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Areas to Avoid in San Francisco and Other Warnings and Dangers


Warnings and Dangers in San Francisco: Areas to Avoid

Known for its incredible food, rich culture, and inviting locals, San Francisco is well established as a popular tourist destination. But like any city, there are areas to avoid in San Francisco, along with other dangers.

Rough Neighborhoods, Homeless People in San Francisco

Many areas of San Francisco are quirky, and a little bit of sketchiness is what gives some places their character, but be sure to use extra caution along Eddy Street and Ellis Street in the Tenderloin district. Sidewalks in some places are packed with homeless people to the extent that walking in the street is easier than weaving through the tightly clustered groups taking up the entire sidewalk. Some of these people can be aggressive when asking for money or when interacting with you on the street—sometimes yelling. Walking down Eddy and Ellis streets during the day is most likely safe, but at night it would be a smart move to avoid these streets.

Nearby Union Square is a popular destination, with boutique and high end shops. There are also a large number of homeless people in this area. Though some can get loud or rude, the danger of robbery, mugging, or assault is fairly low.

Open Drug Use in Tenderloin and Mission Neighborhoods

The Tenderloin and Mission neighborhoods have a reputation for being dangerous. Many tourists come to these areas for the lively atmosphere, great restaurants, and fun activities, but right alongside all of that you may notice open drug use and homeless camps. These areas more commonly see robberies, carjackings, muggings, and other crimes.

If you wish to visit these areas, it is wisest to leave any valuables at the hotel (don’t just leave them in the rental car), to not carry cash, and to keep a low profile. It isn’t the kind of place to wander around for a while after a few drinks unless you are able to remain careful and alert. If you do find yourself unsure of where you are or where to go, call an Uber rather than wander around looking lost for too long.

Cars Are Often Broken Into

Avoid driving or parking your car in the city. Parking is expensive; furthermore, cars are broken into on a regular basis. Even in a parking garage with security and cameras, cars are broken into and personal belongings are stolen.

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Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about areas to avoid in San Francisco.

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