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Great Neighborhoods: San Francisco


Inner Sunset

The Inner Sunset is one of the most wonderful and undiscovered areas of San Francisco.  Originally built on sand dunes just three miles from the Pacific Ocean, Inner Pacific can be chilly and fog-shrouded at times.

Located just south of Golden Gate Park,Inner Sunset is home to art galleries, new restaurants and upscale shopping.  While the neighborhood is not as hip as the edgy Mission District or the technologically avant-garde booming South of Market area, it is by no means stodgy either.

Inner Sunset has a mellow tempo and an old town appeal for little old ladies wrapped against the weather and medical students from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) who roam the streets.  While many other areas in the city are overrun with boutiques and espresso bars, the Inner Sunset neighborhood still has hardware stores, clothing shops and corner grocery stores.

Neighborhood Details

Cost of Housing

Inner Sunset homes come in French Provincial, Spanish Colonial and tract home styles with some of the ranchers built in the so-called Tunnel style With much of the area built in the 1930s and beyond, expect to pay $700,000 or more for the smallest one and two bedroom homes.  Others sell for well over $1 million, but there are many ocean view properties.  Condos and tenants-in-common one- and two-bedroom properties are available, beginning in the mid-$500,000s.

Studio rentals begin at about $1,000 a month; one-bedroom units rarely rent for less than $1,200, with two-bedrooms starting at $1,500 or $1,600.

School System

Home to John O'Connell Technical High School, Inner Sunset is served by the San Francisco Unified School District.  Several private and parochial schools are in the district, including Playmates Cooperative Nursery Schools and Lone Mountain Children's Center.  The University of California atSan Francisco's Parnassus Heights Campus is west of the neighborhood across Highway 1.


The panoramic views of San Francisco are to die for.  This is the reward for those who make the trek up the two peaks of Golden Gate:Grand View Park and Sunset Heights Park.  Access Grand View Park on foot via the hidden staircase on Kirkham Street between 14th and 15th avenues.  Up the hill, continue on 14th to Noriega.  Take a right to the second steep staircase to the top of the park. The park is little more than a tangle of weeds that won't transform into a hillside of wildflowers until the spring, but on a clear day the views are spectacular — downtown San Francisco and the Bay Bridge to the east, Golden Gate Park and the top of the Golden Gate Bridge to the north and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean to the west.  Most of the sights in the area are on the perimeter of the neighborhood — Golden Gate Park to the north, Ocean Beach to the west, the San Francisco Zoo to the south and the historic birthplace of the Love-In, Haight-Ashbury to the east.

Nearby Clement Street features a booming Asian shopping district that rivals Chinatown and St. Anne of the Sunset on Judah serves up a taste of post-sand dune history.  Services, held in English, Cantonese and Arabic, reflect the ethnic make-up of the neighborhood.  Irving Street, Inner Sunset's shopping central, offers everything from hip clothes to inexpensive restaurants and plumbing supplies.  Locals hang out in the areas numerous cafes and diners for coffee in the morning.  Later residents pick over yard sales; surfers return from high tide as joggers and walkers with their dogs make it over to Golden Gate Park for some exercise.


The seven-mile trip on the MUNI, the city's municipal rail line, goes directly through from Inner Sunset to downtown in 45 minutes.  Driving downtown via Highway 1, then the 101 Freeway can take less than 15 minutes, depending on traffic, while surface streets take 45 minutes. Highway 1 also runs through the district, leading to the 101 or up and down the coastal scenic route.

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