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Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco for Families

Moving to San Francisco with your family? The Bay Area has tons of family-friendly neighborhoods that offer safe streets, affordable homes, great schools, and children-friendly activities. Check out these five best places to live in San Francisco for families!


Bernal Heights

Yellow Townhome in Bernal Heights San Francisco Photo via @Shelleytrew

Photo via @Shellytrew

  • Home Price: $866,685 median purchase price; $1,787 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 53% of San Francisco neighborhoods

Bernal Heights is an ideal neighborhood for families looking to live in a quiet, walkable area with a small-town feel and lots of green space for the little ones to burn off some energy. It’s earned the nickname, “Maternal Heights,” because of its huge community atmosphere. Central to this family-friendly neighborhood in SF is the Alemany Certified Farmers Market, where residents buy organic produce and homemade gifts from local vendors. Connected to community-centric farmers market is the Alemany Bikeway, which provides spacious bike lanes, lights, and more safety features for residents commuting in SF. And because the housing options here cater to a variety of family sizes and needs—from Victorian condos to Modern single-family homes—Bernal Heights is also one of the best neighborhoods to buy a home in San Fransisco!

Things to Do in Bernal Heights

Hike up the trails at Bernal Heights Park to get breathtaking views of the city. Put together a picnic and spend the afternoon at St. Mary’s Rec Center shooting hoops on the courts, playing fetch with your pooch, or letting your kids play on the city’s largest playground. Check out a new book for bedtime, attend a Plant Swap, or join a cooking class at Bernal Heights Branch Library. Catch a free movie night with the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema. Indulge in Southern soul food dishes like Spicy Shrimp and Grits, Dr. Pepper Braised Short Ribs, and a Bucket O’ Chicken at The Front Porch. Feast on large portions of Orecchiette Alfredo or Cauliflower Balls at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack. Crack open a Bernal Equinox Hazy IPA and chow down on food truck eats at Bare Bottle Brewing Co. Or satisfy your sweet tooth with scoops of Grasshopper Pie, Chocolate Caramel Crackle, or Eggnog ice cream at Mitchell’s Ice Cream.

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Inner Sunset

Blue House with white garage in Inner Sunset - Photo via @shisobastos

Photo via @shisobastos

  • Home Price: $1,007,320 median purchase price; $1,767 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 91% of San Francisco neighborhoods

One of four neighborhoods making up the Sunset District, Inner Sunset is one of the top family-friendly neighborhoods in San Francisco! This area attracts many families who want spacious Victorian homes and Mediterranean-style homes well within walking distance of the community’s central hub on 9th Avenue and Irving Street. Families in Inner Sunset have access to top-rated schools like Jefferson Elementary School, Chinese-immersion school Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, and St. Anne School. Families with recent high school graduates can explore higher education options at the University of California, San Francisco, which is known for its research in medical innovations.

Things to Do in Inner Sunset

Explore the known cosmos during the Tour of the Universe planetarium show at the California Academy of Sciences. Hop with kangaroos, slither with snakes, waddle with penguins, and more in the Bay Area at the San Francisco Zoo. Catch spring fever while enjoying an urban oasis at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. Appreciate fine art and sculptures at de Young Fine Arts Museum. Sample authentic Korean BBQ like Prime Boneless Short Ribs, Basil Pesto Pork Belly, or Beef Rib Finger Meat at Kogi Gogi BBQ. Venture to Bay Area staple San Tung to feast on Kung Pao Chicken, Black Bean Sauce Noodles, and Vegetarian Chow Mein. Stop by for a Pecan Roll, slice of Chocolate Fudge Cake, or Ricciarelli at Arizmendi Bakery. Or gather with friends or family to play board games like Dungeons and Dragons while munching on Battleship Sweet Mochi Waffles at The Game Parlour.

Marina District

White and green home with fire escape in the Marina District - Photo via @brickandtimber

Photo via @brickandtimber

  • Home Price: $1,454,491 median purchase price; $2,140 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 32% of San Francisco neighborhoods

San Francisco’s Marina District is a rent-friendly area popular with singles and young professionals ready to settle down and grow a family in a beautiful area. Perched on the north shore of SF, this Bay Area neighborhood gives coastal vibes due to its proximity to the water and The Wave Organ, a wave-activated musical sculpture. It’s safe to say that Marina District offers plenty of outdoor recreation for active families, with it also bordering the Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory, various city parks, and the Presidio. Families are also attracted to this area thanks to its diverse, trendy restaurants and variety of educational opportunities, from St. Anne Preschool to Marina Middle School.

