Tenderloin

Tenderloin


The “Loin” or the “TL,” as it is known to locals, is basically San Francisco’s skid row, stretched between Union Square and the Civic Center and is bordered by Post, Van Ness, Market, and Powell. It got its name from the turn of the century (19th to 20th) when police got hazard pay to patrol its rowdy streets, enough to afford a better cut of meat.

It’s hard to recommend the Tenderloin to visitors since it is still frequented by drug dealers and their customers, street walkers and street people, some of whom will approach you for a handout. It has been slowly changing for the better since southeast Asian immigrants, from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, have moved into the neighborhood in the last twenty years and its proximity to South of Market development. In fact, more Vietnamese and Cambodian restaurants are located here than anywhere else in the city. But the Tenderloin still has the highest crime rate in San Francisco and a better-safe-than-sorry attitude is necessary in this neighborhood. The Civic Center is here and the theater district, too. But unlike a lot of San Francisco, most of this area is definitely not picturesque.

There are some interesting restaurants, deli’s and corner markets to be found but the streets are dirty and this is definitely not a place to be after dark. Also, this is where the “adult” entertainment is found. The notorious Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theater, showing XXX movies is still open in this neighborhood and there are topless clubs here. If you are adventuresome and prepared, the Tenderloin may be your cup of tea. But for most tourists staying in Union Square, it’s better not to venture too far from the hotel at night since the area has fuzzy edges and it’s easy to wander into a bad situation in the dark mean streets of the Tenderloin.





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