Neighborhoods / Marina

Marina

Where there’s always something to do.

You’re a San Franciscan, but you absolutely must live near the water? The Marina is your place. Your life combines well-paid, hard work and a craving for bicycling, hiking, jogging, volleyball, softball, basketball and sailing? Step right up. You can’t imagine living anywhere but Baghdad-by-the-Bay but you hate fog? Time to start browsing Marina home listings. Once empty sand dunes then the site of the 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition, San Francisco’s “we’re back” message to the world after the ’06 ‘quake, the Marina is now a singular neighborhood known for high-end housing, casual restaurants and night spots, boutiques, winding streets and unmatched physical beauty.

Saturday morning softball at Moscone, then an impromptu picnic at the Marina Green: sandwiches from Lucca deli while watching sailboats on the Bay. An afternoon bike ride through Crissy Field to Fort Point followed by dinner at A16 then a nightcap among the old-time regulars at the Horseshoe Bar, followed Sunday by brunch at Baker Street Bistro, shopping on Chestnut Street, dinner at Mamacita’s and cupcakes at Kara’s then – finally – one more lazy walk, first to marvel at the Palace of Fine Arts and then through quiet, winding streets to your condo on Avila Street. Some might call that perfect; Marina residents call it “the weekend.”

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Commute

Apple, Google, Yahoo, eBay and Facebook buses stop at Lombard/Fillmore, Lombard/Divisadero and Union/Van Ness
MUNI 30 and 43 (Lombard) travels east/west; 22 (Fillmore) and 28 (Laguna) travel north/south
Nearest BART: Civic Center

Estimated Commute Times
Financial District via MUNI: 35 minutes
Financial District via auto: 25 minutes
South San Francisco via auto: 40 minutes
Silicon Valley via auto: 70 minutes

Around the Block

Who Lives Here
Young, professional apartment renters, old-line middle-class, high-end and ultra-high-end homeowners.

“Old” meets “new” San Francisco
The Marina was once – and is still in small part – a middle-class neighborhood where residents escaped the tenements of North Beach to breathe clean Bay air. Plenty of those old-timer still dot the neighborhood, telling tales of the time Marilyn Monroe (Joe D.’s wife!) went to the drugstore on Chestnut Street wearing a mink coat and nothing else. Alongside those neighborhood pioneers were wealthy San Franciscans drawn to the Marina’s proximity to the Bay, marina and two yacht clubs, plus its newer (at the time) large, single-family homes. Today those groups are joined by more than one new demographic: dynamic, young working professionals, young families and empty nesters who enjoy the neighborhood’s flat streets and ample sun.

How They Live
Marina residents enjoy their quiet residential streets, their dynamic commercial district (on Chestnut Street) and their boundless outdoor recreational opportunities equally.

Marina residents call a destination “home”
In The Marina, the good life is never far away, and San Francisco’s iconic skyline looms in the distance. Marina residents accept that they live a bit further from downtown, the freeways and BART because that makes their little corner of San Francisco a little quieter than others. Theirs is a retreat, with ample parks, boats bobbing up and down in the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge views on-demand. Chestnut Street is a bit – but not much – quieter than Union Street and features a pair of movie theaters and more established neighborhood businesses, like the Lucca deli and the Marina Lounge, mixed in among the chic restaurants and stylish boutiques.

Housing Market
Winding streets full of white, tan and pink Spanish-style homes – apartments, condos and single-family dwellings, plus mansions along Marina Boulevard – all commanding high-end prices.

Mansions and modest single-family homes, condos and apartments, none at modest prices
The Marina is unique among San Francisco neighborhoods; it’s completely free of Victorians. Instead, the district is populated by breezy Mediterranean buildings, one-, two- and three-story structures with stucco walls and red tile roofs; some are single-family, some two units, some multiple units. None of them are cheap. Rents in The Marina begin at $3,000 a month; for-sale properties asking less than $1 million are rare. Single-family dwellings begin at nearly twice that. Those who can afford the steep price of admission are rewarded with hardwood floors and period details, oversized windows, terraces and sunny (but small) backyards, and proximity to water, city and presidio.

What To Expect
More sun than can be found in any other San Francisco neighborhood. Flat, walkable streets.

