The 2020 Guide to the Best Places to Live in San Francisco

Are you looking for a new home in a world-class city, with stunning beauty and rich culture? If so, consider moving to some of the best places to live in San Francisco. The problem is, even the SF natives don’t know the exact numbers of neighborhoods in the metropolis, and finding the best among them might be a bit of a struggle. That’s where we’d like to step in with our 2020 SF neighborhood guide.

If you know anything about SF, it’s probably this – you’ll need a great deal of money if you want to live a decent life here. But, let’s say your new job is excellent, your savings are intact, and your plans are in harmony with the vibes of the metropolis. If that’s the case, you can be sure that the financial, cultural, and commercial hub of Northern California can satisfy all your needs.

Whether you’re a young professional, business person, student, or family-oriented, you will be overwhelmed with the vast opportunities this metropolis offers.

But before you can start turning your SF dreams into reality, you’ll need to find the right place to live in, which, as you’ll see, is not such an easy task given the sheer number of incredible options. Let’s find out something more about SF’s districts to help you choose the most suitable home before moving to San Francisco.

What Criteria Defines the Best Places to Live in San Francisco?

When it comes to defining the term “the most affordable,” it’s clear what that means. But, how to determine the criteria for the best area to settle down in? The generally accepted qualities of prime neighborhoods are:

  • High incomes
  • Low unemployment rates
  • Low crime rates

So, according to these factors, let’s find out what neighborhood in San Fran should be your first choice.

What Is the Best Neighborhood to Live in San Francisco?

The city has plenty of amenities for everyone and can satisfy different wishes and goals. That being said, if you’re someone who wants to be surrounded by great vibes, safe communities, or excellent jobs, search no more – Pacific Heights will meet your requirements. Of course, it’s not only this district that deserves to be highlighted for its quality of life. Here are the others worth mentioning:

  • Noe Valley
  • Inner Sunset
  • Seacliff
  • Marina
Detailed list of the top-rated neighborhoods to settle In SF for 2020    
RankNeighborhoodPopulationHome ValueMedian Income
1Pacific Heights19,716$1,550,042$147,213
2Noe Valley21,074$1,219,727$133,927
3Inner Sunset27,720$1,219,727$112,050
4Seacliff1,429$1,346,400$134,269
5Marina22,358$1,454,491$129,602
6Outer Richmond36,055$1,024,713$88,321
7Haight-Ashbury23,717$1,251,521$129,402
8West of Twin Peaks21,375$1,095,080$153,714
9Presidio Heights8,734$1,506,982$137,831
10Russian Hill17,133$1,025,593$100,085

Source: HomeSnacks

What Are the Safest Neighborhoods in San Francisco?

This question is of most interest to parents or those planning a family. Of course, most people will agree that the safer the place, the better. Luckily, SF takes pride in plenty of spots with low crime rates, which doesn’t mean you should expect no crime at all. We’ve put together a list of several of the safest places to consider before your relocation:

  • Diamond Heights
  • Seacliff
  • The Presidio
  • Presidio Heights
  • St. Francis Wood
  • Noe Valley
  • Laurel Heights
  • Pacific Heights
  • Chinatown
  • Fisherman’s Wharf

These districts boast a quiet and laid-back atmosphere where you can enjoy elegant and luxury homes surrounded by expansive, lush gardens.

Fisherman’s Wharf Will Impress You With Its Charm and Excellent Seafood

Probably one of SF’s most visited attractions, this neighborhood allows you to enjoy plenty of outdoor activities. In addition to the best seafood restaurants in San Francisco, such as Waterfront Restaurant, Fisherman’s Wharf is packed with shopping spots, as well as unique landmarks, such as:

  • Maritime National Historic Park
  • Musée Mécanique
  • The Aquarium of the Bay
  • The Wax Museum
SF is often called City by the Bay

Where to Live in San Francisco on a Budget?

If you’re wondering what the cheapest neighborhood to reside in Frisco for 2020 is, we can help you with that. According to the most recent census data, the most affordable district to settle in is definitely South of Market. Just keep in mind there are some compromises you’ll need to make in return for cheaper groceries or more space.

Taking into consideration the overall cost of living in San Francisco, rent-to-income ratio, and median home value-to-income ratio, here’s the list of the cheapest areas to settle in SF, according to Homesnacks:

  • South of Market – the median income (MI) comes in at $102,000, and the median home value (MHV) is $525,000
  • Lakeshore – MI: $100,500, MHV: $745,500
  • Potrero Hill – MI: $162,000, MHV: $852,000
  • Financial District – MI: $101,600, MHV: $654,000
  • West of Twin Peaks – MI: $154,000, MHV: $1,095,000
SF is one of the wealthiest and most expensive cities in America due to its booming tech industry and proximity to Silicon Valley

Pacific Heights Is Well-Known for Its Multi-Million Dollar Homes and Countless Dining Options

Yes, it’s expensive, but Pacific Heights has plenty of advantages if you choose it as your new living environment. In addition to magnificent scenery and mind-boggling views that extend across the Golden Gate Bridge, you can enjoy shopping spots, top-notch restaurants, or spend movie evenings at the Historic Theater. Art fans will be thrilled with the tour of the 1886 Haas-Lilienthal House, which is SF’s only Victorian house open to visitors as a museum.

