Bordered by I-80 and I-280 highways on the west and the San Francisco Bay to the east, District 10 is the southeastern-most point of San Francisco. Many of District 10 neighborhoods were originally part of the so called “Rancho Rincón de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo”, an approximately 4,446-acre (17.99 km2) Mexican land grant given in 1839 by California Governor Protem Manual Jimeno to Jose Cornelio Bernal, a grandson of Juan Francisco Bernal, the latter being a participant of the Anza Expedition (which discovered an inland route to the San Francisco Bay in 1776). The land grant largely encompassed southern areas of present day San Francisco County extending into San Mateo County. District 10’s neighborhoods of Bayview, Crocker Amazon, Excelsior, Hunters Point, Outer Mission and Visitacion Valley were formerly parts of the land grant.
Today, District 10 to a large degree is a light industrial and warehouse area and some areas in this district are currently somewhat economically depressed. Most of the neighborhoods here are older communities with diverse demographics. District 10 is considered by many to be one of San Francisco’s biggest areas for potential growth and as stated by San Francisco Association of Realtors, “this area has seen many changes over the years and is ripe for continued development”.
Despite being an industrial area, District 10 does offer its residents a fair share of recreational opportunities. McLaren Park with its many amenities including a golf course, two lakes, jogging and hiking trails as well as a public pool is a second largest park in San Francisco, after Golden Gate park. Other parks include Balboa Park, the charming Cayuga Park, the Crocker Amazon Playground, as well Candlestick Point State Recreation Area among several others.
District 10 includes the following neighborhoods:
- Bayview Heights
- Candlestick Point
- Crocker Amazon
- Hunters Point
- Little Hollywood
- Mission Terrace
- Outer Mission
- Silver Terrace
- Visitacion Valley
Bayview (Sub-District 10-a) – this neighborhood stretches along Third Street south of Evans Avenue, west of the Hunters Point neighborhood and is known for its friendly and diverse residents, community activism, warm weather, beautiful views and rich history as an African American and working class district. Bayview is closely related to its neighbor Hunters Point and these two areas are often referred to as “Bayview Hunters Point District”. Here, I will separately focus on each of these areas.
The neighborhood is home to the Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre (affectionately referred to by its residents as “the Opera House” or the “BVOH”) as well as City College Evans and Southeast Campus. Built is 1888, the Opera House is San Francisco’s oldest theatre and a registered historic landmark as well as a community cultural and arts center. Intent on reinventing itself as an artist’s colony and gardening mecca, Bayview houses several public art projects as well as urban gardens entirely developed by its residents and known as the “Quesada Gardens Initiative”.
Bayview and surrounding areas are undergoing rapid development as San Francisco tries to meet the demands of growing population and corporate investors have revalued the relatively large amount of buildable land. Hunters Point Shipyard and Candlestick Park areas are primary centers of development.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 78 and an average Transit score of 67.
Bayview Heights (Sub-District 10-k) – this neighborhood is perched on San Francisco’s east shore near Candlestick Park, the former home of the San Francisco 49ers. Bayview Heights’ boundaries form a triangular shape with Gilman Avenue to the east, Bayshore Boulevard to the west and Ingalls Street to the south.
This neighborhood experienced a growth spurt in the early 1940’s when the nearby shipyard was built, bringing in a large number of workers and tripling the area’s population. The early 1990’s saw a spurt of development of small multi-unit buildings and condos up on the hillside. The Quesada Avenue beautification project serves to the advantage of both Bayview and Bayview Heights. Other nearby parks include Bayview Park and Gilman Park. The Candlestick Point State Recreation Area extends into the San Francisco Bay and its unpredictable winds offer great opportunities for kiteboarding.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 79 and an average Transit score of 69.
Candlestick Point (Sub-District 10-m) - the name of this neighborhood dates back to the 1800s when abandoned ships were burned in the harbor, resembling lighted candlesticks. Candlestick Point is immediately adjacent to the Candlestick Point State Recreation area along the western shoreline, and surrounding Candlestick Park, a former home to the San Francisco 49ers. It is roughly bounded by I-101 on the west, Ingalls Street to the north, Giants Drive / Arelious Walker drive to the east, and the Bay to the south.
