Outer Sunset

Let’s play a San Francisco word association game. I say, “Outer Sunset.” You say, “Fog.” Right? Yes, it’s foggy — sometimes — but it’s also developed a reputation as a beach community with surfers, some excellent local restaurants, and quirky shops. 


Beautiful Surf at Ocean Beach
45th Avenue Playground in Golden Gate Park
Windmills, Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach. Only in SF!

Outer Sunset Neighborhood Vibe

It’s part hip surfer ‘hood, part family neighborhood, with a low-key atmosphere and some great coffee places and bars to hang out in. The beach beckons for bonfires, dog runs, and sand-castle building. But bring your wetsuit if you want to get in the cold Pacific waves.


Popular Outer Sunset Home Styles

Before the 1906 earthquake, the Outer Sunset was a barren expanse of desolate sand dunes. Post-quake, development spread west, all the way to the ocean. Housing in the Outer Sunset is mainly single-family homes, with a healthy dose of small unit buildings and condos in the mix as well. The single-family homes are fairly standard in style: two stories, with two or three bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, and a garage on the ground level.


Getting Around the Outer Sunset

Public transportation options consist of the N-Judah (the busiest line in the Muni system) and a couple of bus lines. Commuters who drive to work downtown aren’t too far away as the crow flies, but expect the drive to take just short of forever because of traffic. Drivers headed to the South Bay can hop on Sunset Blvd. and make their way to I-280.


Neighborhood Homes for Sale

Single Family Residence
$3,995,000 | 5, 2
MLS# 421534585
This historic beach front property is one of the original homes to line San Francisco's Great Highway. This property was constructed in 1909 and maintained in a manner that shows incredible pride of ownership. Truly a work of art and...
Single Family Residence
$1,198,000 | 3, 3
MLS# 421590349
Ocean Delight! Remodeled home on three levels. 2 bedrooms/2 baths on upper unit. Additional legal 1 bedroom/1 bath down with separate entrance. Kitchen has an eat-in area with new dishwasher and stove. Upper loft style bedroom has large attic storage....
Single Family Residence
$1,495,000 | 4, 2
MLS# 421589248
Outer Sunset Modern Beach House offers fresh design and flexible space. Remodeled 2 BD/ 1BA on the main level with a separate living space of 2 BD/1BA on the lower. Upper level features refinished parquet and hardwood floors, bright living...
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More About the Outer Sunset

The Outer Sunset used to be nothing but sand dunes. One story has it that the Sunset got its name when a former city assessor, Aurelius E. Buckingham, went into the real estate business and sought a name that would brighten up the area’s reputation for foggy, gray days. The area boomed after the 1906 earthquake and fire, as residents escaped the destroyed downtown and South of Market areas. The streetcar tunnel between Duboce Park and Cole Valley was completed in 1923, making it easier for the new residents of the west side to get across town.

By the mid-1920s, a headline in the San Francisco Bulletin read “Home Seekers Conquer Sand Wastes of Sunset.” Ten years later, the San Francisco News wrote, “Little more than a dozen years ago, a Hollywood motion-picture company shot desert scenes [in the Sunset]. The company set up its headquarters near 36th Avenue and Ortega Street, and by angling his cameras so that sand dunes hid Golden Gate Park to the north, the director created the illusion of a vast desert.”

It now appeals to families who get a little more elbow room for their money than in the hipper parts of town and also to those who like the beach lifestyle.