where to live in san fran?
August 20, 2008 7:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm heading to San Francisco to go work for six-seven months - and i'll be working in downtown San Francisco. Looking for a good place to live (with roommates), and I need some advice.

I'd like a neighborhood with good bus or Muni access and is walkable, that's laid back and fairly quiet, diverse. Amenities like a coffee shop and markets are great - but i'd really like to avoid anywhere that's trendy or super-hipstery. And looking for a room between 600-800/month.

Would the Sunset, Mission, or Richmond be the best places to look?
posted by waylaid to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'd say the _inner_ Sunset would give you a lot of what you're looking for, and the weather is nicer during the winter (foggy and gray in the summer, oddly). The population is very ethnic but you don't lose the "neighborhood" feel that pervades transient areas like the Mission. MUNI is easy with lots of stops for the light rail and bus lines yet you're not stuck in "downtown" (SOMA/FiDi?).. you can get to all the cool places pretty easily. Lots of students looking to share apartments and families looking to rent out rooms.

Frankly, living in Pac Heights, the Marina, the Mission, North Beach, TenderNob/Russian Hill, Potrero Hill, or any of the other more popular areas will be a headache as the tourists/B&T crowd invade on the weekends and the various stereotypes make their appearances during the week.

I'd also look at the Panhandle/NoPa, Duboce Triangle, Alamo Square, Eureka Heights/upper Castro/Church, and maybe even Noe/Cole Valley(s) - though the latter areas will be farther up in price. CL is the way to go in any case.
posted by kcm at 7:38 PM on August 20, 2008

Another rec here for the inner sunset. I lived at 11th and Lincoln, which is a really lovely neighborhood that's a pretty short streetcar ride from downtown. Great food, golden gate park, short bike ride to the water, little markets, etc. It also tends to be on the cheaper side, relatively speaking.
posted by ORthey at 7:44 PM on August 20, 2008

As someone who doesn't live in the city but in the bay, the stereotypes I hear are: Sunset is trendy in the I-banker sense (and definitely beautiful), Mission is trendy in the 'have-money-but-don't-want-to' sense, and I've only ever heard of Richmond in the 'I-can't-afford-the-Sunset' sense. These are the impressions I get from recent college grads who now live or work somewhere in SF, and are likely horrible stereotypes.

But seriously, you have to walk around the areas & look for yourself. San Francisco is very walkable (as long as you don't mind a few hills), and you can get a feel for the areas pretty quickly. Here's a list of farmers markets, and check out google maps for where BART goes (muni is something you'll learn when you get there.. its rather hellish at first).

Also, I know you're probably set on San Francisco itself, but I'd seriously consider taking a look at places outside of the city - as long as its near BART, the commute may not be prohibitive, and somewhere like Berkeley sounds a bit more like what you're after.
posted by devilsbrigade at 9:32 PM on August 20, 2008

According to your old posts you are from DC. Nothing comes close to the hipsterness of the Mission in DC. IF you walk around U st and even 18th in Adams Morgan during the DAY (not night), it can have the same feeling, however.

If I were going to go by stereotypes, I'd say Marina/Nob Hill is similar to georgetown.

I thought Cow Hollow was a good neighborhood. There's bus lines on those streets.
posted by sandmanwv at 10:03 PM on August 20, 2008

Oops, I didn't read "diverse". I figure Cow Hollow is probably very homogenous.
posted by sandmanwv at 10:04 PM on August 20, 2008

Mission will have better weather than Sunset or Richmond, and Mission has a subway (BART) that connects it with downtown. But it might not be the best place to live if you're trying to avoid super-hipstery neighborhoods.

Sunset or Richmond will be overcast/foggy much of the time, will connect to downtown mostly by bus (but with a few light rail train stops) and will also probably be cheaper.

If you're planning to bike/walk, the route from Mission to Downtown is much flatter than Sunset or Richmond to Downtown. It's also closer.
posted by Jeff Howard at 10:26 PM on August 20, 2008

Best answer: As someone who's lived in Inner Sunset & Inner Richmond (among several other SF neighborhoods), I'd definitely recommend Inner Sunset, and suggest you add Cole Valley to your list. In all of those neighborhoods I've paid under $800 for a room in a shared flat.

Inner Sunset really fits all of your requirements - good public transit, cafes, neighborhood feel, etc. The 9th & Irving area is where the shops & restaurants are. Definitely recommended. Cole Valley is very similar, but slightly less diverse. More young families and med students. Inner Sunset & Cole Valley are both ~25-30 min from downtown via the N Judah.

I enjoyed Inner Richmond, but it's not for everyone. Public transit, while decent, takes a bit longer since the main public transit lines are buses, as opposed to light rail. Inner Richmond near Clement street is pretty neat, kind of a little chinatown type area. I love the restaurants and markets.

If you're looking in the Richmond or Sunset, I'd definitely suggest the "inner" parts of both neighborhoods, ie 5th-19th Ave or so. Otherwise public transit takes longer and becomes more of a hassle. And often cabs will refuse to take you further out in the avenues.

The Mission? I spend a lot of time there and love it. Depending where you are in the Mission it changes quite a bit. There's a lot of Latino famiiles; there's also a LOT of hipsters. So it's probably not what you want.
posted by soleiluna at 10:34 PM on August 20, 2008

Best answer: The inner sunset around 9th and Irving will be pretty close to what you're looking for and is right on the N-Judah which will get you downtown with ease. Fairly quiet, close to GG park, good neighborhood area (coffee shops, bars and restaurants) and ethnically diverse.

I lived there and l now live in Potrero Hill - Potrero will be much better weather - will also be quiet and has 2 great little local neighborhoods one on 18th and one on 20th both between about Mississippi and Arkansas - not quite as much as the inner Sunset. Decent Muni Access. Not quite as ethnically diverse.

Noe Valley, if you get off the main drags slightly can also be great for your needs.

Mission is great but its going to be louder.
Inner Richmond is pretty out there but may also fit. I'd stay away from outer Richmond and Sunset.

I heartily disagree with devilsbrigade comments about the Sunset being "I-Banker" its much more a family neighboorhood. Russian Hill - Cole Valley - Cow Hollow all skew more in that direction. I also wouldn't group Potrero into the same crowd as kcm groups them with. Potrero doesn't really get invaded with tourists - there's no real landmarks here (best downtown views though) - and nowhere near the bar scene to support the b&t crowd. That being said stay on the North Side of the Hill.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:39 PM on August 20, 2008

doh! soleiluna snuck in there while I was typing! (At least we back each other up ;-)
posted by bitdamaged at 10:40 PM on August 20, 2008

Response by poster: Great feedback everyone. I appreciate it! It's been very helpful.
posted by waylaid at 3:48 AM on August 21, 2008

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