The area is developing, yet great efforts are being made to respect the natural environment. This neighborhood has convenient access 101 and 280 freeways. Candlestick Point State Recreation offers spectacular views as well as outdoor activities, such as hiking, picnicking, fishing, windsurfing, bird watching and gardening in the Community Gardens.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 40 and an average Transit score of 45.
Crocker Amazon (Sub-District 10-b) - formerly part of railroad magnate Charles Crocker's estate (and a Spanish land grant Rancho Canada de Guadalupe de la Visitacion y Rodeo Viejo prior to that), Crocker Amazon is a diverse, largely residential neighborhood, mainly comprised of single family residences. It benefits from some of the best weather in San Francisco and the top of the neighborhood boasts outstanding views of downtown San Francisco in the gap between McLaren Park and Twin Peaks.
Crocker Amazon’s boundaries form a triangle with Geneva Avenue to the east, Mission Street to the west and San Francisco–Daly City county line to the south. The neighborhood is adjacent to Crocker-Amazon Park and Amazon Street in the nearby Excelsior. Its winding streets largely blend in with the adjacent Daly City neighborhoods of Crocker and Southern Hills.
Crocker-Amazon Park borders the neighborhood to the north (it has four playgrounds and recently renovated soccer and baseball fields). McLaren Park, San Francisco’s second largest park after Golden Gate, is also nearby (east of Crocker-Amazon park), featuring a golf course, two lakes, jogging and hiking trails, a public pool, and the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater which houses concerts and festivals.
Parts of the neighborhood, particularly heading toward Southern Hills, feature free-standing single-family homes with at least 10 feet on either side. The diverse architecture of the homes throughout the neighborhood include Marina, Arts & Crafts, Victorian, Edwardian, and Mid-Century Modern styles. Geneva Avenue and Mission Street, which bound the neighborhood, feature commercial businesses as well as a growing number of restaurants and cafes.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 64 and an average Transit score of 68.
Excelsior (Sub-District 10-c) – the boundaries of this neighborhood run along Mission Street, south of I-280 and north of Geneva Avenue. The history of Excelsior goes back to 1869 when the Excelsior Homestead was filed at city hall, indicating that this area was previously part of the Rancho Rincon de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo. The Rancho later became known as Southern San Francisco (not to be confused with the town of South San Francisco), encompassing everything south and central along with the eastern bent of Mission Street and District. Over the years, this large area was developed, creating the neighborhoods of Bernal Heights, Ingleside, The Excelsior District, Visitacion Valley and the Bayview District. As the city grew, the Excelsior District was developed further, and was split into even smaller sub-neighborhoods such as Excelsior neighborhood itself, Mission Terrace, the Outer Mission, Portola, and Crocker Amazon.
Today, Excelsior it is one of the most ethnically diverse districts in San Francisco –initially it was mostly Italian, Irish, and Swiss, then predominantly African American, then Latino and over the past two decades there was a large influx of Asian population. Many of the neighborhood streets are named for the capitals of countries, and some of the avenues are named for the countries themselves.
Excelsior has several events associated with it – one of the biggest is Jerry Day, celebrating Jerry Garcia (frontman of the Grateful Dead and a former resident of the neighborhood) and typically drawing thousands of visitors. The Excelsior Festival draws hundreds to Mission Street to celebrate the neighborhood’s cultural diversity, food and music.
The Excelsior Playground boasts vivid murals along with the tennis courts and recreation center, and the nearby 56-acre Crocker-Amazon Park offers basketball and tennis courts as well as baseball and soccer fields.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 77 and an average Transit score of 77.
Hunters Point (Sub-District 10-j) – located in the southeastern corner of San Francisco, Hunters Point and Bayview neighborhoods are closely related and often referred to as “Bayview Hunters Point District”. Here, I will focus on each of the neighborhoods separately.
