22nd Street to Mission Creek; 280 to the Bay
If it’s being brainstormed, hacked, rendered, repurposed, brewed, sewn, baked, jury-rigged, or prototyped, it’s probably happening in Dogpatch. The last two years have seen the most dramatic changes, as a new class of creatives has flocked to the generous square footage and the ethos of rampant experimentation. Take, for example, the 800,000-square-foot American Industrial Center (2565 3rd St.) and its sister building at 2325 Third Street: Within the 300 converted lofts, you’ll find five chocolatiers, 33 photographers, a butcher, and an aikido master, among many others. “When I moved in 20 years ago, there was just a Chinese noodle shop and a couple of funky artists,” recalls resident photographer Tom Seawell.
All the creative juices flowing through this part of town have a trickle-down effect that benefits residents. Make your own wine at Dogpatch WineWorks (2455 3rd St.), then stroll over to Olivier’s Butchery (1074 Illinois St.), an old-world French boucherie, or to Ian Flores and Annabelle Topacio’s nostalgia-inspired ice cream shop, Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous (699 22nd St.). Michael Recchiuti just added Chocolate Lab (801 22nd St.) to his mini-empire, and at the end of this month, the Museum of Craft and Design will unveil 3,500 square feet of exhibition space (2569 3rd St.). Come spring, Dave McLean, the man behind Magnolia Brewery and Alembic, will introduce a new bar and restaurant at 2505 Third Street.
Yet, for all its buzz, living in Dogpatch can feel a bit isolated—the main drag of Third Street is still an industrial canyon lined with massive roll-up garage doors. That’s where the brand-new condos of Mission Bay, just down the street, come into play. Stumble home from jazz night at the Dogpatch Saloon (2496 3rd St.) and warm up around a fire on the roof deck of Radiance (330 Mission Bay Blvd.), or, on a nice day, take a dip in Madrone’s 75-footlong rooftop pool (480 Mission Bay Blvd.). Wake up to full-height windows framing the bay and saunter to the new Mission Rock Resort (817 Terry Francois Blvd.) for mimosas on the deck, or go for a run past UCSF’s gleaming new campus on the reclaimed waterfront. This is, after all, one of the city’s last frontiers.
Affordability: D+ (In Mission Bay, rent for a two-bedroom condo, $4,250; cost of a two-bedroom, $925,000)
Walkability to amenities: C (Third Street is the business center, but many places are still fairly spread out, so buy a good pair of walking shoes)
Public transportation: B- (8BX, 14X, 22, 48, T Muni lines; two Caltrain stations; free shuttles to Powell Street BART station)
Weather: B+ (Summer forecast: 65 degrees and sunny—this is the last place that fog hits in San Francisco)
Safety: B+ (A low crime rate, and San Francisco’s police headquarters is scheduled to move to Mission Bay in 2014)
The bummer: Isolation anxiety may be an issue
Read More: The Bay Area's top 10 neighborhoods
Ocean Beach: For a reminder that this is a beach town
Polk Gulch: For bustling nightlife (just don't call it the next Valencia)
Richmond Annex: For the no-strings-attached white picket fence
NoPa: Because it's the Mission 10 years ago
Uptown Oakland: For a nonstop art orgy
North Beach East: For Little Italy charm without the tourist kitsch
Mission Creek: Because it's the new locavore mecca
Hayes Valley: For a livable MoMA
Burlingame Terrace: Because maybe Pleasantville isn't lame after all
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of San Francisco.