Things to Do in Marina District

Jog with the views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, or attend an event like the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon or family-friendly Fleet Week at the Marina Green. Support local art by seeing that latest play, comedy show, or classic film at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. Sign your kids up for youth events like summer climbing camp and watch them have a rockin’ time at Movement Gyms. Find fresh fruit and baked goods at the Fort Mason Center Farmers’ Market on Sundays. Fill up on vegetarian meals like Asparagus Pizza, Spring Fava Avocado Toast, or Wild Mushroom French Dip at Greens Restaurant. Carbo-load foods of Southern Italian roots like the Antipasta Marinated Olives or Formaggi pizza at A16. Release your inner foodie and feast on creative donuts like the Passionfruit Milk Chocolate, Caramel De Sel, or Spiced Chocolate at Dynamo Donut + Coffee. Or gussy up for date night and have your pick of NY Steak Frites, Seared Tandoori-Rubbed Salmon, Ale Battered Fish & Chips, and more at The Dorian.

Noe Valley

blue and white home with trees - Photo via @valsteelesf

Photo via @valsteelesf

  • Home Price: $1,219,727 median purchase price; $2,076 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 88% of San Francisco neighborhoods

Located right next to the Mission District, Noe Valley is one of the best places to live in San Francisco for families who want a neighborhood with low crime rates, quiet neighborhoods, and a welcoming community. A big draw for people moving to Noe Valley is its art-centric culture, which is well-illustrated by its colorful Victorian, Edwardian, and Contemporary condos and townhomes. Families are often seen frolicking with their pups in Mission Dolores Park and playing tag around the Douglass Playground. This family-friendly San Francisco area is also incredibly walkable, allowing residents to get to everything from nearby parks to local schools like James Lick Middle School and St. Paul’s School without a vehicle.

Things to Do in Noe Valley

Become a member and start planting flowers, vegetables, and more at Clipper Community Garden. Sign the kids up for fun camps like Magic Garden and Spy Camp or enroll them in theatre and dance classes at The Rabbit Hole. Get lost in a book about food history or recipes to prepare for the family at Omnivore Books on Food. Wake up with a Matcha Latte and a slice of Avocado Toast with Burrata from Neighbor’s Corner. Make short work of some of the best Chinese food in San Francisco with Mango Prawns, Sesame Chicken, and Hunan Prawns from Alice’s. Sip tea from bottomless pots and dine on Cucumber & Cream Cheese Sandwiches, Shepard’s Pie, or warm scones at Lovejoy’s Tea Room. Order a Greek Burger, Chili Hot Dog, or Carolina Crispy Chicken Sandwich at Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers. Or pack the family in the car for a treat like the Peach Blackberry Pie, Milky Way Bomb, or Gluten Free Strawberry Cake from Noe Valley Bakery.

Pacific Heights

tan and white home with balcony in Pacific Heights - photo via Sweatbros

Photo via @sweatbros

  • Home Price: $1,550,042 median purchase price; $2,234 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 56% of San Francisco neighborhoods

Even if you’ve never been to Pacific Heights, it may be familiar—this SF neighborhood is bursting with Victorian homes, some being featured as the settings for movies like Mrs. Doubtfire and Full House. This neighborhood in San Francisco offers parks with panoramic views of the ocean and city, and it’s incredibly walkable! Bordered by eucalyptus groves, families can stroll down the Wood Line, or visit SF hidden gem Lyon Street Steps. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of living in Pacific Heights for families is their educational options within San Francisco Unified School District. Schools like Redding Elementary School, Spring Valley Science Elementary School, and Mission High School help children find their spark.

Things to Do in Pacific Heights

Hit the links and sign the kids up for the junior golf camp at the Presidio Golf Course in the Presidio. Race up the giant staircase, or read a book while the kiddos burn energy on the playground at Alta Plaza Park. Practice your serves and overhead smashes together as a family on the tennis courts in Lafayette Park. Experience what life was like during the Gilded Age with a tour through the Haas-Lilienthal House. Fill up for a productive day with Jane’s Homemade Granola, Smoked Salmon Toast, and other baked goods like the Triple Citrus Sweet Scone from Jane on Fillmore. Feed the whole family with Carbonara, Clam Pie, or a classic Margherita pizza from Pizzeria Delfina. Make date night special by ordering Steak Diane, Authentic A5 Japanese Miyazaki Wagyu Ribeye, and Petite Filet Mignon at Harris’. Or meet up with friends to enjoy a Duvel Golden Ale, the Bee Sting cocktail, or California Draft Beer & Wine selections at neighborhood watering hole Hi-Lo Club.


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Neighborhood statistics from AreaVibes

San Francisco, CA 5 Best Neighborhoods for Families

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.