San Francisco at night

Get Your San Francisco Commute Sorted

January 31, 2013 | Best Cities and Neighborhoods, Best Neighborhoods

Unlike Los Angeles or New York—cities that sprawl—San Francisco is compact. It’s just seven miles square. That doesn’t mean you can live anywhere and still get to your job quickly though! Choosing where to live when working in San Francisco is an important consideration if you don’t want to spend all day on the bus. is here to help you sort your San Francisco commute.

Where to Live in San Francisco:

  • The Mission District: Getting downtown from the Mission is a snap, thanks to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Unlike the city buses and trains of the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority (or Muni, for short), BART trains run quickly and reliably. Alas, BART only travels one route through San Francisco, from the Embarcadero to Balboa Park. It stops, however, in the Mission District at both 16th and 24th streets. Assuming you’re headed downtown, you won’t get there faster than on BART.

  • SOMA: If you’re considering where to live when working in San Francisco, think of the power of your feet. The South of Market neighborhood (SOMA) is where many start-ups set up shop. It’s literally a hop, skip and a jump from Downtown, too. Whether you’re walking or on a bike, SOMA is a good bet (as long as you like living in a loft).

  • Near a Muni Metro Stop: In terms of speed, your third choice after BART and your own self-propulsion will be near a Muni Metro stop. Muni operates a handful of subway/streetcar lines. These are more reliable and frequently faster than Muni bus routes. All the trains run beneath Market Street from the Embarcadero to Van Ness Street, then they split up to do more damage. Muni Metro trains can get awfully crowded during commute hours, so plan accordingly. The farther from Downtown you live, the longer your commute, but the better your chances are of getting a seat!

If none of the selections above work out for you, there are still good options. Muni operates a slew of bus routes—including express routes that can be just as fast as Muni Metro. Many San Franciscans learn to skirt the hills and bike to work. Driving isn’t a great idea. Parking is either expensive or impossible to find, or both.

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