7.1 out of 10

Financial District

Ranked 55th best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.7936486030861 -122.400986418472
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Public Transport
  • Eating Out
  • Pest Free
  • Shopping Options
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Cost of Living
  • Lack of Traffic
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists

Reviews

3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A large working crowd"

If you're in the Financial District, then you're probably here for business. This is an area full of high rises, banks, and commercial buildings. This is a prestigious place to work in SF, because it probably means you're doing well in life.

The Financial District is not an area where you would spend a few hours to see the sites, unless you're there for the buildings. There isn't much to do because of the many office buildings. This is, however, a good place to grab a quick lunch. There are a lot of little cafes and coffee shops tailored to the busy businessperson.

I think the best thing to visit is the Ferry Building, which sits at the end of Market Street. It sort of embodies the Financial District in the way it represents commerce. The building is full of booths and shops that will sell you mostly food-related items. There is a gelato shop, Blue Bottle Coffee, chocolate stores, meat purveyors, etc. I really love coming here and browsing for a few hours.
Pros
  • Great nearby food options
Cons
  • Not at all residential
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"SF's Wallet"

Offices, offices, and more offices! Banks, and embassies, and suits, oh my! Want to be reminded that you are at the heart of West Coast commerce, just get off BART at Montgomery and hang around for a while. Have a seat at the foot of the Federal Reserve Bank. Take a little walk—but keep your wits about you because the traffic is almost as crazy as the bike messengers (think Puck from the Real World if you want to get old school—remember that sociopath was a bike messenger, and from what I have noticed emotional disorders are definitely a career trait for those guys).
Want to get some coffee—no problem, you can find a Starbucks or similar establishment literally on every face of each block. This is where SF looks most like NYC.
As you may know though, financial types love their bars and you can definitely find a number of these around here: the Occidental Cigar Club, the Comstock, the Old Ship Saloon just to name a few. Just hang around in some of these and you can listen in a
Pros
  • Great Pricey Bars
  • Lots of Work Places
  • Coffe Shops and Eateries Gallore
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Not at all residential
  • Paid parking only
Recommended for
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
2yrs+

"Busy but well-kept"

After nearly a week of staying here, I have come to the conclusion that this is a good spot to be in the city. Oftentimes, one hears "Financial District" and thinks boring tall buildings with bars that close at 7 PM (which is pretty on the mark for some cities), but San Francisco is different. Here, the clean, modern, artistic and laid-back vibe of this city carries through to its business center.

For one, the water is here, and the Embarcadero is right around the corner. This means great views, a great place to walk, and good daytime food. By night, this is not necessarily the best bar scene in the city, but with Union Square to the southeast and North Beach to the north, what more could you want?

Speaking of nightlife and nearby culture, Chinatown definitely fits the bill for ethnic food and a unique San Francisco experience, and is immediately adjacent to the Financial District. And of course, with the modern buildings, including the iconic Transamerica Tower, there is plenty to see in the immediate vicinity as well. Enjoy!
Pros
  • Great nearby food options
  • Iconic San Francisco sights
  • Nice waterfront views
Cons
  • Not at all residential
  • Paid parking only
  • Noisy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"From Gold Rush to Rush Hour"

The grove of high-rise boxes and skyscrapers here seems too modern, too new to have any connection to the tumult of Gold Rush Days, yet this is exactly where it all began. When gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill a hundred miles east of here in 1848, the small harbor and few acres along San Francisco Bay that served as home to a scant thousand people were transformed in the span of a few months into the quintessential western boomtown, full of dubious characters and fortune-seekers and profiteers and even a few noble souls, all of whom had the right mix of courage and risk-taking and sheer naiveté to simply follow their dreams. The vessels the Forty-niners (or Argonauts, as they were also called) sailed in on were abandoned one by one and soon clotted the bay (and were later sunk to form landfill as the city expanded), as newcomers who sought to strike it rich poured into California--300,000 of them in about six years.

Most did not get wealthy, but the ones who stayed in San Francisco transformed it from a sleepy outpost into a bustling metropolis. The Financial District (though it wasn’t called that then) was the hub of the new city, home to a roster of banks, many founded during the Gold Rush, the legacy of which survives in the number of financial institutions that make up the core of the district today. Those early banks begat other businesses, funding manufacturing and warehouses and the myriad services such enterprises require. The slapdash town that sprang up endured at least a dozen major fires in the early years, until brick replaced wood as the city pushed outward in all directions over the next several decades. Then it all came tumbling down in the earthquake of 1906. Built and rebuilt, the Financial District retains elements from its various incarnations, from the 1851 Belli Building, 1853 Ghirardelli Building, and the 1866 Hotaling Building (all in the Jackson Square Historic District), to the 1889 Audiffred Building on Mission, the 1890 Mills Building on Montgomery, and the 1898 Ferry Building at Embarcadero and Market.

