Outer Sunset – San Francisco, CA

Located in San Francisco's southwestern corner, the Outer Sunset neighborhood reflects the city's ethnic diversity and seaside charm. Bordered by Lincoln Way to the north, Sunset Boulevard to the east, Sloat Boulevard to the south and Ocean Beach to the west, the Outer Sunset proves to be the foggiest section in San Francisco because of its close proximity to the water. This primarily residential area provides peace and quiet with stunning views. The Outer Sunset's green landscape and sandy shores serve as a serene environment in contrast to the hustle and bustle of life in the downtown area. Open your windows on a cool night and enjoy the calming sound of the ocean. The Outer Sunset's main attractions include the San Francisco Zoo, Ocean Beach and Lake Merced. Museums include Fine Arts Museum-Research Library, de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences. The art scene shines at the Honey Hive Gallery and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The area also has a reputation for excellent surfing at its stunning beaches. Check out the annual Sunset Artisan Fair, featuring handmade goods by local artisans. Other annual events include the Anarchist Bookfair and the Ocean Beach Festival.

Schools in Outer Sunset

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

From block to block, you come across several ethnic dining options in this area. The Outerlands offers traditional American food including the classic favorite, grilled cheese and tomato soup, along with other options such as a fried egg open-faced sandwich, beet salad, Dutch pancake and the daily baked sourdough-style bread with roasted garlic and olive oil. Locals refer to this restaurant as a hidden gem. The Taco Shop At Underdog's combines a modern taqueria with a sports bar. Head out and watch your favorite team on one of the bar's 10 plasma TVs. As a premier taco shop and sports bar, guests share a unique atmosphere and appetizing food. Try the crispy fish tacos, carne asada quesadilla or carnitas, and you won't be disappointed. Looking for a restaurant with some local charm? Head out to Java Beach Cafe at 1396 La Playa Street. Here, guests find an assortment of beverages, including espresso, blended drinks, wines and beers. On a warm sunny day, order a sandwich and walk to the beach for a wonderful lunch. Outdoor seating provides a great location for studying while sipping on a latte and enjoying a fresh pastry. Free W-Fi also draws people into this fine location. Although a distance from the downtown area, the Outer Sunset neighborhood has its fair share of nightlife spots. One of the favorite hangouts among the locals is Boomerang Cocktail Lounge. Play your favorite songs on the juke box, shoot some pool, chill out, and enjoy the atmosphere. Come as you are; nobody judges anyone at the Boomerang Cocktail Lounge. Another well-known sports bar and pub in the vicinity sits at 1849 Lincoln Way. Chug Pub provides pool tables, massive televisions, a variety of beers on tap and awesome people. Get a fe friends together and try the Chug Pub's beer tower for a real treat.

History & Culture

The urban Outer Sunset area used to be entirely covered by sand dunes, but development boomed following the 1906 earthquake and fire as San Franciscans fled the destroyed downtown areas in search of new housing. The district earned its name when a former city assessor, Aurelius E. Buckingham, chose "Outer Sunset" to eliminate the area's stereotype of being gloomy due to the dense fog. A thriving Asian community, as well as people from other ethnic backgrounds, now call this area home. Most wealthier San Franciscans reside near the downtown region; however, many have opted out of the hustle and bustle of city life in favor of Outer Sunset's beaches and simpler housing options.


The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency oversees MUNI, bike and pedestrian programs, taxis, parking, and traffic control operations in the entire city. The MUNI bus system serves as the main form of transportation for the Outer Sunset area. Catch a cab or use Uber if you need to get to a destination in a hurry. Otherwise, locals prefer biking or walking. Bike paths can be found all over the neighborhood. Residents also have little trouble driving since parking is relatively easy. By public transit, commuters can reach SFO Airport in 25 minutes, Golden Gate Park in 24 minutes, Fisherman's Wharf in 60 minutes and the Ferry Building in 45 minutes. Highways and expressways provide easy access to surrounding neighborhoods.


A more affordable section of San Francisco, many families flock to this area. The overall cost of living checks in at 1.2 percent less than the San Francisco average. Although the neighborhood ranks 76.8 percent more expensive than the national average, for people who wish to live in the greater San Francisco area, this vicinity proves to be a reasonable option. Plan on spending $2,050-$3,095 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.


The main retail center in the Outer Sunset region lies on Irving Street, between 19th and 27th Avenues. Many boutiques and specialty stores permeate the area. Head to the Last Straw gift store for some handmade jewelry, felted hats and other trinkets. Find various snacks and random household items from a dollar at Ichiban Kan discount store. For all the surfers in the area, check out Mollusk Surf Shop for boards, tees, jackets and some eccentric local art. The 22nd & Irving Market has grocery items and a farmers market. Customers can find great produce at very reasonable prices. Locals agree that this market serves as the best place to grocery shop in the Outer Sunset neighborhood. Looking for an organic food market? Check out Noriega Produce, which provides an awesome wine selection in addition to the fruits, veggies and organic grocery items. If you prefer grocery shopping at a supermarket, head out to Safeway on Noriega Street, which has rooftop parking for its customers.


Many beautiful, cost-free, family-friendly and dog-friendly parks surround the Outer Sunset region. West Sunset Playground contains three natural grass baseball fields along with two tennis courts for those who like to participate in recreational sports and exercise. Also on the property lies a playground with great options for children of all ages. An additional local favorite sits at 2100 39th Avenue. This park, West Sunset Fields, serves as home to many soccer matches, usually played back-to-back in the evening hours. Besides parks, the area really makes its name for its beaches and surfing opportunities.
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