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A Guide to San Francisco's Most Expensive Neighborhoods

A Guide to San Francisco's Most Expensive Neighborhoods

By California.com
August 13, 2020

With its sleek skyscrapers, bustling streets, iconic landmarks, groovy history, and carefree spirit, the famous city of San Francisco is a sought-after place to live. The natural beauty and cultural history of the City by the Bay make it irresistible to both locals and visitors, so it’s time to make your way to San Francisco’s most expensive neighborhoods to live the life of your dreams. Although it’s considered to be one of the most expensive cities in California, San Francisco is definitely worth the rage. 

The Most Expensive Neighborhoods in San Francisco

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1. Presidio Heights 

Situated just south of the Presidio, the high-end Presidio Heights neighborhood is a coveted and expensive place to live in S.F.

Median home price: $4,948,331

Presidio Heights is where the most expensive single-family homes can be found, including the historical Tudor-inspired Roos House, which was built in 1909. You can admire the historic mansions and large homes as you drive through the streets. Located nearby is the 1,500-acre Presidio—an urban oasis offering children’s activities, family-friendly events, nature and science attractions, picnic areas, recreational opportunities, and exhibitions.

Presidio Heights residents can also enjoy a lovely shopping experience along Clement Street and choose from a diverse array of elegant eateries, such as Garibaldis Restaurant and Sociale. The neighborhood offers something to suit any mood. Thanks to its many attractions and quiet, peaceful vibe, Presidio Heights is a wonderful place for families.

2. Seacliff

As its name implies, the Seacliff area is known for its luxurious waterfront homes with enviable views.

Median home price: $4,203,253

Seacliff, as the name implies, boasts ocean views and waterfront mansions. Situated in the northwestern section of San Francisco, Seacliff was developed by landscape architect Mark Daniels in 1913, as one of eight planned residential areas. The neighborhood is home to numerous celebrities such as the late Robin Williams, Sharon Stone, Jack Dorsey, Donald Disher, and Larry Baer. 

In this neighborhood, you can admire the regal architecture in one of San Francisco’s most expensive areas. Marvel at the colorful and luxurious houses—many of which were designed by renowned American architects, including Willis Polk, Julia Morgan, and Albert L. Farr. Aside from having beautiful houses, Seacliff residents are also close to the popular Lands End Lookout, Sutro Baths, Legion of Honor museum, and Cliff House restaurant. 

Over the past year, Seacliff homes have increased in value by 6.4 percent. Real estate experts predict a decrease in value for next year by 1.6 percent, so if you’re lucky, you might be able to save money in one of the most expensive cities and purchase property in one of San Francisco’s most prestigious parts of town.

3. Haight-Ashbury

The historic homes of the famous Haight-Ashbury district are surrounded by eclectic shops and unique attractions.

Median home price: $2,700,000 

The Haight-Ashbury district is among San Francisco’s most expensive places for a reason. Named after two early San Francisco leaders—pioneer and exchange banker Henry Haight and San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Munroe Ashbury—the neighborhood still reflects its historic role during the 1960s hippie counterculture in San Francisco. (Those who couldn’t afford accommodation at that time moved to the undiscovered Haight-Ashbury area.) Ever since then, Haight-Ashbury has become synonymous with the hippie movement and its accompanying carefree vibe.

But Haight-Asbury is home to various types of residents now and even has high-end vintage clothing shops, chic restaurants, and unique boutiques. The corner of Haight and Ashbury is a national treasure, and the nearby Doolan-Larson Building showcases the neighborhood’s history. This building was home to one of San Francisco’s first hippie clothing stores, Mnasidika, which was run by Janis Joplin’s close friend. Rumor has it that this is where Jimi Hendrix purchased his trademark bell-bottoms and vest and where the Grateful Dead conducted one of its prominent photoshoots. 

Locals can also get groovy by visiting historical attractions like The Red Victorian and the Stanyan Park Hotel—designed in the Beaux-Arts style by famed architectural firm Martens & Coffey. For great views of the city, hike through Buena Vista Park, one of San Francisco’s oldest parks.

