The Marina is one of those neighborhoods where locals and tourists meet and merge. It is located at the northern end of the City between Lombard Street (Highway 101) and the Bay in the north-south direction and between Richardson Avenue (Highway Ave) / Yacht Road and Van Ness Avenue in the east-west direction. Some of the great San Francisco attractions are located within this neighborhood, such as the Palace of Fine Arts, the Marina Green, and Fort Mason. In addition, Crissy Field borders the district, and the Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge are very close.
Marina District SF Neighborhoods
There are some beautiful homes along Marina Boulevard, which have breathtaking views of the Bay. There are also some very nice homes around the Palace of Fine Arts, which is a coveted location because of its proximity to the park with its iconic swans and other adjacent attractions. The remainder of the streets in the Marina District consists primarily of a multi-family apartment building. And aside from busy commercial and touristy corridors, such as Marina Boulevard, Lombard Street, and Chestnut Street, the area is generally tranquil and can feel like a small town. Therefore, it can be challenging to find a home to rent or buy in this area since there is usually a high demand. If you choose to live here, there are many rental agencies, property managers, and realtors to help you find the right place. However, you can also start doing some of your own research by visiting property websites, such as www.zillow.com or www.trulia.com, among others, to see home listings with prices and home descriptions.
Statistically speaking, and based on empirical data, the Marina has a good reputation safety-wise with minimal criminal activity, which is another reason why the area is so popular, especially with younger people. Your best option is to research crime in the area, as noted in the websites below, as well as ask around before you decide to live here. For information regarding crime in the area, visit www.spotcrime.com or go to @SFPD (San Francisco Police Department.)
Since the Marina is close to the Bay, the neighborhood streets are flat, and there are good bikeways, which you can take to go downtown. You have a small climb at Fort Mason. Additionally, several bus lines are crisscrossing the neighborhood, but busses can be slower since poor traffic conditions easily impact them. Also, there are no subway, trolleys, cable cars, or BART routes nearby. Therefore, busses are the only public transit option. Also, parking in the area can be challenging. So, driving and trying to find a parking space may not be a lot of fun. As always, I recommend biking as much as you can
To plan and/or schedule a trip by bus, car, bike, or foot, go to www.sfmta.com for traffic, transit, and commuter information.
Shopping and Dining
The main commercial corridors are Lombard Street and Chestnut Street. Although Lombard has many dining and shopping establishments worth visiting, it is a bustling street. Lombard eventually leads to the Golden Gate Bridge, so many commuters and tourist traffic are on this road. On the other hand, Chestnut Street is much quieter and easier to navigate; it is home to many cafes, restaurants, and shops of all kinds, which make it a fun place to walk around and see what is going on. The available foods are American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, including sushi, and Mexican, among others. Be sure to take a culinary walking tour along Chestnut Street.
The local supermarket is on Marina Boulevard towards the easterly end of the neighborhood. Besides having almost all your grocery needs, they also have a really good deli counter, which comes in handy if you want to have a picnic on the Marina Green, Fort Mason, or other green areas.
Parks and Recreation
There are a couple of smaller parks and green areas, but the jewel in this neighborhood’s crown is the Marina Green, which is right along the water and is a great place to layout, play volleyball, jog, bike or play with your kids and/or dogs. Even if you do not live close by, you owe it to yourself to check out Marina Green. That said, it is also worth visiting Fort Mason “next door,” as well as the Moscone Softball Fields on Chestnut between Webster and Laguna Streets. Besides having softball fields, they also have a recreation center, a dog park, a nice playground, and tennis courts.
Schools and Libraries
The local schools are Claire Lilienthal (www.clairelilienthal.org), which is a K-8 charter school with a Korean language immersion program; the Marina Middle School (www.sfusd.edu), which is a public school and across the street from the local public library and the rec center; also, and although just outside the neighborhood at 1150 Francisco Street, the Galileo Academy of Science and Technology is a public high school with an excellent reputation. Their website is www.galileoweb.org). We recommend you visit www.niche.com for information regarding private institutions. And for information regarding public schools, visit www.sfusd.edu.
The Marina Branch Library is located on the northeast corner of Webster and Chestnut Streets. It has a good collection of books, DVDs and periodicals. The building is not particularly interesting.