Here goes, and if there are any San Franciscan natives or connoisseurs following this blog, feel free to chime in where necessary!
Marina District: A popular locale for 20 and 30 somethings, this area has been up and coming in recent years. I've heard that if you do feel a slight rumbling beneath you while in the Marina, then it's almost a guarantee that you may fall quickly into the depths of the perfect storm. Apparently everyone around here wears life jackets, helmets and floaties at all times. I hope you didn't believe that. Located approximately 10 minutes from downtown via the express bus, the Marina is quite accessible to other parts of the city. It also boasts a variety of gyms as well as an amazing running/biking route that extends down to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Nob Hill: Keyword here is 'hill'. While they're all over the city, I encountered about 3 of the steepest inclines my tiny legs have ever endured upon my walk from the BART to my friend's apartment. I felt like a baby dinosaur that couldn't regain its balance at about every step. In any case, its location is clutch. Close to downtown, a 20 minute walk to China Town / North Beach, and a 35 minute walk to the Wharf, Nob Hill is fairly central. You can also walk to AT&T Ballpark - it's just a bit longer of a journey. Many of the apartment buildings here boast roof-deck views of the city that are absolutely mesmerizing. Additionally, you won't struggle to find an eatery or social spot - I'd recommend the following:
- Uncle Vito's: Located at Bush & Powell (Union Square / Nob Hill), fantastic pizza and a city original since 1977.
- Cantina: Located on Sutter Street, this cocktail lounge exudes chic style. My vote is for one of its signature drinks, the Tuscan Sangria. If you want something with a lot more of a punch, then try the Laughing Buddha.. but beware, this bad larry is stronger than a bull on steroids.
North Beach: Surrounded by Chinatown and the Wharf, this area is similar to Boston's North End in that it boasts an Italian feel. Rich with history, North Beach is known for its jazz festivals, street fairs and parades. It was also the childhood home of Joe DiMaggio, and is a famous locale for movie sets as well as an area popularly frequented by writers and musicians. My two suggestions for bars of note include:
- Mojito - Located on Grant Ave, fabulous strawberry mojitos, typically features daily/nightly live music.
- O'Reilly's - Shocker, an Irish pub! Located on Green Street, and like I've said before, they're like mosquitoes in dark, wet, wooded areas.. yet, I'll never hesitate to enter into one.
Russian Hill / Polk Street: Located approximately 20 minutes walking distance from Nob Hill, Polk Street is known for its nightlife. Especially its section in San Francisco's affluent Russian Hill neighborhood. Nearly any night of the week, this area attracts a crowd. Do note that Polk Street does run into the Tenderloin which is a less safe environment than its Russian Hill counterpart. One bar to grab a stiff cock.. tail at:
- Tonic: Boasting an artsy feel with velvet couches and tables that make you feel like you're a Knight of the Round Table, this bar/lounge offers a cozy, yet stylish atmosphere.
As I said before, I'm by no means a qualified expert on San Franciscan neighborhoods, but those noted above do include a handful of areas that I had the pleasure of visiting during my stay in the City by the Bay. Insight from natives is absolutely welcome!