A happy family of four poses for a photo on a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge as fog rolls in over San Francisco.

What are the Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco for Families?

San Francisco California

by Bridget Houlihan Posted on April 29, 2024

Have you ever wanted to live in a beautiful, walkable city with fantastic coastal views, good weather, and great cultural amenities? Then you might be interested in San Francisco. The Golden Gate City has a lot to offer its residents, including a vibrant arts scene, access to good public transportation, a great job market (especially if you’re in tech), and easy access to outdoor activities. But is Frisco good for families? And if so, what are the best neighborhoods in San Francisco for families? 

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Lots of people, including many families, want to move to San Fran because it can offer a high quality of life, and it seems like there’s always something fun going on in one of the city’s many diverse neighborhoods. But while the Mediterranean climate and great schools may seem enticing, it’s important to understand that San Francisco might not be for everyone — it has a cost of living more than double the national average, for example. Taken the pros and cons into consideration and still not deterred? Then here are our top choices for the best (and safest) neighborhoods in San Francisco for your family.

San Francisco at a Glance

  • San Francisco has an estimated population of about 808,000.
  • San Fran has a large Asian population, making up around 35 percent of the total population.
  • The average home value is around $1.3 million, while the average rent in the city is around $3,275 for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • Frisco is known for its world-class dining scene, with a wide variety of international cuisines offered. It also has great shopping, lots of historical attractions, and beautiful views.
Q: Is San Francisco a good place for families?
San Francisco is a good place to raise a family because you’ll have access to great schools, parks, and lots of fun outdoor activities.

Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco for Families

The Golden Gate City has some great family-friendly neighborhoods, whether you’re searching for one of the many single-family homes in San Francisco, or you would prefer to rent. Here’s our list of 10 of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco for families that offer both options, as well as safe streets, nearby green spaces, and lots of things to do for the whole family. 

1. Northern Waterfront

Ranked by Niche as the No. 1 neighborhood in San Francisco to raise a family is the beautiful Northern Waterfront area (also simply referred to as “North Waterfront”). Located right on the water, when you get a place in this neighborhood, you’ll have unparalleled views of the bay, including Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island. A short drive across I-80 will put you at the island’s Clipper Cove Beach for a fun day gathering seashells. You can also take the whole family to Tower Park to walk or bike the trails. 

The Northern Waterfront neighborhood is easy to navigate, and you’ll find that there are interesting things to do just a few blocks away. Take the kids to the Exploratorium for hands-on learning about science and the ocean that includes the Fisher Bay Observatory, or hop on the Embarcadero Transit and spend the day exploring the city. Living in this safe neighborhood will also give you walkable access to the Sydney G. Walton Square and Park, Soft Park, and Pioneer Park. 

2. Fisherman's Wharf

Do you want to find a lively place for your family at the center of everything with great access to schools, transportation, and dining? Then consider looking for a place to call home in the popular Fisherman’s Wharf! Chances are, you’ve already heard of this neighborhood, since it boasts some of the best things to see and experience in San Francisco. When you call this neighborhood home, you’ll be steps away from places like PIER 39, a waterfront market with carnival games and plenty of activities to keep the entire family entertained. You can also catch the iconic San Fran cable car at Hyde Street and spend the day taking in all the sights of the city. 

When you’re looking for something fun to do indoors, grab the whole family and head over to the Cartoon Art MuseumMadame Tussauds, or the Museum of the Eye. There are plenty of local restaurants to try that will satisfy everyone in the family, as well, including In-N-Out Burger and delicious seafood at the Blue Mermaid


Q: What is the nicest part of San Francisco to live?
Fisherman's Wharf is considered one of the nicest parts of San Francisco.


A row of Victorian-style homes in the Inner Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco.

Residents and their families like to spend the day enjoying Dolores Park, which includes both tennis courts and the Helen Diller Playground.

