6.0 out of 10

SOMA

Ranked 79th best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.7770279324279 -122.409446963652
Great for
  • Public Transport
  • Internet Access
  • Eating Out
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Neighborly Spirit
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Clean & Green
  • Gym & Fitness
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students

Reviews

3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Jul 18, 2015

"Tech Startup Capital of the City"

You're bound to run into tech startup folks wherever you venture in SoMA. Lots of great coffee shops, some cool bars near the stadium. Easily walkable from downtown, or even Mission (depending on what your definition of walkable is).

The area is dirty in places, but not bad overall. Safe area during the day, can be sketchy in parts of the neighborhood at night.
Pros
  • Walkable
Cons
  • Some run-down areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Industrial chic"

South of Market is an interesting neighborhood with a very urban feeling. Once an area primarily zoned for commercial use, SoMa is now mixed-use and several old warehouses and office spaces have been converted into lofts and apartments with all of the modern conveniences. On SoMa’s smaller side streets, such as Minna, there are a number of Victorian flats and modern condos. Both rents and home prices tend to be more affordable than in other neighborhoods, however the views can be industrial or drab. Also, many places surrounded by larger commercial buildings do not get very good light. However, for those willing to hunt for treasure, some very unusual gems can be found in SoMa.

SoMa is right next door to Downtown and several major public transit routes pass directly through the neighborhood. Parking can be decent during evenings and weekends, but most street parking is metered during weekday hours. There are several parking lots in the area that offer early bird and monthly discount fares.

For the most part, SoMa is a relatively safe neighborhood. Its streets are not always pleasant or charming, but they are well lit and busy. There are some rough spots around its boarder with the Tenderloin and in sections that coincide with the freeway underpasses.

SoMa’s stretch of Folsom Street is well known for its leather shops, S&M clubs and gay bars. As SoMa nears the center of Downtown, there is a wonderful area called Yerba Buena Gardens that is home to the San Francisco Modern Museum of Art, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The Sony Metreon and Moscone Convention Center are also located in this area.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Aloft in a Sea of Lofts (and Dreams of an Urban Art Colony)"

The loft—an open, high-ceilinged space with few walls but lots of windows and light—took hold in San Francisco beginning in the 1980s and 1990s, especially South of Market (or SoMa, as it’s known by some real-estate types and city planners). This area, in decline since the mid-20th century departure of the light-industrial base on which it had been built after the earthquake and fire of 1906, had many derelict or underused buildings and warehouses, perfect for transformation into lofts. By attracting young, educated, and hip urban pioneers back to this core city area—or so the enlightened city planning theory of the time went—San Francisco could avoid more of the wholesale razing of block after block in the name of urban renewal (as witnessed in the adjacent Rincon Hill and, farther to the west, the Fillmore). That way, instead of acres of parking lots and paved-over building sites, the old (and, in places, historic) district could be spared the wrecker’s ball. Essential to the plan was the somewhat high-falutin’ ideal that the neighborhood, by allowing so-called live/work housing, would encourage an artists’ community to spring up amid this landscape blighted by SRO hotels, seedy bars, and abandoned buildings.

The plan, as it turns out, has worked only partially, and belatedly at that (due, in part, to the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, which caused significant damage to the area for the second time in a century).Yes, South of Market is awash in lofts—many of them luxury homes, really, with no connection to art except for the expensive paintings the owners’ have hung on the walls. True, the live/work development promoted by the city’s planning department and Redevelopment Agency has provided numerous examples of the kind of “artists lofts” one sees commonly in places like New York’s SoHo—old factories reconfigured into drafty, high-ceilinged living spaces where a sculptor or painter or textile artist might work and live behind the same door. But “loft” in San Francisco also came to mean new, multi-unit structures (and recently, high-rises) as well, with several high-tech open-floorspace units, each having floor-to-ceiling windows, custom cabinetry, stainless-steel kitchens, tiled bathrooms with Jacuzzis, and spaces for two cars in the basement garage. They generally sell for prices only highly successful artists can afford.

