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The Best Place to Live in Downtown San Francisco

balcony view of Rincon Park and the Bow and Arrow sculpture with the San Francisco Bay Bridge in the distance

From the Financial District to SoMa, downtown San Francisco encompasses a wide variety of different neighborhoods. This post shines a spotlight on two closely related locales near where the city meets the bay that we happen to be particularly partial to: Rincon Hill and the East Cut.

The East Cut
Historically part of the South of Market (SoMa) district, the "East Cut" was coined in 2015 by a local community benefit district organization to give the neighborhood a distinct identity.

Passionate supporters of San Francisco’s fastest-growing and most exciting new neighborhood, the East Cut CBD has focused on rebranding and transforming the neighborhood from an area primarily known for its commercial and office spaces into a vibrant, mixed-use district. This has involved initiatives related to improving public spaces, transportation, safety, and community engagement.

Uniting the Rincon Hill, Folsom Street, and Transbay areas, the East Cut comprises about 20 city blocks. While it’s bordered by the Embarcadero, the Financial District, Yerba Buena, and South Beach, it has an energetic, up-and-coming character that’s all its own. Residents enjoy abundant green spaces (including over 40+ privately owned public open spaces), unique public art installations, superb dining and eateries, and proximity to one of the most beautiful urban waterfronts in the country.

Rincon Hill
Now part of the larger new East Cut designation. Rincon Hill was historically one of San Francisco's most prestigious residential neighborhoods. In the mid-19th century, wealthy families built elegant mansions on the hill, enjoying commanding views of the bay, the city, and the surrounding area.

However, the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fires destroyed many of the mansions and buildings, prompting changes in city building codes and construction practices. While the neighborhood lost much of its residential character during this time, Rincon Hill has undergone a complete transformation in recent years. The area was rezoned for higher-density development, and many older industrial buildings were replaced by modern towers and commercial spaces.

Today, Rincon Hill is characterized by its sleek high-rise residential buildings and mixed-use developments with stunning views of the bay and nearby landmarks.

Why the East Cut is the Best

  • Community Engagement: The East Cut has an active, passionate, and supportive community that engages in neighborhood improvements, beautification projects, and social events. Residents have the opportunity to get involved and help shape this beautiful new neighborhood's development.

  • Safety Initiatives: This area has relatively low crime rates compared to other parts of San Francisco, with improved lighting in public areas and a proactive and involved community of residents. Community benefit districts in this area help ensure clean and secure streets, and enable a safer and more engaged neighborhood overall. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) maintains a local presence, reinforced by the nearby Southern Station. The neighborhood's commitment to public art, green spaces, and pedestrian-friendly streets contributes to a welcoming and vibrant environment.

  • Central Location, Easy Commute: Lcated in the heart of downtown near the Bay Bridge, this area is especially convenient for professionals working in the city's financial district or tech industry. Its central location reduces commute times for many residents, and is within walking distance of several major employment centers.

  • Modern Buildings with Epic Views: Many of the modern new condos and luxury apartment buildings often offer stunning views of the Bay Bridge, the San Francisco Bay, and the downtown city skyline.

  • Access to Public Transportation: East Cut Residents enjoy easy access to public transportation options, including BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), Muni buses, and the Transbay Transit Center.

  • Great Dining and Shopping: The neighborhood boasts a variety of dining options, from upscale restaurants to casual eateries. It's also home to boutique shops and retail establishments. The nearby Ferry Building Marketplace is a food lover's paradise with a range of gourmet vendors.

  • Parks and Green Spaces: Rincon Park along the Embarcadero offers a beautiful waterfront setting with sculptures, lush gardens, and stunning views, from Claes Oldenburg's iconic Cupid's Bow to the Crossing at East Cut.

  • Scenic Waterfront: With its location along the Embarcadero, residents can enjoy scenic walks, jogging, or cycling along the waterfront promenade. Residents enjoy picturesque views of the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and the bay.

  • Cultural Attractions: Enjoy close proximity to some of San Francisco's best museums and cultural attractions, from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, SF Museum of Modern Art, and more.