A resort in the city
The Marina, Cow Hollow and Pacific Heights are similar in that they all combine high-end housing with a high-energy commercial strip. Some of the city’s best restaurants and its most unique boutiques can be found in these neighborhoods. The Marina sets itself apart by its location – next to The Bay and the yacht harbor, adjacent to Crissy Field, with incredible, iconic views and outdoor opportunities galore. And despite its high profile, The Marina does move a bit slower than its next-door neighbor, Cow Hollow, and has a middle-class element Pacific Heights lacks.

What Not To Expect
Victorian homes, steep hills, a Mission/Haight “bohemian” vibe.

Quiet weekend nights are not our forte
Marina residents treasure their neighborhood’s location – close to the water, far from downtown, removed from much of the city; if these are not things you value, The Marina might not be your place. Neither may it speak to you if you’re the type who prefers a quiet Saturday night stroll to dinner. In this neighborhood, locals expect a certain buzz when they leave the house. Residential streets can be quiet, but as a destination location, The Marina is seldom empty. Nor is it teeming with parking spaces. If possible when visiting (or living in) The Marina, take public transportation.

PERFECT FOR
Active adults who appreciate outdoor recreation opportunities; fitness buffs whose idea of a perfect Saturday morning is a brisk ride or run to Fort Point; boating enthusiasts and fans of casual dining and comfortable neighborhood watering holes; new parents who appreciate a number of options when it comes time to purchase clothes for their babies and/or children. Dog lovers. Fans of condominium and apartment living. Workers whose jobs are in San Francisco or Marin County.

NOT PERFECT FOR
People whose romantic San Francisco idyll includes steep hills and afternoon fog. Large families who absolutely need a detached, single-family home; old-timers who hate young people and wish the sidewalks would roll up every night at eight. Silicon Valley workers who don’t want to add 30 minutes of city driving to their commute. Anyone who depends on easy access to trains to get to work.

You’ll Fall In Love With
The feeling that you’ve somehow stumbled onto a place that’s equal parts California, New England and Amalfi, Italy.

Sunny days on the Marina Green, playing volleyball, picnicking or simply watching sailboats on the Bay. Bike riding and flying kites at Crissy Field. Softball games at Moscone. Farm-to-table from the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market to your back patio for a casual Sunday dinner. Impromptu San Francisco Giant and 49er sightings at the Horseshoe Bar. Choosing between the Marina or the Presidio Theaters on movie night. Evening walks around the lagoon at the Palace of Fine Arts, then peeking in windows of the mansions on Marina Boulevard.

Places to go

Crissy Field
Crissy Field

This stretch of beach and field, once a U.S. Army airfield and located in the neighboring Marina, has become a favorite of cyclists, joggers, walkers, dog lovers and beach-goers.

Marina Green
Marina Green

Also located in the Marina, the green draws the same active crowd as Crissy Field, plus sun-worshipers, volleyball players and lovers of iconic views.

Moscone Rec Center
Moscone Rec Center

There are no rec centers in Cow Hollow, but Moscone, with softball, basketball, tennis a rec building and a playground is just around the corner. Presidio: The former Army base has become Golden Gate Park’s equal for hikers and hosts the Off the Grid food truck picnic on Sundays.

A16
2355 Chestnut

This rustic Italian restaurant opened in 2004 and has barely broken stride since. Make reservations early and often, unless you’re coming for sophisticated bar scene.

Greens
Greens
Fort Mason Center

Another venerable Marina institution, Greens opened in 1979 as part of the San Francisco Zen Center and remains one of the country’s premier vegan restaurants 36 years later.

Ristobar
Ristobar
2300 Chestnut Street

Chef Gary Rulli brings the Italian concept of casual, comfortable neighborhood restaurants, or “ristobar,” to The Marina.

The Tipsy Pig
The Tipsy Pig
2231 Chestnut

Casual and 100 percent American, this lively gastrotavern has appeared on Michael Bauer’s list of Top 100 Restaurants in the Bay Area.

Blue Barn
Blue Barn
2105 Chestnut

Three locations make this a “mini-chain.” Fresh ingredients and an imaginative menu of salads, sandwiches and soups make it a must for lovers of the light lunch (or dinner).

