Aerial view of tall buildings in Downtown San Francisco

Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco for Families

Thinking about 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 plenty of things to do with kids. Check out these five best places to live in San Francisco for families!

  • Bernal Heights
  • Inner Sunset
  • Noe Valley
  • North Beach
  • Presidio Heights

Bernal Heights

Modern white house with wood garage. Photo by Instagram user @reddotsudio
Photo via @reddotstudio
  • Home Price: $866,685 median purchase price; $1,787 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 41% of California cities

Not sure where to live in San Francisco? 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. Homes throughout the neighborhood cater to a variety of family sizes and needs, from two-bedroom Victorian condos to modern single-family homes with multi-levels and multi-bedrooms. Bernal Heights is a favorite for its view of the San Francisco skyline from Bernal Hill and its community events, particularly the Alemany Farmers Market, which is considered one of the best farmers markets in San Francisco.

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. Head to Bernal Heights Branch Library to check out a new book for bedtime, attend Monthly LEGO Night, or join a cooking class. Indulge in Southern soul food dishes like Spicy Shrimp and Grits, Dr. Pepper Braised Short Ribs, and Bucket O’ Chicken at The Front Porch. Feast on large portions of Spaghetti with Meatballs with cheesy garlic bread sides at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack. Pop into Bare Bottle Brewing Company, where you can enjoy Cocoa Cabana Imperial Chocolate Peanut Stouts and food truck eats. 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

A light pink and dark pink home next to each other. Photo by Instagram user @jennlerner
Photo via @jennlerner
  • Home Price: $1,007,320 median purchase price; $1,767 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 68% of California cities

Located just south of Golden Gate Park, Inner Sunset in the Sunset District is one of the top family-friendly neighborhoods in San Francisco. The area attracts many families who want spacious Victorian and Mediterranean-style homes that are within walking distance of everything the district has to offer. Not to mention, families in Inner Sunset have access to top-rated schools like Jefferson Elementary SchoolAlice Fong Yu Alternative School, and Saint Anne School, as well as outdoor recreation like hiking, kite-flying, biking, and birdwatching at Ocean Beach and all the nearby parks!

Things to Do Inner Sunset

Head to the San Francisco Zoo to see kangaroos, otters, snakes, and much more. Wind through the lush trails of the 61-acre Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve. Pack a lunch and some binoculars in your bag for a hike to the beautiful waterfall at Strawberry Hill. Let your little ones explore the California Academy of Sciences to see over 900 species of fish in the aquarium, learn about the cosmos, and marvel at 400 gems. Admire collections of photography, textile art, sculptures, jewelry, masks, and paintings from the 17th century through the 20th century at de Young Museum. Venture to Bay Area staple San Tung to feast on Dry Fried Chicken, Black Bean Sauce Noodles, and Vegetarian Chow Mein. Stop by Arizmendi Bakery for a Pecan Roll, slice of Chocolate Fudge Cake, or assorted cheeses and a baguette. Or get your fill of Mexican cuisine with dishes like Quesadilla de Calabacitas and Carnitas at Nopalito.

Noe Valley

Bright blue house with colorful mosaic steps. Photo by Instagram user @runstagram9
Photo via @runstagram9
  • Home Price: $1,219,727 median purchase price; $2,076 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 68% of California cities

Noe Valley is one of the best places to live in San Francisco for families who want a neighborhood with low crime rates, kid-friendly streets, and a welcoming community. One of the big draws for people moving to Noe Valley is the colorful Victorian, Edwardian, and Contemporary condos and townhomes. But that’s not all! This family-friendly San Francisco area is also incredibly walkable, allowing residents to get to everything from nearby parks like Douglass Playground and Mission Dolores Park 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. Host a barbecue and play some soccer with the family at Upper Noe Rec Center. Join a knitting circle, a book club, or some art classes at the Noe Valley Branch Library. Sign the kids up for a fun-themed camp like Wizard of Oz and Polar Express or enroll them in theatre and dance classes at The Rabbit Hole. Throw an event or have lunch at Lovejoy’s Tea Room, where you can dine on cucumber sandwiches and warm scones with tea. Fill up on breakfast favorites like Banana Walnut Pancakes, Bagel Breakfast Sandwiches, and Diced Ham Scrambled Eggs at Chloe’s Cafe. Or order a Greek Burger, Chili Hot Dog, or Carolina Crispy Chicken Sandwich with an Oreo Shake at Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers.

North Beach

Brown, black, and yellow two-story Victorian house. Photo by Instagram user @i.m.a.wake
Photo via @i.m.a.wake
  • Home Price: $930,373 median purchase price; $1,755 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 60% of California cities

If waterfront views, affordable homes, and fun on every corner are what you’re looking for, then North Beach is one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco to raise your family! Known for being the Little Italy of the Bay Area and playing a major role in the Beat Movement, this neighborhood has grown into a diverse haven full of unique shops, quirky restaurants, and tons of things to do on both land and water. Families looking for an area with great public schools will also be happy with North Beach, thanks to the highly-rated Garfield Elementary SchoolFrancisco Middle School, and John Yehall Chin Elementary School.

Things to Do in North Beach

Come face to fin with over 20,000 aquatic animals like sharks, jellyfish, turtles, and more at Aquarium of the Bay. Spend the day at Pier 39 to ride the carousel, watch sea lions sunbathing, go through a fun mirror maze, or play on the musical stairs. Visit San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park to tour old-fashioned ships and see artifacts inside the Maritime Museum. Explore all things weird and wonderful like shrunken heads and vampire kits at Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Take the whole family to Tony’s Pizza Napoletana for a couple of pies like the Uncle Vito, NY All Star, and Diavola. Fill up on breakfast items like Swedish Cinnamon Twist French Toast, Banana Pancakes, and North Beach Benedict at Mama’s on Washington Square. Or enjoy an evening at Scoma’s for specialty cocktails and fresh-caught seafood dishes like Lazy Man’s Cioppino or Smoked Salmon Bruschetta.

Presidio Heights

Two-story tan and white townhouse. Photo by Instagram user @sf_daily_photo
Photo via @sf_daily_photo
  • Home Price: $1,506,982 median purchase price; $2,112 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 56% of California cities

Just south of the city’s largest green space, The Presidio, Presidio Heights is one of the best San Francisco neighborhoods for families wanting to be near awesome Bay Area outdoor recreation while also having a quiet escape away from downtown. Those who reside here have their pick of Victorian and Tudor-style homes, contemporary single-family homes, and two-bedroom condos. And with Presidio Height’s location bordering The Presidio, families can spend time away from school and work by hiking at Baker Beach or attending one of the many events like Presidio Twilight.

Things to Do in Presidio Heights

Visit the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center to learn about the history of this architectural wonder and pick up some souvenirs before making the 1.7-mile journey across the bridge. Play a quick 18 holes at Presidio Golf Course. Learn about the life of Walt Disney through hands-on exhibits and original artwork of Mickey Mouse at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Take a trip to Chrissy Field East Beach to build a sandcastle, go kitesurfing, or grill up some hot dogs and burgers. Snack on some onion rings and corn dogs while having a family bowling competition at the Presidio Bowling Center. Experience fine dining at Spruce and try their 14-Day Dry-Aged New York Steak or Duck Confit Ditalini. Sip on Oak-Wood Roasted Coffee while feasting on a Short Rib Hash or Bacon Chedder Omelette at Ella’s American Kitchen. Or sit down at Artesano for yummy Paella, Cubano Sandwich, or House-Marinated Ceviche.

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