San Fran’s Marina District- a lovely district with pastel colors and unique 1920s architecture

Prior to the 1906 earthquake consisted the Marina District consisted of bay shallows, tidal pools, sand dunes, and marshland and some limited development. This was all destroyed in the earthquake thanks to the districts sandy foundation and the area was completed redeveloped in the 1910s & 1920s. More density occurred with the completion of the nearby Golden Gate Bridge and widening of  Lombard Street. Sadly since much of the Marina is built on a former landfill, the district is very susceptible to soil liquefaction during strong earthquakes. This resulted in extensive damage during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Demographically the Marina District shifted from mostly middle class families to young professionals in the 1980s & 1990s. The neighborhood is also one of San Francisco’s “Whitest” neighborhoods. The Marina District has a very unique set of architecture styles and pastel coloring unique from other parts of San Francisco. From an urban perspective this is a very walkable and comfortable urban district. The urban business district along Chestnut Street is wonderful one is still within walking district to Cow Hollow’s Fillmore St. and Union Street along with Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. The Marina District also contains excellent public schools, great park amenities, solid public transit, good bike infrastructure, and excellent cultural amenities. Areas to improve upon include redeveloping some auto centric spots along Lombard St., limited economic and generational diversity, extremely expensive for sale housing, and a tree canopy that is somewhat wanting (especially for San Fran standards).

Click here to view the Marina District on my Flickr Page


* High quality architecture but not as nice as older parts of the City. Very unique in its pastel color palette and Spanish revival styling.
* ADA infrastructure is overall quite excellent. Several residential intersections are missing modern ADA curb infrastructure.
* Excellent neighborhood commer. district along Chestnut and several side streets.
* Good bike infrastructure with a couple dedicated bike lanes and numerous bike stations.
* Decent racial diversity.
* 75% of the total residential units are rent controlled, a very high Pct for the City.
* Several well rated schools within the District or nearby. Public education is especially good here.
* Excellent park amenities including parks like the Presidio, Golden Gate Nat. Park Conservancy and  Marine Time Nat. Plenty of medium sized parks too (e.g. Little Marina Green, the Marinas, Palace of Fine Arts, and Moscone Park
* Culturally the Marina District hosts a great array of movie, community, and performing arts theaters, plenty of bars, restaurants & cafes, several night clubs, and a  few art galleries. This district also hosts the Marina District (Golden Gate Nat. Conservatory, Museo Italo, & Maritime Museum) and the Presidio of San Francisco along with a few other local museums.
* Great neighborhood amenities including a Safeway, a couple smaller independent grocerias, a butcher shop, several drug stores, plenty of banks, lots of boutiques/clothing stores, several home goods shops, a couple book stores, and tons of gyms & fitness centers and dessert places. Marina district also offers convenience access to a public library, 2 post offices and is walkable to all the biz districts in Cow Hollow and Ghirardelli Square.


* Some spots of more auto centric development along Lombard St. and to a lesser extent Van Ness
* The northwest corner of Marina District has good but not excellent mass transit access.
* Fair economic diversity and very limited generational diversity as only 17% of households have kids.
* Few public housing developments here and the medium rent ($2,370) is high compared to the City average.
* Studios start in the low $2,000s, 1-beds anywhere btwn the mid 2Ks and 4K, 2 & 3-beds anywhere btwn 3K-5K.
* For sale housing is expensive with 1-bedrooms generally selling btwn 700K and 1.3 M.  2-bedroom condos range from 1-2.4 M. 3-bedrooms generally mid 2 M-4 M. 4-Bedrooms are generally 2-5M.
* For San Fran standards, tree canopy is a bit sparse.
* Not walkable to any hospital.
* Modern in-fill is pretty limited but generally urban.
* Not as mixed use as other parts of San Fran but still very good,

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