If you’re looking for diversity, then look no further than San Francisco’s Western Addition. Packed within this neighborhood are numerous cultural pockets and attractions, including the views from Alamo Square to the always-evolving Divisadero Street. Cross the street or turn a corner and you’ll find yourself in entirely new surroundings.
The Western Addition is the city’s first multicultural neighborhood, with the Fillmore being San Francisco’s first African American community and, at one time, home to the city’s Japanese community. This is area that produced such jazz greats as Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday – a jazz scene that continues to reverberate today.
Where it’s At
Your best bet for visiting this diverse area is to focus on the Fillmore and Divisadero Street.
What to See
Alamo Square Park has the title of one of the city’s most photographed spots. No wonder considering the breathtaking views of the downtown and the Painted Ladies – the famous row of Victorian houses. In the Fillmore area, be sure to check out the Farmers’ Market for a wide selection of fresh produce, breads and local goods. On Fridays during the late summer, you can enjoy a live concert or movie under the stars as part of the Fillmore Fridays Outdoor Music and Cinema Series. And in July the streets fill with the world-famous Fillmore Street Jazz Festival. In Japantown, the spring Cherry Blossom Festival includes a parade, martial arts exhibition, music and crafts.
Where to Eat
Alamo Square Seafood Grill is an excellent choice for mix-and-match seafood caught and served fresh every day (803 Fillmore St). For some soul food, the Blue Jay Café offers comfort food classics in a subdued setting that also serves as an art gallery. The Southern route includes such staples as sweet tea, pork chops and fried chicken. Sunday brunch is also a big draw (919 Divisadero St.).
For Japanese, the hard to find Iroha features an assortment of hot and cold noodles and one bowl dishes. Although it may not look like anything fancy, its food has been bringing locals in for over 20 years (1728 Buchanan St).