Located on San Francisco’s northern edge, the picturesque Marina District is known for its sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. One of its most famous landmarks is The Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
, a neoclassical monument that was originally erected for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. Today, the theatre puts on several events each year, which range from live podcast tapings to performances of the nutcracker by the City Ballet. The surrounding grounds feature a serene body of water and plenty of grass, making it the perfect place to hunker down with a book on a sunny day.
Get in some exercise by heading to the 9.4-acre Marina Green park, which features running and biking paths that unfurl against the backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge. If sunbathing is more your speed, head to the sandy white Crissy Field Marsh and Beach
, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch near the restored tide marshes and bayfront beaches. Drive past Chrissy Field until you reach a parking lot underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, and you’ll be able to hop out and explore Fort Point
. The National Historic Site was originally built as a defense station to safeguard against naval attacks during the Gold Rush, but today it is popular with history buffs and explorers.
The lively Marina District is also known for its vast selection of bars, restaurants, and shops, which are especially prominent on Chestnut Street. Pop into stores like Siren Boutique
for some top-notch shopping, opt for a trendy pizza lunch at Delarosa
, or grab tacos and tequila at Tacolicious
If you’re house-hunting in the area, you’ll be sure to spot plenty of Marina-style homes. Originally popularized in the district, these homes are often characterized by a garage opening at the street level, a row of windows on the first floor, flat roofs, and stucco finishes. The average house in Marina District is listed for $2.02 million.
After the Gold Rush, nearby Cow Hollow became the go-to destination for dairy farms. In the 1950s, antique shops and furniture showrooms started cropping up on the town’s main strip, slowly turning the dairy destination into a shopping haven. Today, Cow Hollow is a preppy, trendy area popular with working professionals and young adults. The main vein, Union Street, is now dotted with fashion boutiques, yoga studios, beauty bars, and juice shops (in other words, everything millennial tech workers could ever want).
Be sure to fuel up with a latte from Wrecking Ball Coffee
and a Challah French Toast brunch at Perry’s
so you have plenty of energy to hit the ground running on your shopping spree. Countless shopping options abound, from the Nike on Union Street (which offers free workout classes) to boho-chic women’s stores. On average, the median home price in Cow Hollow is $2.074 million. Marina District and Cow Hollow are ideal neighborhoods for anyone who wants waterfront access and world-class culture and shopping in their backyard.