The Tenderloin is one of San Francisco’s most under-explored neighborhoods. Despite the neighborhood’s rich history, thriving arts scene and diverse array of restaurants, many visitors to San Francisco never step foot inside the 31 blocks that make up the Tenderloin—meaning they miss out on experiencing one of the fascinating aspects of the city.
The Airbnb community is working to change that. Recently, more than 100 Airbnb hosts, friends, and neighbors joined together to learn more about some of the businesses and sites that make the Tenderloin so unique.
Welcome to the Tenderloin…
An exhibit at the Tenderloin Museum highlights the neighborhood’s history and evolution
The night began at the jazzy Black Cat bar, where Airbnb host Karen Cancino helped welcome attendees and organized a clothing drive to benefit the St. Boniface Catholic Church, which helps those experiencing homelessness in the community. The new addition to the event was welcomed by fellow hosts.
Then the tour headed to 826 Valencia, a writing, tutoring, and publishing non-profit that helps under-resourced elementary students in the neighborhood.
Airbnb hosts explore 826 Valencia
Located inside a whimsical pirate store, 826 Valencia offers a fun space for kids to develop their creative writing skills, and even publish their work.
Caroline Kangas, 826 Valencia’s store manager, was happy to have an opportunity to showcase the unique space and share her views on the neighborhood.
Caroline Kangas shares 826 Valencia’s mission with merchant walk attendees
“In the Tenderloin, people constantly look out for each other,” she said. “There’s a strong sense of community here.”
Between stops, our group admired some of the Tenderloin’s famous murals—like “The Gift You Take is Equal to the Gift You Make,” by artist Marta Ayala, which celebrates how members of the community connect with one another.
The group learns more about “The Gift You Take is Equal to the Gift You Make,” a mural by Marta Ayala
“It’s critical to contribute and participate in the neighborhood by supporting the organizations and services the neighborhood provides,” said Amelia, a Tenderloin resident.
At Fleet Wood, an art gallery and boutique specializing in screen printing and selling goods made locally in the Bay Area, guests were welcomed by owner Nicole Schwieterman. “A lot of people don’t know about the Tenderloin—where to go, what cool shops to check out, so I enjoy seeing the positive reactions [from visitors], who are like tourists in their own town!”
Posters portraying the history of the Tenderloin are displayed along Eddy Street
After heading down Eddy Street, the tour came to an end at the Tenderloin Museum.
SF Recovery Theatre provided a musical backdrop for visitors, who enjoyed treats from CHEFS (Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Services), Saigon Sandwiches and Soul Food City while exploring the museum.
Katie Conry, Executive Director of the Tenderloin Museum, said the merchant walk was a great way to show locals a side of the Tenderloin they might not have seen otherwise. “The walk showed them a great slice of what this vibrant neighborhood has to offer,” she said.
“As cliche as it sounds,” Nicole Schwieterman said, “the TL truly is a hidden gem.”
The Tenderloin spirit lives on … come learn its history.
A big thank you to our local community partners for making this event possible, including the Tenderloin Museum, Tenderloin Clinic, 826 Valencia, Black Cat, Fleet Wood, SF Recovery Theatre, CHEFS, Saigon Sandwiches, Soul Food City, and the Fox Market.
Check out more photos from the event: