What is the Excelsior?

So, what is the Excelsior? Good question! A district in San Francisco. But what is a district? It has no legal status that we can ascertain. The name originated with a 19th century real estate development scheme. We're part of a supervisory district, but that encompasses far more than what is commonly referred to as the Excelsior. So mostly we're a somewhat vaguely defined but recognized "neighborhood" in San Francisco, a city in which neighborhoods remain distinct and can command a special allegiance.

We are located in a somewhat southerly portion of the city, towards the center on an east-west axis with a slight easterly bent. It is southerly but travel down Mission street and you will go a long way before you reach Daly City; from other locations you can reach Daly City by pretty much crossing the street. Go figure. San Francisco residents from more northern and western parts sometimes confuse us with the Bayview, Mission, or even Daly City. Yet our history, development, the flavor of our streets is different from these and most other San Francisco neighborhoods. We might be the village of the Excelsior but we are a district devoid of pretense and not given over to the language of self-promotion. We are incredibly diverse place with many recent arrivals - yet we also may have more long-term residents than any other part of the city. It is not uncommon to run into third and even fourth generation residents - folks whose grandparents farmed the ground that is now Balboa H.S. or paddled around in Cayuga creek before it was under grounded. We are a district of modest wealth by San Francisco standards but high home ownership rates and comparatively rich in children.

We talk to each to other pretty freely, drop into one of our saloons, barber shops, restaurants, fruit and vegetable markets or cafes and you likely be surprised with how open we are. We have many artists, musicians and writers residing here; we are relatively affordable at a time when real estate prices in this city have hugely impacted our historic ability to provide a congenial environment for artist and non-conformist of many stripes. Our participation in public life is modest and our common perception is that we generally come up short when city resources are allocated. Crime is an issue here but probably not as large an issue as is sometimes perceived. Our local police district encompasses several non-Excelsior neighborhoods that have had long term crime problems that even our local papers frequently relocate to to our neighborhood. Over time we hope to expand this website, primarily as a resource for locals but also for other folks interested in this area of San Francisco. For a current map of the Excelsior, click on the link below.

Modern street map of the Excelsior District


Famous Firehouse and Old Maps

97 Maynard Street

Current and Future Construction Projects

The Old Woolworth Building (4550 Mission Street) See also the March 2008 Newsletter

5050 Mission Street Proposed Condo Development

Balboa Park Station Area Plan

Balboa Reservoir Development

Other Pursuits and Diversions

Kids Stuff

Gardening with an Excelsior Accent

Walking the Excelsior and Beyond

We have on various occasions pondered the curious association between EDIA membership and proclivity to walk in the neighborhood. While our scientist diligently research this phenomena, the reality seems undeniable, EDIA's of all ages walk more. Maybe it‘s frugality, ecological awareness, desire for exercise, adversity to the frustrations of driving and finding parking, pleasure in observing the neighborhood or some combination of the aforementioned. I don't think its ever been put to an official policy vote, but we do seem to place a premium on walkability as a prime ingredient of neighborhood attractiveness and walking seems to rank highly as a means of local transport. And we do have a variety of interesting, highly local walks, from Missions St. to the local parks described elsewhere in this website. However, there are times when even the most fervent Excelsior aficionado is called upon to seek expanded horizons for perambulation and it has frequently perplexed us that when this inclination strikes, the person so called upon is as likely to end up in Yosemite, Kaui, the Himalaya, or on the Inca Trail as in the vast array of both humble and stupendous parks that surround us. We commonly encounter locals who are avid international hikers, but have not visited Mt. San Bruno, Fort Cronkite, the redwood parks off of Highway 35 or newer coastal and bayside parks down the peninsula. For those inclined to explore these local resources more, or simply learn more about what's out there, the website www.bahiker.com provides a wealth of information.

Excelsior Photo Archive

Community Parking Summits

The Crocker Amazon Playfield Renovation

Jerry Day (2007)

Jerry Day (2008)

Jerry Day (2012)

Royal Bakery Mural

Don Chuy's Spring

200 Lisbon Block Party (2008)

Light Up The Night