Twelve neighborhoods, twelve signs.
While our city’s status as Gemini can be verified by its charter – the moment it “became” San Francisco – these neighborhood designations are the product of my own intuitive dabbling in the astrological arts.
| The Mission
By virtue of it being San Francisco’s first neighborhood, the Mission correlates with Aries, the zodiac’s first sign. The baby of the zodiac, Aries never look before they leap; armed with charm and charisma, their boldness tends to be rewarded, even while their intensely self-centered natures can work the nerves of those around them. Aries are deeply magnetic, and the Mission has the appeal of a handsome sociopath. You might talk about this neighborhood behind its back – it really thinks it’s the center of San Francisco! It’s so obnoxious! But you keep coming back, don’t you?
| The Marina
While Aries is about the thrill of the risk and creating something new, Taurus is more interested in the cash and prizes one receives as a result of having already played that game and won. The Marina, with its tangible evidence of established wealth beaming out from boutiques and restaurants and spas, is the ideal spot for a Taurus luxuriating in life’s pleasures. This sign works for the money, and Taurus likes to spend it. A lack of freshness makes this ’hood predictable, even stuck, and Taurus’ sudden, unexpected temper can be witnessed in its many weekend bar brawls.
This “neighborhood” is still more of a concept than a reality, which locates it in strong Gemini territory. Geminis are imaginative and logical; they also confuse their imagination for logic and can see the solid intellectual worth in conjuring wild dreams. This neighborhood-in-the-making, which might lasso bits of the Tenderloin, SOMA, and Civic Center into a revamped Utopia where the arts and tech companies coexist and support one another, sounds good but is it for real? The presence of truly visionary arts organizations like The Luggage Store and Intersection for the Arts will for sure keep the conversation alive and lively, something that always makes Geminis happy.
| Bernal Heights
A neighborhood with a nickname of “Maternal Heights” is easily the Cancer of San Francisco. Cancer, the most nurturing sign of the zodiac, rules the life-giving breast of the human body. It’s ruled by the moon, which is a good fit with this ’hood’s numerous lesbian residents. Cancer’s symbol is the tenacious crab, and like a cranky old crab Bernal Heights has (mostly) hung on to its working-class, family-oriented roots, riding out waves of gentrification that have rendered other neighborhoods unrecognizable. It’s no wonder new and old families love this somewhat insulated but deeply dynamic dwelling place.
| North Beach
A Leo always needs an audience, and no San Francisco neighborhood has as much to gawk at as North Beach. Whether it’s the restaurant barkers luring you in with street-side bruschetta or the strip bar dancers taking a curbside smoke break in a kimono, this ’hood demands you pay attention to it. The gonging church, the flashing neon, the squawking of its flock of resident parrots! This area takes much of its aesthetic and culture from Rome, which is officially a Leo. And, like a Leo, North Beach seeks not only to take, it wants to show you a super
The minimalism Japanese design is known for is seen in the simplicity and organization of this neighborhood, in its structure and architecture. This is all the way Virgo – no frills, everything in its logical place. Japanese food, some of the cleanest around, is also very Virgo – these neat-freaks of the zodiac also have sensitive digestive systems. The healthful, alkalizing properties of a Japanese diet are perfect for Virgos, and for a sign so obsessed with cleanliness, purity, and physical health. It’s fitting that a dunk in the Kabuki spa is so renewing you feel downright virginal upon your exit.
| Pacific Heights
The socialite of the zodiac would live no place else but elegant, exclusive Pacific Heights. Libras love money and luxury but hate having to work, which is the perfect lifestyle for residents riding the magic carpet of inherited wealth. Libras love eccentric people from all walks of life – as long as they’re clean and have an
| The Tenderloin
I tried to avoid this because it seemed too obvious, but for real the Tenderloin is San Francisco’s resident Scorpio. Scorpios are the most complicated of signs – loyal and paranoid, passionate and moody, resourceful and manipulative. This neighborhood brimming with immigrant families struggling with stability, tech gentry, and balls-out dope fiends seems to symbolize the heights and depths of the human experience, just as Scorpio, who represents the heights of personal power and the lows of self-destruction, does.
| The Haight
The Age of Aquarius has come and gone, leaving this ’hood in a Sagittarian hangover. The sign of the biggest party and the biggest need for freedom would certainly be the Haight, where “tuning in, turning on, and dropping out” still feels like an option and where the commitment for a consistent living situation is too much of a drag for the strip’s infamous tribes of
If anyone likes to live where they work, it’s Capricorns for whom all of life is work. SOMA, a bit dull on the outside but churning with industry on the inside, is super Capricorn. The Financial District, with its glittery sidewalks, is too obvious – even tacky – for this reserved sign. Capricorns are behind-the-scenes power players, rigging up enterprise in the comfort of their own not-necessarily-comfortable homes, scuttling up the corporate ladder with hard, honest work. Ideally, they have the cash to pay a Libra or Taurus to bring some warmth and décor to their rather cold abodes.
| The Castro
Aquarians are obsessed with being rebellious, to the point of being reactionary. It’s a perfect sign to represent the Castro, where some individuals reacting against the constraint of clothes provoked a rebellion in others sick of seeing so much junk in the ’hood that they led a successful campaign to ban it. Is the Castro the seat of liberation in SF, or just another shopping center? One thing for sure, the only thing more Aquarian than a radical flaming homosexual is a conservative flaming homosexual.
| The Outer Sunset
The Outer Sunset, home to the Pacific Ocean, is most certainly the Pisces of our city. As mystical as some neighborhoods strive to be, nothing beats the real thing. A meditation at the shore will bathe you in negative ions, which lifts your serotonin – a lifestyle most Pisces could use. It also gets you a little closer to becoming One with the Universe, this sign’s ultimate goal. In between inspiration and meditation, dining at hobbit-hole Outerlands or taking your Trouble coffee into the succulent garden in the backyard of the General Store are lovely, dreamy ways for spiritual-seekers to enjoy the earthly plane.
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