If you’ve ever been to San Francisco, then you probably know how different the city can be from neighborhood to neighborhood. San Francisco is home to one of the most eclectic groups of people I’ve ever seen, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find pockets within the city that reflect that diversity. From the hipster Mission District, to swanky Pacific Heights, you’ll find all sorts of characters in this town.
So the question becomes: “which San Francisco neighborhood will be best for our family?” Well, to answer that question, here are a few of my favorites and why I think they’ll make a great landing point for your family in the city by the bay.
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The Russian Hill neighborhood is an obvious first choice for families. It’s home to the famous Lombard Street, some awfully beautiful Victorians, and Ghirardelli Square. And at the same time it’s slightly removed from busy Fisherman’s Wharf, so you won’t feel quite so much like a tourist. Several different cable car lines cut through the neighborhood, and it’s about as centrally located to all of San Francisco’s best attractions as you can get.
Airbnb Favorites in Russian Hill
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While not necessarily a neighborhood where families would want to live, North Beach is bustling with character and will have you right in the action. Sandwiched between the Ferry Building, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown, North Beach feels like the ideal location (if you can withstand pushing a stroller up those the steep hills!). This “rough around the edges” neighborhood offers a diverse mix of people, cute cafes, independent bookstores, and Italian food abound!…but also plenty of bars and dance clubs – so tuck the kids into bed early.
Airbnb Favorites in North Beach
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Sure the Marina District neighborhood is the place to go for some bar hopping, but by day it’s only steps away from the bay, with plenty of open green space and waterfront bike trails that families can enjoy. If it’s peace and quiet you seek, stick towards the water; you’ll be all but guaranteed some great Golden Gate Bridge views on the daily. And don’t miss the neighorhood’s restaurants: brunching is practically a sport in the Marina.
Airbnb Favorites in the Marina District
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Inner & Outer Sunset
Less touristy for sure, the Sunset area is great for families wanting to see a different side of San Francisco. Staying here means you’ll be close to Golden Gate Park and all that it has to offer, as well as a whole lot closer to Ocean Beach. The neighborhood’s more remote location also means you’ll get more bang for your buck, and you can save yourself a lot of money by staying in this area. In Inner Sunset, be sure to stop at the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, one of the most instagrammable locations in San Francisco. Outer Sunset? Don’t miss favorite brunch spot Outerlands. And when you’re ready to explore the touristy sites, the Judah Street light rail will take you back into the hustle and bustle of the city.
Airbnb Favorites in Outer Sunset
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Noe (aka Stroller) Valley, is located just west of the Mission (San Francisco’s hipster central). What used to be a quiet family neighborhood has become quite gentrified in recent years (Mark Zuckerberg even owns a home here), and the string of artisanal shops and restaurants along 24th Street make it an ideal landing point for families. While it’s a bit of a trek from the usual San Francisco sights, being within walking distance to Dolores Park and the rest of the Mission’s art, culture, and food scene is a definite plus. When it comes time to explore the rest of the city, you can take the light rail straight down through SOMA to the Embarcadero.
Airbnb Favorites in Noe Valley
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What kinds of neighborhoods do you look for when traveling with family? Something quiet and removed, or right in the action? Which San Francisco neighborhood is your favorite?
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