Today, Hunters Point is roughly bounded by the main artery of Third Street to the west, Cesar Chavez Boulevard to the north and the San Francisco Bay surrounding most of the remaining area. Primarily composed of tidal wetlands with some small hills, the area was inhabited by the Ohlone people prior to the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the 1700s. For the next several decades this area was used as pasture for cattle run by the Franciscan monks at Mission Dolores. In 1839, the area was part of the larger Rancho Rincon de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo, a Mexican land grant given to José Cornelio Bernal. Following the California Gold Rush, Bernal sold Bayview-Hunters Point property for real estate development in 1849. Little actual development took place aside for the homes and dairy farms built by three brothers - John, Phillip and Robert Hunter, who gave rise to the name “Hunters Point”.
After a San Francisco ordinance in 1868 banned the slaughter and processing of animals within the city proper, a group of butchers founded a “butchers’ reservation” on the tidal marshland in the district. Within a relatively short period of time, many slaughterhouses were established and the area together with the surrounding houses and businesses became known as “Butchertown”. The butcher industry declined following the 1906 earthquake and fire with the last slaughterhouse closing in the 70s.
Shipbuilding became integral to the neighborhood in 1867 with the construction of the first permanent drydock on the Pacific coast, capable of housing the largest ships that could pass through the Panama Canal. World War I brought an increase in contracts for building Naval vessels in the area. In 1940, the U.S. Navy purchased a portion of land here to develop the San Francisco Naval Shipyard. The shipbuilding industry saw a large influx of blue collar workers into the neighborhood, many of them being African Americans taking part in the Great Migration.
Until 1969, the Hunters Point shipyard was the site of the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory (“NRDL”) which decontaminated ships exposed to atomic weapons testing as well as researched the effects of radiation on materials and living organisms. In 1989 the base was declared a Superfund site requiring long-term clean-up and in 1994 the Navy closed the shipyard and Naval base. From 1929 until 2006 the Bayview-Hunters Point district was also a site for the coal and oil-fired power plants which provided electricity to San Francisco, with the facilities being shut down in 1994 as a result of the community activists’ efforts. Pollution, substandard housing, declining infrastructure, limited employment and racial discrimination were notable problems of the neighborhood.
Redevelopment projects for the area became the dominant issue of the 1990s and 2000s, aimed at residential, commercial, and recreational areas as well as improved transportation. The approval process requires developers to address concerns of area residents and San Francisco government officials, including the large-scale toxic clean-up of the industrial Superfund site. Certain improvements in the community, including installation of the MUNI light-rail, landscaping, establishment of the chain supermarkets as well renovation of the local library are taking place. Community gardening and art are popular in the area. The nearby Quesada Gardens Initiative is a well-known organization that has created a cluster of community and backyard gardens. The Hunters Point Shipyard is home to the country’s largest artist colony, “The Point”.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 43 and an average Transit score of 56.
Little Hollywood (Sub-District 10-n) - formerly a segment of Visitacion Valley, this neighborhood is generally a triangle between Highway 101 and Bayshore Boulevard at their northernmost summit. It is said that the neighborhood was so named because of the number of silent film stars who once resided there, including Mae West. Little Hollywood Park is located on Lathrop Avenue on the southern end of this neighborhood, and the Bayshore Caltrain station is nearby. This neighborhood is in close proximity to Candlestick Park, Candlestick Point, Cow Palace, Brisbane and is about 15 minute drive from San Francisco International Airport.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 55 and an average Transit score of 67.
Mission Terrace (Sub-District 10-h) – located in the south-central section of San Francisco, Mission Terrace is one of city’s sunniest neighborhoods. The neighborhood’s active Involved Improvement Association plans regular annual events such as an Easter egg hunt and Fourth of July parade. The Bridge Garden project, a community effort to enhance the streetscapes and public space, has been successful. The nearby Balboa Park offers a pool, playground, stadium, baseball and tennis courts. Residents of Mission Terrace enjoy easy transportation to the I-280 freeway, as well as the nearby Balboa Park and Glen Park BART stations.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 79 and an average Transit score of 85.
Outer Mission (Sub-District 10-d) - the name of this neighborhood is somewhat confusing as it is located in a rather remote distance from the more well-known Inner Mission area. Outer Mission is bounded by I-280 to the west, Geneva Avenue to the north, and Mission Street and the Daly City border to the south.
