Battle Royale: North Beach or South Beach, if you had to choose

It’s been a while since our last Battle Royale (SF v. NYC), but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten to keep it local. We’ve seen a few of you chime in on whether you’d choose Hayes or Haight, a few more of you duked it out over Pacific Heights or Marina, and let’s not forget the Noe or Bernal thread that started this all. But that’s the past. We’re moving on, and we want to know: North Beach or South Beach…if you had to choose (and preferably why).

North Beach:


North Beach zip 94133 (Median: source Altos Research)

Single Family


South Beach:


South Beach zip 94105

Single Family


South Beach zip 94107

Single Family


Today’s battle could take so many different angles, but we’d have to say what it really comes down to, are you old school, or new school San Francisco?

And as always, got a thought on a good Battle Royale? Send it to us.

Past Battle Royales [theFrontSteps]

14 thoughts on “Battle Royale: North Beach or South Beach, if you had to choose

  1. In a few more years, the area around the Infinity will be nice, but right now there is no “Battle Royale” – North Beach hands, feet, legs, arms, toes, and torsos down. South of the bridge, South Beach has a few nice places, but most of it is filled with rather “suburbany” drive-in drive-out complexes with very little character and street life. No thanks.

    This WILL be a big battle in five years though, and a true Battle Royale in 10-15.

  2. North Beach. Hands down. There is absolutely no character whatsoever in south beach or rincon hill. That god-awful one rincon just makes it worse. Add to that the traffic that is always around the baseball stadium, the druggies aroudn mission. I do have to say the weather is pretty nice down there tho and walking on the embarcadero is top notch. So I guess there are a few good things about south beach, but north beach is so much more charming. North beach wins simply because of two places Molinari’s and Washington square park. On a sunny day grabbing a sandwich there and eating it in the park watching all the people is the best. I vote north beach.

  3. South Beach (zip code 94107) is kinda becoming a family with kids destination, as odd as that may seem. Walk into Crossroads Cafe on a Friday evening, and you may be shocked to find yourself surrounded by 4-8 children running around and playing. There’s no public school in that area, but I believe there is some grassroots efforts to get one built on top of Parking Lot A next to AT&T Park in the future.

    RIncon Hill (zip code 94105), where the One Rincon Hill, Infinity, and Millennium high-rise condos are going up is definitely dominated by single professionals at the moment but that could change dramatically as the residential population increases from around 2,000 today to around 20,000 by 2015. A lot of retirees from other parts of the Country have signed contracts to purchase condos in the new buildings, opting to stay active rather than head out to pasture. The Rincon Hill neighborhood association (next meeting December 10th – sign up on the [email protected] email list to get the RSVP!) will need to push the City to implement the 30′ wide sidewalks on Spear, Main, and Beale, and to get that pedestrian boulevard rolling from 2nd Street to The Embarcadero along what is now Folsom Street. The Transbay Terminal, assuming Caltrain, a connector to Montgomery or Embarcadero BART, and a potential high speed rail come to fruition, will make the area even more accessible to folks from south peninsula, north peninsula, and the East Bay … and will naturally invite more clubs, restaurants, and other destinations. I love the area now with The Embarcadero’s pedestrian walkway, views of the Bay, the best public transit service in the City, and a 10 minute walk to my office in the FiDi, but it will be even better circa 2012 or so …. I’m thrilled to be a part of Rincon Hill now to help shape what develops over the next several years.

    North Beach is clearly the winner in regards to great neighborhoods at this moment in time. The population is already beyond the critical mass needed to support lots of great community gathering spots (restaurants, coffee, gelato, bars, etc). There are a few hilltops that I might try to avoid living on top of for fear of sliding down or being a victim of a loose boulder heading my way, but there’s no denying it would be fun to live near Peter and Paul’s and Washington Square Park.

    [Editor’s Note: Thanks to Jamie. We added the 94107 graphs to the post.]

  4. what are you doing clumping in rincon hill with south beach? the headline implies it’s north beach vs south beach. that excludes the neighborhood in transition, rincon hill of either homeless shelters or bridge abutment condos.


    [Editor’s Note: According to the map (look closely) Rincon Hill (part of it) falls within the bounds of South Beach, as according to the SFAR map we use (for the sake of consistency).]

  5. big timing mistake Alex. you shouldnt run a battle royale of hoods not yet covered by the TDSF :-)

    In case you dont know it yet, Alex is biking virtually every single street of the city to clarify RE hoods definition and run stats and descriptions.

    as for the battle, I dont think there is any battle. I live in SF because it looks to me that SF is the biggest core-city SFH market in the world. I’m all for sfh around a bike-ride distant FiDi. So it’s not even an option to consider SouthBeach – and certainly not against the great North Beach.

