13 Superb TV Shows Set In San Francisco

Scott Gustin/Flickr
Scott Gustin/Flickr
Photo of Susan Blick
29 December 2016

San Francisco offers a unique backdrop for a novel, movie, or television set. If you’re not feeling like exploring San Francisco on your own two feet, take a virtual tour of the city by watching one of these great TV shows.

Full House

A 90s favorite, Full House is one of the most well-known San Francisco TV shows. This sitcom is filled with comedy and heartfelt lessons, as well as some quintessentially 90s fashion choices. The show centers around the life of Danny Tanner, a newly widowed man who enlists his brother-in-law, Jesse Katsopolis (a.k.a. Uncle Jesse), and his best friend, Joey Gladstone, to help raise his three daughters.

Fuller House

Fuller House, the 2016 reboot of 90s classic Full House, has received overwhelming support from the original show’s fans. The Tanner girls are all grown up and tackling the ups and downs of adulthood. The eldest Tanner, DJ is now a veterinarian and single mom to three boys, Stephanie is an up and coming DJ, and Michelle – who is not pictured in the reboot – is launching her fashion line in New York City. The entire first season is available on Netflix and season two is in the works.

Tales of the City

Tales of the City is based on Armistead Maupin’s book series with the same name. The show centers around Mary Ann Singleton, a goody two shoes from Ohio who tries to find her way in San Francisco during the 1970s. After finding an apartment managed by the mysterious and alluring Mrs. Madrigal, Mary Ann quickly befriends the other tenants in her building and begins her adventure in San Francisco.

Young & Hungry

On Young & Hungry, Gabi gets a job as a personal chef to successful tech entrepreneur, Josh Kaminsky. After Josh gets dumped by his fiancé, Gabi and Josh end up having a drunken one night stand. Although they agree to act like nothing ever happened, Gabi and Josh’s relationship becomes even more complicated when they realize that they have feelings for each other. This sitcom shows the trials and tribulations of young love and includes a hilarious cast of characters.

That’s So Raven

Raven-Symoné plays Raven Baxter, a teenage girl with psychic powers that often get her into trouble. This lighthearted sitcom is one of Disney Channel’s most successful shows and is filled with outlandish situations and dozens of catchphrases (Oh snap!).


Looking is a television dramedy that premiered on HBO in 2014. It stars three gay friends who are looking for love in San Francisco. Although Looking was not renewed for a third season, it received many positive reviews for its depiction of same-sex relationships as completely normal.

Suddenly Susan

In Suddenly Susan, Brooke Shields plays Susan Keane, a successful writer for fictional magazine, The Gate. After she leaves her fiance at the altar, she realizes that she’s all on her own with no one to take care of her but herself. Since she is so unaccustomed to the single life, her boss (who is also her ex-fiance’s brother) has her write weekly columns about life as a single woman.

The Streets of San Francisco

The Streets of San Francisco stars Karl Malden as Michael Stone and Michael Douglas as Steve Keller, two homicide detectives for the SFPD. Although Keller is much younger than his partner Stone, the duo team up to solve cases in and around San Francisco. This exciting show lasted five seasons and was filmed in locations all over the city.

The Real World: San Francisco and Real World Ex-plosion

The Real World takes strangers from different backgrounds and conflicting views for a bizarre social experiment that is always filled with drama. When The Real World hit San Francisco in 1994, the show was in its third season and gaining viewership quickly. The most poignant part of the show came when one roommate, Pedro Zamora, an openly gay man, revealed that he was suffering from AIDS. He and his partner, Sean Sasser, were married on the show in the very first same-sex wedding featured on television. Saddly, Zamora passed away soon after the season premiered on MTV.

Million Dollar Listing San Francisco

If you think your own rent is ridiculous, wait until you see the price tags on the houses featured on Million Dollar Listing San Francisco. This reality television show follows real estate agents, Justin Fichelson, Andrew Greenwell, and Roh Habibi as they try to out-compete each other and close deals in San Francisco.

Love on a Rooftop

The relationship between Love on a Rooftop characters, Dave Willis and Julie Hammond is the definition of a ‘meet-cute’ story. Dave, a young architect meets art student Julie, an art student, after his sandwich falls off of a rooftop and into Julie’s purse. When he finally retrieves his sandwich, Dave and Julie quickly fall in love and get married. Julie’s father, a rich businessman, does not approve of Dave due to his low salary as an architect. This 1960s TV show tells the tale of Dave and Julie’s less than glamorous lifestyle as newlyweds in San Francisco.


Tony Shalhoub plays Adrian Monk, a former detective at the San Francisco Police Department who begins to suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) after the death of his wife. After months of therapy, Monk is finally able to leave his house and work as a private detective. Although the premise of this TV show is dark, Monk is actually an incredibly smart and funny show.

Silicon Valley

If you’ve ever wondered about the craziness that goes on behind the scenes at one of the hundreds of internet startup companies, make sure to check out Silicon Valley. The show depicts the victories and defeats of music app, Pied Piper. This comedy was renewed for its third season, which will premiere in April 2016, and can be viewed on HBO

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