This neighborhood was developed around the 1910s as an extension of the Mission District - prior to that it largely consisted of farms. Most of the area contains single-family residences that are often attached and have a small fenced back yard. A very common practice in this neighborhood is the construction of an in-law apartment (often done without a city permit) in part of the garage which is then rented by the owner. As a result, there is a relatively high percentage of renters in this neighborhood, despite it consisting almost exclusively of single family homes.
Outer Mission is well served by public transportation (Muni, bus lines, BART) and is adjacent to the I-280. As the BART tracks run above-ground here, the trains are visible and audible throughout most of the neighborhood. This neighborhood is conveniently near unique Cayuga Park and playground, situated beneath the BART tracks and featuring dense vegetation and many whimsical wood statues carved by the park’s former gardener as well as a small baseball field and tennis courts. Well-marked bike lanes are available on Alemany Boulevard.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 74 and an average Transit score of 74.
Portola (Sub-District 10-f) – this neighborhood was named for Don Gaspar de Portola - an explorer who in 1769 headed an expedition which ultimately discovered San Francisco Bay. Portola neighborhood is roughly bordered by San Bruno Avenue and the U.S. Route 101 to the east, Mansell Street to the south, Madison Street to the west and I-280 to the north.
Prior to the 1906 earthquake and fire, this neighborhood was mostly agricultural. Following the 1906 catastrophe, Jewish and Italian immigrants settled in and the area evolved into a community of nurserymen and their families who grew much of San Francisco’s flower crop. Today, Portola neighborhood has a high percentage of owner-occupied single-family homes. Its residents enjoy the proximity of the nearby McLaren Park with its many amenities as well as shopping along San Bruno Avenue (often referred to as “The Road”) which houses a variety of eateries, markets, churches and businesses.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 73 and an average Transit score of 67.
Silver Terrace (Sub-District 10-g) – perched on the hill south of Bernal Heights, this neighborhood is roughly bordered by I-280 to the north, Oakdale Avenue to the east, Newhall Street to the south and the Bayshore Boulevard and U.S. Route 101 to the west. Its residents enjoy neighborhood’s warm weather, Silver Terrace multi-sport park (which features soccer and baseball grandstands, basketball courts, tennis courts and a playground) as well as easy access to U.S. 101 and I-280. The nearby Bayview Opera House on Third Street is a focal point for the greater neighborhood and offers many cultural programs and community events. Residents are a mix of owners and renters, occupying mostly single-family homes.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 82 and an average Transit score of 70.
Visitacion Valley (Sub-District 10-e) – like several other neighborhoods in District 10, Visitacion Valley was formerly part of Rancho Canada de Guadalupe la Visitacion y Rodeo Viejo, a Mexican land grant given to José Cornelio Bernal. The name of the neighborhood reportedly comes from the time early-day friars first beheld the valley on a feast day commemorating the Visitation of the Virgin. Today, this area is also often referred to as “Viz Valley”. Visitacion Valley is roughly bounded by McLaren Park to the west, Mansell Boulevard to the north, Bayshore Boulevard to the east, and the San Francisco / San Mateo County line to the south. The streets of this neighborhood straddle the border between San Francisco and Daly City, partially blending in with the adjacent Daly City neighborhood of Bayshore. The grounds of the Cow Palace, overlapping the San Francisco/Daly City border, are partially within Visitacion Valley. This area boasts condos built by noted developer Joseph Eichler.
Originally settled by Irish and Italian immigrants who worked in the nearby factories, this area saw an influx of African Americans due to the construction of the nearby Hunters Point Naval Shipyard during World War II. In the past decades, the area is seeing a large influx of Chinese immigrants.
The Visitacion Valley Redevelopment Area was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2009, and includes retail, residences and parks to revitalize the neighborhood as well as construction of a new Muni Metro line (T Third Street), which is part of the major project aimed to ultimately extending Muni to the northeast section of the city and granting access for future development along Third Street.
This neighborhood has an average Walk score of 62 and an average Transit score of 66.
The below links provide further details on these neighborhoods and their attractions:
The content displayed above was partially derived from: Gerald Adams: “A San Francisco Neighborhood Guide" as well as