San Francisco is home to 20 neighborhoods, each offering its own unique feel and flair. Visitors and locals can check out the museums, restaurants, nightlife, and other attractions within these neighborhoods. If you have one day to explore, hit up these four.

Hsight Ashbury
Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.

Morning: Haight-Ashbury

Haight-Ashbury gained notoriety in the 1960s as a central part of the “Summer of Love” movement. At the corner of Haight and Ashbury, you’ll notice a few ties to its original roots, such as vintage clothing stores, record shops, and tie-dyed flags. The neighborhood also houses one of the most photographed streets in the city: a tight row of Victorian houses with the skyline as the backdrop. It’s found at Steiner and Hayes Streets. The view of this area as the sun rises is impressive.

Early Afternoon: Embarcadero

The Embarcadero neighborhood includes the world-famous Ferry Building on Market street and the old Barbary Coast. Within the Ferry Building, visitors can dine at the food hall or shop for local goodies at the farmer’s market. It’s best to go early in the afternoon, as the area gets busy around evening rush hour. Embarcadero houses Piers 7 and 14 with breathtaking views of the skyscrapers in the financial district as well as the Bay Bridge in the distance. Some of the buildings in the historic district date back to the mid-1800s.

Chinatown in San Francisco.

Late Afternoon: Chinatown

Chinatown is one of the largest and oldest neighborhoods in San Francisco. The entrance is on Bush Street and Grant Avenue. You might hear locals refer to these streets as the “Dragon’s Gate.” The neighborhood takes up about 24 blocks, most of which are on Grant Avenue.

The first Chinese-inspired building is also in this neighborhood, which used to house the telephone exchange of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company. Visitors can grab lunch at an authentic Chinese restaurant such as Cathay House, shop for herbal remedies, or sip tea.

Evening: Japantown

This neighborhood draws inspiration from Japanese and Japanese-American culture. It sits near the Fillmore District, bordered on one side by Fillmore Street and the other by Laguna Street. You can easily spot where it starts, as the streets showcase bright red banners with cherry blossoms. The Peace Pagoda also sits in the middle of the neighborhood. Only three Japantown neighborhoods exist in the United States. Enjoy a fun evening as you shop at the Japan Center shopping complex, catch a flick at the Sundance Kabuki cinema, or relax at Kabuki Springs & Spa, which offers Japanese-style bathing and Shiatsu massage.

San Francisco is a famous destination for sightseeing, shopping, and dining, and each of these neighborhoods offers a unique spin on favorite activities.