Dozens of other architecturally and culturally significant piles have risen in this district in the last hundred years, associated with names familiar (Charles Crocker, A.P. Giannini, Henry Wells, William Fargo, William Randolph Hearst, et al.) and not-so-familiar (Andrew Hallidie, Lewis Parsons Hobart, Frederick H. Meyer, and many others). With the building boom of the 1970s and ’80s, the area’s narrow streets became overshadowed by skyscrapers, such as the Transamerica Pyramid and 555 California, both of which were criticized as emblematic of the “Manhattanization” of San Francisco, but which may also soon be eclipsed by newer, higher buildings that are slated in the South Beach and South of Market areas. They all contribute to the draw this neighborhood holds not only for businesses, financial institutions, and law firms, but to historians, tourists, and the people who work here as well.

Nowadays, three to four hundred thousand people swarm into the Financial District every weekday morning: office workers and executives and janitors and service people and hundreds of security guards and thousands of people who come on some mission or another, either tourists or traveling businesspeople or simple street performers and panhandlers. Not only is the district home to the largest concentration of landmark buildings west of Chicago (declared so by federal, state, and municipal designation), but it also contains priceless sculptures and murals and artwork inside the lobbies of the grand buildings (e.g., Diego Rivera’s mural in the City Club, Refregier’s wall paintings in the Rincon Annex) as well as on the streets (like the Mechanic’s Monument on Market and Battery, an ode in bronze by the famed sculptor Douglas Tilden to the machinists it powerfully depicts, and the 1930s Ralph Stackpole granite statues outside the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange).

Monday through Friday, the Financial District fairly hums with human activity, from early morning till late evening. Commuters jump on and off buses or cable cars (the California Street line terminates at Drumm and Market) or emerge from the subway (BART and Muni trains run under Market), snag a sandwich or coffee, then dash into the lobbies of any number of towers. Tourists and businesspeople stream from the hotels (there are at least a dozen hotels in the area, from the 800-plus guestroom Hyatt Regency to the boutique Griffon with 62 rooms and suites), stroll through plazas (like the one in front of 101 California) and shopping malls (e.g., the Embarcadero Center, located on the first two levels of its namesake four towers; the Ferry Building, with its emphasis on local foods and wines; and Crocker Galleria, noted for high-end boutiques) and have lunch in any of a number of restaurants, from the Tadich Grill (serving its classic fish dishes since 1849) and Sam’s (another seafood grill that dates from the 19th century) to Yank Sing (dim sum) and Café Bastille (French bistro fare). The “people flow” reverses itself in the late afternoon, when the commuters pour out of the high-rises and head to the subway or buses and streetcars that take them home, or to the area’s bars and cafes and restaurants, mingling with tourists and out-of-towners. Though the rush hour defines the morning and late afternoon, weeknights slow noticeably here, as the area’s denizens take a breather from the daily grind.

Though it seems to be all about work, the Financial District is also a place to live. One of the largest apartment complexes is the Gateway, a set of four towers (two rectangular, two square, each oriented for maximum views) and 58 townhouses arrayed on two square blocks bounded by Washington, Jackson, Battery, and Drumm. Some commercial buildings have been renovated as tenants-in-common residences (the Royal on Sansome, for instance), and a number of new high-rise condos have sprouted in the last decade, bringing not only businesspeople but also retirees. Joining them are residents of a number of low-rise apartments and condominiums that front Sidney Walton Park, a grassy square that offers dog-walkers and people alike a much-needed patch of green and a few trees.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Financial District is home to about 10,000 people, the majority white (65 percent), with Asians (27 percent) as well as a lesser number of African Americans (5 percent) and people of two or more races (3 percent) composing the population. Typically, they are middle class (median annual household income is $70,000), with roughly a quarter owning their homes and the others renting.

In addition to Sidney Walton Park, the Financial District lays claim to Sue Bierman Park, a complex of greens and open space that adjoins the Embarcadero Plaza in front of the Ferry Building. The Vaillancourt Fountain (first named by its eponymous creator as “Québec Libre!”) is located here; though many have criticized the boxy tangle of rectangular concrete tubes, the fountain and surrounding plaza offer a respite on sunny days from the congested canyons of the area. The Golden Gateway Tennis and Swim Club, across from the park, offers locals and office workers alike tennis courts and outdoor pools, as well as exercise and fitness rooms (for a membership fee, of course).

There are no public elementary, middle or high schools in the area, though a few institutes of higher learning have campus buildings throughout the area (Academy of Art University, Heald College, Saybrook University, et al.).