Castagna
Castagna
2015 Chestnut

Intimate French bistro delivers authentic Gallic cuisine in a subdued, personalized setting.

Horseshoe Tavern
Horseshoe Tavern
2024 Chestnut Street

Part of Chestnut Street since 1934, The “shoe” touts itself as the “non-Marina Marina bar.”

Marina Lounge
Marina Lounge
2138 Chestnut

Something of a companion to the Horseshoe Bar, the Marina Lounge is the kind of bar where the locals know the bartender by name.

Reed and Greenough
Reed and Greenough
3251 Scott Street

Named after a 19th century Union Street feed company, this is The Marina’s “upscale dive bar.” No t-shirts or flip flops, please.

Campus
Campus
2241 Chestnut

A must for the sports-minded Marina denizen: a bar with good happy hour prices and a multitude of TVs, all showing sports.

SusieCakes
SusieCakes
2109 Chestnut Street

More than cakes; also cookies, pies and cupcakes, all made in-house, daily.

Kara’s Cupcakes
Kara’s Cupcakes
3249 Scott Street

The most well-known of San Francisco cupcake bakers, and for good reason.

Chestnut Bakery
Chestnut Bakery
2359 Chestnut

A full-service bakery with mother-daughter owners, the Chestnut Bakery has been a mainstay in The Marina for over a decade.

Over the Moon Creamery
Over the Moon Creamery
2144 Chestnut

Ice cream, sorbet, cookies and “a retro bent.” Over the Moon specializes in ice cream sandwiches like “Grandma Millie” used to make.

Dress
Dress
2271 Chestnut Street

Marina legend has Marilyn Monroe shopping on Chestnut clad only in a mink coat. Had she gone into Dress, she surely would have left clad in chic local and international designer duds.

Brandy Melville
Brandy Melville
2085 Chestnut

Trendy, of-the-moment, faddish, current; however you want to say it, Brandy Melville meets the needs of fashion forward young women.

Jack’s on Chestnut
Jack’s on Chestnut
2260 Chestnut

Casual, sports and very Marina/San Francisco, Jack’s offers contemporary men’s clothing and retro sportswear.

Books, Inc.
Books, Inc.
2251 Chestnut

Rare is the surviving independent bookstore. Take advantage of it while it lasts.

Giggle
Giggle
2110 Chestnut

Clothes, furniture and toys for the Marina’s new-mom set, including Bugaboo strollers, a must for Chestnut Street toddler cruising.

Crunch Fitness
Crunch Fitness
2324 Chestnut Street

The largest fitness center in The Marina, with experienced and knowledgeable trainers and cutting-edge equipment.

Bar Method
Bar Method
3333 Fillmore Street

Part of a large national chain of fitness studios whose technique is based on the Lotte Berk method.

VyAyr Fitness
VyAyr Fitness
3320 Octavia Street #8

A serious fitness center (think bootcamp) for women, founded in 2006.

Woodbridge Salon
Woodbridge Salon
2072 Chestnut Street

Two industry veterans join forces to create a salon promising “a new and defining vision of what a salon experience should look like.”

Laline
Laline
2106 Chestnut

“Body meets soul” at Laline, one of 60 internationally located boutiques selling aromatic body and bath products for women, men and children.

Habit
Habit
3212 Fillmore Street

San Francisco’s first “wax-only” salon was founded in 2005 by Carrie Maxwell.

Savvy Hair Salon
Savvy Hair Salon
2284 Chestnut

A simple neighborhood hair salon, Savvy has legions of loyal followers, thanks to its skilled, friendly stylists.

Wave Organ
Wave Organ
83 Marina Green Drive

Created by artists Peter Richards and George Gonzalez in 1986, the sculpture uses the Bay to make music.

Palace of Fine Arts
Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon Street

A San Francisco icon built as the centerpiece of the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition that has served as the backdrop for thousands of wedding photos.

St. Francis and Golden Gate Yacht Clubs
St. Francis and Golden Gate Yacht Clubs
99 Yacht Road and 1 Yacht Road

Reminders of San Francisco’s nautical setting, both available to rent for events; the Golden Gate was HQ for the 2013 America’s Cup.

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