The 10 Best Bike-friendly Neighborhoods in San Francisco

|May 3, 2018

Time and time again, San Francisco is named one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. In fact, Bicycling Magazine ranked us second — and Oakland made the list too! We’re happy to see that our area’s bicycle community has overcome the hills (literally) that come with big city living.

One of the largest factors in earning these rankings and our overall bike safety is due to the work of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. For more than 45 years, this organization has been transforming our city’s streets into more livable and safe places by promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation.

Curious to see which neighborhoods were the best for bike commuters, we took to Walk Score, a website that ranks any address by its walk score, bike score and transit score. Their bike score is determined based on bike lanes, hills, destinations and the number of bike commuters in any given area. The following San Francisco neighborhoods are our top ten chosen for their top-ranking bike scores and their top-quality attractions. Feel free to start pedaling to these neighborhood eateries, parks and businesses ASAP!

1. Mission District

Bike score: 98 | Walk score: 97 | Find homes in the Mission

Named for the Mission San Francisco de Asís, a church which still stands in the district and was originally built in 1776, the Mission District is an exuberant neighborhood with Latino roots and a hipster vibe. As the birthplace of the Mission Burrito, the neighborhood is home to a brilliant combination of old-school taquerias and chef-driven eateries as well as several of our favorite craft cocktail lounges.

Dolores Park sits at the west side of the neighborhood. At nearly 16 acres, it’s one of the most popular places in the entire city for open space, picnics, athletics, dog-walking and people watching.

Though you can’t go wrong with many eateries in the Mission, a few hotspots include Lolinda, flour + water, Foreign Cinema, Tartine Bakery and Loló. Don’t forget to get upstairs at El Techo — the rooftop bar above Lolinda — for a margarita with a view!

2. SoMa

Bike score: 96 | Walk score: 96 | Find homes in SoMa

Just over two decades ago, South of Market or SoMa, was a no man’s land of warehouses. Today, it has become one of the most lively neighborhoods in SF. It’s home to Yerba Buena Gardens, Children’s Creativity Museum, SoMa StrEat Food Park and AT&T Park, the stadium of the San Francisco Giants. In addition to these essential attractions, the neighborhood boasts some of the city’s best nightlife, cocktail bars and eateries as well. Next time you’re in SoMa, make a stop by Marlowe, The Perennial or Benu for upscale eats, grab a drink at 21st Amendment Brewery, then catch a Giants game!

For more info on the must-visit local businesses, check out 13 Weekly Trivia Nights in SF’s SOMA Neighborhood and The 15 Essential Farm-to-Table Restaurants in San Francisco which features two SoMa spots!

3. Mission Bay

Bike score: 96 | Walk score: 89 | Find homes in Mission Bay

Though this is a sub-neighborhood of SoMa, Mission Bay has a character and a charm all of its own. Located just across Mission Creek from AT&T Park, the contemporary, up-and-coming neighborhood has been growing in popularity and in the number of attractions year after year. That list includes the Chase Center. Set to open before the 2019 NBA season begins, this brand new multi-purpose arena will be the new home of the Golden State Warriors!

You’ll also find five parks and UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay in the neighborhood as well as local favorites like Oda Restaurant & Brewery, Cafe Réveille and ATWater Tavern located right on the waterfront!

4. NoPa

Bike score: 95 | Walk score: 94 | Find homes in NoPa

City living at its best, NoPa is surrounded by Golden Gate Park, the University of San Francisco and the University of California Medical Center. Located in almost the geographical center of the city, residents have their choice of walking, biking, busing or driving to both work and play.

The critically acclaimed restaurant NoPa was one of the first upscale restaurants to move to the neighborhood and has since inspired countless others which include Bar Crudo, Little Star Pizza and Brenda’s Meat & Three. All these are located along the thriving Divisadero Street, but you’ll also find Barrel Head Brewhouse on the west side and The Panhandle, an offshoot of Golden Gate Park, along the southern edge!

