San Francisco Zip Codes: An In-Depth Look

With its iconic landmarks, tech startups, and diverse neighborhoods, San Francisco is one of America’s great cities. But navigating its maze of distinct zip codes can be confusing for residents and visitors alike. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: central San Francisco neighborhoods like Chinatown, Nob Hill and Union Square share the 94108 zip code, while 94109 covers affluent areas like Russian Hill. But San Francisco’s zip codes reflect much more than geography.

In this comprehensive guide, we will examine San Francisco zip codes in detail, exploring the history, boundaries, and characteristics of each. From eminent 94104 in SoMa to laidback 94127 in the Outer Sunset, we will decode San Francisco’s zip code map so you can better understand this complex city.

History and Purpose of Zip Codes

Zip codes, or Zone Improvement Plan codes, were introduced in the United States in 1963 as a means of improving mail delivery efficiency. Prior to the implementation of zip codes, mail sorting was a time-consuming process that often led to delays in delivery.

The creation of the zip code system revolutionized the postal service by organizing the mail into geographic areas, making it easier for postal workers to sort and deliver mail more efficiently.

Creation of the zip code system

The zip code system was developed by the United States Postal Service (USPS) in collaboration with the Department of Defense and several other federal agencies. The idea behind zip codes was to divide the country into smaller geographic regions based on population density, allowing for more accurate sorting and delivery of mail.

The first zip code system was introduced in 1963, and it was initially implemented in a few select cities, including San Francisco. Over time, the zip code system was expanded to cover the entire country, with each zip code representing a specific area within a city or town.

How zip codes are assigned

Zip codes are assigned by the USPS based on the geographic location and population of an area. Each zip code consists of a five-digit number, with additional four-digit extensions added for more specific locations.

The first digit of a zip code represents a specific region of the country, while the subsequent digits narrow down the location further.

When a new area is developed or a population increases, the USPS may assign a new zip code to ensure efficient mail delivery. Zip codes are constantly evolving to accommodate changes in population and geographic boundaries.

To find the zip code for a specific address in San Francisco or any other location in the United States, you can use the USPS website or other online tools that provide zip code lookup services. These services allow you to enter an address and instantly retrieve the corresponding zip code.

Understanding the history and purpose of zip codes provides valuable insight into the logistics of mail delivery and how the postal service has adapted to meet the needs of a growing population. The zip code system has become an integral part of our daily lives, ensuring that our mail reaches its intended destination in a timely manner.

San Francisco’s Major Zip Codes

94102 – Downtown/Civic Center

The zip code 94102 is home to San Francisco’s vibrant Downtown and Civic Center area. This bustling neighborhood is famous for its iconic landmarks such as Union Square and City Hall. With its mix of high-rise buildings, luxury hotels, and cultural institutions, 94102 offers a unique blend of business, entertainment, and civic life.

Residents and visitors alike can enjoy world-class shopping, dining, and entertainment options in this zip code.

94103 – SoMa

In the zip code 94103, you’ll find the trendy and eclectic neighborhood of SoMa (South of Market). Known for its industrial charm and artistic vibe, SoMa is a haven for tech startups, art galleries, and nightlife.

This zip code is also home to the Moscone Center, one of San Francisco’s largest convention centers. SoMa offers a dynamic mix of residential, commercial, and cultural spaces, making it a vibrant and ever-evolving part of the city.

94107 – Potrero Hill

Located on the eastern side of San Francisco, the zip code 94107 encompasses the charming neighborhood of Potrero Hill. Known for its picturesque views of the city skyline and the Bay, Potrero Hill offers a laid-back residential atmosphere.

This zip code is characterized by its colorful Victorian homes, quaint cafes, and local parks. Residents of 94107 enjoy a sense of community and a slower pace of life, while still being within easy reach of the city’s amenities.

94108 – Chinatown/Nob Hill

The zip code 94108 is home to two iconic neighborhoods in San Francisco: Chinatown and Nob Hill. Chinatown is the oldest and one of the largest Chinatowns in the United States, offering a vibrant cultural experience with its bustling streets, authentic cuisine, and traditional architecture.

In contrast, Nob Hill is known for its upscale mansions, luxury hotels, and panoramic views of the city. This zip code showcases the diversity and charm that San Francisco is renowned for.