Meanwhile, these developments have done little to help indigenous artists (indeed, any local residents, including digital-tech workers employed by the various Web 2.0 businesses who have located their offices here) find affordable housing. And, arguably, they have added to the skid-row quality of certain streets by concentrating displaced people along those corridors (like Sixth Street, which, in spite of recent improvements, is a nexus for drug abusers, despondent homeless people, and mentally ill residents of the remaining cheap apartment buildings and rundown hotels).

It’s easy to understand how all this has happened. The notion of an artists’ colony in the middle of a thriving city has fascinated urban planners since the early 20th century, when a backlash swelled against rural art colonies of the 19th century, typically located in some pastoral setting. (New York’s Ashcan School, with its examination of that city’s underbelly, brought a new respectability to artists working in urban environments.) In San Francisco, the goal of setting aside a part of the city for artists and galleries to trigger South of Market’s initial rebirth centered around Moscone Center. Built in 1981, this massive conference center situated on Howard between Third and Fourth streets was the initial phase of the San Francisco Redevelopment Authority’s plan to remake a depressed area adjoining Market that held a number of historically and architecturally significant buildings, including the Old Mint and St. Patrick’s Church. After the convention center came the successful Yerba Buena Gardens (a park situated atop Moscone Center’s northern wing as well as an art museum and performing arts theater that balanced the shopping center/multiplex—Metreon—on the opposite side). So far, this bit of urban renewal has worked: the park draws hundreds of lunchtime crowds; the cinemas and shops have managed to stay afloat (after a stop/start period at first); and the gallery space and performing arts theater draw crowds throughout the year. Moreover, the plan to locate several museums around Yerba Buena (including Mario Botta’s zebra-domed marvel for SFMOMA and Daniel Libeskind’s striking black-cube design for the Contemporary Jewish Museum) has attracted even more people to the area.

But walk a few blocks west down Mission or Howard streets, and the area begins to show a less appealing side: rundown buildings marred with grafitti, ragtag street people, forlorn parking lots surrounded by tawdry bars and liquor stores and shops selling everything from used clothing to discount beauty aids, with trash and litter strewn willy-nilly on sidewalks and gutters at nearly every turn. Even ambitious projects like the new San Francisco Federal Building on Seventh and Mission (a "green" 18-floor high-rise with unique features designed to consume less energy) and the refurbished beaux-arts federal appeals court building across the street have not transformed the area into a model of inner-city renaissance planning, their public spaces devoid of trees and other softening elements like comfortable benches and tables.

The challenge of remaking South of Market into a community of artists (or at least hip young professionals, where it seemed to be going before the dotcom bust in 2000) has always been stymied by the fact that the neighborhood had become home to, during the latter part of the 20th century, an entrenched and largely lower-class agglomeration of transients, recent immigrants, welfare recipients, and garment sweatshop workers, many of whom toiled in the area’s light industry and lived in the cheap hotels nearby. Today, these residents make the neighborhood colorful, but for different reasons than intended. A drive down side streets like Natoma or Tehama reveals, abutting newer loft buildings, some of the post-1906 quake Victorian flats and modern city-subsidized apartment houses they’ve settled into. It’s not quite skid row, but it’s not Nob Hill, either.

So, who lives here now? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the area is fairly diverse, a mix of white (45 percent), Asian (25 percent), African American (12 percent), and people of two or more races (18 percent). (It’s interesting to note that nearly one-fourth of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino of any race.) Most of SoMa’s 15,000 or so residents live north of the I-80 viaduct. They tend to be low-income (median household income is about $35,000), with more than 20 percent of the population living below the poverty level. Not surprisingly, 88 percent of them rent their living space, with the remaining 12 percent occupying lofts they bought during the construction boom of such units in the last 15 years. Though it’s not always immediately evident from the new construction and refurbished storefronts along the main corridors of the neighborhood, this is a lower- to lower-middle-class area at best.

