Areas to Avoid, San Francisco

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  • Alamo Square - car windows smashed

    by martj1 Written May 1, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When we returned to our car after spending 1/2 hr taking pictures in the park, our windows were smashed and our belongings stolen. This is a bad neighborhood and is run down. There were homeless people all around. Stay away from this area! Trust your instincts!

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  • Union Square

    by Neal.101 Written Apr 18, 2015

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    Just don't go anywhere near this area, north, south east or west, stay away. Far too many homeless aggressive people per square foot to feel safe. High end stores should be ashamed of their location. The city obviously does not care for the safety and comfort of their visitors.
    I was assaulted in broad daylight, filed a police report which by the comments I received just seamed like one of too many to follow up on or find the perp.
    If you want to be safe, go somewhere else.

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  • some tips on safety

    by aopsdfj Written Oct 4, 2014

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    i am born and raised here in SF. im 15 so i travel a lot on the bus around the whole city and ive seen everything from pickpockets to shootings. these reviews seem a little wack so let me give you a lil guide

    unsafe/violent neighborhoods:
    - bayview (drugs/violence)
    - sunnydale (drive-by's/lots and lots of drugs)
    - hunters point (highest murder rate of the city)
    - visitation valley (drive by's/stabbings)
    - some parts of the tenderloin (there are actually many great parts, just be careful around Eddy street
    - the haight is a common place for tourists to get purses stolen
    - some parts of the mission (lots of gang related drive bys and drug violence)
    - some parts of the fillmore (drug issues)

    if you are a woman of any color traveling alone, all of these neighborhoods are three times as dangerous for you! DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY, PLEASE TRAVEL IN GROUPS 3 OR MORE AND CARRY PEPPERSPRAY

    things to stay alert for:
    - LEAVE YOUR CARS!! the MUNI and BART will take you every and anywhere you need. also parking sucks and is expensive
    - be wary if you go on the 14 Mission bus because i have been mugged on it twice
    - if you're a woman wearing skimpy clothes in the Mission district (mainly 24th street), men WILL try to attack you and lure you into their cars to abduct you!!! NEVER TAKE A RIDE FROM ANYBODY NO MATTER HOW NICE THEY MAY SEEM!!!!
    - dont be mean to the homeless people but dont give them money if they have scabs on their faces or bulging veins, that means they are on drugs. instead, give them food or drink

    pickpocket advisories:
    - at chinatown during the day or during events, streets get crowded and there are MANY pickpockets
    - also many pickpockets on crowded buses
    - do NOT use your phone to check social media or send long texts or call anybody when you are on Market street, it will get stolen
    - this goes for the bus/train too. keep a tight grip at all times, or else someone might snatch it from your hand and get off the bus right as the doors are closing
    - fishermans wharf is a pickpocketers dream, lots of unsuspecting tourists with their bags and pockets wide open. if you carry your phone in your back pocket and part of the phone hangs out this doubles your risk
    - dont lend your phone to anybody for any reason at all. no exceptions
    little things all tourists should know:
    - dont be afraid to ask for directions! if you're totally lost, try asking someone at a bus stop to point you in the right direction
    - bus drivers really dont care if you pay or not. if you dont have the $2.25 or .75 to pay the fare, you can just get in through the back door and sit down. dont beg or plea, they really dont care
    - dont take your sweet time getting on and off the bus, move fast
    - the driver will not wait for you to pay after you step on board, so have your money ready before getting on or hold onto something for when it lurches forward
    - try to keep maps stowed when in urban or public places. it kinda gives away the sense that youre a vulnerable tourist
    - inbound buses go towards the center of the city/downtown and outbound buses go to the outer edges. lots of people get this confused
    - dont wear any clothing thats solid red or solid blue when in the mission district
    - remember how people would walk slowly in the hallways in high school? when walking down market street, dont be that person.
    - there is very much meth usage in the LGBT community in the Castro so just be careful

    thats all i can think of off the top of my head but please feel free to e-mail me for any additional questions that you may have @
    peace!! :))