Try Indian Cuisine in Dosa By Dosa

Founded in 2005, Dosa offers a rich diversity of Indian culture and cuisine serving innovative and authentic South Indian food. It can boast being the first of many firsts, such as:

  • The first Indian restaurant in SF
  • The unique Indian restaurant to source seasonal, organic, and locally grown ingredients from SF’s farmer’s markets
  • The first SF bar program that deftly incorporated spices
  • The first wine list designed especially for Indian cuisine
  • The first eco-friendly build-out, including solar panels on the roof
  • The first restaurant not using GMO oils
  • The first Indian eatery with a delicious selection of breakfast options in the East Bay
The Bay Area is home to more three-Michelin-starred restaurants than any other region in the US.

Many Young Professionals Choose Noe Valley

Since Frisco is well-known for its fog and winds, people usually tend to settle down in the more sheltered neighborhoods with a unique microclimate. If you’re one of them, then Noe Valley should be your first choice. Its warmer and sunnier weather will provide you with endless options for outdoor activities. It’s also known to have more strolling areas than streets congested with cars. That’s why young families and young professionals prefer Noe Valley.

The Farmers’ Market Will Answer Your Health and Food-Related Questions

Healthy food habits are not just a matter of good physical condition, but an entire lifestyle, especially among younger generations in Frisco.

The Noe Valley Farmers’ Market is a year-round California certified farmers’ market run primarily by community volunteers. Each Saturday and Tuesday this small district market meets the residents’ needs for local and fresh fruits and vegetables, organic fresh-squeezed juice, grass-fed beef, almonds, dried fruit, honey, bread and pastries, Mexican food, etc. This market follows three guiding principles:

  • Build a community
  • Provide healthy food
  • Support a vibrant local small farm economy
Located near the center, Noe Valley has a generally sunny disposition and family-oriented feel

Inner Sunset Provides the Laid-Back Feeling of a Small Town

Even though it has some of the worst weather conditions in SF, locals and newbies alike often refer to Inner Sunset as their favorite area. This close-knit community is a family-friendly spot, crammed with excellent primary and high schools and many small grocery shops, shoe repair shops, and drug stores.

Don’t Miss the Howard’s Cafe

This cozy place, located off the beaten path, is a favorite spot when it comes to pancakes, eggs and bacon, and french toast. Make sure to come here with your family, share beautiful moments, and enjoy Sunday breakfast or tasty brunch with menus made up of classic American meals.

This is a laid-back district full of friendly locals and diverse shops and dining spots.

Seacliff Is One of Eight Master Planned Garden Suburbs

Founded in 1913 as a planned residence park, Seacliff is a quiet mecca for all those who enjoy a tranquil lifestyle far away from hectic urban life. Today, it’s one of the most elite Frisco’s neighborhoods thanks to its large houses and ocean views.

Homes Here Sell for $3.66 Million On Average

With majestic views of the Marin Headlands and Golden Gate Bridge, it’s no wonder Seacliff is one of SF’s most desirable and expensive places. With the median home value of more than $4 million, the median income of $134,269, and an unemployment rate of 2.5%, Seacliff could be the right choice for you if you can afford it.

There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy between China Beach and Sutro Heights Park

Marina Is a Beautiful Area Crammed With Plenty Of Galleries

This picturesque neighborhood of Art Deco structures and appealing homes is a popular base for young families and visitors. Besides some of the best restaurants in San Francisco, green spaces, and farmers’ markets, Marina has plenty to offer to all those who prefer art. Some of the most popular cultural institutions are:

  • Hourian Fine Art Galleries
  • Images of the North
  • SFMOMA Artists Gallery

Several Top-Notch Hotels Are Located Here

Marina is one of the most scenic areas in the City, so it’s no wonder why so many hotels are situated here. They are appealing both to tourists and locals. One of the most famous streets and attractions of SF in the heart of Marina District is Lombard Street, and in its vicinity, there are plenty of hotels that can be great romantic getaways, such as these 6:

  • Super 8
  • Argonaut Hotel
  • Palace Hotel
  • Huntington Hotel
  • Hyatt Regency
  • Cow Hollow Inn and Suites

The City Is a Place Where You’ll Find a Beautiful Home and a Perfect New Lifestyle

In addition to the Golden Gate Bridge, world-class food, and natural beauty, most SF-ers will tell you that their metropolis has so many amenities that they could never imagine living anywhere else. If you’re looking for some of the best places to live in San Francisco, you should know it has been ranked as the happiest, healthiest, and fittest city in America many times, and some of the reasons for that are:

  • It is a veggie-friendly metropolis
  • It has a vibrant spiritual life – yoga, meditation, and Eastern philosophy are a part of the city’s lifestyle
  • It is packed with organic, community farms, restaurants, and food co-ops
  • It’s home to some of the country’s top public parks
  • Outdoor activities can be enjoyed on every corner
  • It has cultural events all year round
  • Locals enjoy drinking wine, but moderately
  • It’s a dog-friendly environment with a lot of public green spaces
  • It can boast strong social ties and community bonds, giving you a feeling of safety

If you are moving from a small town to a big city such as SF, be sure it will welcome you like an old and dear friend. So, don’t sit on the fence anymore, hire professional SF long-distance movers, and hit the road!

Written By: Mila Tacon