No one lacks for places to eat and drink, however. The neighborhood is home to myriad ethnic restaurants (including Tu Lan, a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese eatery on Sixth Street that earned a nod from the late Julia Child) as well as high-end dining, such as Provence-inspired Restaurant Lulu on Folsom (with its open kitchen and wood-fired oven). Dozens of restaurants and shops, a multiplex, a Bloomingdales, and a Nordstrom are all arranged on multiple floors in the sprawling Westfield San Francisco Centre, an urban mall developed around the bones of the old Emporium department store. Though small grocers do business on nearly every block, a new-ish Whole Foods Market attracts the neighborhood’s upscale residents.

The city’s vibrant pop- and rock-music scene is centered in a number of clubs in South of Market (Slim’s, BrainWash, Hotel Utah, Annie’s Social Club, DNA Lounge, 330 Ritch Street). But the once-dominant gay community along Folsom has largely dispersed, with only a couple of leather shops and Mack Folsom Prison still catering to the gay/bi crowd, with several gay bars on nearby Harrison Street (the Stud, Lone Star Saloon, and The Eagle). The annual (and popular) Folsom Street Fair (and smaller Dore Alley Fair) still remind locals that the area was once a fulcrum of activity for gay and bisexual men, especially those with leather fetishes.

Being close to Union Square and the Financial District means public transportation is multi-faceted. BART and the Muni subway run underground along Market, with a number of bus lines feeding downtown from the outlying neighborhoods running along the surface, along with the historic "F" streetcars. Almost every block has a bus line running a generally north/south or east/west route (the streets parallel the diagonal Market here), with the No. 14 along Mission Street and the No. 12 along Folsom particularly well patronized. Golden Gate Transit and SamTrans (from San Mateo County) also run routes through the area.

The relatively few children in the area are served by Bessie Carmichael/Fec Elementary school, a public K-8 that got a 4 out of 10 GreatSchools rating. The school sits opposite a new and nicely laid-out Victoria Manalo Draves Park, with its basketball courts, baseball diamond, well-placed and spacious children’s play area, and big expanse of lawn, a rarity in this fairly treeless, asphalt-and-concrete desert. Nearby, at Sixth and Folsom, is Gene Friend/SoMa Recreation Center, noted for its large gymnasium as well as programs for preschool- and school-age children, teens, and young adults.

The area also hosts a few social centers for the aging population, including Bayanihan House on Sixth and Mission, along with self-help organizations like Salvation Army (at Fourth and Shipley) and St. Anthony’s Foundation free clothing program at Eighth and Mission.

According to San Francisco Police Department statistics, criminal activity in South of Market tends to run fairly high, not only along the main streets (where assaults and robberies most often occur), but also in the alleys and sidestreets, where car break-ins and auto thefts happen regularly—part of the city’s fastest developing crime epidemic. Burglary, vandalism, public intoxication, and noise nuisances fill out the extended police blotter. Moreover, the department recorded 15 homicides here in the last three years.

For all of its drawbacks, however, South of Market remains a competitive real-estate market, according to Trulia, with prices rising about 10 percent in the last year as the neighborhood recovers from the national economic downturn (sales prices had declined by about 20 percent overall in the last five years). Much of what’s for sale is lofts or condos, however, and these tend to have a median sales price around $550,000, with some units going for as low as $300,000 and others (top floors in the SoMa Grand) going for $725,000 and up. Rentals are reasonable, especially for modern construction, with one-bedrooms starting at $1,500 a month and two-bedrooms starting at $2,000. Studios, admittedly hard to find here, are most often situated in older buildings near Market for as low as $1,000 a month (don’t expect much in the way of amenities, however).

In all, South of Market remains a gritty place to live. Perhaps that’s part of the appeal of calling this neighborhood home: There's a certain hard-as-nails glamour to hanging your hat amid all these rough-edged urban streets.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
3/5
2yrs+

"180 Degrees Different From 15 Years Ago"

A former industrial area, San Francisco’s South of Market area, or SoMa, offers an interesting mix of swanky restaurants, popular nightclubs, startup culture, seedy residential hotels, and multimillion-dollar condos.

Despite low inventory levels, 2012 was a busy year for SoMa with 218 condominiums, lofts, and tenancies-in-common selling in the 12-month period, according to MLS data. In December the median sale price for such units increased 21 percent to $615,000, up from $509,000 a year earlier.

