6.7 out of 10

Ingleside Heights

Ranked 68th best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.7137756338624 -122.46643745022
Great for
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Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Eating Out
  • Parking
  • Schools
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Students

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+
Ingleside Heights is right along Freeway 280, just to the north of Daly City. The proximity to Daly City makes this a bars on windows and doors kind of neighborhood, though crime is really only average as far as SF is concerned. The homes here are small and largely in the squarish 20th Century modernist tradition. That mostly means small houses, cramped together.

The neighborhood largely rents out to San Francisco State students and this shows in the relatively low rents (where else in the city can you find a four bedroom for under $3000?). This makes for a compelling mix of young and old in the area.
In terms of shopping, there is a nearby mall in Merced and there are supermarkets and drugstores like Walgreens—basically all of the kinds of conveniences you would want to live in an area like this.

Now, only in San Francisco would this area be considered lower middle class. In fact, if you look at the average household income for the area according to the census, it is $68K which is right about average for SF and good $20K above the US median income. This is not Twin Peaks, but I would certainly not consider it to be too bad. In fact, I think there is a certain homey quality to the area, and the sharp inclines. There is definitely an appeal to the area.
Pros
  • Affordable Rents
  • Close to SF State
  • Nice Looking Homes
Cons
  • Some Crime Worries
  • A Bit Crowded
  • Noisy Freeway Traffic
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
2yrs+

"A neighborhood in decline"

Located on the southernmost tip of San Francisco, Ingleside Heights is one of the steepest neighborhoods in the city. It is considered part of the greater Ingleside area, with brightly colored buildings tightly squeezed together. The area is home to a flock of lower-middle class families with a subset of diverse ethnicities.

For those looking to own homes, the neighborhood is not immune to the housing market substantial decline in recent years. With many of the houses constructed with the same layout as their neighbors, prices do not seem to vary.

Shopping is a bit run-of-the-mill in this neighborhood. The district only offers a few small shops and seedy neighborhood corner stores with bars on the windows. Consequently, crime is a little bit of a factor in this area, with car thefts and burglaries having the most cause for concern among locals. These factors make it easy for visitors to avoid this somewhat disreputable neighborhood.

Ingleside Heights is home to many college students because San Francisco State University lies just a short bus ride away. The district provides reasonable prices on temporary housing for students. For younger educational institutions, the area offers Jose Ortega Elementary. However, the school does not seem to have a great reputation.

For commuters, public transit consists of Balboa Park Station and Interstate 280, which both connect the neighborhood to the Financial District and the greater San Francisco area.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5
2yrs+

"Give it a chance or give it up?"

Ingleside Heights much like its counterpart neighborhood Ingleside is a little rough around the edges. You won’t find palatial mansions here. What you will find is a neighborhood full of people who care more about their cars than their homes. With metal bars covering most windows, you catch the spirit that crime may be a possibility.

There are a few pockets of decent homes. The area between Brotherhood Way and Alemany is nice and the homes are cared for. Saint Charles Street would also get a nod from a city inspector. But, for the most part you will find dilapidated cars parked in driveways amongst other rusted modes of transportation.

The other side of Alemany reveals some of your strip mall favorites like Rite Aid and Hollywood Video. The Daly City BART station is also located nearby.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
3/5
2yrs+

"Is this Really in the City?"

Ingleside Heights is an area on the southern part of San Francisco. Because it is bordering Daly City and the grid layout is so standard, I generally don't feel like I'm in the city when I'm over there.

The benefit of this area is easy access to the ocean, easy access to 280 South, and fairly easy access to Lake Merced, Stonestown, the Golf Course and Stern Grove. Brooks Park, dotting the northern edge, offers a bit of greenery, though it's so easy to go west or south to get a bigger dose, you won't feel like you're missing nature over here.

