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Curbed Cup 1st round: (3) Tenderloin vs. (14) Mission Bay

Which neighborhood should advance? Cast your vote now!

Photo by Ken Walton

The Curbed Cup, our annual award for the neighborhood of the year, kicks off with 16 neighborhoods vying for the prestigious (albeit fake) trophy. We’ll reveal each of the neighborhoods this week, and polls will be open for 24 hours so you can cast your vote as to which hoods should advance. Let the eliminations begin!


A refuge for those evicted from their homes, a place for those who don’t fit the affluent cishet-white mold, a centrally-located treasure, and an underbelly with a crackling nightlife, the Tenderloin stands as the city’s most contentious yet cherished neighborhoods.

Rent prices are still some of the most affordable (“affordable”) in San Francisco, appearing regularly on Curbed Comparison in 2017. New murals graced brick building facades. And new plans went before the Planning Commission, including this 13-story proposal and this 15-story structure both on O’Farrell.

The neighborhood saw even more gastronomic additions this year, including contemporary Korean restaurant Barnzu. Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi’s Locol collab is also still in the works.

However, more LGBTQ spaces shuttered in favor of cookie cutter craft-cocktail bars. The area stands in peril of being acquired and homogenized by property owners and tech ilk. But the TL has weathered attempts at change over the years, for better or for worse.

In July 2008, the Tenderloin was designated as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, giving the No. 3 seed an added edge.

Mission Bay

So much is happening in Mission Bay—from the many new residential towers that seem to pop up overnight to the upcoming Chase Center, future home of the Golden State Warriors—it’s hard to image that only a few years ago this hood was a veritable wasteland.

Today the city’s largest employer, UCSF, has scores of buildings (however lackluster) in the neighborhood. Dropbox signed one of the largest leases ever in the city for space in Mission Bay. And even Uber wanted in on the action.

For now, however, most of these developments are in the planning/construction stages. Not too many eateries in the area; the only noteworthy opening this year was popular food truck Casey’s Pizza snagging its first brick-and-mortar location at 1170 Fourth Street.

If there’s one thing that can pull this No 14 seed to the top is that it hosts one of San Francisco’s most stunning pieces of architecture—Mission Bay Block 27, created by WRNS Architects, boasting one of the most exciting facades on any building.

But now, the decision is in your hands: Which area should advance? Cast your vote below, and may the best neighborhood win.