The 15 Most Prestigious Neighborhoods to Live in the Bay Area

|February 2, 2018

We already rounded up The 9 Most Affordable Neighborhoods Outside San Francisco, but if you’re looking for something more prestigious, have no fear. San Francisco and the Bay Area famously have some of the most expensive zip codes and neighborhoods in the United States.

Thanks in part to Silicon Valley’s tech boom, professionals and wealthy families have been flocking to the area in recent years and making the already sought-after areas even more desirable. But even before the early 2000s, the region’s famous vistas, exclusive communities, and world-class entertainment have been attracting an incredible variety of homeowners for centuries.

Check out a few of the most high-end neighborhoods in the city, the East Bay, Marin County and the Peninsula — and find out why we love each of them. Enjoy!

Neighborhoods in San Francisco

34 Maple St San Francisco, CA 94118

Find this property at 34 Maple Street, Presidio Heights listed by Barbara Callan + Robert Callan Jr.

Presidio Heights

Average sales price: Approximately $7,807,083

Good for: Families looking for a safe, elegant neighborhood

Local hot spots: Set against the picturesque recreation hot spot, with The Presidio on one side and California Pacific Medical Center on the other, this neighborhood boasts Spruce, Garibaldis and Sociale for upscale dining, in addition to local favorites like As Quoted, Vixi, and kid-centered Rigolo.

Find homes for sale in Presidio Heights

Pacific Heights

Average sales price: Approximately $5,795,188

Good for: Fans of exclusivity and luxury

Local hot spots: Boasting some of the most exclusive real estate in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pacific Heights is home to the famous restaurants b. patisserie, State Bird Provisions and Jane. With a Walk Score of nearly 100 and plenty of must-try dining and shopping destinations, you’ll never have to leave your ‘hood or step foot in a car! You and the kids can also head to Alta Plaza Park in central Pacific Heights to spend some time outdoors.  

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Cow Hollow

Average sales price: Approximately $4,587,857

Good for: Homeowners looking for seclusion in the midst of the city  

Local hot spots: Living in Cow Hollow means you’re right down the street from Atelier CrennMINA Test KitchenTerzoWest Coast Wine and Cheese, and Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters — so you’ll never have a hard time finding a place for a pick-me-up, date night or ladies’ night out.

Find homes for sale in Cow Hollow

Sea Cliff

Average sales price: Approximately $3,602,500

Good for: Anyone who wants to wake up with a view

Local hot spots: Primarily a cozy hub of luxurious single-family homes, Sea Cliff has Bay views to the north, city views to the south, Cliff House and Sutro Baths to the west, and Baker Beach to the east. Famous for its celebrity residents and waterfront location, you’ll also have quick access to Lincoln Park Golf Course, the Legion of Honor, San Francisco VA Medical Center, and all the fun of the Richmond District just down the hill.

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Russian Hill

Average sales price: Approximately $3,544,545

Good for: Those who like to mix elegant history with trendy modernity

Local hot spots: Located just below the bustling tourist destination, Fisherman’s Wharf, Russian Hill is a quaint neighborhood surrounded by city life. For a full day of fun, start with coffee at Saint Frank, followed by a stop at Parlor Mini Spa, and lunch at Gioia Pizzeria. Then walk the famous Lombard Street and grab a cone from Swensen’s Ice Cream!

Find homes for sale in Russian Hill

Neighborhoods in Marin

2517 Mar East Street Tiburon, CA 94920

Find this property at 2517 Mar East Street, Tiburon listed by Lotte and Sarah

Ross

Average real estate price: Approximately $3,331,058 

Good for: Families looking for luxury

Local hot spots: Frequently named on lists of the country’s most expensive zip codes, Ross is located just south of the larger Marin city, San Anselmo. Though Ross is primarily a residential area, it’s conveniently located next to some of our favorite places in the Bay Area, including M.H. Bread and Butter, L’Appart Resto, Madcap, Marinitas and Comforts. In Ross, you’ll also find the prestigious Branson college preparatory school.

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Bolinas

Average real estate price: Approximately $3,108,458 

Good for: Exclusive and idyllic views at every turn

Local hot spots: Bolinas is a notoriously reclusive beach town populated with artists, eccentrics, writers, hippies and surfers — in addition to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and movie lovers. You likely won’t find road signs to this exclusive spot, but you will find Bolinas Lagoon and Stinson Beach to the east, Bolinas Bay to the south, and Olema Valley and Tomales Bay to the north. Alamere Falls is nearby along with scenic Agate Beach, Muir Woods, Point Reyes National Seashore, and Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

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Belvedere

Average real estate price: Approximately $3,935,000 

Good for: Mature couples looking for views, privacy and luxury

Local hot spots: Located at the southern base of Ring Mountain, the city of Belvedere enforces strict regulations on housing design, restaurants and shops to optimize views and serenity. But don’t worry, the neighboring town of Tiburon offers events and restaurants aplenty! The town is also home to San Francisco Yacht Club, the oldest yacht club in North America, west of the Mississippi River.

