Named for its location South of Market Street, and nicknamed “SoMa”, this large neighbourhood includes the areas of South Beach, Mission Bay and Rincon Hill. It’s home to many of the city’s most well-known museums, together with the Moscone Conference Center and international software and internet tech companies.
While the area was once home to old industrial factories and run-down Victorian-era buildings, it began a major revival during the 1980s that is still ongoing in some areas. Sophisticated bars, innovative restaurants and specialty coffee houses have taken up space in its vacant warehouses, while a diverse community of tech-savvy entrepreneurs and bohemian types call its newly-renovated apartments home. SoMa boasts some of San Francisco’s best museums, including the outstanding Museum of Modern Art with its unique glass bridge, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts which showcases local contemporary artists, and the playful Cartoon Art Museum. The family-friendly Zeum museum is located just nearby, dedicated to the realms of arts and technology, together with the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the engaging Museum of the African Diaspora. Don’t miss a visit to the beautiful Yerba Buena Gardens whose grassy meadows feature a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr., or the fascinating Old Mint where served the city until 1937. The entertainment complex of the Moscone Center stretches along two blocks below the gardens, housing major expositions and exhibits throughout the year, while the Metreon Mall includes an IMAX theatre, video gaming arcade and extensive food court. Take in a San Francisco Giants game at the iconic AT&T Park, one of the neighbourhood’s most distinctive landmarks, and enjoy a nostalgic ride on the historic Charles Looff Carousel.
SoMa is well connected with the rest of San Francisco along the metro rail system, with numerous BART lines running beneath Market Street. Most streets also have local bus services, and many of the Bay Area’s inter-city buses pass through the neighbourhood.
The official name of the area since 1847 is actually 100 Vara Survey", and although current generations have largely forgotten this, it still appears on many legal documents and title deeds. More recently the area was known as "South of the Slot", referring to its location south of the cable cars that once ran along Market Street and many of the older generation still refer to it as such.