3. Inner Richmond

Located on the northern side of Golden Gate Park is the cute community of Inner Richmond. If your kids are active, they’re going to love being this close to all the green space that makes this such a highly ranked neighborhood for families. In addition to the trails, soccer fields, ball fields, ponds, and playgrounds available in Golden Gate Park, they’ll also be close to the Presidio of San Francisco Park and all it has to offer! There, you’ll find beautiful Baker Beach, as well as panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point Rock. And you can always walk to Rossi Park and Playground if you want to leave the car at home. When you’re not outside enjoying the trails, take the whole family to the Walt Disney Family Museum or the House of Air Trampoline Park for a fun day indoors. 

Inner Richmond is served by a variety of great schools, including one of the best San Francisco high schools, Lowell High School. And with plenty of fresh markets and delicious restaurants on Balboa Street (like the yummy burgers at Uncle Boy’s), you’ll have no problem keeping everyone happy. 

Q: Where do families live in SF?
Inner Richmond and Glen Park are particularly popular areas for families.

4. Parnassus Heights 

Parnassus Heights is not only one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco for families, but it’s also ranked No. 2 on Niche’s list for “Best Neighborhoods to Live in San Francisco.” This neighborhood is nestled on the southern border of Golden Gate Park and offers residents access to Koret Children’s Playground, ball fields, Kezar Stadium, and even a skatepark. Located at the center of Parnassus Heights is the sprawling Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve, with plenty of trails to explore on bike or foot, as well as some great spots for birdwatching. 

UC San Francisco Parnassus Campus (UCSF), including the UCSF Medical School, is in the area, which means this safe San Francisco neighborhood is also home to a variety of students. Locals love to take the kiddos for a slice at Kezar Pizzetta or to grab some kebabs at Taboun!

Sunrise over Dolores Park in San Francisco’s Mission Dolores neighborhood.

Residents and their families like to spend the day enjoying Dolores Park, which includes both tennis courts and the Helen Diller Playground.

5. Mission Dolores

If you’re looking for a family-friendly neighborhood in the heart of the vibrant Mission District of San Fran, then you should consider Mission Dolores. Home to the 18th century church and oldest building in San Francisco, the Mission San Francisco de Asis (AKA the Mission Dolores), this close-knit neighborhood offers fantastic public and private schools, plenty of green space, and access to convenient public transit. Residents and their families like to spend the day enjoying Dolores Park, which includes both tennis courts and the Helen Diller Playground. And when it’s warm, you can spend the day at Mission Pool or play a game of basketball or soccer in the adjacent courts/fields. 

Everett Middle School and Sanchez Elementary School are within easy walking distance in this neighborhood, and you’ll see not only kids walking to school but other residents walking their dogs or getting a quick jog in. When you need a meal the whole family can enjoy, head over to fresh California cuisine at Kitchen Story. In the mood for something sweet? Bi-Rite Creamery is the way to go! 

6. Anza Vista

If you want to find an area with more affordable single-family homes in San Francisco, you’ll definitely want to consider looking in the Anza Vista neighborhood. This part of town is also one of the best San Francisco neighborhoods for families because it’s safe, easy to walk around, and in a great location. Here, you’ll have access to stellar San Francisco high schools like Lowell High School, the New School of San Francisco, and Raoul Wallenberg High School

The City Shopping Center is easy to get to (you can even walk to it) and features stores like Target, Starbucks, and CVS. Living in this neighborhood also means you can get to the Presidio of San Francisco very easily and enjoy the playgrounds, trails, and open green spaces perfect for spending the day outdoors with the family. It’s also nice to know that Kaiser Permanente Medical Center is right in your neighborhood!

Townhomes in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco. The homes all have a similar design but with unique exterior materials and colors.

With easy access to nearby Glen Canyon Park, families in Glen Park have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

7. Glen Park

If your family enjoys spending time outdoors together, you can’t go wrong living in a safe neighborhood with easy access to an expansive park that includes lots of trails and green space. And the San Francisco neighborhood of Glen Park offers just that. It borders Glen Canyon Park, a 67-acre park that includes a deep canyon (bet you couldn’t guess that!). One of the best family things to do in San Francisco is enjoy the stunning natural scenery that surrounds you while you’re being active outdoors, so Glen Park may be just the perfect place! 