94109 – Russian Hill

Nestled between Nob Hill and Fisherman’s Wharf, the zip code 94109 is home to the picturesque neighborhood of Russian Hill. This area is famous for its steep hills, beautiful views, and iconic cable cars.

Russian Hill is known for its charming residential streets lined with Victorian and Edwardian homes, as well as its vibrant restaurant and retail scene. Whether you’re strolling along Hyde Street or enjoying the views from Lombard Street, 94109 offers a quintessential San Francisco experience.

94110 – Mission District

The zip code 94110 encompasses the vibrant and culturally diverse Mission District. Known for its colorful murals, hipster cafes, and trendy shops, the Mission is a melting pot of different cultures and lifestyles.

This zip code is also home to Dolores Park, a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. With its lively atmosphere and rich history, 94110 is a must-visit destination for those looking to experience the true essence of San Francisco.

94112 – Ingleside/Excelsior

The zip code 94112 encompasses the neighborhoods of Ingleside and Excelsior, located on the southern side of the city. This area offers a more suburban feel, with its tree-lined streets and single-family homes.

94112 is known for its diverse community, family-friendly parks, and proximity to San Francisco State University. Residents of this zip code enjoy a quieter and more residential lifestyle, while still having easy access to the city’s amenities.

94114 – The Castro

The zip code 94114 is home to the vibrant and historic neighborhood of the Castro. Known as the LGBTQ+ capital of San Francisco, the Castro is a hub of LGBTQ+ culture, activism, and nightlife. This zip code offers a lively and inclusive atmosphere, with its rainbow flags, charming Victorian homes, and iconic Castro Theatre.

Residents and visitors of 94114 can enjoy a thriving community, a vibrant nightlife scene, and a strong sense of LGBTQ+ pride.

94115 – Western Addition

The zip code 94115 encompasses the Western Addition neighborhood, a diverse and culturally rich area in San Francisco. This zip code is home to the famous Alamo Square Park, known for its picturesque views of the “Painted Ladies” Victorian houses.

The Western Addition offers a mix of residential streets, commercial corridors, and cultural institutions. With its vibrant arts scene, community festivals, and local businesses, 94115 is a neighborhood that celebrates diversity and creativity.

94118 – Inner Richmond

The zip code 94118 is located in the Inner Richmond neighborhood, a vibrant and diverse area in San Francisco. This zip code is known for its eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, and cultural institutions.

Inner Richmond also offers easy access to Golden Gate Park, one of the city’s most beloved outdoor spaces. With its diverse community, bustling commercial streets, and proximity to nature, 94118 is a neighborhood that offers a little something for everyone.

94121 – Outer Richmond

The zip code 94121 encompasses the Outer Richmond neighborhood, located on the western edge of San Francisco. This area is known for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and its proximity to Ocean Beach.

The Outer Richmond offers a more residential and laid-back atmosphere compared to its inner counterpart. Residents of 94121 can enjoy the tranquility of the coastal breeze, the beauty of Golden Gate Park, and the charm of local cafes and shops.

94122 – Sunset District

The zip code 94122 is home to the Sunset District, a diverse and family-friendly neighborhood in San Francisco. This area is known for its foggy weather, beautiful beaches, and stunning sunsets. The Sunset District offers a mix of single-family homes, vibrant commercial corridors, and access to outdoor recreational areas like Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach.

With its strong sense of community and its proximity to nature, 94122 is a neighborhood that offers a unique and laid-back San Francisco experience.

94127 – Outer Sunset

The zip code 94127 encompasses the Outer Sunset neighborhood, located on the western side of San Francisco. This area is known for its foggy weather, stunning ocean views, and its proximity to the scenic Lands End trail.

The Outer Sunset offers a mix of residential streets, local businesses, and access to outdoor recreational areas. Whether you’re exploring the local shops and cafes on Judah Street or enjoying the tranquility of Ocean Beach, 94127 offers a peaceful and coastal living experience.

94131 – Twin Peaks

The zip code 94131 is home to the iconic Twin Peaks neighborhood, known for its breathtaking views of the city and its namesake twin peaks. This area offers a mix of residential streets, hiking trails, and access to the popular Twin Peaks lookout.