Still, the area has a sense of "sprawl" to it and just doesn't really feel like the urban center San Francisco is.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Betwixt and Between"

Ingleside Heights is one of those neither here-nor-there neighborhoods that takes its cues from what lies around it: the sprawling suburban anonymity of Daly City to the south; the somewhat tired look of the blocks to the east and north; and the clean and modern (though somewhat sterile) Parkmerced to the west. Though it lies within the city limits, it has the look of numerous other communities that stretch up and down the Peninsula. Many first-time visitors to the area get here by taking a wrong turn off I-280, and it’s not uncommon for them to stop a local and ask “How do you get back to San Francisco?”

But this subdistrict of the area known overall as Ingleside (or, depending on where you live, Oceanview) is not without features that distinguish it from its neighboring districts. For one, it’s a bit safer in terms of crime. For another, it’s somewhat cleaner, with homes of a more recent vintage (and thus, more rectilinear in design, with less detailing to paint). Considering that it’s for the most part situated on a hill, there’s a more open feel to this neighborhood as well, sloping down as it does toward Brotherhood Way from Shields Street and Brooks Park, each house with its own postage-stamp front yard and individual landscaping (bushes and shrubs, generally—trees tend to be scarce here). Homes near Shields Street can even claim partial views of the Pacific.

The area was once rolling vegetable and dairy farms, then the nexus of a rail line that cut through the hills en route from the San Francisco waterfront to San Jose. Irish, German, and other immigrants from Europe moved here, encouraged by the easy access to jobs in the city. During the early part of the 20th century, however, the railroad abandoned the area for a more direct route via the Bayshore cut, and this once thriving place declined. Fueled by the World War II boom of the 1940s and ’50s, however, it began to be filled in with economical homes (of the style typical in the Sunset). Because there were no racial restrictions, African Americans and other minorities barred from home-ownership elsewhere in San Francisco could move here. The neighborhood quickly became one of the most diverse in the city.

Today, that diversity is still evident. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the neighborhood’s roughly 10,000 residents are about 45 percent Asian, 30 percent African American, 20 percent white, and the remaining 5 percent of mixed or two races; about 8 percent of all groups identify themselves as Latino. This is a lower middle-class area, with a median annual household income of about $55,000. About 75 percent of all residents own their homes. The proximity of San Francisco State University explains a large short-term population here, as many students are attracted to the area’s reasonable rents and the rooms and granny-unit accommodations that many homes offer.

Ingleside Heights can easily be divided into two distinct sections, with Brotherhood Way serving as the demarcation line; neighborhoods north and south have two different characters.

North of Brotherhood Way (a gently curving parkway carved in the 1960s from Stanley Drive), houses look minimally well-maintained, with a few sad cases of neglect and oddities thrown in. In the 100 block of Arch Street, for instance, visitors can easily spot a bizarre trio of homes on the east side of the street: one cheesy moderne, the next ersatz Yosemite, the final one Stone Age primitive. It is an amazing display of bad taste, and yet it fits in somehow with this street and its other crazy-colored adobe homes, from lime-meringue green to mustard yellow.

Many have criticized these tightly packed streets for being too car-centric, the homeowners (or renters) too obsessed with their cars and not enough with the upkeep of their dwellings. But there is nothing to suggest urban decay or blight, and most houses, while perhaps not imaginatively painted and decorated, are at least neat and clean. The presence of bars across most first-floor windows and entryways, however, suggests a frequency, or at least fear, of burglary, but the mostly graffiti-free neighborhood also attests to a certain pride of ownership as well.

On the south side of Brotherhood Way, the area takes on a different, less oppressive feel, with newly constructed apartment buildings (in particular, OceanView Village, a huge complex of renovated, reasonably priced apartments), a revamped shopping center (also part of OceanView Village, with a franchise drugstore and a large supermarket), and more trees, most of them young but a few quite old. This gives the streets in this flatter, more modern section of Ingleside Heights an appeal to younger residents, who like the easy access to the highway and BART. Older residents like the access to three nearby golf courses.

