San Francisco - SoMa
SoMa, short for South of Market, is an area of downtown San Francisco south of Market Street and northeast of the Mission District. It is San Francisco's urban renewal district, bordered roughly by Market Street on the northwest, the 101 Freeway (from Market Street to I-80) and 16th Street (from 101 to the San Francisco Bay) on the south, and the San Francisco Bay on the east.
Once home to warehouses and dilapidated Victorian houses, SoMa saw an artistic and club culture revival in the 1980s. By the time of the Internet boom of the 1990s, the "live-work" buildings of this area had become prime real estate, and the artists and musicians who had made it cool could no longer afford the sky-high rentals.
With the burst of the dot.com bubble, SoMa has become somewhat more affordable, but has also lost many of the businesses that made the area attractive during the boom. Some of the best clubs are still in SoMa - a taxi is recommended. Parts of the area can be a bit dangerous after dark.
Being at the San Francisco end of the Bay Bridge and the heart of San Francisco's public transit network, there are extensive transit options to this district.
Caltrain , a commuter rail line between San Jose and San Francisco, terminates at the Caltrain station at 4th & King Streets.
Bordered by Market Street on its northwest side, SoMa is within easy walking distance of all MUNI Metro  lines and the several BART  lines which run under Market Street. Running on Market Street is the F-Line Streetcar which stops frequently on its route from the Castro to the Ferry Building, then north on the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf.
Additionally, the MUNI Metro T-Third and N-Judah lines emerge from the Market Street subway and travel through the SoMa district, stopping at a few places along the Embarcadero south of Market, including AT&T Park. The N line stops at the Caltrain station, while the T line continues south down 3rd Street into Southeast San Francisco.
MUNI  offers extensive bus service through SoMa, with nearly every street having a bus line of some sort. Routes 10-Townsend, 20-Columbus, 30-Stockton, 45-Union/Stockton and 47-Van Ness are the best bets for getting down from the neighborhoods to the north, like Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf. Routes 1-California, 5-Fulton, 6-Parnassus, 38-Geary and 71-Haight-Noriega are some of the best for getting in from eastern neighborhoods like The Avenues, while routes 9-San Bruno, 12-Folsom/Pacific, 14-Mission, 26-Valencia and 27-Bryant come up from Southern San Francisco through the Mission district.
Nearly all intercity bus service into San Francisco runs into SoMa, and nearly all of it goes to the Transbay Terminal at First and Mission Streets. Greyhound , MUNI, and various other Bay Area transit services (AC Transit , samTrans , Golden Gate Transit , and WestCAT ) all stop at the Transbay Terminal.
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which is part of Interstate Highway 80, offer a direct connection from the cities of the East Bay area (such as Oakland) to SoMa. After getting into San Francisco, any of the first three exits (Fremont/Folsom, 5th Street, 8th Street) will lead you into SoMa before I-80 terminates at US-101.
From the south, there are two freeways running into SoMa: I-280 dead ends near the Caltrain Station - stay in the right lanes to get onto 6th Street, or stay in the left lanes to get onto King Street and past the Caltrain Station and AT&T Park. US-101 comes up from the south to merge into I-80, where you can get off onto I-80 and take one of the two eastbound exits into SoMa, or stay on US-101 (stay in the left lanes) and exit at 9th Street or Mission Street before the freeway terminates at Market Street (US-101 continues north as Van Ness Avenue).
SoMa is also well-connected to other San Francisco neighborhoods by surface streets. From the north, The Embarcadero is the best one for getting down from Fisherman's Wharf, while Van Ness Avenue is the best for getting from the Golden Gate area. Between those two are a number of other major thoroughfares, such as Montgomery, Stockton and Hyde Streets, which will also do nicely. From the south and southwest, 3rd Street, Mission Street and Market Street all work well.
Parking here, as anywhere else in San Francisco, can be a challenge, but there a number of parking garages in the district, including a large one at Mission between Fifth and Fourth streets for the Moscone Center. People driving to a Giants game are advised to park at the large parking lot along 3rd Street just south of AT&T Park, just across the canal.
- Moscone Center, 747 Howard Street, ☎ +1 415 974-4000, . Stretching across two adjacent blocks between Mission, Folsom, 3rd and 4th Streets (with another building across the street at 4th and Howard), Moscone Center is a major entertainment complex with a variety of attractions. The Moscone Center itself is a convention center housing major exhibits and conventions, including a number of major (especially IDG) expos that occur each year, including Apple Computer-related expos such as Macworld and Apple's WWDC, and LinuxWorld.
