Alliance Francaise de San Francisco (credit: Randy Yagi)

Whether you’re hoping to learn basic French for your trip to Paris or need to brush up on your Japanese for business, there are several outstanding language schools in San Francisco. In such a culturally diverse city as San Francisco, it shouldn’t be surprising to discover a wealth of foreign language courses as well as English as a second language programs. And because classes are offered at every level of language proficiency, there’s a course especially tailored for both adults and children. The following is just a small sample of some of the best language classes in San Francisco.

Alliance Francaise de San Francisco
1345 Bush St.
San Francisco, CA  94109
(415) 775-7755

Founded in 1889, this nonprofit educational organization is the oldest French American cultural center in the country. Known as the premier destination in San Francisco for French language classes and culture, the center offers a number of courses and workshops in four levels of fluency from beginner to expert. Classes are eight weeks long and are available in four categories: Adults, kids and teens, private and semi-private and business. The Alliance Francaise de San Francisco also offers testing to determine proficiency in the French language or to apply to a French university. The nonprofit also houses an extensive library and multimedia collection and hosts several cultural events throughout the year, including screening French language movies and guest presentations.

560 Mission St. Suite 1300
San Francisco, CA  94105
(415) 395-6590

Conveniently located in downtown San Francisco, IDESLI International Institute of Linguistics offers courses in eight different languages. Courses are offered in either groups or one-on-one and four levels of proficiency and the length of classes range from a two-week intensive course to 25 sessions once a week. Among the languages taught here are Spanish, Italian, Japanese, French and Hindi. Also available are field specific terminology courses -medical, legal business Spanish and business English.

Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
3200 California St.
San Francisco, CA  94118
(415) 292-1200

The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco is the oldest Jewish center on the West Coast. Founded in 1877, the center offers social, cultural and fitness programs along with educational classes, including language courses in Hebrew and Spanish. Language classes are taught by native speakers for five levels of proficiency in Hebrew and nine levels for Spanish. The San Francisco JCC has one of the best fitness centers in the city and features a 25-yard lap pool, heated spa, state-of-the-art fitness equipment and a basketball gymnasium. Other services include literary and cultural events, after school enrichment programs and holiday celebrations.

KaiXin Language School
870 Market St., Suite 1010
San Francisco, CA  94102
(415) 692-1388

KaiXin Language School is the top rated school in San Francisco for Mandarin Chinese. Courses are offered in four levels of proficiency and in four categories: private, group, corporate and after school. Coursework in intermediate courses or above places a special emphasis on reading and writing Chinese. Classes are taught on weekdays and on Saturdays. Kids after school Spanish programs are also available as are Spanish language classes for adults.

Soko Gakuen (credit: Randy Yagi)

Soko Gakuen
1881 Pine St.
San Francisco, CA  94109
(415) 928-9608

Soko Gakuen is considered as the most comprehensive Japanese language school in California. Located within the second oldest Buddhist church in America – the Buddhist Church of San Francisco, coursework in the Japanese language is offered in several categories and levels of comprehension for adults and children ages 5 to 14. Japanese Kanji writing courses are taught in classes such as intermediate conversation and practical communication. Other Japanese cultural courses are available by requests from students including calligraphy and tea ceremony demonstrations. The Buddhist Church of San Francisco also offers a number of classes like Tai Chi, yoga and Essentials of Buddhism. The national headquarters of the Buddhist Churches of America is located next door to the Buddhist Church.

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on