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Tiburon

Average real estate price: Approximately $3,084,457

Good for: Lovers of culture, history and an active lifestyle

Local hot spots: Jutting out on a peninsula between the San Francisco Bay and Richardson Bay, Tiburon has Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary and Elephant Rock Pier for outdoorsmen, Sam’s Anchor Cafe and The Caprice for foodies, Friday Nights on Main for families, and Tiburon International Film Festival and Tiburon Wine Festival for culture hunters.

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Neighborhoods in The Peninsula

Luxury-Bedroom

Atherton

Average real estate price: Approximately $5,776,429

Good for: Affluent families looking for a perfectly-located suburb

Local hot spots: Atherton is repeatedly ranked on lists of America’s most expensive zip codes, and in 2016, it ranked third on this Forbes list. Contrary to most Bay Area cities, Atherton’s population has stayed fairly consistent over the years. Because it’s located in the middle of the Peninsula just north of Stanford University, the city is adjacent to many conveniences, shops and urban centers. For some of the best, head south to Menlo Park for Fey Restaurant, Bistro Vida, The Refuge and LB Steak.

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Hillsborough

Average real estate price: Approximately $4,482,873

Good for: Families looking for a spacious suburb

Local hot spots: Also ranked on Forbes’ list of 2016’s most expensive zip codes, Hillsborough has no businesses inside the town limits, but boasts a park, a golf course and country club, four public schools, and three private schools. Today, minimum lot size has remained at one half-acre, with a minimum frontage of 150 feet, so you’ll find homes in Hillsborough with plenty of space and luxuries. And neighboring Belmont, Burlingame, San Mateo, Millbrae and San Carlos provide every opportunity to meet your shopping, dining and entertainment needs!

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Woodside

Average real estate price: Approximately $2,882,043

Good for: Recreation and open space enthusiasts

Local hot spots: Just a quick drive from cosmopolitan centers like Palo Alto, San Jose and San Francisco, this rustic small town has one horse to every five residents (thanks to The Horse Park at Woodside) and grand homes with acres of land. In 2016, Woodside was also ranked on Forbes’ list of the country’s most expensive zip codes, so this is the perfect neighborhood to move to if you’re a fan of expansive lots, incredible views, and a quiet life surrounded by open spaces.

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Portola Valley

Average real estate price: Approximately $3,518,890

Good for: Adventurers and view-seekers

Local hot spots: Continuously supporting its natural and historic heritage, the town of Portola Valley has worked over the decades to contain development and keep its open spaces (like Windy Hill Preserve) beautiful. With miles of park to the west and urban cities like Palo Alto and Mountain View to the east, it’s a great suburb for adventurers and view-seekers.

Find homes for sale in Portola Valley

Neighborhoods in East Bay

50 Sotelo Ave Piedmont, CA 94611

Find this property at 50 Sotelo Avenue, Piedmont sold by Julie Gardner

Diablo

Average real estate price: Approximately $2,772,141

Good for: Families looking for a thriving suburb

Local hot spots: Diablo is a suburban neighborhood located in the city of Danville. Primarily consisting of medium and large single-family homes, the population is made up almost exclusively of affluent homeowners and families. The east end of the neighborhood is bordered by Mt. Diablo State Park. Nearby you’ll find The Athenian School for private education and the Diablo Country Club. For entertainment and dining, we suggest venturing into Downtown Danville or heading north into Walnut Creek!

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Piedmont

Average real estate price: Approximately $2,187,983

Good for: Families looking for excellent education opportunities

Local hot spots: Historians and book-lovers will be excited to hear Jack London once called Piedmont home and wrote The Call of the Wild in the house he built here! Though it has its own mayor, city council, fire department, police department and school district, the city is completely surrounded by the bustling city of Oakland. Traditionally a haven for artists and bohemians — thanks in part to luxurious Piedmont Springs — Piedmont is also home to one of the best school districts in the country. Walk to Oakland’s nearby Piedmont Ave. to find Itaba, Commis, Homestead and Lush Gelato.

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Moving soon?  

If you fell in love with any of these stunning neighborhoods, check out our resources for home buyers to make your relocation easy. And don’t forget to share your favorite communities in the comments below!

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McGuire Real Estate

McGuire Real Estate

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