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March 18, 2016updated 22 Jul 2021 3:41pm

Best places to live in San Francisco

By Codelia Mantsebo

The City of San Francisco is stunningly beautiful and culturally rich, making it not only a unique place to visit but also to live. The climate is one of the most unusual in the world, with little seasonal temperature variation. San Francisco is gently layered with different ethnicities, cultures and lifestyles, sharing the same setting yet remaining distinct, thus among the most ethnically and socially diverse areas to live in the country.

Best places to live in San Francisco

There are plenty of neighbourhoods to choose from and the best places to live in San Francisco differ in landscape and even climate. Walk a few blocks and you could be in a completely different world, each with its unique collection of restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment.

Join some of the city’s wealthiest residents and opt for Sea Cliff with its large estates and sweeping, dramatic views of the ocean, or find a luxury home crest a hill for a view all the way out and across the bay.

Pacific Heights


Beautiful, spacious and well-kept Victorian and Edwardian homes line this affluent, hilltop neighbourhood. Pacific Heights is one of the most desirable and best places to live in San Francisco. Most of the multi-million-dollar homes in the area boast views of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge. The neighbourhood possess some of the most spectacular views in the city and also has easy access to Presidio of San Francisco national park. Additionally, with areas known as ‘billionaire’s row’, this neighbourhood is the most expensive place to live in San Francisco, a perfect residence for the ultra high net worth.


Best places to live in San Francisco

Custom-built homes are nestled into the hills of this affluent suburb. The town is located just east of the city of Berkeley and is home to many affluent suburban professionals who commute to downtown Oakland, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek. Orinda has set a tone of wealthy families and excellent schools. Its location provides for a more country landscape, and Orinda’s many parks and trails make it a destination for many Bay Area hikers and naturalists. Orinda boats the San Pablo Reservoir, which residents use for kayaking or small boating and fishing.

Russian Hill

Best places to live in San Francisco

Perched along San Francisco’s highest hilltops and amongst its most crooked streets, Russian Hill is an intimate and elegant neighbourhood. This charming area is quiet, serene and sophisticated — with a collection of some of the city’s first and finest high-rise apartment buildings. Russian Hills provides unrivalled views of the East Bay, Alcatraz, Angel Island and Marin County.

Historic San Francisco traces many of its leading figures to this neighbourhood. With a combination of high-rise apartment buildings, fine Victorian and Edwardian homes, the well landscaped homes in Russian Hill provide homes for the elite and wealthy.

 Sea Cliff

Best places to live in San Francisco

An enclave known to house the wealthy and the famous, Sea Cliff is one of the best places to live in San Francisco, boasting some impressive mansions and splendid piles perched on cliffs overlooking the Golden Gate. Some of Sea Cliff’s streets and homes have been compared to Beverly Hills North in appearance, with manicured yards and incongruous palm trees swaying in the fog. For unobstructed ocean views, opt for homes along El Camino Del Mar and Sea Cliff Avenue. The area also has a reputation for privacy and discretion, making it a perfect neighbourhood for families who enjoy exclusivity. The area has two exclusive private schools that cater to Sea Cliff’s youths.

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St Francis Woods

Best places to live in San Francisco

St Francis Woods is San Francisco’s hidden gem, a small and affluent neighbourhood with perfectly designed homes on clean streets and sidewalks — bordered by well-tended trees and flowers and patches of greenery. Undoubtedly one of the best places to live in San Francisco, the neighbourhood is a model of tranquillity and natural beauty and residential luxury unlike any other in San Francisco. Saint Francis is completely residential, offering sizable estates, manicured front lawns and roads winding around the natural landscape. On certain roads, bushes are groomed in perfect shapes and high trees line the streets in flawless rows.

Presidio Heights

San Fran

Presidio Heights has some of San Francisco’s largest homes, on enviably private and quiet lots. It is often amongst the most expensive places to live in the city. Presenting gracious, large homes with sweeping views, the neighbourhood is matched with elegant shopping and dining areas, and easy access to the Presidio. Presidio Heights offers residents easy access to Laurel Village, home to high-end grocery stores Cal-Mart and Bryan’s Grocery, Noah’s New York Bagels, Books Inc., and Rigolo Cafe & Restaurant. For families with children, many excellent schools are located nearby including San Francisco University High School.

Balboa Terrace

Best places to live in San Fran

District 4, also known as Twin Peaks West, is arguably one of the most upscale districts in San Francisco. It is home to some of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in the city, including: St. Francis Wood, Forrest Hill, and Balboa Terrace. A homeowner’s neighbourhood, it makes the perfect home for the super-wealthy with the average household income being well into the six figures.

Balboa Terrace has old historic homes — many in the Mission or Mediterranean style exuding orderly elegance.

Nob Hill

Best places to live in San Francisco

Nob Hill is a classy area marked by Victorian homes and gorgeous views. Sky high prices, immaculately maintained streets and storefronts lend Nob Hill an exclusive manner. The area is known for its picturesque vistas and picture-perfect streetscapes. Historic Victorian homes and spectacular views add to the neighbourhood’s unattainable charisma, while a Gothic style cathedral contributes to its quaint manner. It makes one of the best places to live in San Francisco for anyone looking for a quiet and safe place to reside in. Nob Hill also boasts world-class restaurants and swanky lounges for after-dinner drinks.

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