SOMA (South of Market Street), San Francisco, CA
It's always interesting how neighborhoods (in any region) "morph" over time. The SOMA area of San Francisco is no exception. You hear a lot of tag-words these days in the City...one (more often than not) is 'Gentrification'. According to Wikipedia: Gentrification and urban gentrification refer to the changes that result when wealthier people ("gentry") acquire property in low income and working class communities. While this is true and is (and has been) happening in many areas of San Francisco, I would hesitate to claim that the SOMA area has been "gentrified" per se. Sure, new condo and loft developments have sprung along streets and corridors that once would have been considered perhaps unfriendly or too gritty for residential dwelling, but the flavor of the area to some extent has still managed to hold on.
Neighborhoods "evolve"...a term that some folks forget to consider when residents and neighbors (industrial or not) begin to adapt to the times and the changing businesses they're surrounded by. SOMA has been evolving for some time now, and just how much change we can expect in the next 25 years is really any body's guess. For now, the flavor is still alive. Those who are familiar with the Folsom Street Fair (that takes place every year around the last week of September) will note that it's an "alternative" San Francisco tradition that would be sad to ever let go (whether or not you attend or even approve!). It has become such an international event, that I can't imagine it's disappearance in my lifetime.
South of Market
(from the Zephyr Video narrative)...
Edgy and hip, with just a hint of grit tossed in for flavor, SOMA is for the true urbanite. Homogeneous streets and manicured front lawns are no where to be found. What you will discover here are contemporary lofts and condos, alongside the occasional Victorian, all lit up and hovering above the city's premiere nightlife destinations.
Historically the center of the city's gay leather and bear community, you will now find options for all persuasions. Stalwarts of the gay leather bar scene are found throughout SOMA- the Eagle (recently closed) , The Lone Star Saloon and Stud are just a few. There are many nightclubs in the area, including Slim's, the Paradise Lounge, the EndUp, and several new wine bars.
Commercial mingles alongside industrial and residential in this eclectic neighborhood. This is where you'll find some of the city's only big box chain stores, including a Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy and Costco. Of course, Trader Joe's is a major draw for groceries. SOMA is also home to residential developments by some very notable architects, including 888 7th Street by David Baker, 1234 Howard by Stanley Saitowitz and the conversion of Jackson Brewery by Siegel and Strain.
The neighborhood enjoys some of the best weather in the city and is relatively flat, making it attractive for bicyclists. Easy access to the freeways and Bay Bridge keeps drivers happy too. If you're looking for convenient transportation, either conventional or unconventional housing options, sunshine and true urban living, take a look at SOMA.