South San Francisco

South San Francisco is a hidden oasis of the Bay Area in California, located just south of Daly City and north of San Bruno on the Peninsula. When you say "South San Francisco" to out-of-towners, they think that you live in the southern part of San Francisco proper. But South San Francisco is very much its own distinct city, which is not even contiguous with San Francisco.

Population has tripled since World War II with the opening of subdivisions on the slopes west of El Camino Real. It has grown from 4,411 in 1920 to 61,824 in 2006.


Truth be told, the 'rough' reputation that South San Francisco has is nowadays mostly undeserved. The first thing you'll notice is a gigantic sign on the hill between South SF (or as the locals say, "South City") and Brisbane which reads in block capitals: "SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO THE INDUSTRIAL CITY". Yes, it is industrial, but not so much anymore. Mostly what that means is there are a bunch of warehouses and train tracks in the southeast corner of South City, and whoops now you're at the airport.

The people of South City seem to be broken down ethnically into thirds, with a third being Pan-Asian (Chinese, Japanese, and a sizable Filipino population - see Daly City for more), a third being Mexican/South American, and a third being white folk with a concentration of Italians.

Weatherwise, South City is on the cusp between fog and sun. Sometimes the fog is carved off by the mountain between South City and Pacifica, but other times it continues on through and keeps things cool. It can get windy in the hills any time of year.

Get in


Culturally, South City is pretty barren. It is after all a suburb, but you are 20 minutes away by BART or car from the heart of San Francisco, 20 minutes away from the glorious beaches of Pacifica, and 20 minutes away from Burlingame. SSF is a mouse among giants. After you've seen Sign Hill, you've seen the highlight. Strip malls and lots of single family homes and apartments dominate the city. You can park your car when you go shopping (no mean feat if you lived in San Francisco itself) and can get around pretty much anywhere. Few suburbs enjoy as much diverse cultural attractions within a 20-minute radius as South City.



Food-wise, South City offers up some of the best Mexican and Italian food you could ever hope for. Indian and Thai food is not much spoken for.


There are plenty of bars to get soused with the locals.


Go next

North to the heart San Francisco, east to catch a flight out of SFO, south to the Peninsula, and west to the beaches—all within 20 minutes.

Routes through South San Francisco

San Francisco Brisbane  N  S  Millbrae San Jose

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.