got these in spades, and I can't choose just one. I love Philz, Acre, and Jane.

Best park:
Boeddeker Park was just renovated, but I can't say I go there often. I would have to say the Tenderloin National Forest, a wonderful project by the Luggage Store Gallery that turned one of the neighborhoods' more brutal alleyways into a whimsical parklike space.

Beloved neighborhood joint:
Jane, Elmira, Little Dehli, Mangosteen, Elephant Sushi, Mr. Holmes Bakeshop, Hooker's, Brenda's ... the list is long.

Best-kept secret?
The incredible art galleries, new and old.

Stereotypical residents:
Drug dealers, drug addicts, and the mentally ill.

Are the stereotypes true?
They aren't false.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
People who are shocked easily.

Most common sight:
People selling stolen iPhones and people lining up for Cruffins.

Stay away from:
Leavenworth below Geary is pretty gnarly. Choose an alternate route.

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· All Renters Week Coverage [Curbed SF]
· Park Life Archives [Curbed SF]
· SFnopes, Vol. 1: Which of These Seven San Francisco Urban Myths Are True or False? [SFist]
· Neighborhoods in San Francisco [Wikipedia]
· Donna Sachet [Official Site]
· Market Overview: Rentals in the San Francisco Metro (PDF) [Zillow]
· History Reveals Checkout Lines at Bernal Safeway Have Been Ridiculously Long Since 1972 [Bernalwood]
· SF's Median Asking Rent for One-Bedrooms Hit $3,500 in May [Curbed SF]
· Best Photos from the Annual Big Wheel Race Down Vermont [Curbed SF]
· The Richmond District's Satanic Past [Richmond SF]
· Inside the Fancy Food Market Now Open in the Twitter Building [Curbed SF]