Tenderloin is a smaller neighborhood located just south of Downtown and east of Van Ness / Civic Center. Public transportation allows residents of this densely populated neighborhood ease of access to Union Square, Civic Center, and more. Home to a mainly working class population, Tenderloin offers a diverse living experience within the city of San Francisco.
Tenderloin is a region of San Francisco so named due to a statement by Alexander S. Williams, a New York City Police Captain who was transferred to this district in the city by the bay. He claimed that when he worked his original beat in New York, he could only afford chuck steak, but with his new assignment and the benefits that came with it, he could eat tenderloin instead. This colorful neighborhood is located at the base of Nob Hill, and a fair distance from the Bay.
The Tenderloin was established as a neighborhood as far back as the California Gold Rush, giving it a long and haunted history, though it wasn’t officially recognized as ‘Tenderloin’ until sometime after the 30’s, though it’s likely the name goes back as far as 1910. The area is a bastion of homes and architecture found in the turn of the 20th century, and was home to famous members of the Jazz community from that time.
With the Tenderloin's rich history, the nightlife has stayed active and lively, with a good selection of theaters, burlesque houses, bars, and clubs with a rich musical tradition that calls back to days gone by. This in part is what makes it an excellent area for young couples and singles, combined with its abundant one room apartments and small homes, it really is a wonderful neighborhood for folks just starting out.
This area is definitely a haven of alternative life-styles, its history as a haven of gay culture running back long into the 1930’s. Some significant parts of its history involve confrontations over the freedom to love and live as we choose. Due to this, there are also some amazing gay bars with long histories and respected histories in those struggles. It is partly due to this history that it’s recognized as a historic district by the National Register of Historic Places.
As part of its incredibly vibrant nightlife, there are a number of prominent theaters, including the American Conservatory Theater, the Curran, Golden Gate, and Orpheum Theaters. These are just a number of the litany that actually exist in this area, giving it a rich cultural baseline and an absolute panorama of places to go, things to see, and ways to get yourself steeped in the rich theatrical history of this region.
The Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco isn’t all nightlife and glitzy theater, the daytime offers a wonderful set of parks, some specifically built to give the copious population of children places to play and have fun in the summer sun. Tenderloin Children’s playground, between Leavenworth and Hyde Streets, has been providing safe and attractive indoor and outdoor activities since 1995. This location is especially known for hosting family oriented events, and serves as a central gathering place of the community.
Sgt. John Macaulay Park is a smaller, but equally pleasant venue with a gated playground where parents have a little more leeway letting their younger toddlers run about and play. It was named to honor a local police officer who gave his life keeping the neighborhood safe and comfortable for his family oriented constituents.
The Tenderloin may not be the ritziest part of town, but it definitely has some wonderful and educational experiences in store for the family just starting out. Inexpensive and located between some decent neighborhoods, and not far from the glitzier parts of the city, Tenderloin bears taking a look at for those trying to get a start, and working with a limited budget. Come to Tenderloin and take in the music, culture, and nightlife, it’s definitely an adventure in urban living!