Public transportation here is as good as it gets anywhere in the city. A myriad of Muni buses serving all points in the city crisscross the Financial District, in addition to commuter buses—Golden Gate Transit and SamTrans—taking passengers back and forth to Marin and San Mateo counties, respectively. BART runs underground along Market, bringing workers from the East Bay and the Peninsula, and Muni streetcars (J, K, L, M, and N) also follow the same underground trajectory. The California Street cable car (much less touristy than the Powell and Hyde line in Union Square) services the area as well, going all the way to Van Ness. Ferries from the East Bay, Marin, and Vallejo—all operating from the Ferry Building—round out the public transit picture.

Because most streets in this area have metered parking or do not permit street parking at all (except for loading), there is no need for residential parking permits. If you drive, you generally park in a garage or lot—and pay the (high) price.

Crime in the area is moderate, much of it robbery and theft related (grand and petty). And car break-ins and vehicle thefts are on the rise here, too, as they are in many neighborhoods. In addition to disturbing-the-peace violations, assaults are fairly common during any given month (perhaps due to the area’s proliferation of bars). There have been two homicides in the last three years.

Residential real estate in the district has remained high priced, even as prices were trimmed elsewhere in San Francisco during the recent downturn: a two-bedroom/two-bathroom penthouse on Montgomery was recently going for $3.1 million, with a two-bed/two-bath condo in Jackson Square asking $1 million. Even a modest one-bed/one-bath on Front Street was selling lately for $480,000. Apartment rentals are likewise expensive: studios and one-bed/one-bath units generally go from $1,600 to $2,600, with two-bedrooms fetching as much as $3,500 a month. Pricey, yes. But these housing choices come with walk-to-work proximity, an almost inexhaustible selection of shops and restaurants, and the built-in high energy of a cosmopolitan urban environment. Not for everyone, but not everyone is meant to afford life in the Financial District, either.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"A busy commercial area with many things to see"

Although the Financial District isn’t Downtown San Francisco itself, it still emits the same feel and charm as Downtown San Francisco does. Here in the Financial District, you’ll find a lot to do as well, but this is more for tourists I’d say. Here in the Financial District, you’ll of course see business men and women going from and to work in their nice looking professional suits. But you’ll also see a good number of tourists as well. The Transamerica Corporation pyramid lies in the Financial District, as well as good number of grand an elegant hotels. There several great restaurants in this neighborhood, as well as clubs and bars. There is even a little park on Front Street and Jackson Street and on Drumm Street, which is quite strange considering that the Financial District can hardly find any peace and quiet. There is also the Ferry Building on The Embarcadero, a building frequented by ferry users and tourists. Beware, people tend to get sea sick often on these ferries. There is also a little strip of land in front of the Ferry Building where fixed gear bikers and skaters frequent often, you’ll get a good show of these guys doing tricks and such.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Classic Old Grill and a Ferry Building Education"

What can I do in the financial district? Mostly, I like to walk there in the middle of the day. Sun-loving California girl that I am, I sometimes shy away from downtown. I always feel like I am in the shadow of some failing super bank’s megastructure. The one place in here I will walk in shade or over hot coals for is the century-old Tadich Grill. It’s delicious, no nonsense, beautiful. All the servers look and act like the type of kind witty grandpa everyone wishes for. They have a beautiful interior with a dark wood bar, green glass library lamps, and subway tile floors. Get anything. It’s all amazing. I usually start with the Crab louie salad and the seafood sauté. If not the seafood sauté, I get the poached halibut. This place is so classic, they don’t have a website. Walking the streets of the Financial District, I usually grab a sandwich at Café Algiers, which I pine for from a distance. Get there at 11 to get in line. Get there late and most of their fresh made daily ingredients and bread choices will be gone. I usually get a sandwich to go and walk down Beale Street, turn right on Howard if it’s daytime and you’d rather be left alone, or take Mission or Market I you want to bump into people. My final destination (and I can spend hours here) is the Ferry Building. I think it was completed in 2007, though I’m not sure. There are things here that I cannot find anywhere else and things I’ve never heard of before. Far West Fungi is a favorite stop. I love to make mushroom risotto and have tried some new mushroom varieties and recipes provided by the shop’s owners. I could spend hours reading and sitting in Herman Plaza outside the Ferry Building, popping back in for sustenance and caffeine every so often. A blissfully lazy and epicurean afternoon.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A Place of Great Disparity"