4. Marina District

Bordering the city's northern shore, the scenic Marina district is beloved for its upbeat restaurants, buzzy nightlife, and outdoor recreation.

Median home price: $2,402,845

The fourth most expensive neighborhood in San Francisco is the Marina District. This area is close to the Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field, Pier 39, and other top free attractions in San Francisco. Another major draw in the Marina is the Palace of Fine Arts—an elegant, neo-classical Roman rotunda nestled beside a tranquil lagoon. The eucalyptus trees, Corinthian pillars, and snow-white swans create an enchanting renaissance scene. 

Also tucked between the blocks of Victorian-style buildings are stylish boutiques, delicious bakeries, and diverse eateries. Outdoor enthusiasts will also love the neighborhood’s proximity to wide-open spaces such as the Presidio, Marina Green, and Crissy Field East Beach. 

5. Pacific Heights

The upscale Pacific Heights neighborhood is prized for its architecturally significant homes and sweeping views of the bay.

Median home price: $2,014,414

Since 2013, Pacific Heights has been among the most expensive places in San Francisco. This posh residential enclave is famous for its record-breaking prices and ultra-wealthy residents, making it a prestigious area. With close proximity to Lafayette and Alta Plaza Parks; sweeping views of the Marin Headlands, Golden Gate Bridge, Palace of Fine Arts, Alcatraz, and the Presidio; and elegant architecture, the homes here will leave you in seventh heaven. Pacific Heights showcases various architectural styles, too—Neo-Baroque, California Mission Revival, Queen Anne, and French Renaissance Revival Château houses line the sidewalks. 

The iconic Painted Ladies—often referred to as "Postcard Row" due to the string of elegant homes built in Victorian and Edwardian styles—can also be found in Pacific Heights. This neighborhood even has superb schools, including San Francisco University High School and San Francisco Waldorf School. For residents who are in the mood to shop, Fillmore Street has you covered. Home to Ralph Lauren, Prada, and Athleta, this street is a great place to spend your day indulging in some retail therapy. In the evening, go to the upscale Atelier Crenn for Michelin-starred French cuisine, DOSA on Fillmore for authentic South Indian cuisine, or Fresca Fillmore for inventive takes on Peruvian ceviche. 

6. Nob Hill

The elegant, culturally diverse Nob Hill is among the highest-income neighborhoods in the country.

Median home price: $1,544,584

Another affluent San Francisco neighborhood is the culturally diverse Nob Hill. One of San Francisco’s original "Seven Hills," Nob Hill is still among the highest-income neighborhoods in the country; long ago, the real estate market established Nob Hill as one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods in the U.S. Like other expensive neighborhoods of San Francisco, the area offers luxurious hotels (including the Fairmont San Francisco and Huntington Hotel), historic mansions, and an impressive number of Michelin-starred restaurants such as KEIKO à Nob Hill and Sons & Daughters

7. Potrero Hill

A quiet, family-friendly neighborhood, Potrero Hill offers a mix of condos and classic Victorian homes.

Median home price: $1,514,888

Skyline views and classic Victorian-style architecture are defining features of Potrero Hill. When respected architect Julia Morgan designed the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House (The Nabe) in 1907, she had it built atop De Haro Street so the local community could enjoy views of San Francisco, the Pacific, and the East Bay. The Nabe is still in operation and offers youth programs, lunches for the elderly, and neighborhood events. 

Potrero Hill residents are also close to plenty of trendy restaurants and shops, the famed Vermont Street (one of the crookedest streets in San Francisco), and the beloved Bottom of the Hill—named “the best place to hear live music in San Francisco” by Rolling StonePotrero Hill is home to several top educational institutions, too, including the California Culinary Academy, California College of the Arts, and CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. So, if your children are artistically or culinarily inclined, the colleges here are another incentive to move to Potrero Hill.  

Looking for a home with a lower price tag? Check out California’s most affordable places to live or the cheapest places to live in San Francisco. But before moving to S.F., you may want to learn more about spending a weekend in the City by the Bay.

1 comment


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  • Michael Rosenthal | Oct, 25

    San francisco is and will always be the most beautifull city in the world,grew up near sea cliff ,miss my city. Reply

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