Inner Richmond- An ethnically diverse community. The Historic Russian San Fran Community.

I included the Lone Mountain subdistrict from this Inner Richmond evaluation. Some maps listed it as a separate neighborhood but others include it within Inner Richmond.

The Inner Richmond District was originally an expanse of rolling sand dunes. Development initially began in the 19th century. The neighborhood was named after a suburb of Melbourne as Richmond’s developer hailed from Australia. After the 1906 earthquake, development increased responding to the  City’s overall need for new housing. All remaining sand dunes were covered over at this time. The first influx of immigrants to Richmond actually came from Russian. Brought by the Russia Revolution of 1917 many  anti-Communist White and Orthodox Russians settled here. Irish immigrants were also among the earlier settlers to the neighborhood. The end of the Chinese Exclusion Act brought many Chinese to the district in the 1960s and this is one of four main Chinatowns in San Francisco. Clement Street especially has a high concentration of Chinese establishments and hosts great urban commercial district. Balboa Street is also a nice commercial district but more mixed-use than Clement Street. Geary Blvd is unfortunately a pretty autocentric arterial.  Other Asian immigrants have also settled in Inner Richmond including Cambodians, Koreans, and Burmese.

As one of San Francisco’s second tier urban neighborhoods developed mainly after the 1906 Earthquake, the overall urban intensity is lower here than districts closer to Downtown. But for most American metros, this would be a top-tier urban district due to its density (almost 30K per square mile), great transit access, easy commute to Dwtn, and overall walkability. Other positive attributes include access to the cultural amenities of Golden Gate Park, great retail amenities, good tree canopy, safety, and quality schools. Given San Fran’s housing shortage, I’d like to see the district’s density double. It certainly has the infrastructure to support it. The district could also use more dedicated bike lanes, increased affordability, and better urban development along Geary Blvd.

Click here to view my Inner Richmond Album on Flickr


* Great connectivity, quality public transit, and good access to dwtn.
* Wonderful racial diversity here.
* 71% of units are rent controlled.
* Inner Richmond is located in-between Golden Gate Park and the Presidio of San Franco, some of the best and more extensive parks in the City. Only handful of playgrounds, plazas, and medium parks filling out this large neighborhood.
* Cultural amenities include a nice array of ethnic restaurants, plenty of bars & cafes, several night clubs, a historic music theater, a couple live music venues, several art galleries, the arts from the University of San Francisco, and several great museums located in Golden Gate Park.
* Retail amenities are good as well including a Safeway & Trader Joes, and plenty of Grocerias (esp. Chinese ones),  several drug stores, an Office Depot,  Target, a good array of boutiques and creative retail concentrated at Clement St., a couple hardware stores, several home good stores, plenty of banks, a couple bookstores, dessert shops/bakeries, several gyms, public library branch, several post offices, lots of churches, and hospital located just outside of the district.
* Excellent walkable schools located in Inner Richmond but only grades K-8.
* Great tree canopy.


* Good but not great bike infrastructure. 2 dedicated bike lanes and good bike station coverage.
* Mediocre economic and generational diversity.
* Only a couple dedicated affordable hsg bldgs in the district.
* Medium rent is a around $1950, a tad over the City average.
* Leases are expensive. 1-bedroom lease in the $2,000s. 2-bedrooms btwn the high $2,000s and mid $4000s, 3- bedrooms 3.5K-5K.
* Some “more affordable” 1-bedroom condos selling btwn 700K-1M. Many more 2-bedrooms units ranging anywhere btwn 900K-2 M. Just as many 3-bedroom units selling for anywhere btwn the low Millions and 3M. Quite a few 4 & 5 bedroom units selling btwn 1.5M-4M.
* Limited modern in-fill and what does is exist is often pretty auto centric.
* Great urban form along Clement St. but mixed along Gearby Blvd.

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