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The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa)

The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa)

San Francisco is growing. And it’s growing fast.

In March, Forbes ranked San Francisco the second fastest growing urban city in the nation, with 1.24% population growth in 2015 and 0.77% projected for 2016. Developers are rushing to keep up with the growing population’s demands, dotting the skyline with cranes as they raise buildings to new heights across the City—from the waterfront, to Mission Bay, to the Mid-Market corridor.

Most of this new construction is concentrated in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) region — an area encompassing the SoMa, Yerba Buena and South Beach neighborhoods. These new developments are already shifting the city center, and will redefine the San Francisco skyline.

⬇️ Scroll down for our favorite restaurants, shops, nightlife, cultural sites and recreation in SoMa, Yerba Buena and South Beach. ⬇️

Salesforce Tower is rising nearly two floors a week. Photo: Elizabeth Pinkham, via Twitter: @pink94109.
Salesforce Tower is rising nearly two floors a week. Photo: Elizabeth Pinkham, via Twitter: @pink94109.

South of Market (SoMa)

A tourist may wander upon SoMa and only see a maze of warehouses, while never discovering the hidden gems deep inside this gritty, but highly desired neighborhood. Many of these ghostly warehouses — a reminder of San Francisco’s industrial past — have been converted into luxury lofts and tiny start-up offices.

Because of SoMa’s mixed-use zoning, you can walk a two-block stretch and find several residences, offices, trendy restaurants and lounges, as well as some of the city’s best nightclubs.

Some of San Francisco’s most talked about restaurants, art galleries, and bars are located in the heart of SoMa. AT&T Park is just down the street for baseball fans to squeeze in a Giants game, sometimes even from their rooftop. While SoMa is a lively district, residents can enjoy peace and quiet at South Park and Yerba Buena Gardens.

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St. Patrick's Catholic Church was built in 1851, and is located directly across from Yerba Buena Gardens. Photo: Kyle Legg, 49Miles.com.
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, located directly across from Yerba Buena Gardens, was built in 1851. Photo: Kyle Legg, 49Miles.com.

Yerba Buena

Named after Mexico’s Alta California territory that was renamed “San Francisco” upon acquisition by the United States in 1846, Yerba Buena is known for being home to “the largest concentration of art west of the Hudson River.”

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Contemporary Jewish Museum are just a few of the museums in this culturally rich neighborhood.

The Metreon and Westfield San Francisco Centre both offer shopping and entertainment, as well as an IMAX movie theatres. The Moscone Center, located just across the street from Yerba Buena Gardens, is the host of the annual Apple Worldwide Developer Conference and Salesforce’s Dreamforce Conference.

Once completed, Yerba Buena will be home to the tallest building west of the Mississippi River: Salesforce Tower. Yerba Buena will also be home to Transbay Terminal, which will serve Muni, BART, Caltrain and high-speed rail upon completion.

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A view from a top-level penthouse in South Beach's ultra-luxury One Rincon Hill tower. Photo: IM Properties, rentimproperties.com.
A view from a top-level penthouse in South Beach’s ultra-luxury One Rincon Hill tower. Photo: IM Properties, rentimproperties.com.

South Beach

The San Francisco Giants call it home, as do some of the city’s tallest residential high-rises. South Beach is a new, trendy, upscale neighborhood on the waterfront— just blocks away from the Financial District.

Residential high-rises and luxury condos, like One RinconMillennium Tower and LUMINA, offer stunning 360-degree views of San Francisco and the Bay. With South Beach’s popular clubs and buzzed-about restaurants, Saturday night entertainment options are anything but limited; though SoMa, the Waterfront, and Dogpatch are all nearby if cabin, er, South Beach fever ever strikes.

Buildings such as 95 Hawthorne; The Harrison, one of San Francisco’s most luxurious buildings; 181 Fremont, San Francisco’s tallest mixed-use building; 6 Mint Plaza, modern condos in a building built in 1903; Seventy2 Townsend, apartments inside a warehouse that survived the 1906 earthquake; Huxton, a planned 120 unit building right in the center of SoMa; Salesforce Tower and the Transbay Terminal will continue to rise, and more are on their way to change San Francisco’s skyline.

