Thanks in large part to famous neighborhoods, parks, tourist sights, businesses, eateries and employment opportunities, people have been flocking to the Bay Area for decades, whether it’s just to visit or to live forever. As a result, the San Francisco Bay Area is home to several of the hottest housing markets in the country, to high-end, luxury communities, and to destination neighborhoods like SoMa, the Mission, San Mateo and Downtown Oakland.
As the population in the Bay Area continues to grow, residents have been looking to previously overlooked areas, now being revitalized by art, local business, organizations and current residents. Today, we’re exploring some of those up-and-coming communities and sharing their best attractions, qualities and local businesses. Enjoy!
San Francisco | South of San Francisco | East Bay
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!
One of the city’s more affordable, on-the-rise options, Crocker Amazon is ideal for active families who love the outdoors and crave a private space that they can call their own. The neighborhood is defined by Amazon and Crocker Avenues, as well as Mission Street and McLaren Park. Many of Crocker Amazon’s single-family homes feature at least 10 feet of space on either side — a rare find in San Francisco!
Living in the neighborhood, you’ll soon come to love the Crocker Amazon Playground. The area underwent a full makeover and now offers five full-sized, well-lit soccer fields, a baseball and softball field and basketball, and tennis and Bocce courts. Adjacent to the playground, you’ll find McLaren Park which is the second largest park in the city behind Golden Gate Park. The space boasts a golf course, two lakes, trails for joggers and hikers, a public pool, a reservoir, and the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater.
Just south of Dogpatch in the southeast corner of the city, Bayview encompasses several sub-neighborhoods — including the waterfront community, Hunters Point. The area is also home to Candlestick Point State Recreation Area which is located right on the water and offers recreation opportunities like windsurfing, fishing, bird watching and walking, as well as views of the San Francisco Bay, the East Bay Hills and San Bruno Mountain.
In recent years, Bayview’s local art community has been reinvigorated with special help from the nonprofit organization Imprint.City. In our article, How San Francisco’s Laughing Monk Brewery + Imprint.City are Transforming Bayview, we introduce the teams behind both the Bayview brewery and the organization!
On the first Friday of every month, Seven Stills hosts Bayview First Fridays in partnership with Laughing Monk. This neighborhood hootenanny features free live entertainment, karaoke, rotating food trucks or specialty pop-ups, and plenty of local drinks and food!
Bordered by San Francisco’s second largest park, McLaren Park, Excelsior is a residential neighborhood on a hill and many of its homes are at least 50 years old. In recent years, new renovations and art — like murals, technicolor stairs and Jerry Day at McLaren Park — have transformed the neighborhood, cleaned it up and made it a place that new businesses and residents want to call home.
Today, Excelsior is still one of the remaining San Francisco neighborhoods with an average home price below $1 million. But these upgrades are steadily changing that. In 2017, Redfin named this ‘hood as one of the hottest markets in San Francisco with a median sale price of $890,000 and just 19 days spent on the market.
We expect this to keep improving as the area attracts more businesses, artists and young professionals.
Though this area has often been grouped together with NoPa, recent developments along the Divisadero Corridor have made it a neighborhood all its own. Typically defined as the area of Divisadero Street between Golden Gate Avenue and Page Street, the once seedy stretch of businesses is now home to some of the city’s most popular spots, including Nopa, Horsefeather, and Brenda’s Meat and Three.
With these improvements over the years, came a lower crime rate and steadily growing housing prices. And because residents are just minutes from Alamo Square Park, Golden Gate Park and the Panhandle, as well as other desirable neighborhoods like NoPa and Hayes Valley, the Divisadero Corridor is a great place to call home — or simply to explore!
Parkside is a family-oriented neighborhood situated on the west side of San Francisco adjacent to Ocean Beach, San Francisco Zoo and Stern Grove. To further the stability and the family atmosphere, the majority of residences in Parkside are single-family homes.
Boasting more than seven schools within walking distance of the neighborhood as well as close proximity to the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center and San Francisco State University, the employment and educational opportunities abound. And the local business attractions include countless eateries along Taraval Street like Dumpling Kitchen and Parkside Tavern.
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!
