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San Francisco and Beyond: Neighborhoods

San Francisco's Greater Bay Area contains neighborhoods each with its unique feel. Pacific Dugoni's new campus is located in the South of Market (SOMA) district. Listed below are descriptions of the most desired/recommended neighborhoods from our students.

Quick Links for additional information about San Francisco, East Bay, or just about every neighborhood & city within the United States.

South of Market

The SoMa (South of Market) district is a thriving up-and-coming area of the city. Located in the heart of San Francisco's premier shopping and entertainment area, you are within walking distance to theaters, museums, fine art galleries, and world-renowned restaurants. Thanks in part to the many tech companies that call San Francisco home, this area caters to the young professional looking for a fun and vibrant district to call home. Public transportation options are plentiful as Muni, BART and Caltrain all have stops in this neighborhood, making it another good area to live without a car.

Hayes Valley

This region of the city feels like a neighborhood - with access to parks, small corner stores and coffee shops, it is cozy and accessible at the same time. When seeking a home you're apt to find beautiful, intricate Victorians, likely cut into apartments or left as huge 4-8 bedroom monstrosities. Convenient access to transportation nearby.

South Beach

Round the bend of the Embarcadero, and head towards AT&T park, you'll find an array of new, modern and urban high-rises and apartments. It is one of the few places in the city that you will find new luxury apartments. Only steps away from the Embarcadero where you will find people sunbathing on the grassy areas, runners, bikers, and restaurants. There's easy access to transportation, and the area becomes great fun when amassed with a sea of World Series-winning San Francisco Giants fans. If you have the money to spend you'll find this area is quite central to getting around San Francisco, is generally pretty safe, has great views and a very up-and-coming feel.

North Beach / Nob Hill / Russian Hill

If you can get over the hills, you'll enjoy incredibly walkability to the Financial District, Chinatown, Union Square, Polk Street, Union Street and Fisherman's Wharf. Homes and apartments will surely be nice, but some of the most expensive in the city. If you want a little privacy, don't move near Russian Hill's most popular attraction, Lombard St. A.K.A "The crookedest street in the world". You'll find tourists (and some locals) driving down this road almost 24 hours a day. The 1 California bus is a quick way to get downtown or to the Richmond from these areas - people who live and use this line love the convenience.


The Presidio of San Francisco offers a spectrum of housing options in twenty-one distinct and beautiful neighborhoods. Units range in size from one to seven bedrooms. Many Presidio homes are contributing features to the Presidio's National Historic Landmark designation. More than half of the park is open space, including such significant features as Baker Beach, the historic Presidio Forest, Mountain Lake, El Polin Spring and Los Lobos Creek. Crissy Field is nearby as well. With housing units available throughout the park, the Presidio is a great place to live.

The Richmond

Framed by the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge, the Richmond District is within driving distance to almost any corner of the city. Rents in this middle-class district vary from affordable apartments and in-laws to flats at top dollar. There is easy transportation nearby, and Golden Gate Park beckons to the south. A variety of shops and restaurants featuring cuisines from all over the world reflect the Richmond's and San Francisco's ethnic diversity.

The Sunset

South of Golden Gate Park is the Sunset district. The Inner Sunset, which is near Golden Gate Park's museums, botanical garden and Japanese Tea Garden, is a popular destination, while the quieter Outer Sunset is more affordable. The area is served by the N Judah streetcar as well as multiple bus lines.

Cole Valley / Buena Vista

Just a few blocks from the Haight Street scene is this charming neighborhood of renovated Victorians and small shops. Residents value their homes and gardens, and the area retains a quaint, small-town feel. Bakeries, markets, bars, and small gourmet restaurants add to a mix that makes this neighborhood a resident's dream. The "walk around" approach may be the best way to locate available rentals.

