San Francisco has long been a popular place to live, frequently appearing on lists of the “Best Places to Live in California” and the “Best Places to Live” overall. It has also been named the happiest city in America, offering a carefree and laid-back lifestyle. Although San Francisco is only the 11th most populous city in the country, it has the second highest population density, after New York. The city covers 46 square miles, and with a 2023 population of over 883,000, that’s approximately 20,000 people per square mile.
Safety is always a top concern, especially if you have kids, pets, or other precious bundles of love and joy that are important to you. In this post, we will explore just a few of the safest neighborhoods in San Francisco. Finding the perfect neighborhood takes time and patience, and your Jackson Fuller real estate agent is here to listen and help you identify your perfect neighborhood that aligns with your preferences and needs.
Historically, “safe neighborhood” has been a subtle code word for “neighborhoods with people that look and act like me where I’ll feel comfortable.” Real estate has a long history of racism, and if you’d like to learn more we invite you to listen to Matt’s three-part podcast on the topic. We’re doing our best to do better.
If you are buying a home, of course, we want you to buy a home that will be: safe to live in, safe to come and go from, and safe to leave knowing that your home will be unbothered and appreciating in value while waiting for your return.
We also want you to remember that there is a difference between comfort and safety. Often when we say one, we mean the other. What makes a neighborhood safe is different than what makes a neighborhood feel comfortable, and what makes a neighborhood feel comfortable varies a lot from person to person while most people share the same definition of a safe neighborhood.
We aren’t here to steer you to or from any neighborhood because you think it will make you feel uncomfortable. We are here to help you find a place to live where you’ll feel and be safe.
Outer Sunset is the city’s westernmost neighborhood, located along the Pacific Ocean side of San Francisco. Despite the area’s low crime rate, it has an unfair reputation as being a sub-par place to live due to the “long” travel time to and from downtown and the propensity for heavy fog. The Outer Sunset may be the closest thing to suburban tract-home living while still being within the city limits, and it is a far cry from the noise and bustle of core San Francisco neighborhoods.
Outer Sunset residents enjoy one of the safest neighborhoods in San Francisco while enjoying the peace and calm of close-in “suburban” life.
Crocker Amazon, located at the southernmost tip of San Francisco, borders the Excelsior District on its north side and San Mateo County on it’s south side, stretching south of Geneva Avenue and Mission Street, toward Daly City. The neighborhood’s commercial center is located at the intersection of Geneva and Mission, where you’ll find pizza shops, bars, barbershops beauticians, optometrists, essential retailers, and plenty of sit-down or to-go restaurants.
When defined in comparison with the national average, Crocker Amazon has an overall crime rate that is 56% lower, a violent crime rate that is 43% lower, and a property crime rate that is 58% lower than the national average.
Crocker Amazon is so safe we’re waiting for the human resources department from Fox News to reach out so we can help relocate their crime-paranoid executives and broadcast personalities to one of the safest neighborhoods in the city.
The Inner Sunset neighborhood lies just south of Golden Gate Park, the geographic twin to the Inner Richmond, the community bordering the park on the northern side. Both neighborhoods are hotspots for independent small businesses, and foodies will vigorously debate which has the superior restaurant scene. But we all know the answer to that one: Yes They Do! Also: Yum, Slurp, Delicious.
The Inner Sunset is cheekily known to some as Outer Cole Valley. Both are very walkable while offering easy access to the N-Judah light rail muni and several bus lines, making for a relatively quick and easy commute into the city. The Inner Sunset is primarily residential with an eclectic combination of Victorian- and Edwardian-style houses, and small-to-medium-sized newer apartment complexes.
Located in southern San Francisco, Oceanview is more economically and ethnically diverse than many other city neighborhoods. Recent gentrification has changed what was once a predominately African-American community into an Asian-majority population, and if history is any guide the neighborhood will continue to change as new people come and go.
Ocean Avenue is the commercial heart of Oceanview and offers lots of casual restaurants, cafes, and even a few big-box retailers. The Oceanview Recreation Center and some athletic fields are found in the neighborhood, and it also has a reputation for relatively affordable real estate prices in the city.
Noe Valley, nestled in the heart of San Francisco, is a timeless neighborhood that offers the charm of a small-town main street surrounded by the bustling city. Bordered by Twin Peaks to the west, Noe Valley’s geography makes for a warm and sunny microclimate and creates a distinct feel to the community. This neighborhood is highly sought after, and its real estate market is one of the city’s most expensive and most competitive. Noe Valley is known for its vibrant 24th Street, the main thoroughfare. This bustling street is a haven for local businesses and residents alike and is lined with yoga and wellness studios, artisanal goods shops that celebrate craftsmanship, and a large (for the area) Whole Foods grocery store.
Noe Valley’s community spirit thrives on the connection between its residents, local businesses, and a warm, inviting atmosphere that defines this special San Francisco gem. It’s a place where neighbors become friends and the city always feels like home.
Situated on San Francisco’s far north and western edge, the Outer Richmond provides a serene retreat from the city’s bustling urban pace. Favored by families and anyone seeking a peaceful living environment, the Outer Richmond is where residents enjoy stunning coastal views, the Pacific Ocean adjacent, and a charming array of local shops and cozy cafes.