There’s so much more than buildings popping up throughout the district, breathing new life into the SoMa, South Beach and Yerba Buena neighborhoods.

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Pumpkin Bisque. Photo: The Perennial, theperennialsf.com.
Pumpkin Bisque. Photo: The Perennial, theperennialsf.com.

Restaurants:

The Perennial
$$$ | 59 9th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
The Perennial, which just opened in January, focuses on locally sourced, eco-friendly and sustainable ingredients, earning it the title of “most environmental restaurant in the world.” Located on the cusp of Mid-Market, this industrial chic, New American bistro is helmed by noma (yes, that noma) alum Chris Kiyuna. The restaurant has an incredible bar program, so don’t skip on their tasty house cocktails.
What to Order: Pumpkin Bisque and Cauliflower Toast to start, then Stemple Cured Beef, finished off with Bourbon Chocolate Ganache.
Dinner: Monday-Sunday: 5:30PM–10:00PM
Reservations: Opentable

Volta
$$ | 868 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Volta is the third restaurant from Umberto Gibin and Staffan Terje, the team behind Perbacco, serving up modern French–Scandinavian fusion cuisine in the space that formerly housed ‘wichcraft. This Nordic-chic brasserie will dramatically change how you feel about IKEA’s Swedish Meatballs.
What to Order: Start with a taste of the best of both worlds with Herring Five Ways and Escargot to share, followed by Kötbullar (Swedish Meatballs), finished off with an Éclair or Princess Cake for dessert.
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 11:30AM–10:00PM
Reservations: Opentable

Black Cod at Saison. Photo: April Dawn Storm, via Instagram: @aprildstorm.
Black Cod at Saison. Photo: April Dawn Storm, via Instagram: @aprildstorm.

Saison
$$$$ | 178 Townsend Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Saison is one of San Francisco’s two restaurants to have earned three Michelin stars, the highest honor the awarding company gives. This high-end new American fare also is San Francisco’s most expensive restaurant, where a single 22-course prix fixe meal will run you $519, or $1,039 for a party of two. Want to pair that with wine? Tack on another $298… per person. Regardless, a night at Saison will be an unforgettable experience — and perfect for special occasions like an engagement, milestone anniversary and other significant celebrations.
What to Order: Prix-fixe menu
Dinner: Monday-Saturday: 5:30–10:00PM
Reservations: Opentable

Bar Agricole
$$$ | 355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

One of our favorite go-to restaurants in the City, Bar Agricole serves New California cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients from organic and biodynamic farms. The beautifully designed tavern features an outdoor patio — making it the perfect place to enjoy the warm weather over a low-key dinner. Bar Agricole serves up some of the best cocktails in the nation, with its bar program being recognized as a nominee for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program. Whether you come here to eat or just to drink, you can’t go wrong.
What to Order: The Brown Derby cocktail to start, then order the Avocado and Red Beet Salad, followed by Little Lamb and Pork Meatballs. The Olive Oil Cake will be the cherry on top of a fantastic meal.
Dinner: Monday-Thursday: 6:00–10:00PM, Friday-Saturday: 5:30–11:00PM. Closed Sundays.
Reservations: Opentable

The Yard
$ | 3rd St & Terry A. Francois Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94158

The Yard at Mission Rock is a unique neighborhood gathering spot which activates part of the Giants parking lot, open year-round, 7 days a week. A cluster of repurposed shipping containers, The Yard’s tenants include Anchor Steam’s beer garden, Crêperie Saint-Germain, Belcampo and Street Soccer Park USA. Come here to enjoy a savory morning crêpe or a beer on your way to a Giants game.
Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 11:00AM–9:00PM, Thursday: 11:00AM–10:00PM, Friday-Saturday: 11:00AM–11:00PM, Sunday: 11:00AM–9:00PM

