The historic center of San Francisco is the northeast quadrant of the city bordered by Market Street to the south. It is here that the Financial District is centered, with Union Square, the principal shopping and hotel district, nearby. Cable cars carry riders up steep inclines to the summit of Nob Hill, once the home of the city's business tycoons, and down to Fisherman's Wharf, a tourist area featuring Dungeness crab from a still-active fishing industry. Also in this quadrant are Russian Hill, a residential neighborhood with the famously crooked Lombard Street, North Beach, the city's Little Italy, and Telegraph Hill, which features Coit Tower. Nearby is San Francisco's Chinatown, established in the 1840s.
The Mission District was populated in the 19th century by Californios and working-class immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Italy and Scandinavia. In the 1910s, a wave of Central American immigrants settled in the Mission and, in the 1950s, immigrants from Mexico began to predominate. In recent years rapid gentrification has spread, primarily along the Valencia Street corridor, which is strongly associated with modern hipster sub-culture. Haight-Ashbury, famously associated with 1960s hippie culture, later became home to expensive boutiques and a few controversial chain stores, although it still retains some bohemian character. Historically known as Eureka Valley, the area now popularly called the Castro is the center of gay life in the city.
The Mission District is known for its colorful murals. This 2002 mural by Precita Eyes' Martin Travers was applied to a security gate.
The city's Japantown district suffered when its Japanese American residents were forcibly removed and interned during World War II. The nearby Western Addition became established with a large African American population at the same time. The "Painted Ladies", a row of well-restored Victorian homes, stand alongside Alamo Square, and the mansions built by the San Francisco business elite in the wake of the 1906 earthquake can be found in Pacific Heights. The Marina to the north is a lively area with many young urban professionals.
The Richmond, the vast region north of Golden Gate Park that extends to the Pacific Ocean, has a portion called "New Chinatown" but is also home to immigrants from other parts of Asia and Russia. South of Golden Gate Park lies the Sunset with a predominantly Asian population. The Richmond and the Sunset are largely middle class and, together, are known as The Avenues. These two districts are each sometimes further divided into two regions, the Outer Richmond and Outer Sunset can refer to the more Western portions of their respective district and the Inner Richmond and Inner Sunset can refer to the more Eastern portions. Bayview-Hunters Point in the southeast section of the city is one of the poorest neighborhoods and suffers from a high rate of crime, though the area has been the focus of controversial plans for urban renewal.
The South of Market, once filled with decaying remnants of San Francisco's industrial past, has seen significant redevelopment. The locus of the dot-com boom during the late 1990s, by 2004 South of Market began to see skyscrapers and condominiums dot the area (see Manhattanization). Following the success of nearby South Beach, another neighborhood, Mission Bay, underwent redevelopment, anchored by a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco. Just southwest of Mission Bay is the Potrero Hill neighborhood featuring sweeping views of downtown San Francisco.