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South of Market Information

 
SoMa (South of Market) is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California. Its borders are Market Street to the north-northwest, the San Francisco Bay to the east, Townsend Street to the south-southeast, and U.S. Route 101 to the west-southwest. It is the part of the city in which the street grid runs parallel to and perpendicular to Market Street. The eastern edge along the Embarcadero and south-eastern corner of this area (where Mission Creek meets the bay) is known as South Beach, a separate neighborhood, and the border below Townsend Street begins Mission Bay. The north-eastern corner (where Market Street meets the bay) is often considered part of the Financial District.

South of Market was originally a warehouse district, with longer blocks than other parts of the city. Today, in addition to warehouses, there are a great many bars and nightclubs, restaurants, and residential lofts in the area. Since the 1950s, South of Market has been a center for the leather subculture of the gay community. At the end of each September the Folsom Street Fair is held on Folsom Street between 7th and 12th Streets. The smaller and less-commercialized but also leather subculture-oriented Up Your Alley Fair (commonly referred to as the Dore Alley Fair) is also held in the neighborhood, in late July on Folsom between 9th and 10th Streets and in Dore Alley between Folsom and Howard. During the late-1990s, South of Market was known for being a local center of the dot-com boom, due to its central location and relatively cheap housing and office space.


Looking northwest toward the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The waterfall drains into the pool on the right.Especially near the waterfront, Yerba Buena Gardens and Financial District, South of Market is rapidly gentrifying, with a large number of new residential high-rises and hotels.

Because of its historic blue-collar nature, South of Market is also an area of settlement for new immigrants. Entire communities made their homes in the district--from Irish Americans and Italian Americans to Greek Americans. Presently the largest migrant group living in South of Market are Filipino Americans.

The conference center, Moscone Center, occupies three blocks and hosts many major trade shows. Moscone South opened its doors in December 1981. Moscone North opened in May 1992, and most recently Moscone West in June 2003.

With the opening of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1995, the Yerba Buena Center region of the South of Market has become a hub for museums. Other museums in the area include the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Museum of the African Diaspora, the Cartoon Art Museum, the children's Zeum, and the temporary home of the California Academy of Sciences. The planned sites for the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Mexican Museum are also in the Yerba Buena area. The Center for the Arts, along with Yerba Buena Gardens and the Sony Metreon, is built on top of Moscone North. Across Howard Street, built on top of Moscone South, is a children's park featuring a large play area, an ice skating rink, a bowling alley, a restaurant, the Zeum, and the restored merry-go-round from Playland At the Beach. The children's park and Zeum are joined to Yerba Buena Gardens by a footbridge over Howard Street.

A major transformation of the neighborhood is planned with the Transbay Terminal Replacement Project, which if funded, is planned to be open by 2013. In addition, many residential projects are set to transform the overall San Francisco skyline, with highrises up to 55 and 58 stories like One Rincon Hill and Millennium Tower respectively (see sfcityscape.com). Other highrises like 300 Spear Street are under construction too in the neighborhood. According to an article on May 25, 2006 (see [1]), the Transbay Joint Powers Authority proposed to raise the height limits around the new Transbay Terminal. That will mean instead of having one 70 story, 925 ft. tower, a trio of towers, with two at about the same height as the 853 ft.Transamerica Pyramid and a third one of at least 1,000 ft. will be built. The third tower could be the tallest on the West Coast, beating out the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles and it will probably have the most floors on the West Coast, overtaking Seattle's Columbia Center. This proposal is said to give San Francisco a internationally recognized skyline by having a central peak and in addition, balance the off-centered existing skyline due to the Transamerica Pyramid and the Bank of America Building.

Most San Franciscans prefer to refer to the neighborhood by its full name, South of Market, though there is a trend to shorten the name to SOMA or SoMa, probably in reference to SoHo (South of Houston) in New York City, and, in turn, Soho in London.

Before being called South of Market this area was called "South of the Slot". The reason being that cable cars used to run on Market Street and the cable car tracks have a center slot where the cable car attaches to the cable. While the cable cars have long since disappeared from Market Street some "old timers" still refer to this area as "South of the Slot".


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