Tenderloin

While the Tenderloin is a raw neighborhood not for the faint of heart, small treasures can be found beneath its murky exterior.

Fidgety loiterers frequent the streets of the Tenderloin, a fickle San Francisco neighborhood not necessarily suited to certain palates. Raw to the core, the Tenderloin is an abrasively honest neighborhood in the heart of the city. Cheap hole-in-the-wall eateries and paling historic buildings provide the backdrop to this neighborhood’s cast of sidewalk occupants. Recognizing the Tenderloin for its rich diversity and architectural potential, San Franciscans are working to redefine their dubious heartland.

See 99 places to stay Save this neighborhood

On the Map

Tenderloin is bordered by Civic Center, Downtown, Nob Hill, Western Addition/NOPA, and SoMa

  • Public transit is Easy
  • Having a car is Difficult

SFO Airport: 25 minutes by cab without traffic or 48 minutes by BART
Golden Gate Park: 43 minutes by public transit
Fisherman's Wharf: 30 minutes by public transit
The Ferry Building: 17 minutes by public transit

A Fringe Neighborhood in the Center of the City

SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar

The Tenderloin's fading billboards and flickering lights deter some from traveling its streets.

SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar

Beneath its coarse exterior beats a lively heart.

SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar

People make their businesses here, whether on the sidewalk or in tucked-away eateries.

SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar

Corner-Store Culture

SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar

The casual nature of the corner store still has a place in the Tenderloin.

SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar

The neighborhood supports a number of locally-owned and locally-beloved small businesses.

SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
Pixel
The Upper Tenderloin is now a night-time hot-spot. Young people from all over flock to the bars, hookah lounges, late-night restaurants, and general zeitgeist. It does have a bit of a "bummy" aspect during the day, as of late. This section of town, being close to the theater district for over a century, has long been a demimonde district of the city... However, it is most definitely not quaint or gentrified, and probably never will be."

The Tenderloin's Nightlife Scene

SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar

As some businesses close for the night, others are just beginning to open. Establishments not generally associated with wholesome family fun share the Tenderloin's streets with trendy up-and-comers.

marcolivierleblanc

New bars continue to move into the neighborhood, and the Tenderloin's emerging nightlife scene is starting to gain notoriety.

marcolivierleblanc
marcolivierleblanc MReleased44
marcolivierleblanc MReleased40
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar

Most times, you just have to know where to look.

SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar
SF Tenderloin OdessaShekar

Tender is the night.

Pixel
The Tenderloin neighborhood has a long history with a dense and diverse population. If you are not crazy about noise and activity, this might not be the place for you. It is not a neighborhood with sidewalk cafes and coffee shops -- but it is extremely close to those that are."

Morgan

Hosts Hip Downtown Studio

Photography

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

Originally trained as an architect, Odessa has shifted her passion to photography of all sorts. She specializes in family, children and newborn photography but enjoys pursuing architectural photography as well. She calls San Francisco home with her husband and daughter.

Odessa Shekar

View website »

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.

Marc Olivier Le Blanc

View website »

Similar to Tenderloin

  • A local feel in the outskirts of town.

    • mclaren park
    • urban
    • isolated
    • community
  • D-I-Y in the B-A-Y.

    • shipyard
    • slowly improving
    • isolated
    • tight-knit
  • Excels at simple living.

    • diverse
    • melting pot
    • blue collar
    • produce markets