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You might not know it, but the Richmond District is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant (Aziza). That’s just one sign that the Richmond is no backwater. Yes, it is cool and foggy the vast majority of the time, but there’s a reason why some of the City’s most famous folks (think Robin Williams and more than a few of the City’s movers and shakers) call it home.

We think that’s because it’s got more open space than virtually anywhere else in the City, plus a vast assortment of housing stock and easy access to Marin and the Peninsula via 280. Sure, you can buy a glorious $8.7 million mansion in Sea Cliff or a fabulous flat along Lake Street— but if your budget is little tighter there is also a good selection of condominiums and single family houses that start in the mid-$700s as you move west.

Prices have appreciated here over the last decade, but not so much that there still aren’t a few bargains out there for first-timers. Because this area was set up with emergency housing after the 1906 earthquake, there are still a few tiny quake houses mixed in with the multi-unit buildings and single family houses.

The Central Richmond and Inner Richmond areas were largely developed from 1915 to the early 1920s and have a preponderance of Edwardian and Mediterranean-style architecture. The Lake Area is at the northeast section of the Richmond with vintage Edwardian architecture and backs up to the Mountain Lake Park — a great place for a jog or dog walk.

You also can’t underestimate how nice it is to live next to Golden Gate Park. It’s a treasure trove of cultural attractions, from the De Young Museum to the California Academy of Sciences.

The Richmond stretches across the Northwest tip of San Francisco, and Geary Boulevard is the main drag. You can find everything you need here, from Eastern European delis to traditional supermarkets. It’s one of the most diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco, with a heavy emphasis on immigrants from Asia (think China, Vietnam, Korea, India) as well as Russia.  You can walk down the street here and feel like you’re in another country.

Clement Street offers a window into how the district has evolved. Starting at Arguello, you’ll find lots of shops that sell European goods and little luxuries (like designer handbags).  One of our favorite restaurants, Chapeau!, is at the foot of Clement. But walk west — and within a block or two you’ll find that the spirit changes. Discount stores catering to Asian immigrants abound, but you’ll still find a pizza place or Irish pub that’s hopping amid the workaday feeling of outer Clement. Keep going, and you’ll find the Balboa Theater — a refuge for those of us who love independent film and neighborhood theaters.

A collection of handy links about the Richmond:

Yahoo Group for the Central Richmond District Safety Committee (CRDSC)
Take a Flikr Tour of the Richmond
Visit the Wikipedia page about the Richmond


5800 Geary

126 Clement

Ton Kiang Dim Sum
5821 Geary

Pizzetta 211
211 23rd Ave.

Tommy's Mexican Restaurant
5929 Geary
(best tequila bar in San Francisco)

Beach Chalet
1000 Great Hwy
(between Upper Great Hwy & Fulton St)


Foggy, diverse, accessible and cosmopolitan, the Richmond is a microcosm of the best of San Francisco.