Outer Richmond is water and beach-centric, with plenty of surfers and an active outdoor scene, with beaches, parks, and hiking trails that invite neighborhood residents and global tourists to explore the natural beauty of the area. It’s one of many close-knit communities that celebrate their distinct geographic location amidst the vibrancy of San Francisco.
Sea Cliff, known for its timeless elegance, is one of San Francisco’s most expensive and geographically small neighborhoods, both of which explain its reputation for exclusivity. Luxurious living is the neighborhood vibe, from magnificent mansions to panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Sea Cliff embodies luxury and sophistication and is 100% residential, with no commercial shops found within the neighborhood boundaries. It’s a highly sought-after address, which might explain why Robin Williams was once a favorite neighborhood resident and continues to be amongst its most famous.
The neighborhood’s streets are lined with grand trees and border gardens, creating a picturesque ambiance that invites leisurely strolls. Sea Cliff is a place where residents find solace in the breathtaking scenery on San Francisco’s steep northwestern edge.
The Excelsior gave the world Jerry Garcia and continues to be a diverse and vibrant neighborhood in San Francisco. The neighborhood embraces a rich tapestry of cultures, boasts an array of local businesses, and has street signs that will make you wonder which country and capital you’re walking down. From beloved family-owned eateries to cultural celebrations, the Excelsior epitomizes San Francisco’s welcoming spirit and thriving neighborhood culture.
This neighborhood is also a haven for food enthusiasts, with a diverse culinary scene that reflects its multicultural heritage. Residents and visitors alike can explore a multitude of flavors and cuisines, making it a destination for culinary adventures within the city.
Pacific Heights has long been synonymous with prestige and architectural beauty in San Francisco. It offers a luxurious lifestyle while retaining the city’s historical charm. With tree-lined streets, boutique shopping, and world-class dining, it’s a neighborhood that caters to modern tastes while preserving its storied history and heritage.
Grand-scale Victorian and Edwardian estates grace the neighborhood streets, each with a story that offers a glimpse into the city’s history. Pacific Heights is also a cultural hub, home to numerous embassies, consulates, and galleries that showcase the city’s international relevance. Residents here have easy access to a global cultural scene that adds depth to the neighborhood’s already captivating character.
The Marina, our northernmost neighborhood, opens to the bay and holds a special place in the hearts of many San Francisco residents. Home to everyone from young professionals to families, The Marina’s waterfront views, fitness-focused community, and vibrant social scene complement the city’s youthful character. The Marina is where cherished memories are made, and it embodies the dynamic urban lifestyle that defines San Francisco.
The neighborhood is home to the iconic Marina Green Park, a hub for outdoor activities from picnics to sports. Residents soak in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge while enjoying a vibrant nightlife in the numerous cafes, bars, and entertainment venues that line neighborhood streets. It’s a neighborhood with a sweet balance of recreational pastimes and city living.
If you’re searching for a home in one of these safe neighborhoods or looking at other homes for sale throughout San Francisco, Jackson Fuller Real Estate is here for you. With a deep understanding of San Francisco’s real estate landscape and a commitment to providing personalized service, our team can help you find the perfect home that matches your preferences and needs. Let us guide you through the process of discovering your dream property in this vibrant San Francisco community. Say hello here.
While we’d like to think we’re pretty original, we aren’t the first people to think of writing an article about this topic. We started by reading the existing body of work on the subject and synthesized their answers into our answers. We didn’t conduct original primary research.
Our selection of “safe neighborhoods” is based on our analysis of patterns found from comparing and contrasting existing research into this subject.
You could easily come up with a list of ten different neighborhoods using different methodologies, and we encourage you to do so! We love reading lists about our favorite city in the world so drop us a note with a link to yours, we can’t wait to compare and converse.
San Francisco boasts many safe neighborhoods, and this post features just ten. These neighborhoods include the Outer Sunset, Crocker Amazon, and the Inner Sunset, and are just a few of the many SF neighborhoods that have earned reputations for their lower crime rates and other appealing attributes. They are just a few of the many excellent choices for individuals, families, and anyone in search of safety and a friendly community.
Finding the safest neighborhoods in San Francisco involves research and discussions with local real estate experts. Consider your personal risk concerns, financial budget, and lifestyle when evaluating neighborhoods to determine which might be the best fit for your particular needs and safety concerns.
San Francisco, like any major city, has varying safety levels across different neighborhoods. While some areas may have higher crime rates, others offer a safer environment. It’s essential to conduct research and gather information about specific neighborhoods to assess safety accurately.
It’s also important to make a distinction between property crime and personal crime, as well as violent and non-violent crime. There are many different definitions of “crime” which means there are at least as many ways of measuring “safety.” Be thoughtful in your analysis and aware of your own biases.
Determining the safest neighborhoods to buy a house in San Francisco is a highly personal decision. It depends on your specific preferences, lifestyle, and priorities. San Francisco offers a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its unique charm and personality. To find the best fit for you, consider factors such as your definition of safety, and proximity to places and shops that are important to you including schools, your office, or any place else that is important to your overall lifestyle. Local real estate experts from Jackson Fuller Real Estate can provide guidance tailored to your needs and help you explore the options that align with your homeownership goals.
Jackson Fuller Real Estate is an invaluable resource for those looking to buy or sell homes in San Francisco. Our team offers expertise and personalized service, assisting clients in finding the right property or navigating the complex process of selling real estate in San Francisco. Reach out for guidance and support in your San Francisco real estate journey. Speak to an agent here!