- Yerba Buena Gardens, ☎ +1 415 820-3550, . Daily 6AM-10PM. The Yerba Buena Gardens, above the Moscone Center, provide a nice urban oasis. A large grassy meadow, a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr., play places for kids, fountains and gardens make this a great place to come, play and relax.Free.
- Charles Looff Carousel, corner of 4th and Howard. Daily 10AM-6PM. A beautiful carousel dating back to 1906, now fully restored and open for rides.$2 per ride.
- Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center, 750 Folsom Street(between 3rd and 4th), ☎ +1 415 820-3532, . Indoor ice skating rink open year-round. Check the Ice Centre schedule online for public skating hours.$8 adults, $6.25 children, $5.50 seniors. Skate rental extra.
- Yerba Buena Bowling Center, 750 Folsom Street(between 3rd and 4th), ☎ +1 415 820-3532, . Su-Th 10AM-10PM, F-Sa 10AM-Midnight. Bowling alley.Walk-in game $4-$7, depending on time.
- Zeum, 221 4th Street(at Howard), ☎ +1 415 820-3320, . W-F 1PM-5PM, Sa-Su 11AM-5PM. An arts and technology museum geared towards kids and families, with lots of interactive exhibits (some of them quite high-tech) giving you a change to produce animation, video, sound, performance or visual arts.$8 adults, $7 students/seniors, $3 children/teens, free for children under age 3.
- Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street(at 3rd), ☎ +1 415 978-2700, . Tu-W, F-Su Noon–5PM, Th Noon–8PM. An interesting venue for local contemporary artists. Rotating exhibits, performances, and film screenings.$7 adults, $5 seniors/students, free on the first Tuesday of each month.
- Metreon, 101 4th Street(at Mission), ☎ +1 415 369-6000, . This Sony Entertainment-sponsored mall/entertainment complex has some interesting shops (including an entire store devoted to the Sony Playstation), a 15-screen movie theater with an IMAX screen, and a video game parlor/arcade where you can drink and play virtual bowling.
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 3rd Street(across the street from the Yerba Buena Gardens), ☎ +1 415 357-4000, . F-Tu 11AM-5:45PM, Th 11AM-8:45PM. An innovative art museum with five floors of galleries featuring changing exhibitions as well as permanent displays featuring the works of some very famous 20th century artists, including Georgia O'Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and many others. Be sure to see the unique glass bridge on the 5th floor, perched high above the main lobby.$12.50 adults, $8 seniors, $7 students, free for children 12 and under.
- Museum of Craft and Folk Art, 51 Yerba Buena Lane(just off Market between 3rd and 4th Streets), ☎ +1 415 227-4888, . Tu–F 11AM–6PM, Sa-Su 11AM–5PM. This is the only folk art museum in Northern California, known for a rich offering of focused and unique exhibitions of traditional and contemporary folk art and craft from around the world.$5 adults, $4 seniors, free for under 18.
- Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission Street(between New Montgomery and 3rd), ☎ +1 415 227-8666, . Tu-Su 11AM-5PM. A unique museum dedicated to cartoon art in all its forms.$6 adults, $4 students/seniors, $2 children, age 5 and under free.
- California Historical Society Museum, 678 Mission Street(between New Montgomery and 3rd), ☎ +1 415 357-1848, . W-Sa Noon-4:30PM. Changing exhibitions showing the history of the state.$3 adults, $1 students/seniors, free for children under 5.
- Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission Street(inside the St. Regis Hotel), ☎ +1 415 358-7200, . W-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su 12PM-5PM. A museum dedicated to the diaspora of Africans.$10 adults, $5 seniors/students, children 12 and under free.
- South Park, along Park Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets. This is a charming quiet park in the middle of the hustle and bustle of industrial SOMA. at at any of the small restaurants around the edges, they are all pretty good. Not very nice at night since homeless use the park to sleep.
- Treasure Island. An artificial island half-way between San Francisco and Oakland connected to Yerba Buena Island which the Bay Bridge passes through. The Island has excellent views of San Francisco & Oakland skylines and quirky structures from the international fairground-turned-navy base-turned neighborhood. Accessible by Muni bus line 108 from the Transbay Terminal downtown.
- San Francisco Giants - AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza(at Third and King Streets), ☎ +1 415 972-1800, . One of the building projects that revitalized this area, the stadium is an imposing brick edifice that has all the necessary modern amenities, such as beer and wifi. It looks out upon San Francisco Bay, which makes a fine backdrop for those Barry Bonds home runs. On days where there are no Giants home games, public tours of the ballpark are available at 10:30AM and 12:30PM.Giants tickets range from $10 to over $100, depending on section and date of game. Ballpark tours $10 adults, $8 seniors, $6 children.
