World-renowned shopping centered around Union Square.

As the heart of the city, Downtown/Union Square is a never-ending stream of sights, sounds, smells, and places to shop (frugal wallets beware!). This neighborhood is known for 24-hour activity, whether you’re sipping early morning cappuccinos at a sidewalk cafe or on your third round of late-night drinks at a high-roller’s lounge. The bright lights of Downtown/Union Square act as a beacon for all those looking for a fast-paced urban atmosphere.

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On the Map

Downtown is bordered by Chinatown, Nob Hill, Financial District, SoMa, Tenderloin, Western Addition/NOPA, and Pacific Heights

SFO Airport: 30 minutes by cab without traffic or 50 minutes by BART
Golden Gate Park: 40 minutes by public transit
Fisherman's Wharf: 28 minutes by public transit
The Ferry Building: 15 minutes by public transit

  • Public transit is Easy
  • Having a car is Difficult

Downtown's Ceaseless Clamor

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San Francisco's Downtown seems to be at capacity at all times.

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Be they locals rushing to work, shoppers rushing to registers, or sightseers walking slowly in-between, this neighborhood hosts an unending procession of people.

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Their mix of styles, ages, and outlooks adds to San Francisco's urban allure.

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Downtown might be busy, but there's always time for gentlemanly salutations.

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The nucleus of San Francisco is a popular spot to hop on its storied cable cars. Ride one down to the waterfront.

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If cooking isn't your matter what you're looking for it's on Polk Street or on Van Ness. In addition to restaurants, there is plenty of nightlife in the area, [including] the famous Lush Lounge and McTeagues Saloon."

The Center of High-Class Shopping in San Francisco

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Couture boutiques and classic department stores make their mark in Downtown San Francisco.

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From Chanel to Saks, you can choose to see it all and spend it all.

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This is a bustling commuter downtown area with a cross section of everyone in San Francisco. If you are not crazy about noise and activity, this might not be the place for you. But if you like being in the center of it all - you'll love it."


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

Marc Olivier Le Blanc

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Marc Olivier Le Blanc specializes in commercial and editorial portrait photography. Although he's currently based in the vibrant Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, he returned to his native France to shoot Paris for this project through a traveler's eye. He always strives to turn both the ordinary and the unusual into something extraordinary.