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To understand what the SoMa neighborhood in San Francisco is all about, visitors need only walk through the Alice Street Community Gardens, where Chinese vegetables grow alongside roses, daisies, and other popular species of flower. The modest co-operative community garden is a microcosm of the city’s diverse neighborhood, nicknamed SoMa for its location south of Market Street. During the second half of the 19th century and through much of the 20th century, the neighborhood was a desolate landscape of warehouses, factories, and—during the mid-19th century Gold Rush—housing tenements for immigrant workers. Today, thanks to an influx of technology companies that established their roots in SoMa during the dot.com boom of the late 1990s, the neighborhood is a vibrant, constantly evolving section of the city that, in its gentrification, offers something for everyone.
In an amazing transformation, SoMa is now the city’s cultural hub and is home to many of San Francisco’s museums. These include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which showcases masterpieces by Pollock, Warhol, Picasso, and O’Keefe; the Cartoon Art Museum, an institution funded by Charles Schulz with the goal to preserve and present cartoon art in, as the Peanuts comic strip creator instructed, “all its forms;” and the California Historical Society, which features ephemera chronicling the city’s evolution from the Gold Rush epicenter and provides visitors a glimpse of what the city was like prior to the devastating earthquake of 1906.
Today, residents and visitors are drawn to SoMa for its eclectic mix of shops (everything from independent book stores to boutiques specializing in edgy leather clothing and accessories), its progressive restaurants and bars (including Supperclub, the first U.S. offshoot of the original Supperclub in Amsterdam, which includes 5-course meals and unusual entertainment—think aerial performers or roller skaters), or to take in a Giants game (AT&T Park, situated right along the bay, hosts 81 home a year).
In recent years, SoMa has seen a strong uptick in high-end residential developments, none more impressive than The Harrison, a 49-story tower that is home to almost 300 luxury residences, all of which are elevated by the work of Ken Fulk, a San Francisco designer beyond reproach. Offering panoramic views and one- or two-bedroom floorplans that vary in size from slightly more than 600 square feet to slightly more than 1,300 square feet, every residence in The Harrison is dapper and sophisticated. In addition, 3 bedrooms and penthouses will be available in future releases. “It will feel like the most stylish place in San Francisco,” Fulk said just before the tower opened. “People will feel chic by being in these incredible surroundings, and I think people will want to live up to it.”