- CounterPULSE Theater, 1310 Mission Street(at 9th), ☎ +1 415 626-2060, . This hybrid theater located at Mission and 9th Street is a hub for experimental art and activism. Online calendar boasts new and eclectic events year-round.
- Dore Alley. This street hosts the Up Your Alley Fair. It is the warm up event for the famous Folsom Street Fair. Held the last Sunday in July, this preview is smaller, wilder, more local, but no less crowded and just as fun.
- The Folsom Street Fair, . This annual event, held on the last Sunday in September, features Leather, Bondage, Rubber and other Fetish and BDSM activities. Stretching over a mile you will find wall-to-wall dance clubs, bands, and booths where you can shop for a whip or learn about safe sex. It started out as an underground event to protest the gentrification of SoMa. It is organized by a non-profit to raise funds for many SF area charities. It's a world class event, and the third largest outdoor event in California. With a suggested donation is $5, it's quite a bargain today.
- Alexander Book Co., 50 2nd Street(between Stevenson and Jessie), ☎ +1 415 495-2992, . M-F 9AM-6PM. A large independent bookstore with three floors of thousands of new books.
- Foto-Grafix Books, 655 Mission Street(between New Montgomery and 3rd), ☎ +1 415 495-7242, . Tu-Su 11AM-5:30PM. An extensive collection of photography books, along with a lot of Ansel Adams books, prints and posters.
- General Bead, 637 Minna Street(between 7th and 8th), ☎ +1 415 255-2323, . Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 12PM-5PM. Thousands of beads and bead-based products for any bead and jewelry lover.
- Metreon, 101 4th Street(at Mission), ☎ +1 415 369-6000, . A Sony Entertainment-sponsored mall/entertainment complex has some interesting shops, such an an entire store devoted to the Sony Playstation, a book store, a toy store, and a couple of other electronics/entertainment related stores.
- Podesta Baldocchi, 410 Harriet Street(at Brannon), ☎ +1 415 346-1300, . M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa 8AM-2PM, Su 9AM-1PM. A charming and long-standing floral shop.
- San Francisco Shopping Center, 865 Market Street(between 4th and 5th), ☎ +1 415 512 6776, . M-Sa 9:30AM-9PM, Su 10AM-7PM. This massive nine-floor Westfield-owned complex contains around 400 shops and restaurants, including some upscale places. Anchors for the mall include a Bloomingdale's, a Nordstorm, a Bristol Farms grocery, and a movie theater.
- Brainwash, 1122 Folsom Street(at Langton between 7th and 8th Streets), ☎ +1 415 861-3663, . M-Th 8AM-12AM, Fr 8AM-1AM, Sa 7:30AM-1AM, Su 7:30AM-12AM. It's a Laundromat! It's a Cafe! It's a pub! It's all of the above. A fine place to do your laundry while grabbing a beer, some lunch, playing a little pinball, surfing the net, chatting with your friends, or watching a live show.
- Home Menu, 1565 Mission Street(at South Van Ness), ☎ +1 415 861-3173(fax: +1 415 861-6788). M-F 10AM-10PM, Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-4PM. Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine (review is for Vietnamese). Stir-cooked dishes with barbecued meats and fresh vegetables. Chef may ignore your order if he thinks you'll like something else better, and when he does the food is excellent for the price. Soups, rice porridge, pho available. Accessible, not vegetarian aware, no MSG, beer, Chinese pop instrumentals, bright lighting, free delivery.$3.50-$6.75 apps/salads, $5.75-7.50 rice plates, $6.50-$8.50 entrees.
- Katz Bagels, 606 Mission Street(between New Montgomery and 2nd Street), ☎ +1 415 512-1570. One of very few places to get actual bagels in California. Yes they're boiled, then baked. Open from the morning commute hours through lunchtime. Try the sandwiches.
- Reds Java House, Pier 30(on the Embarcadero near the Bay Bridge), ☎ +1 415 777-5626. Have the hamburger, fries and an Anchor Steam combo.
- 21st Amendment, 563 2nd Street(between Bryant and Brannan), ☎ +1 415 369-0900, . Open at 11:30AM daily. Good "california-style microbrew" beers. Classic brewpub-grub - burgers, fish, some salsds. The Jerk Chicken is excellent. Full menu images are online.
