Bonfires at Ocean Beach, dumplings on Irving, picnics in Golden Gate Park – these are a few of your favorite things when you live that Sunset life. This foggy enclave of SF natives, surfers, and university students is a down-to-earth district with plenty of outdoorsy appeal.
It’s also a great place to settle down and start a family, or at least start by getting a puppy. Divided into “Inner” and “Outer,” the two neighborhoods share proximity to nature, a low-key vibe, and plentiful pockets of cool spots to eat, drink, and hit the pause button.
Inner: Neighborhoody and down-to-earth is the vibe here, despite the fact that this area has become extremely popular, and close proximity to Golden Gate park means a nature escape is always on the horizon. This is home to a UCSF campus, a small-town vibe, and plentiful delicious and not-so-spendy eateries. Start with a mighty lunch at the seafood palace Pacific Catch and for dessert, head to the local-favorite Tart to Tart. Cap it off with indulge with a stroll through the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.
Outer: Take the N-Judah towards the Pacific Ocean and you’ll cross into the Outer Sunset, a.k.a.,“The Avenues.” This fog-shrouded ‘hood is home to the San Francisco Zoo, an urban oasis home to more than 1,000 exotic, endangered, and rescued animals. Head west, beach blanket handy, and cross the Great Highway to take in Ocean Beach’s stunning, windswept dunes and end-of-the-continent views. Then swing by the built-for-Instagram café Andytown. Be sure to order their signature drink, a Snowy Plover (named after the famous local bird that makes its presence known in these parts) – and discover that the combination of espresso, soda water, and whipped cream is a brilliant idea. Lunchtime already? Grab a seat at the bar at Outerlands and enjoy a creative meal in a breathtaking setting, full of reclaimed wood (seemingly designed to create the feeling of being on a boat or in a sculpture – or perhaps on a sculptural boat), and super-friendly staff. Take a break from all the eating and drinking for a bit of boutique browsing. General Store is that perfect, tiny shop that epitomizes the charm of the surf-meets-hipster aesthetic of Sunset. (Be sure to check out the adorable garden.)
Both Inner and Outer sunsets are beloved areas, despite being smack in the middle of the fog zone. If you can embrace the fog factor, you’ve got your ticket to enjoying the neighborhoods’ good vibes, interesting character, and terrific access to nature.