Amanda Williams a RoamRight Blog Author

5 Neighborhoods You Should Visit in San Francisco

RoamRight shares 5 Neighborhoods You Should Visit in San Francisco

When you think of San Francisco, what do you think of? The Golden Gate Bridge? The cable cars? The fog?

What you should actually think about are the neighborhoods. San Francisco is all about its neighborhoods – neighborhoods of all sizes and types, meaning there truly is something here for everyone.

If you don't have time to visit every single one of San Francisco's neighborhoods however, here are five you should definitely focus on:

The Mission District

The Mission is one of San Francisco's grittier neighborhoods, but also probably one of the most interesting. With a distinct Latin flair (and the best burritos in the city) and a lot of creative and colorful street art, the Mission is well worth a daytime wander.

Must-dos in this neighborhood include:

  • Visiting Mission Dolores, the Spanish mission for which the neighborhood was named
  • Sunbathing in Dolores Park, which offers up my favorite view in San Francisco
  • Discovering some of the area's famous street art at Balmy and Clarion alleys
  • Eating at least one “Mission burrito”


Chinatown is probably the second-most-visited neighborhood in San Francisco after the super-touristy Fisherman's Wharf. But Chinatown is popular for good reason – if you let your mind wander a bit while walking past Chinese markets and shops, it's not difficult to convince yourself that you really are in China.

Must-dos in this neighborhood include:

  • Checking out some traditional Chinese shops and markets
  • Visiting a fortune cookie factory (56 Ross Alley) – the “Chinese” treats were actually invented right here in San Francisco


Named for the famous intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets, this neighborhood was instrumental in San Francisco's counterculture movement. In the 60s and 70s, “the Haight” was the center of sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll in the city. Today you can still find a hippie vibe in this part of the city, along with plenty of head shops and the former homes of people like Jimi Hendrix, Joan Jet, and the Grateful Dead.

Must-dos in this neighborhood include:

  • Visiting some of the neighborhood's funky boutiques
  • Taking a photo with the Haight-Ashbury sign
  • Checking out the Amoeba Music record store

The Castro

Speaking of counterculture, you should also definitely check out The Castro, San Francisco's vibrant LGBT neighborhood. Filled with rainbow flags and a lively vibe, The Castro is great for an afternoon stroll.

Must-dos in this neighborhood include:

  • Having a nice walk
  • Watching a show at the Castro Theater, where people are known to heckle and throw things at the screen

North Beach

Not far from Chinatown, San Francisco's Italian neighborhood can be found. Identified by red, white, and green flags on the lampposts and a growing number of gelato shops, the city's “Little Italy” is great for an afternoon wander. This neighborhood also happens to be home to San Francisco's Red Light and major nightlife districts, and was also at one point home to most of the city's beatniks.

Must-dos in this neighborhood include:

There are plenty of other great neighborhoods to visit in San Francisco, of course. But hopefully, after getting a taste of these five, you'll be able to appreciate just how diverse the City by the Bay really is.

Which neighborhood(s) would you like to visit? 

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams, a RoamRight Blog Author Graduate student by day and avid traveler and blogger by night (and on weekends and during holidays), Amanda is just a small-town Ohio girl trying to balance a "normal" life with a desire to discover the world beyond her Midwest bubble. Amanda's adventurous nature and inability to say "no" have led her to some pretty amazing adventures all around the world. But she has no desire to stop exploring anytime soon. Read Amanda's blog, A Dangerous Business, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.

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