Map Of San Francisco – A Dozen Neighborhoods & Forty Hills

The map of San Francisco shows a city perched on a peninsula that's contained in seven miles by seven miles. For a place that's just 49 square miles, this City by the Bay contains more varied neighborhoods than a city ten times the size! Hemmed in by water and accessed by two bridges (Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge), a map of the city can be held in the palm of your hand.

A map of San Francisco also shows off dozens of distinct neighborhoods — ranging from the posh and exclusive Nob Hill and Pacific Heights, to the bohemian Castro and Mission districts — that give the city its unique, jumbled character. Some of the district names are well-known, almost legendary. North Beach, Pacific Heights, Japantown, Chinatown, Mission, the Castro, and the Presidio offer a huge variety of terrain, landmarks, museums, and attractions all within the narrow city limit. All are framed in the stunning natural beauty of Northern California.

San Francisco On a Map

KEYWORD

This map of the most-visited parts of San Francisco (it's easier to read in the full size version) with The Castro and Mission districts at the bottom, the Presidio at the top left, and Union Square center right.

You can also spot North Beach and the piers area in the northeast, while running west out to the ocean is Golden Gate Park. This map is okay for viewing online, but when you're out and about in San Francisco you're going to want a map you can slip into your pocket or bag.

Two Good San Francisco City Maps

BORCH LAMINATED SAN FRANCISCO MAP

Call us old fashioned, but we still like the comforting feel of a nice city map in our pocket as we explore San Francisco. We usually look for maps that are small enough to tuck away, but that use a scale that's easy to read. Surprisingly (to us, at least) for a city that's so much visited, there isn't a greater choice in SF maps. But, there are two we like that are useful and easy to use.

  • STREETWISE SAN FRANCISCO MAP
    Lightweight, laminated, fold-out map. 1:30,000 scale — perhaps a bit small. The lamination provides long life for this map while protecting it from water (and beer!).
    "By far the best San Francisco map for your pocket or bag… Streetwise has engineered to put more information in a small space than you can imagine… All of the tourist attractions are on the map. All of the main landmarks are on the map. All of the streets and street directions and MUNI and Cable Cars are on the map." – 5-Star Review
    → Find it at Amazon
  • BORCH LAMINATED SAN FRANCISCO MAP
    At a scale of 1:13,000, this laminated map is easy on the eyes. Waterproof, tear resistant. Our overall top choice (shown above).
    "Extremely useful map! Great quality. I always buy Borch maps for every travel adventure!" – 5-Star Review
    → Find it at Amazon

A Quick Guide to San Francisco Neighborhoods

North Beach

One of the best things about visiting the city is the ease of exploring the neighborhoods. Cables cars, trolleys, double deckers, ferries, and buses get you to the corners of the city from where you can explore on foot to discover the hidden corners, parks, and monuments. Here are highlights of the some of the neighborhoods along with the top things to see and do in each.

Nob Hill

The highest summit in the city, Nob Hill was once barren and desolate. But, as soon as cable car lines were installed on California Street, running up Nob Hill, the railway barons raced to build their lavish mansions atop the peak. Huntington, Hopkins, and Stanford established a foothold in Nob Hill and their presence is still felt more than on hundred years later. Read Our Guide to Nob Hill

North Beach

Explore little Italy with its authentic Italian bakeries, restaurants and delis. Climb the Filbert Steps for fantastic views of the sparkling bay below. Then visit Coit Tower to view the historic murals or head to City Lights Bookstore to experience the vestiges of the Beat Generation. Although a popular tourist destination, North Beach still retains its authentic spirit. Read Our Guide to North Beach & Little Italy

Chinatown

Leave North Beach and head into the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. You'll be in the center of exotic herbalists, open-air markets selling Asian delicacies, dim sum palaces, and shops selling jade and trinkets along Grant Avenue. Also famous in Chinatown are Grace Cathedral and several Buddhist Temples. Read Our Guide to Chinatown

Japantown

Everyone knows about Chinatown but fewer travelers know about Japantown. It's home to the giant Japan Center filled with shops selling Japanese cookware, sushi bars, communal Kabuki baths and a multiplex theater. Only a mile away from Union Square, it's the perfect place to explore a different side of San Francisco. Read Our Guide to Japantown

Lombard Street

They call it the crookedest street in the world for good reason! Eight hairpin turns lead you down this historic Russian Hill street. If you're up for an adventure, navigate down the steep curves on an advanced Segway tour. Also in the area is Pacific Heights and the California Institute of Art.

The Presidio

Once a military base, the Presidio is now one of the most beautiful national parks found in the middle of the city. Cruise through the park for spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, stop at the new Disney Family Museum or hike or bike the many natural trails. The majestic Palace of Fine Arts and the Exploratorium are also found in the Presidio.

The Castro & The Mission District

In recent years these two districts have become trendy destinations for travelers. This is where it all began — the entire gay and lesbian culture can be traced to the Castro area. See where Harvey Milk started his campaign for gay rights and the famous Castro theatre. Next to the Castro is the Mission district where Latino's coexist with artists and bohemian writers. Read Our Guide to The Castro & The Mission District

Berkeley & Oakland

Just across the Bay Bridge is the East Bay where you find Oakland and Berkeley. The pace relaxes and you can explore the area made famous by the Black Panthers, University of California-Berkeley, and restaurant Chez Panisse. It's also where you'll find the fascinating Chabot Science Center. Read Our Guide to Berkeley & Oakland

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