The South of Market district (SoMa) a neighborhood that has had its ups and downs is now on the receiving end of San Francisco's urban and renewal projects. SoMa is becoming San Francisco’s center of art and nightlife with a broad selection of museums, galleries, restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs. The SoMa that exists today is full of artists, clubs, and New York-style loft living. This incarnation is so different from the rubble it came from that it's almost impossible to see through the district's history, which is brimming with tales of shanty towns, refineries, factories, gambling and miners. In the mid-1800s, the area south of Market Street was nothing more than a collection of makeshift shacks.
Museum of Modern Art
The Embarcadero (south)
Yerba Buena Gardens
Van Ness/Eddy/Steiner, Pine
Starting in the 1960s, whole blocks were demolished to make room for new developments, which left large numbers of small businesses and retired laborers without homes. SoMa's face-lift, which included the building of the Yerba Buena Gardens complex -- which today houses the SF Museum of Modern Art and other museums -- helped foster the artistic climate it now prides itself on.
In the 1980s, the remaining abandoned warehouses were quickly inhabited by artists who needed space to work and who savored the area's ridiculously cheap rents. Today, it's home to that uniquely '90s art form: multimedia. South Park, a grassy oval surrounded by quaint buildings, is the heart of Multimedia Gulch, home to countless startups (some more successful than others) and high-tech publications. This tech boom has made SoMa a more desirable place to live. The warehouses, which used to be affordable live/work spaces for artists, are now being converted (and built from scratch) at a staggering rate.
With the opening of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Yerba Buena Center region of the South of Market has become the center for many museums.
Yerba Buena Gardens has 5.5 acres of gardens, theaters, shopping, ice skating, bowling, a historic carousel and a technology center and outdoor performance area. You will also find the largest man-made waterfall outside of Atlanta here. Walk behind the waterfall for a unique, and misty, experience.
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