SoMa condominiums for sale in sought-after buildings can go for well over $1 million.

Well-known SoMa condominium and loft buildings include the Heublein building at 601 Fourth St., the Jackson Brewery at 1489 Folsom St., the Lighthouse Lofts, and the SoMa Grand.

Once nicknamed “South of the Slot” for its location on the wrong side of the cable car tracks, SoMa is now a hotbed of nightlife and a dining mecca. Numerous clubs line Folsom and surrounding streets, and each September the neighborhood hosts the Folsom Street Fair, a wildly popular leather and fetish event.

Favorite SoMa eateries include Fringale French restaurant, Coco500 restaurant and bar, Basil Thai restaurant, and AQ Restaurant & Bar. The neighborhood even boasts a combination cafe and laundromat: BrainWash.

Home to many startups and multimedia companies, SoMa boasts a definite arty vibe. Some of the city’s best museums, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, are nearby in the Yerba Buena neighborhood.
Pros
  • Walkable
  • Easy To Get Around
  • Great food
Cons
  • Some Corners Dicey
  • Some run-down areas
  • Maybe a little too trendy
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 1/5
2yrs+

"SF's Museum District"

SoMa is the highly commercial area of the city just to the south of the Financial District. And like the Financial District, there are not a lot of residences here. There are lots of office buildings, hotels, and museums in this area including the company I am currently involved with so I know this area fairly well.

It is actually fairly difficult to summarize all that is going here. But let’s give it a shot:

Museums: This is really SF’s museum. Yes, it is true the De-Young is in Golden Gate Park, and the Legion of Honor is up near Sea Cliff, but this area has at least half a dozen major museums including the SF MoMA, the Yerba Buena Center, and the Jewish Contemporary Museum.

Convention Centers: This, along with the Financial District is also one of the most popular areas for booking conventions being home to a number of hotels and the huge Moscone Convention Center.

Hotels: There are also a number of fine hotels that service the area including the Intercontinental and the Four Seasons.

Restaurants: The high traffic in the area also means a wide variety of eateries as well. A few of the best are Le Charm, a French restaurant; Luce; and Muchica, a Latin-American place. There are also a number of lower cost places as well. It really runs the gamut.

Bars: Whenever you are close to a financial district and a convention center, you will definitely get your share of bars to cater to these workers after hours and this is no exception. In SoMa you get a number of Irish pubs (e.g., the Chieftain) and south of 7th a number of gay bars like Club 8, KOK Bar, and The Stud (this used to be a big gay area before the action moved down to Castro).

Crime: Crime in the area is relatively high—as you would expect in a spot that looks as run down in spots as this one. You are mostly okay if you keep your wits about you in the day, but at night it is much more of a dicey situation.

Overall, I would say this is a great place to visit and have fun but not really somewhere you want to take a walk through after hours unless you are in a group. The museums are world class, the restaurants delicious, the bars are wild! What else could you want?
Pros
  • Great art
  • Great nightlife
  • Shopping
Cons
  • Some run-down areas
  • Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Not all it’s cracked up to be"

This neighborhood’s got a great reputation for being chock full of young professionals, start-up businesses, big open lofts, art studios, great art and furniture finds, and the kind of “anything goes” atmosphere that makes San Francisco the city it is. And that’s all true.

But there’s a seedy feeling to SOMA that I’ve never been able to shake. A lot of the buildings look like they’ve seen better days. There are seemingly abandoned buildings (these probably house those lofts and art studios this place is famous for, but they still look dingy) and closed storefronts almost everywhere you go. The artists and entrepreneurs live amongst lower-income blue-collar types. And there are just few enough people on the streets to make you wonder how safe you are at certain times of day.

Also, it’s just not a happening place to take a stroll through. Sure, there are tons of places to hit if you know what you’re looking for, but this isn’t one of those neighborhoods where fun times just jump out at you. At first glance, most of SOMA just looks boring.