The financial District is the business hub of San Francisco. it gives plenty of space for pedestrians to travel by foot and riders of bikes to ride comfortably. However, traffic is a nightmare, producing huge headaches for those visitors driving there for the first time and simply continuous annoyance for those having to commute to the city. The streets are fairly clean but you can't look away that even though there is not much trash in the streets, the sidewalks are full of homeless men. The sight is quite unfortunate for both visitors and residents. One can only admire the gap between the very rich and the very poor meeting in the streets of the financial district.
Recommended for
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Working In the Financial District"

This is a nice area to work in close to the BART, Trollys and Buses. It can get loud sometimes but then again that is the city for you. This area has a few outdoor open eating places which is nice if you bring your own lunch to work you are not stuck eating indooors, not to mention pleanty of wonderful restaraunts (some of San Francisco's finest. Although there are a few homeless in the area not nearly as many as I have seen in other areas and they pretty much keep to themselves. I really enjoy working in this are as there are so many diverse people and interesting people is you just stop and take the time to talk and be friendly, it seems like so many people here are just in a rush but every once in a while some takes the time to have a brief conversation which makes it nice.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Big Business and Big City"

Centrally located along San Francisco’s waterfront, the Financial District is a hub of global commerce and banking. Several gorgeous historic buildings of stone are intermingled with iconic skyscrapers like the Transamerica Pyramid and the Bank of America. The Financial District is elegantly urban, and breathtakingly beautiful.

Monday through Friday the Financial District is abuzz with activity. Each morning thousands of people pour in from all over the Bay Area and beyond to conduct the workday. The Financial District is the nexus of all public transportation with BART, MUNI, buses and bicycles coming and going in every direction. During the workweek, thousands of businesses open to serve the businessmen and women of San Francisco. However, come 9PM on a Friday night the majority of businesses in the area shut down for the weekend and the Financial District becomes a bit of a ghost town.

The Financial District is primarily a commercial zone, however there are some luxury high-rise condominiums along the waterfront. Also, on southern edges of the District there are several warehouses that have been converted into residential lofts.

As you can imagine, traffic and parking are crazy anytime between 7AM-7PM. Parking is also very expensive in this area—usually a $25 flat day rate. During rush hours, the Bay Bridge on and off-ramps become clogged and traffic heading in and out of the City often slows to a snail’s pace.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
5/5
2yrs+

"Ferry Building, Farmer's Market, Osha Thai"

The Financial District is a thriving part of San Francisco. There's some wondering things to be enjoyed here. Justin Herman Plaza is the starting point for many parade routes in San Francisco. You can enjoy the sculpture that adorns the plaza and in the winter time, the skating rink that is temporarily installed.

The Ferry Building hosts a farmer's market on weekends which is a great place to enjoy yummy treats while shopping for your favorite foods and flowers. Across the way where Market ends at Embarcaderro, you can also enjoy some wonderful shopping experiences right next to Justin Herman Plaza. And right off the very same plaza is a really lovely Osha Thai restaurant which is part of a chain of great Thai fusion food in SF.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"Financial District offers much more than its name"

San Francisco's Financial District is surrounded by the Embarcadero and the Waterfront. There are wonderful bayside restaurants, including the famed Boulevard Restaurant - my personal favorite. Have eaten here a couple of times on very special occasions and know why it has been rated #1 in the Bay Area several years in a row. They offer the greatest wine cellar I have ever seen!

The Financial District is extremely diverse. It possesses upscale hotels, the city's oldest restaurant - the Tadich Grill on California Street and open since 1849, as well as some of the best walking tours in the city.

Don't forget to catch a bird's eye view of San Francisco from the Carnelian Room on the 52nd floor of the Bank of America building.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Travelling to Financial District?

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Best Streets in Financial District

1

Halleck St

4/5
"Appreciate this street"
37.7936297557955 -122.400556504609
2

Drumm St

4/5
"great view"
37.7951416622888 -122.396702236939
3

Belden Pl

4/5
"a really nice European flavor in the middle of San Francisco"
37.7912700000338 -122.403770499385
4

Front St

3.5/5
"A downtown street with surprising charms"
37.7947873764998 -122.399071036696
5

Gold St

3.5/5
"Bix Alley a Really Neat Street in San Francisco's Financial District"
37.7967846681507 -122.402639335832
"Banks, skyscrapers and steakhouses"
37.7941004685584 -122.403024302256
7

Davis Ct

3/5
"Start Enjoying You Weekends"
37.7969100000233 -122.398257499811
8

Spear St

2/5
"Dark and gloomy by night...sunny and breezy by day...."
37.7919182619983 -122.393284970453

Unranked Streets in Financial District

"great food close to financial district"
37.7945196567142 -122.400667470212

Davis St

2.5/5
"Great little cut through to get to downtown or the bridge"
37.7960580626566 -122.398124914965

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