South of Market (or SoMa) is a relatively large neighborhood in San Francisco, California, United States located just south of Market Street and contains several sub-neighborhoods including South Beach, Mission Bay and Rincon Hill.
The neighborhood is a vast and diverse stretch of warehouses, auto repair shops, nightclubs, residential hotels, art spaces, loft apartments, furniture showrooms, condominiums, and technology companies.
Despite the Dot-Com crash of the early 2000s, major software and technology companies have headquarters here, including Ustream, Foursquare, Wikia, Wired, GitHub, Sega of America Inc., CNET Networks, Twitter, Square, Trulia, Dropbox, Justin.tv, IGN, Salesforce.com, BitTorrent Inc., Yelp, Zynga, Airbnb, Rapleaf, Sony Entertainment Network and Advent Software among others. The area is also home to the few Big-box stores in San Francisco such as Costco, REI, Nordstrom Rack, and Best Buy.
SOMA is home to many of San Francisco's museums, include SFMOMA, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Museum of the African Diaspora. The Cartoon Art Museum, the children's Zeum, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum are also in the Yerba Buena area. The Old Mint, which served as the San Francisco Mint from 1874 to 1937, has been restored and is schedule to reopen to the public in 2012 following an 8-year renovation. The Center for the Arts, along with Yerba Buena Gardens and the Metreon, is built on top of Moscone North. Across Howard Street, built on top of Moscone South, is a children's park featuring a large play area, an ice skating rink, a bowling alley, a restaurant, the Zeum, and the restored merry-go-round from Playland-At-the-Beach. The children's park and Zeum are joined to Yerba Buena Gardens by a footbridge over Howard Street.
Many small theatre companies and venues add to the cultural attraction of the SOMA, such as the Lamplighters, The Garage, Theatre Rhinoceros, Boxcar Theater, Crowded Fire Theater, Off-Market Theaters, FoolsFURY Theater, and Climate Theater.
Because of its Gay Rights history, the Folsom Street Fair is held on Folsom Street between 7th and 12th streets. The smaller and less-commercialized but also leather subculture-oriented Up Your Alley Fair (commonly referred to as the Dore Alley Fair) is also held in the neighborhood, in late July on Folsom between 9th and 10th streets and in Dore Alley between Folsom and Howard. Also home to the annual How Weird Street Faire featuring dancing and costumes, held in early May along seven city blocks including Howard and Second streets.
Because the streets in the area are aligned with the half-points of the compass, people's sense of direction tends to get skewed 45 degrees clockwise. Thus, while driving towards Market Street, people have the sense that they are driving "northbound" even though it is actually northwest, the same principle applying to the other three cardinal directions.