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Curbed Cup Elite Eight: Outer Sunset (3) vs. Castro (11)

Who should advance to the semifinals?

Outer Sunset homes and the Pacific Ocean on the horizon. Photo by duluoz cats

Outer Sunset

Heretofore known as Once Upon a Time in Western San Francisco, the battle of two neighborhoods went down last week, with one emerging as victor—the Outer Sunset. The tony enclave was no match for the city’s most western neighborhood, one that’s reportedly bordering on ultra-hip.

Let’s go to the tape: Outerlands, Mollusk Surf Shop, and Andytown Coffee Roasters have all made their mark over the last few years, upping the lifestyle quotient greatly. This year new spots like Avenues Dry Goods, Cherimoya, and Wok Station have helped cement this hood’s destination-worthy status. It even has the city’s only eurv.

But a Curbed Cup winner doesn’t win by destination allure alone. This neighborhood has some of the proudest locals who are invested in their area. Working class, tech ilk, families, and single folk all call this neighborhood home. And it’s on the rise.

"When the [housing market] recovery started, unquestionably the big neighborhoods were places like Noe Valley, Cole Valley, and the Marina," Paragon chief analyst Patrick Carlisle told Curbed SF. "You didn’t see this kind of attention paid to the Sunset. Now you do."


By a wide margin, the city’s most iconic neighborhood beset Bernal Heights. And it’s easy to see why—the Castro is San Francisco. Few neighborhoods, along with the Haight and Chinatown, signify Bagdad by the Bay to outsiders the way the Castro does.

The Castro’s new rainbow crosswalk at 18th and Castro streets. Photo by Celine Nadeau

So famous, in fact, that voters were able to overlook both home and rent prices, which are officially inaccessible, especially to any young queer émigré looking for a safe space to call home. In a perfect world, however, the neighborhood’s pro-development stance and output will help to bring prices down in the near future.

And while the food scene here is more or less an after thought, it’s the go-to hood for political protests, vigils, and nightlife. The filming of Cleve Jones and Dustin Lance Black’s newest effort, When We Rise, happened in 2016. And seeing as how its supervisor will be heading to Sacramento, 2017 should prove interesting within wonk circles when a new supe is appointed.

But in the end, the pretty new escalator rainbow lights could have been why this storied neighborhood inched to victory.

Polls are open. You have until 10 a.m. Wednesday to vote for which hood will advance. May the grooviest neighborhood win!