Civic Center

Soak up some culture in Civic Center, home to San Francisco’s Opera House and City Hall—just be prudent after dark.

Home to San Francisco’s City Hall and surrounded by equally important-looking buildings, Civic Center is the city’s main site for culturally significant activity. Flanked by an opera house, a library, a museum, and two plazas, this esteemed-seeming neighborhood is known to become seedy after sunset. Located in the heart of the city, Civic Center is easy to get into (or out of) thanks to multiple MUNI and BART lines.

See 30 places to stay Save this neighborhood

On the Map

Civic Center is bordered by Tenderloin, Hayes Valley, Western Addition/NOPA, and SoMa

  • Public transit is Easy
  • Having a car is Difficult

SFO Airport: 25 minutes by cab without traffic or 45 minutes by BART
Golden Gate Park: 38 minutes by public transit
Fisherman's Wharf: 31 minutes by public transit
The Ferry Building: 22 minutes by public transit

Cultural Institutions In the Center of the City

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San Francisco's City Hall stands proudly at the edge of Civic Center plaza. The Beaux-Arts monument takes up two city blocks, and its steps often double as casual spots for conversation.

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Despite its constitutional pursuits, Civic Center is hardly buttoned-up.

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The plaza frequently hosts music shows, skate contests, and culinary trucks.

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Pixel
The civic center neighborhood might seem a bit iffy but I never had a problem and there are lots of people about even late at night. There is of course some city noise (traffic, sirens) but that didn't bother me."

MD

Visited in 2012

The Public Side of Civic Center

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Beyond its neo-classical architecture and vaulted ceilings, Civic Center has a personal pulse.

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People walk its streets, skate its sidewalks, sip coffee at its cafes, and attend performances at its local "cinemas."

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Find Giants fans and bike enthusiasts in the city's core.

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Pixel
A word to those who have never been to or are unfamiliar with San Francisco: There are a lot of homeless people in this city. With that said, more often than not, the homeless population mostly keep to themselves but may occasionally ask for change. Just act like you live here... be aware of your surroundings, and enjoy the many beautiful and amazing facets of this wonderful city."

Frequent Farmers' Markets with a Regal Backdrop

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Get to Civic Center bright and early to beat the crowds.

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The neighborhood market opens at 7 a.m. every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

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Photography

Airbnb works with local photographers to capture the spirit of neighborhoods all around the world. The photography on this page includes work by:

Michael Blumenfeld is a commercial photographer based in San Francisco. When not shooting, he loves rooting for the Giants, haunting used-book stores, and following his appetite around the city. He's inspired each day by the energy and diversity of the Bay Area. This project for Airbnb was a great opportunity to tread both the beaten and unbeaten paths of a city he feels privileged to call home.

Michael Blumenfeld

View website »

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