Perhaps one of the most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco, the Western Addition feels more like several neighborhoods. And, in a sense, it is - from the stunning views at Alamo Square to the historic Fillmore to ever-changing Divisadero Street, once can experience several distinct vibes in the space of a few blocks (for information on the Alamo Square and Fillmore District please refer to the corresponding sections of this website).
According to San Francisco Association of Realtors, the Western Addition is bounded by Geary Boulevard on the north, McAllister and Fulton streets and Golden Gate Avenue on the south, Van Ness Avenue in the east and Divisadero Street on the west. It is generally roughly synonymous with the Fillmore District and Cathedral Hill neighborhood (a small area surrounding Saint Mary’s Cathedral on Geary Boulevard near Gough Street).
The Western Addition was first platted during the 1850s as a result of the so-called Van Ness Ordinance. This large tract encompassed approximately 500 blocks running west from Larkin Street (the city's previous western boundary) to Divisadero Street, hence warranting the name “Western Addition”.
The term Western Addition is often used in two ways: to denote the original geographic area, or to refer to the eastern portion of the neighborhood (the Fillmore District) that was redeveloped in the 1950s. Those who use the term in the former sense generally consider its boundaries to be Van Ness Avenue on the east, Masonic on the west, California Street on the north, and Fell or Oak Street on the south. From there, it is usually divided into smaller neighborhoods such as Lower Pacific Heights, Cathedral Hill, Japantown, The Fillmore, Hayes Valley, Alamo Square, Anza Vista, and North Panhandle.
While it was initially primarily used for small-scale farming, the invention of the cable car during the 1870s transformed this neighborhood into a Victorian streetcar suburb. Western Addition survived the earthquake and fire of 1906 with many of its Victorians largely intact (with respect to the Fillmore District’s markedly different architecture due to the urban renewal project, please refer to the Japantown – Fillmore – Lower Pacific Heights Section of this website). Since the early 1990s, the Western Addition has undergone significant gentrification.
Divisadero Street, which divides Western Addition from the North Panhandle neighborhood, houses a number of small businesses including a growing collection of hip and popular restaurants and bars. North Panhandle which stands for “North of the Panhandle” and is also commonly referred to as “NoPa”, is a neighborhood bounded by Divisadero, Fell, Turk, and Masonic Streets. While in close proximity to Western Addition, Alamo Square and Haight Ashbury neighborhoods, NoPa has its distinct character. NoPa sits atop the long and narrow Panhandle Park which forms a panhandle with Golden Gate Park and boasts walking and bicycle paths, basketball courts and a playground. Low-rise apartment buildings and single-family homes with rows of impressive Victorians and Edwardians grace this area. All of this, coupled with a vibrant restaurant and bar scene, make NoPa attractive to many, including families with children.
Anza Vista is a neighborhood bounded by Geary Boulevard to the north, Turk Street to the south, Masonic Avenue to the west and Divisadero Street to the east. It is the former site of the San Francisco Calvary Cemetery. Graves of this cemetery, along with all graves in San Francisco, were moved to Colma after burials in San Francsico were banned (except for the two cemeteries) to make way for growing real estate needs. Today, the City Center (located on Geary Boulevard and Masonic Avenue), anchored by Target and Best Buy dominates the north-western corner of the neighborhood. Anza Vista is also the location of a Kaiser Permanente hospital.
Western Addition neighborhood has an average Walk score of 98 and average Transit score of 94, NoPa - an average Walk score of 94 and an average Transit score of 79 and Anza Vista - an average Walk score of 91 and an average Transit score of 81.
The below links provide further details on these neighborhoods and its attractions:
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