The Outer Richmond was a popular recreation destination during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Back then street cars, steam trains and/or toll roads were necessary when traveling there. While the trek has become much easier since those days, city visitors still flock to Ocean Beach and Land’s End Park. Yet it’s the fulltime Outer Richmond residents that reap the rewards of year-long recreation and entertainment—all of which is just walking distance from their doorsteps.
Formerly known to locals as the “Outside Lands” of San Francisco, the region was once occupied by acres of sand dunes. In 1866, much of the land was annexed by the City of San Francisco and set aside to establish what is now Golden Gate Park. The southern boundary of the Outer Richmond District is marked by this treasured 1000+ acre venue. Today the Outer Richmond is a desirable residential community, far from the cemeteries, farms, roadhouses, saloons and amusement parks which comprised its past. Eventually, as the sand blew away, neighborhood grids, gardens and quaint homes took root in its place.
The Outer Richmond offers a friendly and diverse population, architectural character, easy access to public transportation, and several recreational hubs. Resting near the Pacific Coast, a cool breeze of fresh air flows steadily throughout the neighborhood. Nearby Baker and China Beaches are great for sunbathing, picnicking and even outdoor yoga. Unlike its Inner Richmond counterpart, parking within the shopping and dining scene of the Outer Richmond is pretty easy to come by.
Over the years waves of immigration have stirred up a unique combination of ethnicities and cultures within the area. Soak up the Mexican, Russian, French, Italian and Asian influences while strolling along Geary Boulevard. This regularly-congested street becomes noticeably calm as you make your way past 25th Avenue.
Submerge yourself in the local environment and checkout the historic WPA Murals located at Beach Chalet, Camera Obscura's picturesque viewpoints, and the renowned Cliff House— a scenic favorite. Whether you’re visiting, a new resident or longtime local, a trip to the Sutro Baths Ruins is a must when in the Outer Richmond. The Sutro Baths were opened by the late Adolph Sutro, San Francisco’s 24th Mayor, on March 14, 1896. With seven different bath options, it was the world’s largest indoor swimming establishment. An unexpected fire destroyed the baths completely in 1966 while the location underwent its scheduled demolition. However this historically-rich site and story still remains a prized landmark of the Outer Richmond.
You’re bound to work up an appetite from countless hours of site-seeing and playful activities. Feast like a local at these neighborhood favorites: Angelina’s, Aziza, Chino’s Taqueria, La Vie, Louis’, Pacific Café, and Ton Kiang. Sometimes it’s just a little snack that you need; if that’s the case then pop into Nibs, Bazaar Café, Simple Pleasures Café, Pizetti 211 or Le Bread. With all of the great adventures, scenic views and neighborhood flair, the Outer Richmond continues to be a great dwelling spot for those that favor the mellow outskirts of town.
Written by Cynthia Cummins, McGuire Real Estate