Worth a visit for the great furniture shop Funky Furniture SF and the craft brew gem City Beer Store. Also worth checking out at night for countless hole-in-the-wall bars up and down the neighborhood (The Stud, Lone Star Saloon, Slim’s, and Bar Agricole, just to name a few). Also a hotspot for some good coffeeplaces and restaurants. I’d pass on living here.
Pros
  • Great food
Cons
  • Some run-down areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Students
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+

"Weird neighborhood that I just don't like"

Soma is a bizarre mix of grit and industry that just doesn't equal arty, in my opinion. Apparently, city planners wanted to revitalize the downtown area and starting enacting city zone plans for live-work lofts so that the area could clean up and become hip and arty . . .that didn't exactly work. Ok, yeah, most of the museums in SF are in Soma, but that's about where the artsy ends. None of the actual artists could afford to live in these lofts. The dotcommers started buying them and then that went bust . . . and now . . . I don't know. The area is just ugly.
It's constantly packed with tourists to a degree that almost makes Times Square seem not annoying. And, I don't agree with how any area can be trendy where there are that many tourists. A lot of the new hip nightclubs are in this area, but I don't like nightclubs so I don't see this as appealing. Also, it would be a nightmare to live here because of the noise and foot traffic alone. And, because this part of town never quite took off how they wanted, there are a lot of sketchy people here. I'm more scared in Soma than I am in the tenderloin. It's like the freaks all congregate next to Union Square and the park right by the Embarcadero. It, honestly, looks like skid row to me and I am not a fan. And yeah, that's a great idea: put a bunch of nightclubs in an area so young kids can come get drunk and then robbed / assaulted by the litany of fruitloops lurking around the neighborhood.
Union Square is great for streamline shopping, but the restaurants and bars are exactly that too: streamline. It's all the kind of dining that appeals to suits and out of towners in my opinion. There's nothing homey about Gordon Biersch. There's no character or energy to any of the buildings either. And, the neighborhood is so expansive, there can't ever be. I'm sorry, but I just kinda think Soma sucks. And, for the rent prices you would have to pay to live here, I say go live in Russian Hill where you won't wake up with a tranny hooker on your doorstep.
Pros
  • Shopping
Cons
  • Tourists Everywhere!
  • Sketchy
  • dirty
  • Some run-down areas
  • Maybe a little too trendy
  • Expensive
Recommended for
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+

"Bustling City Life with Night Clubs"

SOMA makes up one of the largest districts in San Francisco. The neighborhood is located directly under Market Street and stretches from Third Street to Eleventh Street. The area is saturated with huge warehouses, bare streets and gritty loft buildings.

SOMA is most notably known for its nightlife. On weekends, the neighborhood attracts the young, chic and urban professionals (as well as the occasional club rats) with two story night clubs. For your shopping needs, cruise through Westfield Mall. The three story shopping haven offers everything from Abecrombie and Finch to an IMAX movie theatre.

SOMA is best known for being a commercial neighborhood but has a bit of an inner city feel with some relatively low income housing. Residents typically live in loft apartments with open floor plans and windows that rise to the ceiling. During lunch hours, the tech crowd pours out into the Mission Bay area to enjoy some of the many ethnic restaurants the district has to offer.

Most of the neighborhood is relatively unkept except along commercial avenues. During the day, welfare recipients and poor immigrants fill some of the more rundown streets. Crimes are an everyday concern among locals with car break-ins and theft on the rise.

If you’re looking for easy transportation to all parts of San Francisco, Soma offers two underground Bart locations, a handful of Muni stops and buses interweaving the streets. For drivers, there’s an abundance of public parking lots.
Pros
  • Great food
  • Great art
  • Great nightlife
Cons
  • Some run-down areas
  • Maybe a little too trendy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
2yrs+

"Great Niche Neighborhood"

I am surprised that this fun, trendy, unique young peoples' neighborhood doesn't have higher marks overall, but I realize that the area is VERY niche role in that it caters to people who:

1. Are between the ages of 21 and 35
2. Are rich (which maybe makes 1. closer to 25 and 35)
3. Enjoy art
4. Eat out all the time
5. Live in lofts

The neighborhood is almost equivalent to New York City's post-gentrified SoHo or TriBeCa, even in its oddly-capitalized-based-on-location-abbreviations name, but almost seems to be a newer, fresher version. The people here are a little younger. There is still some grit. And the restaurants are small, trendy, and excellent.
Pros
  • Great food
  • Great art
  • Great nightlife
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Maybe a little too trendy
  • Some run-down areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Accessibility, great eats, great neighborhood!"