South of San Francisco
Located immediately south of San Francisco, Daly City is the largest city in San Mateo County and is considered a regional center for healthcare and retail development. As the gateway to the Peninsula, its perfectly situated for adventures in the city and in other Bay Area destinations like Half Moon Bay and San Mateo.
But if you’re staying in the city, you’ll find plenty to do! Its location along the western shore means residents and visitors have access to oceanfront hiking, picnicking and more. Thornton State Beach and Mussel Rock Park are two of the most popular spots for outdoor adventures. And local business Mar Vista Stables offers those ocean views on horseback!
Pacifica is the Bay Area’s best-kept secret. The dramatic coastline boasts some of the Bay Area’s best surfing and paragliding, a close-up view of the gray whales’ migration route, and its rugged terrain hosts more than 3000 acres of park space for walking, biking, picnicking, bird watching and wildlife viewing.
Though famous for being the home of the only Taco Bell restaurant located directly on a beach, you’ll also find local places like Nick’s Rockaway for seaside seafood, Uoyakutei Japanese Restaurant, Gorilla Barbecue, and Camelot Fish and Chips. And because Pacifica is just 20 minutes from downtown San Francisco and the San Francisco International Airport, you’ll have access to countless more culinary, recreational and local adventures!
The jewel of East Oakland, Jingletown is about two miles southeast of Lake Merritt and bordered by the Park Street and Fruitvale Bridges which connect Oakland to Alameda. Known for its street art, murals, art lofts and community of Bay Area artists, the neighborhood has become Oakland’s ultimate arts district. To get a feel for that culture, we recommend visiting Jingletown Art Studios and Gary Loft Gallery, or attending an Oakland Art Murmur event which has frequent stops and events exploring the art of Jingletown.
Known for its artsy mixture of condos and Victorians, the Dogtown neighborhood of Oakland is perfectly located in close proximity to San Francisco, the West Oakland BART Station and other desirable neighborhoods like Rockridge, Temescal and Downtown.
In the area, you’ll find West Oakland Farm Park, an urban park and working farm, as well as one of Oakland’s best and most notable eateries, Brown Sugar Kitchen!
West Oakland is nestled between the Bay Bridge and Lake Merritt which puts it minutes from some of the Bay Area’s best businesses, attractions and recreation opportunities. Home to places like Zella’s Soulful Kitchen, 10th & Wood, The Whole Tortilla, Starter Bakery and Kilovolt Coffee, West Oakland holds its own on the Bay Area food scene.
In the heart of the neighborhood, you’ll also find family-friendly community parks, including Raimondi Park, DeFremery Park, Lowell Park, Wade Johnson Park, Memorial Park and Cypress Freeway Memorial Park.
Located just east of Fremont and west of Livermore, Sunol boasts a small town community of just over 1,000 residents, as well as acres of open space. A few of those must-visit open spaces include Mission Peak Regional Preserve, Sunol Regional Wilderness and Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park.
The most popular destination in Sunol is Niles Canyon Railway, a living history museum run by The Pacific Locomotive Association, Inc. Their trains are fully operational so you can hop on in Sunol and ride all the way to Fremont!
Niles is an official Main Street Community surrounded by the city of Fremont and is the actual destination when you travel the Niles Canyon Railway from Sunol. Old Town Niles features its own library, post office and a large number of antique stores, restaurants and cafes. Local hotspots include The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, The Nile Cafe, Papillon Restaurant, Bronco Billy’s Pizza, Tyme for Tea and Devout Coffee.
As residents, you and your family will soon love the historical, family-friendly open spaces including California Nursery Historical Park, Niles Community Park which connects to Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area, and Vallejo Mills Historical Park.
Directly north of the more high-end Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill has become a popular destination for homeowners moving out of the larger city. The community is home to College Park High School, Diablo Valley College, John F Kennedy University, the Pleasant Hill Library and administration offices for the Contra Costa County Library system, as well as the Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District.
When you’re looking for things to do in town, we recommend heading to downtown Pleasant Hill. The shopping district was renovated in 1991 and is now the main shopping and eating destination in the area. You can also head to landmark places like Caspers Famous Hot Dogs, DeVino’s Pizza & Pasta and Wence’s Restaurant.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood in the Bay Area?
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