Homes in the grand, upscale Pacific Heights neighborhood deliver commanding views of the San Francisco Bay and the city below, with neighborhood hills rising from the Marina and running along an east-west ridge between the Presidio and Van Ness Avenue. When Hollywood wants to film a chase scene, Pacific Heights is where it comes for cinematic thrills.
Some of the oldest, grandest, and largest homes in the city can be found in highly affluent Pacific Heights, which features an ample stock of Victorians, Edwardians, Mission Revivals, and homes in the style of French chateaus. Some of the former baronial mansions now serve as elite private schools, including San Francisco University High School, Drew School, Town School For Boys, and Convent of the Sacred Heart (in the former Flood Mansion).
Pacific Heights has gorgeous parks, playgrounds, and, bounded by the Presidio, easy access to open space and miles of hiking, running, and biking trails. The main shopping district can be found on Fillmore Street, which runs north and south through Pacific Heights and is home to some of the city’s chicest boutiques and choicest restaurants.
The Marina neighborhood is one of the most sought-after in the city. San Francisco begins at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, where the city meets the bay. The Marina is home to a large marina and its fleet of exotic yachts. Residents in the million-dollar homes of the Marina appreciate the sun-swept views; the walking, running, and biking trail that runs along the bay; and the wide-open grassy Marina Green that's in constant use by kite flyers and volleyball and soccer players.
One of the main attractions in the Marina is the Palace of Fine Arts, a Roman Classical monument designed by Bernard Maybeck for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915. The rotunda, massive columns, and lagoon are a favorite place for wedding photographers and travel magazines to get their iconic pictures.
Just east of the Marina is Fort Mason Center, a former Army outpost that now houses a vibrant cultural-arts center featuring art openings, galleries, and dance performances and theater in the Cowell Theater. A farmers market, a food and wine festival that attracts thousands, and Greens, one of the first restaurants to offer haute-cuisine vegetarian fare, all operate out of the old Army depot buildings at Fort Mason.
Lower Pac Heights
Between California Street and Geary Boulevard and Presidio Avenue and Gough Streets lies Lower Pacific Heights, a new name for an old neighborhood. This community boasts a central location, proximity to Muni bus lines (the 1 California, the 2 Clement, the 3 Jackson, the 22 Fillmore, and the 38 Geary), and great shopping along the main axis, Fillmore Street.
Ethnically and economically diverse, the neighborhood offers a buffet of city living. Residents can choose from the nightlife along Fillmore Street, including blues venue Boom Boom Room; Japantown and its extraordinary urban mall offering restaurants and specialty retail stores; recently renovated Lafayette Park; and the sunny, spacious, and welcoming Yoga Works on Divisadero Street, where another business district offers a range of restaurants and bars.
Elegant and swanky, Nob Hill is full of grand hotels bordering Huntington Park and imposing mansions. Nob Hill is home to old San Francisco, perched on a steep slope made accessible in the 1870s by the California Street cable car, which still runs through the heart of the neighborhood. The descendants of San Francisco's founding families still frequent their private clubs here, including the gentlemen’s only Bohemian Club.
Neighborhood homes for sale are among the most desirable in all of San Francisco. Baronial wealth is still on display here. Pre-war luxury apartments, decorated with wedding-cake facades, are scattered throughout the neighborhood.
The heart of Nob Hill is Huntington Park and its iconic, 10-foot tall Fountain of Tortoises. Plenty of benches around the classic urban square provide a welcome rest for those who hike up the hill. A children's playground is a hidden gem.
The massive stone edifice of Grace Cathedral represents the Episcopal soul of the community. The Cathedral upholds a strong social-justice program, hosts vocal concerts, and maintains an outdoor labyrinth where locals pace its inlaid stone path in meditative silence.
Despite its steep streets, Nob Hill is an extremely walkable neighborhood with the feel of an urban oasis. Bounded by the upscale boutiques of Union Square, the hubbub of Chinatown, and the nightclubs of Polk Street, Nob Hill is within walking distance to the Financial District and Downtown. Muni bus lines that serve the area include the 1 California and the 30 Stockton.