Glen Park and Noe Valley are convenient to both freeway access, MUNI and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). Noe Valley is also known as ‘stroller town’ because of the number of young families that live in the area.
Clarendon Heights / Ashbury Heights, also known for its fog, has larger, newer (by San Francisco standards) and more expensive homes. There isn’t a commercial area as its hub, so you’ll need a car to get just about anywhere, but you’ll most likely get to enjoy astounding views perched at the top of the hill.
At the geographic center of the city, Upper Market / Eureka Valley (known by locals as the Castro) historically housed a significant gay population, has a very quaint and walk-able neighborhood feel, with the trendy Castro Street Shops being its hub. The demographic is changing, so strollers and school kids in the commercial area are routine. The area is probably the most convenient for public transit (MUNI) if you work downtown. The weather tends to be less foggy in this area than the western sections of the city.
An unofficial area of district 5 is Liberty Hill, located between the Castro and Noe Valley. If you get the chance make sure you go by 3650 21st St at Christmas time. The owners, Tom and Jerry, decorate to the hilt and it’s quite a spectacle.
Cole Valley and Haight Ashbury (known by locals as the Haight) have a bohemian flare to them. The summer of love still exists to a lesser extent in the Haight, reflected in the shops and their patrons. The MUNI underground serves this area as well, so access to downtown is convenient.
Between the Haight and Duboce Triangle, the streets on Buena Vista Hill (and Park) curve around the hill, giving different perspectives and views of the city. Architecture styles range from Victorians to newly remodeled and/or constructed uber modern edifices. Icon James Hormel of Spam fame and former Ambassador to Luxembourg in the Clinton Administration, used to call Buena Vista his home; ‘Casa Spam’ was famously painted pink.
The Duboce Triangle is a transition zone, being strategically located between the Lower Haight and the Castro. This area has come up significantly in recent years and is most trendy.
The main shopping areas are Castro St. and 24th St.