San Francisco/SoMa

SoMa, short for South of Market, is San Francisco's urban renewal district and an extension of downtown San Francisco, with brand new condominiums, office buildings, and a thriving club scene, the result of real estate speculation and the Bay Area's technology sector. Some of the city's newest attractions can be found here, including several museums, the convention center, and the ballpark for the San Francisco Giants, which has only furthered the gentrification of the area. The neighborhood is bordered roughly by Market Street on the northwest, the 101 Freeway (from Market Street to I-80) and 16th Street (from 101 to the San Francisco Bay) on the south, and the San Francisco Bay on the east.

Understand

Once home to warehouses and dilapidated Victorian houses, SoMa saw an artistic and club culture revival in the 1980s. By the time of the Internet boom of the 1990s, the "live-work" buildings of this area had become prime real estate, and the artists and musicians who had made it cool could no longer afford the sky-high rentals.

With the burst of the dot.com bubble, SoMa has become somewhat more affordable, but has also lost many of the businesses that made the area attractive during the boom. Some of the best clubs are still in SoMa, but a taxi is recommended for getting around, especially after dark as some areas are still a bit dangerous.

Get in

Map of SoMa

Being at the San Francisco end of the Bay Bridge and the heart of San Francisco's public transit network, there are extensive transit options to this district.

By rail

Caltrain, a commuter rail line between San Jose and San Francisco, terminates at the   Caltrain station at 4th & King Streets, just down the street from AT&T Park.

Bordered by Market Street on its northwest side, SoMa is within easy walking distance of all MUNI Metro lines and the several BART lines which run under Market Street. Running on Market Street is the F-Line Streetcar which stops frequently on its route from the Castro to the Ferry Building, then north on the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf.

Additionally, the MUNI Metro T-Third and N-Judah lines emerge from the Market Street subway and travel through the SoMa district, stopping at a few places along the Embarcadero south of Market, including AT&T Park. The N line stops at the Caltrain station, while the T line continues south down 3rd Street into Southeast San Francisco.

By bus

MUNI offers extensive bus service through SoMa, with nearly every street having a bus line of some sort. Routes 10-Townsend, 12-Folsom/Pacific, 30-Stockton, 45-Union/Stockton and 47-Van Ness are the best bets for getting down from the neighborhoods to the north, like Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf. Routes 1-California, 5-Fulton, 6-Haight/Parnassus, 38-Geary and 7-Haight/Noriega are some of the best for getting in from eastern neighborhoods like The Avenues, while routes 9-San Bruno, 12-Folsom/Pacific, 14-Mission, and 27-Bryant come up from Southern San Francisco through the Mission district.

Nearly all intercity bus service into San Francisco runs into SoMa, including Greyhound, MUNI, and various other Bay Area transit services (AC Transit, samTrans, Golden Gate Transit, and WestCAT). Due to the current reconstruction of the Transbay Terminal, all this service currently goes to the   Transbay Temporary Terminal at Main and Howard Streets. Facilities are minimal, with bus bays for Bay Area service on the Howard Street side of the terminal and on the streets surrounding the site, and Greyhound service on the Folsom Street side of the terminal.

By car

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which is part of Interstate Highway 80, offers a direct connection from the cities of the East Bay area (such as Oakland) to SoMa. After getting into San Francisco, any of the first three exits (Fremont/Folsom, 5th Street, 8th Street) will lead you into SoMa before I-80 terminates at US-101.

From the south, there are two freeways running into SoMa: I-280 dead ends near the Caltrain Station - stay in the right lanes to get onto 6th Street, or stay in the left lanes to get onto King Street and past the Caltrain Station and AT&T Park. US-101 comes up from the south to merge into I-80, where you can get off onto I-80 and take one of the two eastbound exits into SoMa, or stay on US-101 (stay in the left lanes) and exit at 9th Street or Mission Street before the freeway terminates at Market Street (US-101 continues north as Van Ness Avenue).

SoMa is also well-connected to other San Francisco neighborhoods by surface streets. From the north, The Embarcadero is the best one for getting down from Fisherman's Wharf, while Van Ness Avenue is the best for getting from the Golden Gate area. Between those two are a number of other major thoroughfares, such as Montgomery, Stockton and Hyde Streets, which will also do nicely. From the south and southwest, 3rd Street, Mission Street and Market Street all work well.

Parking here, as anywhere else in San Francisco, can be a challenge, but there a number of parking garages in the district, including a large one at Mission between Fifth and Fourth streets for the Moscone Center. People driving to a Giants game are advised to park at the large parking lot along 3rd Street just south of AT&T Park, just across the canal.

By boat

In addition to the regular ferry service provided to the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street in the adjacent Financial District, two ferry companies offer special ferry service to Giants home games at AT&T Park: Golden Gate Ferry from Larkspur, and San Francisco Bay Ferry from Alameda, Oakland, and Vallejo.

See

New skyscrapers over Yerba Buena Gardens
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from Yerba Buena Gardens

Do

A view of left field and the bleachers on a gorgeous day for Giants baseball

Buy

Eat

In addition to the numerous restaurants listed below, there are also food courts in the Metreon and the San Francisco Shopping Center, both of which are large and offer a variety of restaurants; although in the case of the Metreon, be sure to avoid the food court during lunch hours of any major convention, when the lines for each restaurant will get very long.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Clubs

Many of San Francisco's best dance clubs are in SoMa.

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget under $100
Mid-range $100 - 199
Splurge $200 and over

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Go next

Routes through SoMa

Sunset Financial District  N  S  END
West Portal Financial District  N  S  Visitacion Valley


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, December 17, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.