There's no denying the magic of San Francisco.
It's a world-class city that ranks as one of the most dynamic, sought after places in the U.S. to live, work, and play. In fact, it's one of those rare locations whose iconography is immediately recognized and touted by the mere utterance of its name.
And just like other great American cities, one of San Francisco's most distinguishable characteristics is its collection of one of a kind neighborhoods. Few areas in the Bay Area shine brighter than Pacific Heights.
Recognized as one of San Francisco's most exclusive—and expensive—enclaves, the distinction masks the fact that Pacific Heights is exceptionally livable. Not merely a private playground for the rich and well-heeled, although many Bay Area elite have homes here, the community is a chic spot for shopping and dining. Its location at one of the peninsula's highest points affords visitors and residents alike stunning panoramas of iconic Bay Area landmarks.
But there's even more to appreciate about this prestigious address. Here are four of the best things about living in Pacific Heights:
To describe Pacific Heights' location as being in the heart of town is something of an understatement. Sure, it's accurate, but we're not talking about just any city. Centrally located in San Francisco places you within arm’s reach of some incredibly popular communities, not just in California, but in the country. Consider:
Russian Hill, Embarcadero, The Financial District, and Union Square are a few minutes to the east.
Haight-Ashbury, the Mission District, Castro, and the Theater and Design Districts are a similar trek to the south.
To the west and north, there's Golden Gate Park, The Presidio, the Marina District and Fisherman's Wharf.
The prime placement doesn't just position you in the middle of the action, but it also grants you a decidedly upscale room with a view. On a clear day, you can take in views of The Golden Gate Bridge and its adjacent national recreation area. Or you can marvel at the Presidio or the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District. San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island, and Coit Tower can also be appreciated from several of Pacific Heights' more prominent vistas.
The food and drink scene in San Francisco requires little introduction. Bay Area shopping opportunities, from quaint local boutiques to grandiose chain stores, also receive their fair share of publicity. Taken as a whole, where to go and what to do can be overwhelming, but each community offers its own unique experience.
Pacific Heights plays the part of the quiet, peaceful destination. Residents value their privacy, and when they venture out, they tend to stay close to home. As such, most of what you'll discover in Pacific Heights is unapologetically high-end. A few surprises, though, prove the community is not at all the stuffy hideaway it's sometimes portrayed as.
A blend of upscale and low-key is most apparent in the community's central commercial district of Fillmore Street. The highly walkable, mile-long strip is the epitome of old-school, cityscape commercialism. Storefronts and sidewalk cafes beam from the ground floor of Victorian-era buildings.
Upscale restaurants and bars like SPQR and Palmer's Tavern mingle with low-key and authentic international flavors such as La Mediterranee and Bun Mee. You can also tuck into a burger, or grab savory Hawaiian or Asian takeout. National glamour brands like Ralph Lauren and Athleta rub elbows with local pop-ups, liquor stores, and hair and nail salons. In other words, it's an eclectic collection of business fit for all tastes and sensibilities.
In addition to the dining and shopping within the neighborhood, Pacific Heights' central location grants you quick access to numerous other retail hotspots. Most immediately, Fillmore Street stretches into Lower Pacific Heights. This separate, distinctive community provides many of the same amenities as its neighbor to the north. The Presidio, to the west, features a quaint commercial district perfect for window shopping while on a morning jog or afternoon stroll.
Head east and you're in trendy Nob Hill, where you'll find a litany of high-end steakhouses and a collection of sushi restaurants that take their craft incredibly seriously. Cow Hollow's Union Street offers prime dining opportunities and an impressive number of health and wellness stores, including Lush, Nike, and SoulCycle.
For those looking to lighten their pocketbooks at San Francisco's famed Union Square, the trip is less than two miles from your Pacific Heights doorstep. Considering all of the shopping and dining opportunities in and near the Pacific Heights community, it might prove to be the most underrated aspect of living here. Venture out to shop, dine, or share drinks with friends and return home with time to spare.
If you're like us, no amount of outdoor green space is too much. While conventional wisdom says such nature-driven hideaways within a vibrant, major city is at a premium, San Francisco upends that thinking. If you live here, you're within a 10-minute walk to at least one of the city's 450 plus parks. Take that a step further, and you'll discover that over 20% of San Francisco land is used for parks and recreation. Not too bad.
Pacific Heights uses two spectacular spaces to reinforce San Francisco as an outdoorsy, recreational haven. First, in the neighborhood's eastern reach is Lafayette Park Tennis Court; but don't let that name fool you.
Boasting only two actual tennis courts, Lafayette Park is more than just a spot to perfect your backhand. Situated on 11 acres, the smartly laid out space features an impressively equipped playground, an enclosed, turfed dog run, and a cozy three-tiered, natural amphitheater called The Gathering Meadow. Picnic areas, paved walking paths, and fabulous views of the surrounding Bay Area make this space ideal for meeting up with family and friends.
A 10-minute walk down Washington Street lands you at Pacific Heights' other outdoor gem, Alta Plaza Park. At 10 acres, Alta Plaza is slightly smaller than its sibling to the east. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in views and things to do.
The terraced neighborhood gem is modeled after the lawns at Monte Carlo's Grand Casino. It features panoramic views of San Francisco, including Alcatraz Island, and is a stellar spot for catching city fronted sunrises and sunsets. A vast sloping lawn offers a peaceful place to take a walk, while the terraces support a fantastic playground, two tennis courts, a dual-purpose court, and an off-leash dog run.
Again, owing to its unparalleled location, Pacific Heights also provides direct access to the Presidio and its vast network of nature trails, wooded areas, bird watching vistas, and a public golf course.
The architectural significance of Pacific Heights runs deep. Its Victorian-era beginnings in the late 19th century helped set the tone for what is today one of San Francisco's most historically important enclaves. It's also one of its grandest and most expensive places to live.
Of course, the Victorian aesthetic still dominates the landscape. Trek down practically any street, and you're sure to venture past a beautifully restored Victorian or Edwardian masterpiece. But plenty of other styles feature here as well.
Grand chateaus, Georgian mansions, Mediterranean-inspired mission homes, and sleek, ultra-modern new builds are all present along the streets of Pacific Heights. A number of foreign consulates also call the area home and help lend a decidedly international flair to the landscape.
There's an abundance of homes, though, that defy definition. For that truly rarified air in Pacific Heights, head to billionaire's row, a stretch of Broadway where elegant, intricately detailed seven and eight-figure trophy homes rule the day. Architectural aficionados rejoice.
Even if you don't have a comparable bank account to Pacific Heights residents such as Oracle's Larry Ellison, developer Jay Paul, or novelist Danielle Steel, even the more modest Pacific Heights homes still carry an enviable wow factor.
The majority of homes afford homeowners room to spare, situated on large lots, which further enhances the area's streetscapes. At ground level, wide sidewalks are shrouded in well-manicured greenery. You'd be forgiven for thinking you've been transported to a tropical oasis. The views from inside the homes are breathtaking, particularly when you ascend to the top floors.
Yes, it earns its reputation as one of the Bay Area's most exclusive addresses, but Pacific Heights is a lifestyle worth exploring for those seeking to reward themselves for a life well lived with the spoils that go along with it. Within arm’s reach of the best of San Francisco, and shopping, dining, and expansive green spaces at your fingertips, it's of little surprise that a who's who of the elite call Pacific Heights home. Isn't it time for you to join them?
Ready to learn more about Pacific Heights real estate? Want to take a tour of stellar Hayes Valley homes for sale? Contact the Team Fit Agents today and let Lauren Quach and Anthony Booker guide you through some of San Francisco's most vibrant neighborhoods.
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