"Don't go to the Tenderloin" Areas to Avoid Tip by iolanthe108

Areas to Avoid, San Francisco: 96 reviews and 24 photos

I've lived in New York and outside of San Francisco as well for many years now. Tourists who come to the Union Square District don't realize that if you go off a block or two, you're in one of the worst crack-ridden districts I've been too. Frankly, I've felt safer in Harlem. Now, I know San Francisco like the back of my hand and have visited hundreds and hundreds of times. I will no longer go to anywhere in the Tenderloin, because at 8 pm on a weekday night, with five friends, I was mugged at gunpoint by a crack dealer. He asked me for a dollar, and I tried to ignore him. My mistake. He took off with the $80 I had in my wallet; this was between Eddy and Turk, I think on Mason. Then, in broad daylight two years later, a friend was living there and went to pick her up. Parked on the street for about ten minutes. Had my windshield smashed in. Also, broke down there after vowing to avoid it completely. It was early evening, barely dark out, again I was on Turk. Was coming from a party, fairly dressed up, and my cell was out of battery. Didn't want to abandon my car because it was in front of a hydrant. So I decided to try to find someone with a cell phone to call a tow truck, without wandering any distance. I literally was solicited for paid sex like ten times in about 45 minutes. Ignored it. Stay OUT of this district. It's littered with crack-heads, there are dirty syringes in the streets, and yes, people can be violent. The last time I was there was perhaps a month ago, driving through from the airport, and some delightful man threw a bottle at my car at a stop light - thankfully he missed.

I also was sexually assaulted once, very minorly, on Haight Street by a young junkie, with several friends. We were in front of the music store, gearing up to go to a concert. He was sitting down. Didn't notice him. He put his hand right up my skirt. This resulted in one of my friends threatening him, which was a poor call, because in two seconds, there were like fifteen screaming junkies with dogs surrounding us. We went into the store and called the cops. Haight isn't all that bad, normally, particularly in the daytime. That was really kind of a fluke. But there are a lot of folks on drugs there, so be forewarned. The Tenderloin is filled with aggressive, impoverished crack heads, and after the bottle, I'll go around on 19th from the airport next time.

I've never had any problems like that in anywhere in the world (at least being mugged), and have only been a little creeped out in Jamaica once, in Oakland (it's a lot like the Tenderloin in parts), and in West Hollywood, where I stayed in the only hotel we could find, which was raided at 2 am. So much for budget travel! :)

Really, if you're coming to San Francisco, please be really careful and stay out of the Tenderloin; it's blocks from Union Square -- if you have any problems, duck into a store, or turn around and walk back the way you came and find a better route. Also, parts of Market Street (below that area) can have the same vibe. The rest of SF feels totally safe to me, and like mentioned, been in a few hundred times.

Address: San Francisco

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  • Updated Jan 6, 2011
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