Inner Richmond has a low violent crime rate and an average property crime rate for San Francisco.
The Inner and Outer Richmond neighborhoods (as well as Inner and Outer Sunset) were once written off as “outside lands”; a vast tract of sand dunes that laid between the city and sea. Today the Inner Richmond (the dividing line between Inner and Outer Richmond is 19th Avenue) boasts a casual yet urban vibe. The population is predominantly of Chinese heritage, and this area is sometimes referred to as a “second Chinatown,” due to the preponderance of restaurants. Dim sum fans especially will love it here.
This neighborhood also has deep Irish and Russian roots, and the tech boom has caused an influx of young professionals who prefer a more casual setting to live than some of the eastern neighborhoods. It’s also one of the most diverse neighborhoods in terms of age. The University of San Francisco lies on the eastern edge and brings in students, but there’s an array of families, professionals, and older people as well.
This neighborhood is comfortable and practical and while it’s not as clean and well kept as some of the wealthier neighborhoods in San Francisco, it doesn’t have the grittiness of neighborhoods further downtown. Lots of produce markets dot the street corners, and a huge selection of restaurants can be found primarily in modest or even “divey” settings.
Housing is also older and diverse, and includes Edwardian homes, cottages, and row houses. Inner Richmond is in a state of renewal: there are many projects aimed at revitalizing housing, restructuring streets to better accommodate traffic, and tree planting to spruce up the neighborhood.
The main differences between Inner and Outer Richmond are that Inner Richmond is more active, a little less foggy, and easier to get to from the city center, A few buses run here from other parts of the city and downtown. Most of the shops are small and can be found on Geary and Clement Streets, but a Safeway, Target, Trader Joe’s, and other big names can be found along the edges. It’s a walkable neighborhood, but some distances may be far, and the neighborhood is prone to the fog and wind the western neighborhoods are known for.
The Inner Richmond offers a great compromise of the urban and suburban -- it has both the energy of pedestrians, shops, cafes, and Irish bars as well as quiet nights, a low crime rate, and plenty of good schools. And then there’s the Presidio to the north and Golden Gate Park to the south. Inner Richmond borders the half of the park with the most things to see and do (other than nature): the Conservatory of Flowers, de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Japanese Tea Garden, and the Botanical Gardens. Like any neighborhood in the western part of the city, though, be prepared for wind and fog, but also a relatively lower cost of living.
Located in neighboring Golden Gate Park, this impressive natural history museum houses an aquarium, rainforest, and an albino alligator. Thursday nights feature special programming and reduced admission for adults.
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