Outer Sunset has a low violent crime rate and a low property crime rate for San Francisco.
Outer Sunset, located in the far west of San Francisco, is the farthest neighborhood from the city center (along with Outer Richmond). “At least you don’t live in the Sunset,” is often heard whenever a resident of San Francisco complains about the weather or distance of their neighborhood. Outer Sunset gets a bad rap for the lengthy public transportation trips (mainly light rail) to get out there and for its suburban atmosphere.
Unlike Outer Richmond, which most residents have likely seen on their way to the many sights along the beach, it can feel like a mystery for those that don’t live there since with so much to see and do in San Francisco it’s not a common place to visit. But residents of the Sunset often report that they love it, and they love that it’s a foggy mystery to residents in the rest of the city. If you do choose to live out here, beware that you might not get many visitors from other neighborhoods.
The relative isolation and phobia of chain-businesses has created somewhat of a time warp effect. It has a bit of a post-war 1960s suburbia feel, with unkempt beach houses and rows and rows of unremarkable single family homes. Some are painted bright colors to distinguish them from the rest. There are fewer lawns and more concrete than might be expected, but backyards are easier to come by out here.
This neighborhood historically housed mainly middle-class professionals, families, and Irish Americans, but waves of immigrants have changed the demographics so that now about half of its residents are of Asian descent. Dedicated surfers and nonprofessional workers have also been pushed out here (both willingly and reluctantly) due to its relative affordability.
The Sunset lacks some of the amenities usually associated with suburban living, but small ethnic markets and a centrally located Safeway attempt fill in the gaps. The Outer Sunset's main retail drag is on the eastern part of Irving Street. The tradeoff of having limited shopping and dining is the proximity to the sprawling Golden Gate Park and the Pacific Ocean.
Despite the heavy fog that often nestles on this neighborhood, surfers can be always be seen out on the water. A popular pastime is watching the surfers from Java Beach Cafe, across the street from the ocean. Like these activities suggest, there is an overall beach town vibe. And while the neighborhood is usually coated with fog (those with seasonal affective disorder beware), on the rare sunny days the beach gets packed. Sunny days tend to be in the fall season, rather than the summer, the water is cold year round, and the riptides makes swimming dangerous anyway. But, if you live close enough, you can fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing.
Outer Sunset is bordered on the north by Golden Gate Park, on the east by Inner Sunset, on the south by Parkside, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.
Rarely crowded, Ocean Beach is great for a long walk, watching the sunset, and sitting around a bonfire at night.
Photo Credits: Thanks to @thecommercialrealestatelife, @bhanghaze, @jonlynzydenbos, @danielhoherd, @wlimdo, @acceptable_insanity, @terminal.case, @hiclaireharper, @mr.zangrilli, @johnny_mac, @mc_niall_of_the_9_hostages, @klyaksa_zhuper, @le_milady, @celestew81, @andrrea.g, @wlimdo, @creative_consciousness, @sanfranologie, @playlandat43rdavenue, @lilyluci for your great photos of this neighborhood!