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North America > United States of America > California > Bay Area > Peninsula (Bay Area) > South San Francisco

South San Francisco

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South San Francisco is a hidden oasis of the Bay Area in California, located just south of Daly City and north of San Bruno on the Peninsula. When you say "South San Francisco" to out-of-towners, they think that you live in the southern part of San Francisco proper. But South San Francisco is very much its own distinct city, which is not even contiguous with San Francisco.

Population has tripled since World War II with the opening of subdivisions on the slopes west of El Camino Real. It has grown from 4,411 in 1920 to 61,824 in 2006.

Understand[edit]

Truth be told, the 'rough' reputation that South San Francisco has is nowadays mostly undeserved. The first thing you'll notice is a gigantic sign on the hill between South SF (or as the locals say, "South City") and Brisbane which reads in block capitals: "SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO THE INDUSTRIAL CITY". Yes, it is industrial, but not so much anymore. Mostly what that means is there are a bunch of warehouses and train tracks in the southeast corner of South City, and whoops now you're at the airport.

The people of South City seem to be broken down ethnically into thirds, with a third being Pan-Asian (Chinese, Japanese, and a sizable Filipino population - see Daly City for more), a third being Mexican/South American, and a third being white folk with a concentration of Italians.

Weather-wise, South City is on the cusp between fog and sun. Sometimes the fog is carved off by the mountain between South City and Pacifica, but other times it continues on through and keeps things cool. It can get windy in the hills any time of year.

Get in[edit]

Map of South San Francisco
  • By plane. South San Francisco is just north of and adjacent to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO IATA).
  • By train. The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train system connects SFO and South San Francisco, with just one stop at San Bruno in between. BART also connects South San Francisco with San Francisco and the East Bay. CalTrain connects South San Francisco with San Francisco and the South Bay.
  • By bus. The bus system SamTrans (San Mateo County Transit Authority) connects South San Francisco with the rest of the Peninsula.
  • By car. Two major freeways, US 101 or Interstate 280, connects South San Francisco to San Francisco and to San Jose.

See[edit]

Culturally, South City is pretty barren. It is after all a suburb, but you are 20 minutes away by BART or car from the heart of San Francisco, 20 minutes away from the glorious beaches of Pacifica, and 20 minutes away from Burlingame. SSF is a mouse among giants. After you've seen Sign Hill, you've seen the highlight. Strip malls and lots of single family homes and apartments dominate the city. You can park your car when you go shopping (no mean feat if you lived in San Francisco itself) and can get around pretty much anywhere. Few suburbs enjoy as much diverse cultural attractions within a 20-minute radius as South City.

Do[edit]

Buy[edit]

  • The Grand (Grand Ave. from Airport Blvd. to Chestnut Ave). South City's downtown strip. This is where you can find some authentic Mexican bakeries, pastries and burritos.
  • Serramonte Shopping Center. A mall located in Daly City just south of where the coastal Hwy CA 1 and mid-peninsula Interstate 280 meet.
  • A commercial strip runs south from Serramonte along Gellert Blvd. for a few blocks.
  • At Gellert and Westborough is the Westborough Square Shopping Center
  • El Camino Real and Westborough Road centers on a commercial cluster for everything you might wish to find.
  • Tanforan Shopping Center. Built on the site of the old Tanforan horse racing track in San Bruno, but is considered home to many South City people. Through the good times and the bad, this mall has held its own.

Eat[edit]

Food-wise, South City offers up some of the best Mexican and Italian food you could ever hope for. Indian and Thai food is not much spoken for.

  • Hung To Seafood Restaurant, 221 South Spruce Ave, +1 650 877-0828. Monday-Thursday : 11AM-2:30PM, 5PM-9:30PM; Friday: 11AM-2:30PM, 5PM-10PM; Saturday: 10AM-3PM, 5PM-10PM; Sunday : 10AM-3PM, 5PM-9:30PM. Outstanding dim sum is served here. Go with several friends if you can, so that you can try more items. $2.50-$5.20 per dim sum plate, depending on size. More for dinner..

Drink[edit]

There are plenty of bars to get soused with the locals.

Sleep[edit]

Go next[edit]

North to the heart San Francisco, east to catch a flight out of SFO, south to the Peninsula, and west to the beaches—all within 20 minutes.

Routes through South San Francisco
San FranciscoBrisbane  N US 101.svg S  MillbraeSan Jose



This city travel guide to South San Francisco is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.