- Delancey Street Restaurant, 600 Embarcadero Street, ☎ +1 415 512-5179, . Tu-F 11AM-11PM, Sa-Su 10AM-11PM.
- Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant, 2 Harrison Street(between Spear and the Embarcadero), ☎ +1 415 243-8246, . Su-Th 11:30AM-Midnight, F-Sa 11:30AM-2AM.
- Hidive, Pier 28(on the Embarcadero near the Bay Bridge), ☎ +1 415 977-0170. This is where SoMa residents go for quick meetings and meals. You can also find decent food here to go along with the great waterfront views.
- Julie's Supper Club, 1123 Folsom Street(at Langton between 7th and 8th), ☎ +1 415 864-1222, .
- Manora's Thai Cuisine, 1600 Folsom Street(at 12th), ☎ +1 415 861-6224(fax: +1 415 861-1731), . Lunch M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, Dinner M-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM, Su 5PM-10PM.
- South Park Cafe, 108 South Park Street(at Jack London Alley between 2nd and 3rd), ☎ +1 415 495-7275(firstname.lastname@example.org), . Lunch M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, Dinner Tu-Sa 5:30PM-10PM.
- Thirsty Bear Brewing Company, 661 Howard Street(1/2 block from Moscone Center), ☎ +1 415 974-0905(fax: +1 415 974-0955), . M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F 11:30AM-Midnight, Sa Noon-Midnight, Su 5PM-10PM. Brewpub meets tapas bar. Good beer brewed in-house, from very light lagers through a nice Kozlov Stout. One or two brews on nitrogen. Very good small-plate food with a mediterannean / spanish bent. Tuesday is cask-ale night - beer served from traditional wood cask instead of modern steel - while it lasts, which usually isn't very long.
- Tres Agaves, 130 Townsend Street(between 2nd and 3rd), ☎ +1 415 227-0500, . Best margaritas in the city, along with great Mexican food. The food comes with so many sides that one appetizer and one entree is easily enough for 2 people.
- Fringale French Bistro, 570 4th Street(at Freelon between Bryant and Brannan), ☎ +1 415 543-0573(fax: +1 415 905-0317), . Lunch Tu-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, Dinner Su-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-11PM.
- Zuppa, 564 4th Street(between Bryant and Brannan), ☎ +1 415 777-5900(email@example.com, fax: +1 415 777-5950), . Lunch M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, Dinner M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9PM. Modern industrial decor and excellent italian food. Wood fired pizzas, great salumi. Go for salumi, pizza and a salad and split everything for 2.
- 21st Amendment, ☎ +1 415 369-0900. See above under restaurants.
- Annie's Social Club, 917 Folsom Street(at 5th), ☎ +1 415 974-1585, .
- Bacar, 448 Brannan Street(between 3rd and 4th), ☎ +1 415 904-4100, . Over 100 wines by the glass. Sometimes have 50% off everything on the wine list in some category.
- District, 216 Townsend Street(between 3rd and 4th), ☎ +1 415 896-2120, . Old furniture store converted to the latest wine-bar in SoMa.
- Eagle's Drift Inn, 527 Bryant Street(at Ritch between 3rd and 4th), ☎ +1 415 495-4527.
- Hotel Utah, 500 4th Street(at Bryant), ☎ +1 415 546-6300, .
- Jillians, 101 4th Street(inside the Sony Metreon), ☎ +1 415 369-6100, . This upscale sports bar has a huge video wall great for watching sports. There are also 8 well kept pool tables for something to do. This bar becomes a dance club on Friday and Saturday nights with a strict dress code -- nice shoes required.
- Thirsty Bear Brewing Company, 661 Howard Street, ☎ +1 415 974-0905, . An upscale brewpub/restaurant and favorite expense-account spot for the trade show crowd from nearby Moscone Center. The cask-conditioned ale is satisfying, but the place can get crowded.
- Tres Agaves, ☎ +1 415 227-0500. See above under restaurants.
Many of San Francisco's best dance clubs are in SoMa.
- 1015, 1015 Folsom Street(at Harriet between 6th and 7th), ☎ +1 415 431-1200, . Lines all night outside during the weekend. A 20 something meat market.
- The Cat Club, 1190 Folsom Street(at 8th), ☎ +1 415 703-8964, . Thursday is 80's night where you're guaranteed to hear at least one Madonna song throughout the night.$6 cover.