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  • Agressive homeless

    by Nankj Written Sep 27, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My husband and I were visiting SF for the first time. We have traveled to other large cities but this
    was the only time had seen this many homeless and in the 6 days there we had 3 disturbing encounters with homeless and one good encounter. Just for FYI we are both 62 yrs old, my hubbie is a 35 yr career fireman and I am a 30 yr career registered nurse.
    We stayed at the Chancelor Hotel on Union Square, very nice by the way enjoyed our stay there. Ist encounter: Sitting on the steps on Union Square waiting on tour bus when a homeless person behind me threw and hit me with his empty cigarette pack, my husband was standing at the top of the steps to watch for the bus and saw him throw it at me intentionally but did not realize it had acutally hit me. He just stared the person down who looked away. 2nd: While crossing street (again union Square area) homeless man crossing street steps in my path making me stop and grabs his private parts. 3rd: In Walgreens store next the Westin Shopping Square on Market, feel someone grab my arm, turn to look homeless man holding onto my arm and would not let go...I screamed, he then let go and ran out the door. All this happened in a matter of 5 days!!!! We were there last of Sept 2014....we had planned on coming back but now I doubt it. Oh yes a van full of folks and us were going back to airport....driver stopped to pick up 2 more passengers when a homeless man came up and was just banging on the windows then ran off.
    The one good encounter, after eating breakfast I could not eat all of mine and wrapped a slice of ham and some toast in napkins. Some homeless men sitting on steps at union square I asked if any would like they said yes, thanked me, said 'god bless you mame' and I noticed they shared the food amoung them all.

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  • San Fran Pretty but a So, So Kinda Town

    by MGD1963 Updated Sep 14, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Just took my first trip to the west coast and it was San Fran to visit my wife's family and a vacation. Born and raised in Philly so I know what a bad area looks like. This much I will say the area around the Wharf didn't seem to be bad. However, when you get out of the tourist area The Mission being one of the areas I did not feel very safe. The homeless issue in San Fran in my eyes is an issue! If you don't answer them or God forbid tell them no they get aggressive and answer you back. Its a cool city lots to see and do but tell you what, between the congestion, some of the areas of town being sketchy and the homeless. I think I'll spend my money and vacation someplace else and not go back to San Fran!

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  • No problem

    by Philphoto Written Jun 29, 2014

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    We are a couple from Scotland, we were on our second visit to SF in June 2014.. We previously stayed in Sutter street in 2010. Stayed opposite City Hall On our second visit. We noticed many more homeless 2nd time around, but as in 2010 we had NO PROBLEM. the peeps tended to keep to themselves.. we walked Market St at night, the Tenderloin because our favourite restaurants are there.. shock horror had my Mobile (Ce;llphone) and camera on display were never approached by anyone.. However on the last day on Market Street saw 2 youths angrilly trashing an I pad.. maybe the stole it and couldnt get the password.. but we have had no problem what soever.. saw a couple of them ranting to themselves though, gave a dollar to one lady selling those homeless news papers.. it was an interesting read about the homeless situation there

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  • Avoid These Areas

    by jonnyander276 Written Jan 31, 2014

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    Tenderloin,Tenderloin,Golden Gate Park,The Mission District,Dolores Park are those areas which you should avoid ..because these areas are so quite and dangerous .Already many miss happenings are done on these places.

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  • MattJamonit's Profile Photo

    You got nothing to worry about

    by MattJamonit Written Oct 7, 2013

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    I haves lived on the peninsula most of my life, and moved to San Francisco in my adult life and I can honestly say that 90% of the neighborhoods are good. Even the neighborhoods that were deemed unsavory 10-15 years ago have gentrified and residents have made these neighborhoods hip and more $$$ to live. Yes, tenderloin has its characters and addicts, and I wouldn't recommend tourist walking at night in some parts from market between van ness to 5th street. And west of post st. Western edition is in the lower bracket of neighborhoods but there really isn't anything there anyway. That goes true with hunters point too, there is no reason to go there. The bayview has a lot of new business and condos, and it used to be Terrible but I live near that area and its changed dramatically. If you want to see bad neighborhoods, go across the bridge to Oakland, that's a war zone there and I would bypass it by all means.