If you're a young professional looking for an ideal place to hang your hat in San Francisco, SOMA is the place to be. Not the 24-hour-party of The Mission or Castro, and not the snooty, yuppie-choked Nob Hill or Hayes Valley, SOMA is an excellent blend of great restaurants, slick condos and apartments, and quick access to everything you love about San Francisco. While it can be a bit noisy, and there's some heavy commute traffic rolling through the 'hood in the mornings and early evenings, there's enough to do in the area to keep any active soul occupied ad infinitum.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Busy neighborhood with endless things to do in a day"

South of Market (SOMA) is a neighborhood that lies directly South of Market street as the name says. In SOMA there’s a lot to do. There are numerous amounts of restaurants there with a wide variety of food from around the world. There are also some popping/busy bars in the neighborhood as well, although I only ride my bike through the neighborhood everyday and have not actually gone into the bars and eaten at the restaurants, the bars look like people would have a fun time in there and the food at the restaurants look delicious. SOMA is also well known for its job market as there are several big employment businesses that always recommend or point people towards open job positions. Not only that, SOMA is well known for its apartments and condos, I’ve seen them before and they look really, really nice. I myself would love to live in one of those condos or apartments. The pricing on the living here is pretty high as it should be since it is San Francisco, well known for its high cost of living. Besides housing and the job market, there are numerous warehouses and industrial buildings in SOMA, most of which seem to be closed down. The neighborhood seems gloomy and murky at first, although you can’t really put your finger as to why it is or can’t seem to figure out why, it just seems like it. Because of this the neighborhood may seem unsafe to you, but it is relatively safe, just don’t do anything to provoke danger. There are many leisurely things to do in SOMA such as the movies at the Metreon or ice skate and bowl at the Yerba Buena Center. At SOMA, you’ll always find something to do by yourself, with friends, your spouse, and your family. The streets in SOMA tend to get busy in the morning and when people get off work, traffic is also contributed by the entrances and exits to the nearby freeways.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
2yrs+

"SoMa is great for artsy types with money"

South of Market, or SoMa, unsurprisingly borders on market Street. This is a nice little haven of arts and sophistication. This neighborhood is close to the Tenderloin, so you may have some issues with crime. But there are lots of things going on in SoMa including a lot of warehouses, nightclubs and artsy spaces. Also you will find various technology companies including Twitter.

When I went to SoMa, I checked out a few museums. The Cartoon Art Museum was my favorite. None other than Charlie Brown’s creator Charles Schulz funded this museum. There is also the Museum of the African Diaspora and The Contemporary Jewish Museum. There is also, of course, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which is a must if you are visiting the city and an art lover.

I liked the fact that SOMA had a lot of theatres too. You will find various small theatres that seem to have interesting off-beat shows. There are also a ton of small bars and great restaurants.

SoMa is a unique neighborhood that gives you some of the gritty city feel while also providing access to great shopping and cultural activities. You can get a place in this neighborhood for a lower price than many others.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5
2yrs+

"Busy little town"

I think if I had to pick a place to live in San Francisco, I would pick SoMa. I visited it while on my vacation and it was so cute. There are lots of little shops and restrants to choose from and you can shop till you drop and not spend a lot of money. The houses were cool and quiet. If I could live anywhere it would be here.
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Up and coming?"

What's not to love about SOMA? It's close enough to downtown and shopping that one will never feel as if they are out of touch with city life, while allowing for affordable living and a "gritty" neighborhood feel.

Gems like Brainwash Coffee shop and SOMA Inn Cafe near my neighborhood allow me to live the yuppy lifestyle while feeling like I'm still connected with the "hipster" lifestyle. Yes, the auto repair shop to population ratio is definitely skewed, properties are being revitalized at an incredible rate - yes, gentrification is coming!

