The University of San Francisco is a Jesuit Catholic University located on a scenic 55-acre campus, in the heart of the city overlooking downtown San Francisco. USF is divided between two adjacent plots: the lower campus and Lone Mountain, the historic San Fran hill that students refer to fondly as “The Hilltop.” Undergraduate enrollment is just under 7, 500 with 62 percent female and 38 percent male. USF is a quick bus ride away from everything San Francisco has to offer--fantastic restaurants, green parks, world-class museums, and so much more. The city itself is a big part of why students choose to attend the university.
Transportation: Most people fly into San Francisco International Airport or Oakland International Airport. USF is centrally located in the city with various public transportation options. The subway system, Bay Area Rapid Transit (or BART for short) covers most of the area, providing quick access to the East Bay, the Peninsula, the airport, and other destinations. The closest BART stop to USF is Civic Center. The Muni (the bus and metro system) routes closest to USF include the #5 Fulton, #38 Geary, #31 Balboa, and #43 Masonic.
Mascot: Why are USF students called Don's? "Don" is an acronym for Don Francisco, in honor of Don Francisco de Haro, the first mayor of San Francisco. Don is a Spanish title given only to a noble person of distinction. The name is a nod to the early days of San Francisco, which was colorful with the exploits of the swashbuckling and adventuresome Spanish Dons. The “Don” attends sports events in his signature mask and cape, and all students are proud to call themselves the Dons.
FYI: Though USF is a Jesuit-Catholic institution most of the student body is non-Catholic and identifies as Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and other religions. Students are required to learn about Catholicism, but they do not have to attend mass. The university tries to emphasize its Jesuit mission with student participation in service-learning courses, and volunteer work around San Francisco.
Stay: Feel like a local on a quiet street filled with Victorian homes at The Laurel Inn, within a mile of campus, this 1950’s landmark has been tastefully redone. Also close to school, families like to stay at the Stanyan Park Hotel. Within 2 miles of USF, in Japantown at the crossroads of the gritty Fillmore District and the chic Pacific Heights neighborhood, the boutique Kimpton Buchanan and Hotel Kabuki are popular stylish choices. Looking to splurge on high-end luxury, we loved a recent stay at The Ritz Carlton and friends raved about the St. Regis.
Eats Near Campus: San Fran is one of our country’s best restaurant cities; you’ll never run out of great places to eat. However, the area around USF is mostly residential or dominated by campus-owned buildings, and there is no quick place down the street to grab a coffee or slice of pizza. Students eat on campus or walk, bike or Uber to nearby Geary Street, Clement Street in lower Richmond, Fulton Street on the edge of lower campus or Haight-Ashbury, all close by and with plenty of solid choices.
Coffee: Right on campus in the university center, The Grind Down opens at 8 a.m. It’s the most convenient place to grab a coffee before your tour. In the Haight, Fly Wheel across from Golden Gate Park, a 5-minute drive or 15-minute walk, opens at 6 am (during the week) if you’re an early riser. It’s a good place to refuel later in the day as well.
Breakfast: Student’s favorite local morning spot near USF is Velo Rouge Café, only a few blocks away from lower campus. Known for there breakfast burritos and excellent coffee, just be warned it’s an uphill walk back to school. (This is San Fran after all) The university center, on lower campus, is home to The Grind Up, a good spot for a quick breakfast.
Lunch: The Market Café in the University Center on lower campus is open to the public and has 12 stations that includes sushi, ramen, salad, deli, grill and Italian stations. It’s busy at all times of the day with students, locals and professors and a great place to observe the daily life and culture at USF. Clement Street in nearby Richmond (a 5-7 minute uber) has often been called San Fran’s second Chinatown thanks to its array of Asian eateries—it’s a colorful street with some eclectic, fun boutiques and a host of ethnic eateries. The star is Burma Superstar, and the long lines attest to its popularity. (Lunch is a better time to go, as dinner can be insane) Must-orders include their unique tealeaf salad and samusa soup—an addictive spicy lentil-based soup, with cabbage, bean sprouts, and chunks of samosas and falafels in addition to more traditional stir-fries and curries. (Their sibling spot B Star Café is down the street if the line is too long) Or head to the Haight for tacos, burritos, and quesadillas at Street Taco, pizzas and salads at Bizza or a quick slice at Escape from New York Pizza. Ginza Sushi and Sake has a well-priced lunch set menu.
Casual: On the edge of lower campus, Fulton Street is home to Bistro Gambrinus, specializing in Russian and German fare, Jannah for Middle Eastern and the no-frills Papalote Mexican Grill. On Geary Street, below the Lone Mountain campus students recommend Pig and Whistle for pub food and the Hong Kong Lounge 11 with an extensive dim sum menu. In The Haight, head to Sparrow Bar and Kitchen for eclectic American fare, Parada 22 for Puerto Rican food, Blue Front Café for Middle Eastern or tiny French bistro Zazie, also a popular choice for weekend brunch.
A Step Up: Nopa on Divisadero St, in the rapidly gentrifying area also known as NOPA (north of the Panhandle) features a classic California-style menu, and a buzzy neighborhood feel. A San Fran favorite since it opened in 2006, it’s still a tough reservation to secure so book way in advance. (Their sibling Nopalito, is another excellent choice highlighting regional Mexican, with a no reservations policy) Not far, over on Fillmore Street in the Pacific Heights neighborhood, SPQR is an upscale Italian whose fans swoon over its pasta.
Local Attractions: Relive the summer of love and stay local by exploring Haight-Ashbury, the birthplace of the 1960s counterculture movement. Upper Haight Street is a hodgepodge of vintage clothing boutiques, bookstores, record shops, dive bars and fun, eclectic restaurants. Bordering Golden Gate Park, the area has many colorful, well-preserved Victorian homes, including the legendary Grateful Dead House. Its colorful history attracts tourists and also a less desirable crowd of burnt out hippies, so it's not to everyone’s tastes. Is this your first time in San Fran? We highly recommend a ride on the hop on hop off sightseeing buses, an excellent overview of the city. On a recent visit, we were awed by the newly redone San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, ate our way around the Ferry Building and spent a fun-filled morning renting bikes and riding across the Golden Gate Bridge.
— Quotes From Campus —
USF FAST FACTS
Green & Gold
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080
(p) (415) 422-6563
Michael Beseda, Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management
NCAA Division I
+ USF CHEAT SHEET +
The Grind Down
Velo Rouge Café
The Grind Up
The Market Café
B Star Café
Escape from New York Pizza
Papalote Mexican Grill
Pig and Whistle
Hong Kong Lounge 11
Sparrow Bar and Kitchen
Blue Front Café
+ LOCAL ATTRACTIONS
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