94131 is a neighborhood that embodies the natural beauty and outdoor spirit of San Francisco. Whether you’re hiking to the top of Twin Peaks or enjoying the panoramic views from your home, this zip code offers a truly unique and awe-inspiring experience.

Demographics and Characteristics

Population density

San Francisco is known for its bustling city life, and this is reflected in its population density. With a total population of over 800,000 people, the city is one of the most densely populated in the United States.

In fact, San Francisco has a population density of approximately 18,000 people per square mile. This high population density is due to the city’s limited land area and its popularity as a destination for both tourists and residents.

Age and household data

When it comes to age demographics, San Francisco is a city that attracts people from all walks of life. The median age in the city is around 38 years old, with a fairly even distribution across different age groups.

In terms of households, there are a mix of family units and single-person households, with a higher percentage of unmarried individuals compared to the national average.

Housing values

Housing in San Francisco is notoriously expensive, with some of the highest property prices in the country. The median home value in the city is well above the national average, making it a challenging market for aspiring homeowners.

The high demand for housing, coupled with limited supply, has driven up prices significantly over the years.

Income and poverty rates

San Francisco has a reputation for being a city of opportunity, attracting professionals from various industries. The city’s median household income is higher than the national average, reflecting the presence of high-paying jobs in sectors such as technology and finance.

However, it is important to note that despite the high average income, San Francisco also has a significant poverty rate. This is due to the high cost of living, which can make it difficult for low-income individuals and families to make ends meet.

Racial/ethnic makeup

San Francisco is known for its cultural diversity, with residents hailing from all corners of the globe. The city has a rich mix of racial and ethnic backgrounds, including a significant Asian American population.

According to recent data, Asian Americans make up the largest racial group in San Francisco, followed by White, Hispanic/Latino, and African American communities.

For more detailed demographic information, you can visit the official website of the City and County of San Francisco:

How Zip Codes Impact Life in San Francisco

Zip codes play a significant role in shaping life in San Francisco. From neighborhood identity to real estate values, school boundaries to targeted marketing, and even political representation, zip codes have a profound impact on various aspects of living in the city.

Neighborhood identity

Zip codes in San Francisco not only serve as a way to organize mail and packages, but they also contribute to the unique identity of each neighborhood. Residents often identify strongly with their zip code, associating it with a particular vibe, culture, and community.

For example, the zip code 94110 is known for its vibrant Mission District, while 94123 is associated with the upscale Marina neighborhood. These zip codes can shape a sense of belonging and pride among residents.

Real estate values

Zip codes can have a significant impact on real estate values in San Francisco. Certain zip codes are highly sought after and command higher prices due to factors such as proximity to amenities, desirable schools, or a vibrant social scene.

For instance, zip codes like 94114 (Castro/Noe Valley) and 94118 (Inner Richmond) have historically experienced strong property value appreciation. On the other hand, zip codes with less desirable characteristics may have more affordable housing options.

School boundaries

Zip codes often determine school boundaries in San Francisco, affecting the educational opportunities available to residents. Families may choose to live in specific zip codes to ensure their children can attend a desired school.

For example, the zip code 94117 includes parts of the popular Cole Valley neighborhood and is served by well-regarded public schools. Understanding the impact of zip codes on school boundaries is crucial for families navigating the education system in the city.

Targeted marketing

Businesses and marketers also utilize zip codes to target specific audiences in San Francisco. By analyzing demographic and socio-economic data associated with different zip codes, businesses can tailor their marketing strategies to reach their target customers effectively.

For example, a high-end boutique may focus its advertising efforts on zip codes known for their affluent residents. This targeted approach allows businesses to maximize their marketing budget and connect with potential customers more efficiently.

Political representation

Zip codes play a role in determining political representation in San Francisco. They are used in the redistricting process when drawing boundaries for local districts, determining which neighborhoods are grouped together for voting purposes.

This can have implications for the issues and concerns that receive attention from elected officials. Understanding the political dynamics of different zip codes can help residents engage with their local representatives and advocate for their community’s needs.


San Francisco’s intricate web of zip codes reflects the city’s storied past, eclectic neighborhoods, diverse demographics, and economic realities. Next time you visit or move about SF, keep this zip code guide in mind to navigate the city like a local. With an understanding of the history and traits of each area, you can better appreciate what makes San Francisco so special.

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