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  • San Francisco is mostly safe

    by kiton Written Mar 30, 2013

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    Ive lived in San Francisco for 5 years now and it is mostly safe. Tenderlon is definitely dangerous ( a friend got punch there) if you don't feel safe in a muni, you can sit closer to the driver, ( I've sit way at the back when the muni wasn't crowded and almost got attack by a drunk man) so really look out at the situations and sitting at the front is way better.

    Richmond, sunset, outer Richmond is definitely safe.
    height and fillmore is a bit shady.
    Japan town is safe.
    downtown is safe during the day, at night there'll be a lot of homeless, although most of the time, they don't really bother you.
    chinatown is safe during the day, there's a lot of tourist here. beware of pickpockets especially during events, where the street is really crowded.
    financial district is safe until 8-9 pm
    some areas of market street is quite unsafe, such as between market and 6th street.

    my advise is to always stay alert, and that san francisco is pretty much safe. Even areas like tenderloin is actually safe during the day. ( the food around this area is really good, though they close pretty early)
    The main thing about san francisco is every two blocks, the atmosphere changes, so the safe and unsafe areas are pretty hard to tell.

    Also the atmosphere during the day and night are very different ( such as downtown area, Fillmore, and Market street) So it is better not to walk alone at night, especially when you aren't familiar with the area)

    Overall, I have been living in areas that are known for not being too safe (Downtown, Fillmore, O'farrel, ) and I would say that it is actually very very safe.

    my advise is to always stay alert

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  • car parking

    by larrysteven Written Mar 6, 2013

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    Do not take your car to the city unless you want it broken into or you want a parking ticket. Had my car in a parking garage with security and cameras and it was broken into, I honestly think it was the security team. It is a beautiful city but full of derelicts and thieves. LEAVE YOUR CAR HOME!

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  • Cellphones are useless

    by unlucky_ Written Dec 14, 2012

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    Be caefulllll ! No one told me that San Fran was like the cell phone mugging capital of the world. I missed a bus and had my cell phone out to make a call and BAM. The guy took it from my hand.
    Like I said, was about to make a call.

    The cops told me to not use my cell phone while I was on Market Street. After the robbery, I looked up that Market Street is like the black market wal mart of the city and that I should be lucky that I did not get punched in the face for my phone or maced in the eyes. Now I don't use the cell phone on the street. The cops said that it for your own safety. I am telling you now because no one told me.

    Don't use your phone on Market Street. They will take it straight from your hand, sell it a couple of blocks away and your vacation will suck. And the locals will just look at you like you should have known better.

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  • How safe is the upper Alamo area?

    by tatergirl Written May 3, 2012

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    I am looking for a vacation rental in SF for me (single woman) and my 3 adult children, 2 of their spouses, and an infant. One that I'm looking at is near Alamo Park (Fell St between Scott & Pierce). I'm not familiar with that area and wondering how safe it is? Is it close enough to the Western Addition or the TL to be a little dicey? I would like to be in an area where we feel safe walking to & from MUNI stops or restaurants, etc.

    As a reference, I have stayed in the Haight Ashbury area where I felt safe walking from there to UCSF and in Golden Gate Park during the day (for the most part) but didn't feel very safe walking the 3 blocks or so from the MUNI stop to the B&B after dark, although I did that several times & the questionable-looking people loitering in doorways didn't do anything theatening. I have stayed in Fisherman's Wharf several times and felt about the same as Haight Ashbury except maybe slightly safer at night just because there were more people around, businesses open, etc. I have also stayed on Post & Steiner (near UCSF's Mt Zion facility) and that is where I felt the least safe...just a bit too close to the TL I think.