Overall, living in SOMA provides a great, relatively affordable atmosphere for twenty-something professionals who wish to cut the commute to their downtown office jobs without sacrificing the "pulse" of the city (as can happen in other affordable neighborhoods such as the Sunset).
Recommended for
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"SOMA is great for nightlife"

I lived and worked in SOMA for two years, and I definitely miss it these days! SOMA has a lot of great little bars and restaurants - some personal favorites are Brick House and Tres Agaves. Full of new high rises, SOMA has a lot of relatively (by San Francisco standards, anyway) inexpensive apartments available for young singles and couples. SOMA is also one of the centers of the online business world, so expect to be surrounded by tech savvy people in the local bars and restaurants. If you're a baseball fan, the stadium is right there, and if you like to shop, the mall is just a short walk away. Plus, it tends to be sunny in SOMA even when the rest of San Francisco is enveloped in fog.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
2yrs+

"All You Need is SOMA!"

In the last few years, this area has really taken a turn for the better. First there's the new Bloomingdales and the expansion of San Francisco Center with a food court to die for. You can get just about anything you want in the food court. They even have free range meat at the Bistro Burger joint.

Nearby is one of my favorite parks and in city views. Yerba Buena Gardens has a lovely park with the MLK water fountain memorial. Upstairs, enjoy Samovar tea lounge with a great view and fabulous menu of tea choices.

Want some IMAX? Never fear! The Metreon has an IMAX theatre as well as 12+ more. Still can't find the movie you want to see, slip back to the Bloomingdales building and enjoy the Century Theatre's in there.

For you art and culture buffs, enjoy the MOMA and Yerba Buena cultural center on the east side of SOMA.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"Sprawling Industrial SoMa"

South of Market (SoMa) is home to web gurus, local artists, and an eternal supply of kids who love to club. This district is large and very spread out and it pays to know where you are going, especially when walking. The zone around Sixth and Mission can be sketchy. But, to the seasoned San Franciscan SoMa brings hidden treasures and funky urban charm.

In the market for some edgy clothing? Try A Motion Studio, featuring affordable urban designs. Look for the signature orange windbreaker hanging over the door at 440 Brannan. Maybe you need to spruce your pad up with some fresh-cut flowers? Check out Podesta Baldocchi, a relic of old San Francisco that has been in business for over 100 years. The old Grant Avenue shop once had a cameo appearance in Hitchcock's "Vertigo."

Nightlife in SoMa brings something for everyone. Butter - the self-proclaimed "white trash bistro" serves TV dinners and tater tots to some great dance music. 330 Ritch - best known for its nighttime program of swing lessons and jazz.

Don't forget to stop by Mitchell's Ice Cream for some unusual flavors like avocado, mango, purple yam, and even baby coconut.

Whatever you have in mind, SoMa will deliver.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Travelling to SOMA?

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Best Streets in SOMA

1

11th St

3.5/5
"The Hipsters Paradise "
37.7723587518767 -122.414639811079
2

5th St

3.5/5
"Unique Finds On 5th Street"
37.7837600003552 -122.407774999091
3

Howard St

3.5/5
"Not too much to do on howard Street, but the places that are here are worth it."
37.7769467851823 -122.410687898318
4

9th St

3.5/5
"A bunch of great places to eat, though it can be congested with traffic sometimtes"
37.777106000999 -122.415806497446
5

3rd St

3.5/5
"Cultural Spot"
37.7872926456126 -122.403346075462
6

Valencia St

3.5/5
"It's always the sunny side of the street!"
37.772006593442 -122.422616670748
7

Mission St

3/5
"High Art, High Rent, and High Crime"
37.7763147413612 -122.414603353813
8

8th St

2.5/5
"Sketchy but Parking-Friendly"
37.7784800003799 -122.414441999031
9

Gough St

2/5
"Otis Street is busy and can be noisy."
37.7724425014252 -122.421192496813
10

Clara St

2/5
"Mostly large houses or apartments"
37.7795205100695 -122.402299780535

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