Zero Zero
$$ | 826 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Zero Zero is a great spot to grab upscale Italian fare with a casual, yet swanky atmosphere. Zero Zero serves up thin crust, “flame-kissed” Neapolitan pizzas and other staple Italian pasta, antipasta and meat dishes. The eatery also enjoys a lively bar scene.
What to Order: Get the Avocado Bruschetta or Pork Belly to start, followed by a pie of your choice.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 11:30AM–10:00PM, Friday-Saturday: 11:30AM–11:00PM
Reservations: Opentable

South Park Cafe will transport you with a Parisienne cafe experience. Photo: Julia Spiess and Frank Schott, southparkcafe.com.
South Park Cafe will transport you with a Parisienne cafe experience. Photo: Julia Spiess and Frank Schott, southparkcafe.com.

South Park Cafe
$$ | 108 South Park Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Transport yourself to Paris at South Park Cafe, a low-key bistro serving French classics in a prime South Park location. The cafe is a perfect spot to enjoy lunch and people-watching from the sidewalk seating area, or get your lunch to go and take a seat in this unusually quiet and pleasant park.
What to Order: Pig Salad or Roast Liberty Duck Breast, but save some room for Profiteroles.
Hours: Monday: 11:30AM–2:30PM, Tuesday-Friday: 11:30AM–10:00PM
Reservations: Opentable, Lunch is walk-in only.

Shopping:

San Francisco Design District
$$$–$$$$ | 101 Henry Adams Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
In the market for new furniture or home accessories? Planning for a remodel? The San Francisco Design District has you covered. With over one hundred showrooms at the San Francisco Design center, the simplest of choices for your home makeover will become difficult with thousands of possible choices for everything from tile to desktop accessories. The Design District is also home to several major furniture showrooms, including Restoration Hardware and BoConcept.
Hours: Vary by showroom.

Muji
$$ | 540 9th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Muji is a minimalist, Japanese-based retailer offering a variety of quality goods, from stationery to home goods and apparel. It’s like Ikea meets Uniqlo, and yes, that’s every bit as dangerous as it sounds. ?
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10:30AM–8:00PM, Sunday: 11:00AM–6:30PM

Winter styles at 440 Brannan. Photo: 440 Brannan, Yelp.
Winter styles at 440 Brannan. Photo: 440 Brannan, Yelp.

440 Brannan
$$ | 440 Brannan Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
440 Brannan is a studio which sells custom men’s & women’s clothes by local designers. With the showroom doubling as a factory, most of the apparel sold at 440 Brannan is created in-house.
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11:00AM–7:00PM

Alexander Book Co.
$$ | 50 2nd Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
Alexander Book Co. is an independent bookstore selling three floors’ worth of titles — over 60,000 books! Conveniently located near Montgomery Street’s Muni and BART Station, Alexander Book Co. is the best place to take a few minutes to browse the stacks with your morning coffee, between meetings or before starting your commute home.
Hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00AM–6:00PM, Saturday: 10:00AM–5:00PM

Metreon
$–$$ | 135 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
The Metreon is a shopping center in downtown San Francisco at the corner of 4th Street and Mission Street. The Metreon’s major shops include City Target, Target Open House (for the smart home nerd), Chronicle Books and an AMC Theater with IMAX. The Metreon is also home to restaurants like Fresh Roll, Chipotle and newcomer Lemonade (occupying the old La Boulange space), and a great food court.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 10:30AM–8:30PM, Friday-Saturday: 10:30AM–9:30PM. Hours may vary by store.