A couple of parks and playgrounds serve the neighborhood, both of them on the north side. Brooks Park on Shields Street is a “natural area,” meaning it has few landscaped areas beyond a few trails, some raised beds for community gardeners, and a picnic table and benches. Merced Heights Playground, also on Shields, has a couple of tennis courts, a basketball court, and a children’s play area with climbing equipment. Another of the neighborhood’s curiosities—Shields Orizaba Rocky Outcrop—has been described as “not quite a park,” and it’s fairly easy to see why: this bizarre promontory of serpentine and schist temporarily interrupts the normal grid, making dead-ends of both streets after which it takes its name. Local hikers and dog-walkers frequent it most, enjoying its views and lax leash rules.

The area is a prime candidate for undergrounding utilities. Look overhead on most of the streets, and it’s a tangle of wires and poles, eyesores that block views and add to the messy look of the streets. The city has begun replacing the modern “cobra” streetlights with a classic “teardrop” more in keeping with the era in which this area was developed, but lack of funds has stymied a full-speed ahead approach.

In addition to the aforementioned OceanView Village shopping center, many smaller shops, services, and businesses cluster along Randolph. Though it’s a main drag, with the “M” streetcar running down the middle, the street has a forlorn aspect, with only a shop here and there between somewhat seedy rental units and small homes. The Oceanview Branch of the public library (at Ramsell) is the one bright spot along this dreary stretch.

The “M” streetcar line cuts through the neighborhood’s middle, offering access to points north (Stonestown Mall, West Portal, downtown) as well as to BART at the Balboa Park station. The No. 54 bus traverses the area’s southern half, on the other side of Brotherhood Way, terminating at the BART Daly City Station. (A large parking lot for BART patrons lies just off St. Charles Avenue, just before it crosses over I-280.) Though parking is generally easy, the city’s Department of Parking and Traffic have issued “CC” and “B” permits for certain streets near schools or the BART station.

The lone school in the neighborhood—Jose Ortega Elementary, on Sargent Street, at the south end of Brooks Park—was rated 6 out of 10 by GreatSchools.

This is a marginally safe neighborhood, according to San Francisco Police Department figures, with a certain reputation for burglaries, robberies, and assaults. In any three month period, occasional vandalism (mostly graffiti) and disturbing the peace violations are committed as well. There have been three homicides in the last three years (all of them committed in 2007).

Real estate here is struggling to recover from the economic doldrums of the 2009/2010 period, with home prices suffering a 12 percent decline in the last year alone, according to Trulia. Many single-family homes with multiple bedrooms and baths sell for well under $500,000, with one three-bedroom fixer on Chester Avenue going for $392,000. Rentals, many of them in the OceanView Village complex, are also reasonable, with prices for a one-bedrooms starting at about $1,200 a month. As with apartments in adjoining areas, the student population from City College and SFSU drives the market here.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"In a busy and noisy sect of the city"

I have a few friends who live in the Ingleside Heights neighborhood, and from my frequent visits there, I can say that the neighborhood is rather bland. It reminds me of my neighborhood in the Sunset yet more excluded from the center of San Francisco (since it lies on the outskirts next to Daly City). One thing great about living in Ingleside Heights is the fact that you’re right next to the Stonestown shopping center. You can even now get you’re weekly produce and groceries there now that they’ve opened a Trader Joe’s at Stonestown. One thing I’d always go to Stonestown for is for the McFlurry at the McDonalds there, silly I must say. Ingleside Heights residents also live right next to three golf courses, great for frequent golfers. San Francisco State University is there as well, I’m pretty sure some houses in Ingleside Heights are rented out to a bunch of students who would rather live in a home environment rather than apartments or dorms. One downside of living in Ingleside Heights is the fact that you’re right next to several busy roads. These roads include Junipero Sierra Boulevard, 19th Avenue, and the 280 highway. And trust me, even if your house is a block away you will still hear the faint buzz and zooms of cars passing by. Ingleside would be a nice location to live in, that is if you’re away from the these busy streets.

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