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  • don't freak out!

    by rtkehl Written Feb 22, 2012

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    I've lived in the city for two years now, and it really is not that bad at all.
    The three districts bordering the ocean( Richmond, Sunset and the Presidio ) are all very safe. on the east side of the city, you have to watch out. I suggest not going to downtown after dark, It can get very weird and sketchy. same with Chinatown and the mission. The worst though, by far, is bayview. do not even consider going there. The neighborhoods you must visit though is nob hill, Russian hill, marina, and pacific heights. these neighborhoods are all very safe, and AMAZING. all the houses easily sell for above a million, and there's a reason why. The views are breathtaking, and the houses are beautiful. My personal favorite neighborhood is pacific heights/ lower pacific heights, and the inner sunset( specifically 9th ave. and Irving area) however, In terms of restaurants, what I would recommend is visiting areas with restaurants a tourist wouldn't normally visit. there are a lot of restaurants that look dumpy, but give them a chance. most of them have AMAZING food. the sunset and Richmond( the two most westward districts, and known as "the avenues") have very awesome Chinese food , same with Chinatown, but Chinatown is crowded. The mission is the king of Mexican food.

    and you should probably visit other places around SF, like the Marin headlands.

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  • It Aint Bad

    by SFPROOF Written Feb 1, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    So ma school got some new computers and i searched my neighborhood Sunnydale and landed here don't be afraid of sf it aint bad. yea there some bad area, but if you a torrisr you won't run in bad areas. and if ya do don't be noticibal just act like it yo neighborhood. but stay out the sunydale people be crrepin. peace

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  • San Francisco avoidance

    by XUnlimited Written Jan 24, 2012

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I just had a discussion with my wife where she suggested that someone we know comes from money because she was born and raised in SF. I stated maybe not and that every city has a ghetto. She doubted it (even tho neither of us has been there :)

    So I searched the issue and came upon these reviews. The last one gave me a giggle where he suggested that if you must complain dont visit.

    Being from NYC, Brooklyn to be precise, I have my love hate relationship with tourists. Now
    I know that there may be bad areas of San Fran, and now I KNOW that it contains its share of rude assholes. LOL.

    Gotta love it.

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Comments (4)

  • oppziggy's Profile Photo
    May 24, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    Oh please, the tenderloin is no worse than the rest of the city. the places you should avoid are Bayview and Fisherman's wharf. Shockingly Fisherman's wharf has one of the highest crime rates in the area right now. Yes, in the tenderloin there are many crack heads, many homeless and many ex-male Prostitues, however, they keep mostly to themselves. I have lived in this hood for 5 years and never once been bothered. When i go to the Wharf however, even as a big guy, I am afraid for my life going to work. If you say that the TL is bad, please, its not...However, if you're an idiot and don't have an common sense as most tourists don't, then you might experience something you might like, but that is anywhere in this city. Be smart, aware of your surrounding and don't flaunt your phones, money, or belongings anywhere.

  • Jul 22, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    I loved the New Yorker comment, I went to NYC 2 years ago, and indeed it was just like Disneyland. Me and my parents walked in Manhattan From Madison Square Garden to the Met and back during the night and believe me I have never been so comfortable walking around. I'm just about to visit SF and the only people giving bad oppinions about the city are Americans. I've read a lot of blogs from Spain and nobody even mention it. I live in Mexico City and in 25 years I've never been robbed. Seriously people, all you need is to be a little more alert of what is going on aroud you.

  • IgnaciaSL's Profile Photo
    Jun 20, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Hi! i wanna know about the socioeconomic aspects in S.F. Like wich neighborhoods are the poorest and richest of the city, and if there's some hill (not much known, something like apart of the urban area) with a great view of the city. Thanks!

    • Jun 27, 2013 at 11:22 PM

      rich? north by Golden Gate Bridge. and west & around Golden Gate Park. North of Market.
      poor? south of Market. the whole SOUTH EAST quadrant of SF if you're not good at maps & neighborhoods. that's what I tell people most of the time

    • Staticfreedom's Profile Photo
      Nov 28, 2014 at 8:07 AM

      Hi everybody,

      My wife and me were in Frisco in 2003, it was our punk rock honeymoon. Our hotel was in Tenderloin. To be honest, nothing particular happened to us. people shouting in the bus, some asking if you ever want some pot, but no gun pointed, no knife either, even late at night. We went to gigs in Mission (Thee Parkside), gilman, Visited many good record shops, had countless drinks in Haight Street ... Lucky? Maybe, maybe not. I admit Tenderloin is a rough area but we come from a big southern Italy city and we probably know how to watch our backs. Would love to go there once again ....

  • Jan 27, 2013 at 3:12 PM

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