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The Tenderloin is a gritty neighborhood that keeps all but the hardiest residents away. Still, there are some gems here (and cheaper housing) if you can put up with its seediness.
Studio / 1 BR
51% Complete
2 Bedrooms
71% Complete
3 Bedrooms
100% Complete
4 Bedrooms
0% Complete

Good For
  • Couples without kids
  • Creatives
  • Empty nesters / Retirees
  • Singles


What's around
  • 50 Grocery stores/markets
  • 71 Nightlife options
  • 18 Fitness options
  • 97 Shops
  • 2 Banks
  • 2 Schools
  • 163 Restaurants




The Tenderloin has a high violent crime rate and a high property crime rate for San Francisco.


The Tenderloin is named after New York City's Tenderloin neighborhood, which purportedly got its name after a police captain was overheard saying that he was able to afford better cuts of meat with the money he collected on the side by extorting illegal businesses in this area in exchange for not shutting them down.

It has long been an area known for its homelessness, prostitution, drug use, liquor stores, and strip clubs. These have earned it the reputation of being the worst neighborhood in San Francisco, and while the neighborhood continues to struggle, it has also been a haven for alternate sexualities and lifestyles and a site of remarkable culture and resilience.

It is often considered dangerous, and while crime is a little higher here (especially drug and robbery-related crime), walking quickly and with confidence, avoiding eye contact, tucking away flashy items, and staying aware of your surroundings will discourage most from making you their target.

It is common to be confronted by public drug use, arguments, mentally ill homeless persons living in squalid conditions, litter, and a terrible smell here, but you’re much more likely to be harassed than actually robbed. And yet despite how unpleasant the Tenderloin can sometimes seem, it is in many ways the heart of the city, flanked by affluent neighborhoods like Nob Hill and the Financial District, and stretching from Powell Street to Civic Center, making it the one of the most accessible neighborhoods in San Francisco.

Even if you choose not to live here, because of its geography it is tough to avoid and neighborhoods can turn rough very quickly, so anyone in San Francisco should stay aware when near this area.

There are some really amazing reasons not to avoid the Tenderloin, however. The preservation society works hard to keep keep the impressive architectural history intact. Housing is primarily single-room-occupancy hotels (many of these are protected by law), studio and one bedroom apartments, and cheap housing projects. It is also home to a somewhat surprising and impressive array of theaters and other live performance venues (Pianofight, Exit Theatre, A.C.T. Geary Theater, and Counterpulse, to name a few), art galleries, and trendy bars, which makes more sense when you consider its history as a haven for the creative and disenfranchised.

It has has resisted gentrification much better than most other neighborhoods in San Francisco. In addition, a “Little Saigon” area has sprouted up on its western edge due to the influence of refugees from Southeast Asia.

While it is gritty and not particularly family-friendly, as much as people avoid it, it’s actually a cultural hub that’s undeniably San Francisco.

The Tenderloin is bordered on the north by Nob Hill, on the east and south by SoMa, and on the west by Western Addition.

Tenderloin San Francisco Neighborhood Image


Local Flavor   Tenderloin LOCAL schools

San Francisco City Academy
Parent Rating:
Distance:0.08 mi
De Marillac Academy
Parent Rating:
Distance:0.21 mi
Tenderloin Community
Parent Rating:
Distance:0.44 mi
Redding Elementary School
Parent Rating:
Distance:0.51 mi
Cathedral School For Boys
Parent Rating:
Distance:0.55 mi


Local Flavor   Tenderloin Local Flavor

Pianofight 144 TAYLOR ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102 MAP

Both a bar with free nightly entertainment and a venue with two small theaters with frequent comedy shows and plays.

Tenderloin Walking Tour

Founded by a former homeless resident of the Tenderloin, the tagline of these free tours is “a raw, informational experience that will inspire you to not avoid the Tenderloin. "

Brenda’s French Soul Food
Brenda’s French Soul Food 652 POLK ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102 MAP

A popular breakfast and lunch spot serving New Orleans-style cuisine in a narrow space.

Tenderloin National Forest
Tenderloin National Forest 501 ELLIS ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94109 MAP

A tiny urban oasis of arts and foliage in a former dumping ground alleyway.

Bourbon & Branch
Bourbon & Branch 501 JONES ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102 MAP

A speak-easy style, reservations only bar where you enter through an unmarked door and are taken through secret passageways on your way to handcrafted cocktails.

Kayo Books
Kayo Books 814 POST ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94109 MAP

A bookstore specializing in vintage and esoteric paperbacks from the 1940s to the 1970s.

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