    Now if SouthBeach was not out of price, and it was the only affordable option to live in in this city (vs crossing a bridge or commuting 101/280), I guess I could live there too, if only because it’s VERY conveniently placed (think shopping, including groceries – which is not a given in many SF hoods) AND some of those units have great views.

    Now regarding the high rises… I’d take one of the 4-7 floors buildings anytime instead of 20+ floors.

    8d = bay/stockton/broadway/mason/columbus I’m not even sure there is any steep street/lot in north beach.

    9d = 3rd/townsend/7th/mariposa/water front. I’m not even sur there is any building with more than 10 floors there.

  6. oooooooooooops, got distracted!

    9h = southbeach market/main/”howard”/”first” /south park/3rd/water front. and yes, many 20+ buildings.

  7. Ok, these Altos Research graphs are useless.

    North Beach hands down.

    I’m not willing to spend $1,000/sqft for Millenium Towers, nor am I willing to spend $1,000/sqft in South Beach either. I guess there are a ton of people out there who are, and goodness save them.

    I’m surprised we aen’t talking about SF data +3.9% YoY in Oct. I think +3.9% YoY understates how much SF has risen this yea. I think the numbers are closer to 8%+.

  8. the millenium is going to do very well. michael minna and sports club la. give me a break. that alone will sell out 50% of the building.

    as for the battle, as a 7 year resident of south beach, i have to protest that anything on the west side of the bay bridge is considered part of my hood. that is rincon. we both have our nasty building borderline of course, watermark on our side and orh on their side.

    boomtime, i have news for you. all your marina girls are moving over here to south beach. you are going to get very loney very soon.


  9. Relatively new North Beacher who looked at South Beach. My mom was interested in buying in South Beach (this was before the Park), and I was like- oh no, you can’t walk to Union Square (comfortably, for her generation, regularly), but then saw the explosion of interesting new condos and felt soundly dumb. Anyways, neat to see so much support on this comment list about North Beach, and yes, is very diverse and interesting and an old neighborhood with good food and character, but I’d like to posit something different. SoMa/South Beach is up and coming and fun, and the Embarcadero is truly a great pedestrian throughway. Whole Foods. We don’t have something like that, and Trader Joes is a sad comparison. Sure, it reeks too much of San Jose, but there are good elements too. I was surprised that it was more affordable than North Beach, strangely. I think N.B. has just gotten a lot of attention lately. A better comparison may be the inner mission area- 17th & Tartine area- to South Beach, or actually ,take that back, North Beach. Oddly, that’s my old hood and I was priced out of there.

  10. I always like to say, out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new… urban lifestyles vs. old-school neighborhoods – tough to compare… and a little bit of an “apples vs. oranges” comparison unfortunately…

    As far as choices of buildings to live in, South Beach over North Beach – no question. Buildings updated THIS century, luxury finishes, gyms, pools, a place to pin a Plasma up… ahhh…

    As far as neighborhood character? hmmm…next question please….North Beach without question.

    Let’s revisit this one in 20 years…

  11. Well, the Marina girls have long stopped coming by my place in Presidio Heights for a while. I’m all about living life now, not waiting for a neighborhood to turn safe in 10 years. Good luck on getting them to South Beach! :)

  12. I have lived in the heart of south beach (south park) and now live in the heart of north beach (a block or so to both Washington Square Park and North Beach Pizza). I am currently in the market to buy and not even considering South Beach.

    South Beach will look like a bunch of old mid-skyscrapers 10 years from now, while north beach will have its charm

    Oh wait! What am I doing: Buy in south beach, the Beacon is a lovely example of progressive architecture and a warm community. Do not compete with any of my offers on places in North Beach it is bad bad bad, all of the good restaurants will put many pounds on that Marina girl you just picked up ;-)

  13. I’ve lived in the city for four years, and my time has been roughly spent equally between the two neighborhoods. So I was surprised to hear no one bring up the difference in the quality of the housing.

    North Beach has neighborhood charm, but the actual units are mostly 50 years or more old. From my experience, this equals: frequent infestations of roaches or worse, crappy water pressure and consistency of water temperature, old fridges, lack of sink garbage disposal, lack of dishwashers, etc. Additionally, living in North Beach was fun, but not so fun when I had to deal with big roaming crowds of very drunk people on Friday and Saturday nights. Granted, I was often one of those drunk people, but, my point is you have to be prepared to deal with that EVERY weekend.

    I like South Beach now because the buildings are mostly new-ish, far fewer homeless and rowdy party goers and easier access to Caltrain and the N and T lines.

  14. don’t forget you can get to sfo in 20 minutes from south beach. big draw for some folks. south beach has come a long way in the 7 years since i moved here. safeway, dozen or so restaurants. new library, park at mission creek, ucsf (if you let me include mission bay which makes much more sense than including rincon). in fact, if you count rincon as part of south beach, you might as well count north point as part of north beach. ugh and yuck!

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