East Bay Neighborhoods


Set along the waterfront, Emeryville is located at the foot of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Emeryville's real estate and housing choices are as diverse as its population. Whether it's a modern townhouse complex, a waterfront high-rise condominium, a live/work artist's loft, or a quaint Victorian style home, Emeryville has something to offer any lifestyle. Emeryville is easily accessible from highways I-80 and I-580 and just a short hop over the Bay Bridge from San Francisco. This little city also offers free local transportation via a shuttle system - the Emery-Go-Round - that services all of the commercial areas as well as the nearby MacArthur BART station in Oakland.


Albany has it all, this community-oriented city boasts manicured homes, friendly neighbors, grassy parks and playgrounds, a charming main street, a host of services, family-friendly programs and excellent schools. Situated between North Berkeley, El Cerrito and Richmond, Albany is close to major freeways as well as BART and other public transportation. Oakland is about 15 minutes away and San Francisco can be as close as 20 minutes in light traffic.

South Berkeley / Lorin

South Berkeley, sometimes referred to as the Lorin District, remains one of Berkeley's most accessible and affordable neighborhoods. An expressive community, South Berkeley has many creative outlets, including the inspired art galleries of the Ashby Arts District. The Ashby BART station makes getting around the Bay Area a breeze.


Temescal began as its own little village, eventually choosing to incorporate with Oakland and is now one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. With its active local business and friendly locale, this is one area not to be overlooked. An annual street fair displays Temescal's cultural variety and gives those new to the area a chance to meet neighborhood merchants and business owners. Conveniently located to nearby MacArthur BART station, the neighborhood is known for its easy access to San Francisco.

Rockridge (lower)

Rockridge is what many consider the ideal Oakland neighborhood. This neighborhood has an exemplary public transportation system combined with a very pedestrian-friendly layout, making commuting easy and local exploration fun and relaxing. BART and bus lines vein through the community and several freeways feed you to the Caldecott Tunnel, Bay Bridge, East I-580 and South I-880.


The tiny town of Piedmont is one of the wealthiest and prettiest cities in California. Named by Forbes Magazine in 2007 as the "Best Place to Live" in the United States, the desirability of this neighborhood has not gone ignored. The 11,000 residents enjoy the best of both worlds: small-town independence and the convenient access to all the big city amenities of San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and upscale Walnut Creek just a short 20 minutes away.

Peninsula Neighborhoods

Daly City

Daly City is located at the northernmost edge of San Mateo County adjacent to San Francisco. One of Daly City's greatest assets is its affordably priced and conveniently located quality housing. Many homes have spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Daly City is approximately eight miles south of downtown San Francisco and is easily accessible by freeway or BART and is also served by the San Mateo and San Francisco transit systems.

South San Francisco's Rancho Buri Buri

Rancho Buri Buri is situated between the major roads of El Camino Real, Westborough Blvd. and Junipero Serra Blvd. Public transportation is a plus, since the neighborhood has several dispersed SamTrans bus stops, as well as a BART station right across El Camino, within a 10 minute walk for most of the neighborhood and A 20 minute drive to downtown San Francisco. Rancho Buri Buri is known as a very clean, safe area great for families.


Colma is where lots of students live while attending nearby colleges. Because of the high percentage of people living in Colma are enrolled in college, Colma has a number of services, amenities and opportunities geared towards the needs and activities of students. Easy, convenient access to BART & MUNI.

San Bruno

San Bruno, is located on the San Francisco Peninsula 12 miles south of San Francisco. Public transportation is the best means of getting around to other areas of the city. San Bruno is a great choice for families with children. Housing facilities are primarily made up of small (studio to two bedroom) to medium sized (three or four bedroom) apartment complexes/high-rise apartments and small apartment buildings.


Millbrae is a very nautical neighborhood, meaning that it is somewhat historic, walkable, densely populated and on the water. Housing in Millbrae is primarily made up of small (studio to two bedroom) to medium sized (three or four bedroom) apartment complexes/high-rise apartments and single-family homes. With a nice mix of college students, safety from crime, and decent walkability, the Magnolia Ave / Taylor Blvd neighborhood rates highly as a college student friendly place to live. However,the average driving commute to downtown San Francisco could be anywhere between 15-30 minutes. A short drive to BART's Millbrae station is a convenient way to commute to downtown San Francisco.

SF Map