- DNA Lounge, 375 11th Street(near Folsom), ☎ +1 415 626-1409, . The DNA Lounge is a 2-story club which often caters to the geekier "digerati" crowd. One of the founders is Jamie Zawinski, a former Netscape superstar and Internet nabob. Events feature themed electronica dance nights (Industrial, Techno, Trance, etc) and live bands.There is usually a cover between $3 and $25 (for the bands).
- The End Up, 401 6th Street(at Harrison), ☎ +1 415 357-0827, . An SF institution. Essentially doesn't close on the weekend, and thus where people 'end up'. Great old school SF house music. Unexpected outdoor patio/waterfall space to chill.
- Mezzanine, 444 Jessie Street(at Mint, between 5th and 6th), ☎ +1 415 625-8880, . Where all the shirtless buff gay boys go. Great sound system. If you like cheesy techno and disco diva wailing music, this is the place.
- The Stud, 399 9th Street(at Harrison), ☎ +1 415 863-6623, . Fun semi-dingy club. Don't miss Trannyshack, Tuesdays at midnight. Very worth the sleep deprivation at work the next day.
- Pontiac Hotel, 509 Minna Street(at 6th), ☎ +1 415 863-7775 or +1 800 504-1005(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 415 552-4491), . Clean and comfortable hotel.$35+.
- Best Western Americania, 121 7th Street(between Minna and Natoma), ☎ +1 415 626-0200 or +1 800 444-5816(fax: +1 415 863-2529), . $149-$169.
- Carriage Inn Best Western, 140 7th Street(at Minna), ☎ +1 415 552-8600(fax: +1 415 626-3973), . $169-$189.
- Mosser Hotel, 54 4th Street(between Stevenson and Jessie), ☎ +1 415 986-4400 or +1 800 227-3804(email@example.com, fax: +1 415 495-7653), .
- Pickwick Hotel, 85 5th Street(at Mission), ☎ +1 415 421-7500, . 189 elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites and 3,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, located just a block from the Moscone Convention Center.
- Courtyard Marriot, 299 2nd Street(at Folsom), ☎ +1 415 947-0700, . $200-$250.
- Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market Street(between 3rd and 4th), ☎ +1 415 633-3000, . Consistently rated #1 Hotel in San Francisco by a variety of sources and among the Top 100 Hotels in the World by 2007 Conde Nast Traveler. It features a museum quality art collection and guests enjoy free access to the amazing The Sports Club/LA, which offer 127,000 of fitness facilities and Splash Spa.
- Harbor Court Hotel, 165 Steuart Street(between Mission and Howard), ☎ +1 415 882-1300, . A waterfront boutique hotel on the Embarcadero, across from the San Francisco Ferry Building, with views onto San Francisco Bay. This AAA four diamond hotel has 131 rooms.$230-$280.
- Hotel Griffon, 155 Steuart Street(between Mission and Howard), ☎ +1 415 495-2100, . Located on the newly enhanced Embarcadero with easy access to the Financial District, restaurants, and shopping.
- InterContinental Hotel, 888 Howard Street(at 5th), ☎ +1 415 616-6500, .
- Marriott San Francisco, 55 4th Street(between Stevenson and Mission), ☎ +1 415 896-1600, . This San Francisco convention center hotel is situated across the street from the Moscone Center, and steps away from the city's top attractions, including the historical Cable Cars, world class shopping on Union Square and Westfield's San Francisco Centre featuring Bloomingdale's. Walk to the Financial District for work, then to AT&T Park, home of Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants.
- St. Regis Hotel, 125 3rd Street(between Mission and Minna), ☎ +1 415 284-4000, . The St. Regis is a new luxury hotel in the South of Market Area. It is on par with the Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and the Le Meridian (formerly the Park Hyatt at Embarcadero Center). It is near San Francisco MOMA, Yerba Buena Gardens and the Sony Metreon, as well as Union Square and the recently expanded Westfield San Francisco Shopping Center.
- W Hotel, 181 3rd Street(at Howard), ☎ +1 877 946-8357, . Where the cool kids go to play... and sleep, the W has an outstanding decor and vibe that will impress without being over the top.
- San Francisco Public Library - Mission Bay Branch, 960 4th Street(at Berry), ☎ +1 415 355-2838, . Sun 1-5, M Closed, Tu 10-6, W 12-8, Th 10-6, F 1-6, Sat 1-6.
This page was last edited at 12:57, on 21 October 2008 by Wikitravel user LtPowers. Based on work by Ryan Holliday, Colin Jensen, David, Ulf Harnhammar and firstname.lastname@example.org, Wikitravel user(s) Veb47u, Eco84, MarinaK, PerryPlanet and Asterix, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.