Check out the Glen Canyon Boulders, follow the Islais Creek Trail, or spend some time at the Glen Park Recreation Center (that includes a playground) playing soccer or baseball/softball. And if you need to commute anywhere in San Fran, you’ll be happy to know that the Glen Park BART station is right in your neighborhood, so you can take the kiddos out to a museum or spend the day exploring the piers at the waterfront without worrying about traffic or parking. 

8. Lower Haight

The bustling neighborhood of Lower Haight is not only a great place to raise a family, but it's also one of the top neighborhoods to live in San Francisco. Here, you'll find a variety of single-family homes, apartments, and condos that are sure to pique your interest. Residents love to easy access to Koshland Community Park, and when they're looking for a little more space, head over to nearby Alamo Square. This park includes a playground and a dog park – not to mention beautiful views of the iconic Painted Ladies historic Victorian houses (famous for their appearance on Full House).

You can easily stroll through the neighborhood when you want o get outdoors for a bit, and even walk to popular shopping sites on Market Street like Whole Foods and Safeway. There are plenty of local spots for when you need a bite right on Haight Street, as well, including family favorites like Kate's Kitchen.

Q: What is the safest area in San Francisco?
Both Inner Richmond and Fisherman’s Wharf are some of the safest areas of San Francisco.

Waterfront condos in Mission Bay line the banks of Mission Creek Channel in San Francisco.

Waterfront condos in Mission Bay line the banks of Mission Creek Channel in San Francisco.

9. Mission Bay

Have you always wanted to live in a waterfront community that offers beautiful views and an easy commute? Then consider getting a place in Mission Bay! Here, you’ll be steps away from the famous Bay Front Park, which offers all kinds of walking and biking opportunities for the kids on the San Francisco Trail. Interstate 280 also runs right through this neighborhood, giving you easy on/off access to go anywhere you might want in the city — whether for a fun day out or when you’re commuting to work. 

Residents love how easy it is to take the kids to see a Golden State Warriors game at the Chase Center and then grab burgers afterward at the popular Gott’s Roadside. There always seem to be pick-up soccer games going on at Mission Bay Field, and Mission Bay Commons is always full of folks enjoying the weather, picnicking, and walking their dogs. Families in this neighborhood also feel safe knowing that UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital is close by. 

10. Duboce Triangle

Another scenic neighborhood in San Francisco for families is Duboce Triangle. When you live in this neighborhood, you’ll never be far from busy Market Street and a variety of shopping and dining options like Safeway, Super Duper Burgers, or breakfast fare at the Wooden Spoon. You’ll also be within walking distance of the popular Duboce Park, which includes basketball courts, the Scott Street Labyrinth, and the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts.  

As a resident of Duboce Triangle, you're also just a short distance from the larger Buena Vista Park (with trails, a playground, and a tennis court) as well as Corona Heights Park that includes the Randall Museum, a playground, and a community garden! It’s also good to know that the CPMC Davies Hospital Campus is in your neighborhood, too.

A family of four carries a few final items to the PODS portable moving container sitting in their driveway. The container is nearly full, having been expertly loaded with boxes and furniture.
Renting a portable moving container from PODS allows you to fill it up with your belongings at your own pace.

Move to One of the Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco for Families With PODS

When you’re ready to make the move to one of the best neighborhoods in SF for families, let PODS help you get there. Renting a  portable storage container allows you to fill it up with your belongings at your own pace, and you can always reach out to them to find local movers who can help you with the heavy items. Once you’re ready, they’ll pick it up and drive it to your new home — you can even take advantage of PODS City Service in San Francisco to help you move in without a hitch. Take as long as you need to unpack, and remember that one month of storage is always free!

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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