SFMOMA Store
$$$ | 151 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
The SFMOMA Store is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s gift shop featuring art books, toys, jewelry, home furnishings and other design items. The SFMOMA Store was temporarily calling Yerba Buena Lane home during the Museum’s renovation, but has now moved to the new SFMOMA campus.
Hours: Reopens May 14th, 2016 at 151 3rd Street

Nightlife:

Wish Bar & Lounge
$$ | 1539 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Enjoy a lounge-y, ambient atmosphere at Wish Bar & Lounge, a swanky SoMa hotspot for cocktails and DJ-spun beats — plus a popular happy hour.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 5:00PM–2:00AM, Saturday: 7:00PM–2:00AM

See Also

Audio
$$ | 316 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Audio is a funky ’70s style discotheque with two bars, a sunken dance floor and cutting-edge light and sound.
Hours: Friday-Saturday: 9:30PM–2:00AM

Twenty Five Lusk
$$$ | 25 Lusk Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Feeling metropolitan? Head to Twenty Five Lusk to live out your Sex and the City dreams with creative cuisine, wine and cocktails for happy hour and dinner in this swanky locations’ lower level lounge.
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 5:00PM–11:00PM, Sunday: 5:00PM–9:00PM

Cockscomb
$$$ | 564 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Cockscomb‘s menu features selections from the restaurant’s oyster bar and wood-fired oven, coupled with a dynamic beverage program composed of gins, cocktails, beers and ciders.
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 5:00PM–11:00PM

Oasis
$$ | 298 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Oasis offers an unforgettable San Francisco nightlife experience in an 8,000 square foot converted gay boathouse. There will be Spice Girls drag shows.
Hours: Wednesday-Thursday: 6:00PM–12:00AM, Friday-Saturday: 6:00PM–3:00AM, Sunday: 11:00AM–9:00PM

21st Amendment Brewery
$$ | 563 2nd Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
21st Amendment Brewery is a restaurant and brewery offering housemate beer, pub food and brunch, located just off of South Park near the ballpark.
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11:30AM–12:00-midnight, Sunday: 10:00AM–12:00-midnight

Culture:

It's officially baseball season! Photo: Oscar Morquecho, JODI Group.
It’s officially baseball season! Photo: Oscar Morquecho, JODI Group.

AT&T Park
24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107
AT&T Park is home to the San Francisco Giants, and can seat over 40,000 people. The Giants have one three of the past World Series titles, and we’ve got a feeling this season will be a great one! Every other year, baby!

Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
The Contemporary Jewish Museum was founded in 1984 in San Francisco, California. Its current mission is to make the diversity of the Jewish experience relevant for a twenty-first century audience through exhibitions and educational programs.
Hours: Friday-Tuesday: 11:00AM–5:00PM, Thursday: 11:00AM–8:00PM

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is a San Francisco contemporary arts center offering visual arts, performing arts and film and media exhibitions.
Hours: Friday-Sunday: 11:00AM–6:00PM, Tuesday-Wednesday: 11:00AM–6:00PM, Thursday: 11:00AM–8:00PM

The SFMOMA will reopen on May 14, 2016 after nearly three years of renovations. Photo: SFMOMA, via Instagram: @SFMOMA.
The SFMOMA will reopen on May 14, 2016 after nearly three years of renovations. Photo: SFMOMA, via Instagram: @SFMOMA.

SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)
151 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
SFMOMA is San Francisco’s premier modern art museum. SFMOMA closed in June 2013 for renovations, and the new and expanded, ten-story museum (seven stories of exhibitions) designed by Snøhetta will reopen in just two weeks, on May 14, 2016. At 460,000 square feet, the new SFMOMA will be the largest museum of its kind in the United States.
Reopens May 14th

Parks:

South Park
South Park Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
South Park is a rarity in San Francisco. Tucked away in a quiet block in SoMa, this tranquil park will make you feel as if you have been suddenly transported to a European park. South Park is bordered by Second, Third, Bryant and Brannan streets.

Yerba Buena Center and Gardens
750 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
The 87 acres of Yerba Buena Center and Gardens include the area from Market to Harrison and Second to Fourth Streets. Within these blocks are Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, Children’s Creativity Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 5.5 acres of urban gardens, several museums, the Moscone Convention Center, entertainment centers, art galleries and countless restaurants and cafes.

 

 

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