5. Inner Richmond

Bike score: 94 | Walk score: 92 | Find homes in Inner Richmond

As one of the city’s first neighborhoods developed primarily for residential use, Inner Richmond is famous for its beautiful and spacious Victorian homes, larger lot sizes and family-friendly nature. In addition to the residential appeal, you’ll find extremely easy access to Golden Gate Park and the Presidio for outdoor opportunities as well as the culturally diverse restaurants which also call the neighborhood home. These include the French bistro Chapeau!, Kitchen Istanbul, the Burmese eatery Burma Superstar, the Korean favorite KoJa Kitchen and the Russian Cinderella Bakery.

6. Hayes Valley

Bike score: 92 | Walk score: 97 | Find homes in Hayes Valley

Throughout the past several decades, Hayes Valley has transformed into one of the city’s most bustling neighborhoods boasting boutiques, bars and restaurants we would pedal miles to get to. Living in the neighborhood puts you just down the road from some of the Bay Area’s best eateries and craft cocktail bars, including Straw, Brass Tacks, Rich Table and Biergarten. On the west end of the neighborhood, you’ll find five parks with easy access to Alamo Square Park and you’re just a quick, ten-minute bike ride from Golden Gate Park!

7. Western Addition

Bike score: 92 | Walk score: 96 | Find homes in the Western Addition

Western Addition is a diverse neighborhood that is made up of some of the city’s most hip micro-hoods, including Hayes Valley, Fillmore District and Lower Haight. Because of this, the area boasts the rich, historical music heritage found in the Fillmore, the trendy cafes and shops of Divisadero Street, and Alamo Square Park which is home to the iconic Painted Ladies. And that’s just the short list!

A few of the can’t-miss attractions here are The Fillmore, Duboce Park and Japantown Peace Plaza. And don’t miss the food and drinks at Sweet Maple, b. patisserie, The Mill, The San Francisco Athletic Club and SPQR!

8. Dogpatch

Bike score: 92 | Walk score: 91 | Find homes in Dogpatch

This up-and-coming neighborhood is nestled between Potrero Hill and the waterfront and, because it was one of the few areas to survive the 1906 earthquake largely unscathed, it features some of the oldest structures in the city! Though it was once characterized as a gritty, working-class neighborhood, the tech boom brought more young residents, hip lofts, event spaces and several local businesses.

Now, you’ll find San Francisco favorites like Serpentine, Smokestack and Neighbor Bakehouse for food, Harmonic Brewing, DogPatch WineWorks and Dogpatch Saloon for drinks, and the Museum of Craft and Design, Esprit Park and Minnesota Street Project for fun!

9. Haight-Ashbury

Bike score: 91 | Walk score: 96 | Find homes in Haight-Ashbury

As the birthplace of the 1960s counterculture movement, Haight-Ashbury draws a lively, diverse crowd that still flourishes in a fresh, alternative vibe. Bordering Golden Gate Park and home to Buena Vista Park, you’ll find plenty of open space alongside vintage clothing boutiques, record stores, bookstores, dive bars and eclectic restaurants. That list includes Amoeba Music, Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery, The Alembic, Cha Cha Cha, Flywheel Coffee Roasters and Sparrow Bar and Kitchen.

While cruising the streets, you’ll pass the neighborhoods many colorful and well-preserved Victorian homes which include the storied Grateful Dead House, the communal home of the Grateful Dead in the late 1960s.

10. Cole Valley

Bike score: 90 | Walk score: 96 | Find homes in Cole Valley

Characterized as highly family and dog-friendly, Cole Valley is a charming, hillside neighborhood just south of Haight-Ashbury. Once an enclave of small ranches with grazing cows, the neighborhood maintains its quiet charm but the cows have been replaced by some of the city’s most famous local businesses. By far the most well-known is Zazie, the French bistro popular for weekly Free Corkage Night, Dog Dining on the Patio Night, and must-try Sunday brunch. You’ll also find The Ice Cream Bar, Cafe Reverie and Kezar Bar & Restaurant.

When you want to get outside, you’ll find Golden Gate Park on the north end of the neighborhood, Buena Vista Park down the hill to the east and Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve to the west.

Can’t get enough of San Francisco?  

Check out The 5 Most Desirable San Francisco Neighborhoods, Ranked by Their Walk Scores to find out which ‘hoods are the best for pedestrians!

Category Community Guides, San Francisco

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McGuire Real Estate

McGuire Real Estate

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