Inner Sunset

San Francisco’s Inner Sunset neighborhood has two reputations: it is one of the local’s favorite neighborhoods in the city and one of the neighborhoods plagued by some of the city’s worst weather. Inner Sunset’s secret to popularity, despite its less-than-stellar weather, is that it retains a small town charm that is becoming increasingly difficult to find in an increasingly gentrified city. Whereas in other neighborhoods neighbors zip by each other with not even a hint of acknowledgment, in Inner Sunset you’ll quickly get the feeling that everybody knows each other.

Inner Sunset is also a very diverse neighborhood, a legacy of its immigrant past. Once an empty sandlot, a crafty developer ‘misnamed’ the area the Sunset District, hoping to lure newly arrived immigrant families into his fog-filled investment. Although no one bought the trick, the neighborhood proved popular with Irish immigrants who found the foggy atmosphere reminiscent of home. In later decades, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese and Pacific Islander families began moving in.

The neighborhood is home to the University of California’s medical campus, bringing a young vibe to the Inner Sunset. This also helped attract the many boutique shops and funky dining options that now populate the area.

Where it’s At

Inner Sunset sits between Golden Gate Park to the north and Vicente Street to the south, running from Stanyan Boulevard on the east and 19th Avenue to the west.

What to See

Although many people use Inner Sunset as a base to go exploring nearby Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, Haight-Ashbury and the zoo, the neighborhood does have several sites worth seeing. St. Anne of the Sunset (850 Judah St) is a Mission-style church dating to 1931 and is an excellent example of the early architectural style of the area. Both Grand View Park and Sunset Heights Park reward trekkers with views over the Bay and skyline. Be warned though, both require hefty climbs up steep staircases.

Where to Eat

For top-of-the-line sushi, try Ebisu (1283 9th Ave.), known as one of the Bay area’s leading sushi restaurants. For headline making noodle bowls, check out Japanese-themed Hotei (1290 9th Ave.). If you are in the Inner Sunset in the morning, M’s (1376 9th Ave.) serves up classic Americana breakfasts – popular with the college crowd.