Welcome to the Neighborhood: A Series About San Francisco Neighborhoods
To really get to know San Francisco and to feel like a traveler and not just a tourist, visitors to the city should venture beyond the famous landmarks and get out into the neighborhoods. San Francisco’s neighborhoods are as diverse and interesting as the people who live here – it is so much fun to find the neighborhood that has your name all over it so that you can return time and time again to experience the delights of the city as locals would.
Divisadero Corridor Neighborhood – DivCo for short
Some neighborhoods are a few short blocks (i.e. Dogpatch), while others are eight square blocks (i.e. Chinatown). The neighborhood on our radar at this very moment is somewhere in between. This neighborhood is newly-named “DivCo” short for Divisadero Corridor. DivCo is a “microhood” of a neighborhood called “NoPa”, which is short for North of Panhandle. The whole area, at one point, was simply called the Western Addition. Sounds complicated, I know, but just think of these new neighborhood names as a sign of gentrification, neighborhood pride, and viable businesses and homes clustered together forming a community.
Western Addition – Now Micro Neighborhoods
In the case of DivCo, the area we’ll concentrate on, this sprouting community runs roughly six blocks of Divisadero, from McAllister to Page. It is worth noting that not everyone embraces the name DivCo – naturally many old-timers and even some newbies hate it, so maybe you shouldn’t bandy that term around while you’re exploring this neighborhood.
The OLD Divisadero Streets of San Francisco
For many years, Divisadero was one of those streets that you find in every city – not the most scenic route but usually expeditious for getting from one side of town to the other. No reason to stop along the way, just power through to get to the final destination. That was the old Divisadero street; the one that we see today is the result of the Divisadero Streetscape Improvement Project: landscaped mediums (109 new trees!), new olde-world style street lamps, improved sidewalks and pedestrian access, and even a parklet.
What makes a thriving San Francisco Neighborhood
With the improvements came the things one expects of a thriving neighborhood in San Francisco: excellent restaurants, interesting bars, unique local shops, art venues and a farmer’s market. The neighborhood is still finding its vibe, which is nice because it is accessible and cool, but not too hip. It’s not a scene, but a neighborhood that lacks pretense and will welcome you. Now’s the time to explore!
To explore all that DivCo has to offer, start at lunch time and end at dinner. In between meals you can shop, wander, have a beverage or two and people-watch. Here are our recommendations:
Eat Lunch at Mojo Bicycle Cafe. Enjoy a salad or sandwich and a glass of wine at this bicycle shop/cafe. Have dinner at Ragazza. San Francisco is in the midst of a full-scale pizza war, and the recently opened Ragazza has some heavy artillery. The salads and sides are standouts too – the roasted squash with ricotta, currants and almonds is one of our faves.
Shop The Perish Trust. Art, antiques and amusements is how the owners describe their inventory. We call it a selection of beautifully curated items that proprietors Rod Hipskind & Kelly Ishikawa have put in their shop to tempt you.
The Prairie Collective – four friends and three business share space in this shop, offering jewelry, flowers, art, and all sorts of “uncommon goods”.
The Other Shop – get your mid-century modern on at this collective of 18 knowledgable and selective dealers.
Drink at Mini Bar SF. The name says it all – it is mini. What it lacks in size it makes up for in style, nice people and always interesting art.
Madrone Art Bar has art, art and more art. Plus specialty cocktails, super nice bartenders, a good crowd and great music.
Explore Alamo Square. Enter Alamo Square one block off Divisadero Street on Fulton. The Painted Ladies with the backdrop of the downtown San Francisco skyline never gets old, and soon you’ll be able to see The Painted Gentlemen too.
Some of the city’s best Victorians are located in this neighborhood, so have a wander around.
Divisadero Art Walk – community galleries, bars and restaurants feature art. Locals and visitors become art walkers at around 5pm. The shows generally lasts until midnight. This monthly event is a great time to get a feel for the community.
Divisadero Farmers Market This Sunday Farmer’s market also offers a chance to check out the neighborhood. There’s often live music and there’s always delicious food. Coffee by Mojo Bicycle Cafe.
What is your favorite neighborhood in San Francisco? What are your favorite things to do in San Francisco?
Painted Ladies photo courtesy of Sogospelman.