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Places to Avoid in San Francisco

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

Located in Northern California, San Francisco is both a commercial and cultural center, and home to icons like the Golden Gate Bridge and the highly regarded Golden State Warriors basketball team. There are endless activities and opportunities when visiting San Francisco and the city has so much to offer its residents, tech workforce, and tourists. However, with such a populated area, there are also places that you might want to avoid when visiting. As a Bay Area resident, I used some of my knowledge (in addition to other articles) to compile a list of places to avoid in central San Francisco. Of course, it is not necessary to avoid these areas completely, but these are areas where you might want to be more cautious of your surroundings and safety at hand.



1. The Tenderloin

The downtown area of San Francisco, also known as the Tenderloin, is commonly ranked as one of the most dangerous areas in San Francisco. The top two reasons to avoid this area are the high population of homeless people, in addition to drug activity. Not to say that the Tenderloin should be completely avoided, considering it borders tourist areas like Union Square and the SF theater district, but the Tenderloin is definitely a place you don’t want to be when the sun goes down.


2. The Mission

The Mission is a very popular place to visit in San Francisco. However, like most of the places on this list, it is best to avoid this area after dark. Missionlocal.org is a blog dedicated to track the theft and violence that goes on in the area. In an article published by Medium, their research found that three of the crime hotspots in the Mission occur on the main busy streets during business hours as opposed to dark alleyways.


3. SoMa (South of Market St)

The area of SoMa has plenty to offer visitors or people looking for shopping and entertainment. Its most popular areas include SFMOMA, Union Square, and the Westfield Shopping Center. Part of SoMa is central to other nice places to visit like Salesforce Park or the Embarcadero. However, like any part of San Francisco, you should always be cognizant of your surroundings and avoid places you don’t think look safe. Travel in USA recommends being extra cautious of going south of the section between 4th and 10th street.


4. Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is a beautiful area to immerse yourself in nature. During the day, you will be able to find stunning gardens, memorials, art galleries, exhibits and so much more. (See this article for daytime activities in Golden Gate Park). However, once the sun starts to set, Golden Gate Park empties and has a reputation for its homeless campers.


Other Things To Be Mindful Of

(Image Source: SpotAngels)


San Francisco is unfortunately also notorious for car break-ins. Here is a map showing the ratio of break-ins to the number of parking spots in San Francisco. As you can see, most of the areas mentioned above have a high number of car break-ins. If you are taking a car to San Francisco, make sure you take all your valuables with you and hide whatever you leave in your car (even items like phone chargers).


Like visiting any well populated city, it is equally as important to be cautious of your surroundings as it is to enjoy exploring. Having a travel buddy, sharing your location with someone you trust, or just keeping in touch with another person is a great way to create a safety net if you are not feeling 100%. Here are additional safety tips! If you are a female solo traveler visiting San Francisco for the first time, using a travel platform like GlobeSisters is the perfect way to visit local spots with San Francisco residents who know which areas are best to sightsee.

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