Neighborhoods / Noe Valley

Noe Valley

The dream of San Francisco, family-style

Imagine you’re living in an enormous, restored Victorian home with views of the downtown skyline. Imagine great shopping and restaurants are within a short walk of your home, and on Saturdays a nearby parking lot becomes a bustling farmers’ market with organic produce, fresh bread and a three-person band playing bluegrass music for tips. Imagine a relaxing morning with a great breakfast, running into friends at the coffee shop, playing pick-up basketball at the park. Imagine a MUNI train that runs down a street just a few blocks away. Imagine Halloween on a street crowded with children, everyone in costume, houses decorated with ghosts and goblins. This is Noe Valley.

Area Map

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Commute

Commuter Buses
Apple and Google buses have stops at 24th and Church Streets and 24th and Castro Streets.

SFMTA Buses
The 24/35 MUNI bus runs north-south down Castro Street, the 48 runs east-west down 24th Street and north-south up Douglass Street before turning onto Portola Drive.

Nearest MUNI Metro
The J Church line runs north-south down Church Street

Nearest BART
Mission and 24th Street

Estimated Commute Times
Financial District by MUNI or BART: 25 minutes
South San Francisco via auto: 25 minutes
Silicon Valley via auto: 60 minutes

Around the Block

Who Lives Here
Families looking to maximize their classic “San Francisco” experience, live in Victorians, push strollers through a quaint commercial center and have access to all the city can offer.

Outdoorsy, elegant, aware
Noe Valley is famous for being San Francisco’s “family neighborhood,” which is based on fact, but only in part. In fact, San Francisco has plenty of family neighborhoods. None, though, seem to capture the imagination of families like Noe Valley. Noe Valley is also not exclusively populated by families and in fact is as dog-friendly as it is family-friendly. The neighborhood’s quaint, low-key vibe also attracts couples and singles looking to get out of the line of fire of more up-tempo neighborhoods but appreciate Noe Valley’s proximity to Inner Mission nightlife. Married with kids or without, Noe Valley is popular with those who favor an outdoorsy worldview, progressive politics and an appreciation for simple but elegant living.

How They Live
In condos, apartments, TICs and single-family homes, many of which are carved out of glorious Victorians; they walk places, take public transit and get involved in their community.

A town within a city
Ask a Noe Valley local how often they feel the need to leave their neighborhood; they’ll probably be stumped. Other than for work, they might say, we can’t think of any reason to leave. Noe Valley is one of those unique places — a small town surrounded by a big city. It’s friendly, close-knit and casual but still offers all of the resources and opportunities of a major urban center. Do you appreciate restaurants that have been ranked among the country’s best? La Ciccia is just down Church Street. How about a cutting-edge store selling shampoos, body washes, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies — to anyone who can supply their own refillable bottle? That’s Green 11. Need some exercise? A brisk walk up Billy Goat hill should satisfy that craving. It’s all here, and if it’s not it’s just a short walk away.

Housing Market
Most of Noe Valley’s unrestored Victorians have been restored. The local housing market is red-hot and showing little signs of cooling.

Do believe the hype
Noe Valley was born as a working-class neighborhood, but those days are long gone. Because of its large collection of spacious single-family homes, many of which just happen to have been built during the Victorian era, Noe Valley has become a high-end neighborhood with a median sales price approaching $2 million. There are condos and apartments available in Noe Valley, but they also come at a price running roughly 20-25 percent higher than the citywide median. The homes in Noe Valley are beautiful — most have been restored or reimagined — but buyers can expect to pay well over asking price to get into this very popular neighborhood.

What To Expect
What people imagine when they try to picture what it would be like to live as a family in San Francisco if they can’t live in Pacific Heights.

A little quiet, a little bustling
In some ways, Noe Valley is a neighborhood like none other in San Francisco. More of its residents own their homes than is the city average and more live in single-family homes. The collection of restaurants and night spots on 24th and Church Streets is ample but nowhere near what you’ll find in the nearby Mission or in other date-friendly city neighborhoods. While the neighborhood has its share of young professionals, and dogs rival babies for 24th Street supremacy, Noe Valley is at its heart a family neighborhood, a place people come to and stay, with an easy proximity to several work centers both in and out of the city that has inevitably drawn tech workers to this once blue-collar place.

What Not To Expect
The go-go lifestyle of The Marina, The Mission, etc.; abundant parking spaces and people who lack opinions; cable cars.

A quiet, serene suburb this isn’t
A visitor to San Francisco, hearing of Noe Valley, might be surprised to hear someone call it a “quintessential San Francisco neighborhood.” Where are the cable cars, the steep hills, the Golden Gate Bridge views? It has none of the things that show up on postcards about San Francisco. Instead it has MUNI, a walkable commercial area and views (for some lucky residents) of downtown’s iconic skyline. It doesn’t have a non-stop nightlife scene and was never used as the setting of a Dashiell Hammett novel, but it’s as San Francisco as anything else in the city.

PERFECT FOR
Families, lovers of Victorian architecture and long-term renovation projects, those who prefer a quiet neighborhood bar over a pulse-quickening nightclub; farm-to-table enthusiasts, young parents with encyclopedic knowledge of stroller brands, oenophiles, those who think breakfast is he most important meal of the day; pedestrians; believers in public transit; families.

NOT PERFECT FOR
People who prefer an over-the-top urban experience 24/7; Dog- and stroller-haters; anyone turned off by Victorian architecture; workers in a huge rush to get downtown; people who hate hills; anyone who doesn’t welcome the sight of billowing clouds of fog at 5 PM; singles wanting a new place to go for every night of the week; dislikers of sandals, Gore-tex and outdoor lifestyle brands; multiple car owners looking for parking.

You’ll Fall In Love With
The comfortable, lived-in vibe, the proximity to everything, the mature city lifestyle, the neighborhood’s architectural beauty.

Saturday farmers’ markets, followed by a stroll down 24th Street, window shopping, a side trip to Dolores Park, dinner at La Ciccia and, finally, a nightcap at the Valley Tavern; breakfast at Chloe’s or Toast; tea and antiques at Lovejoy’s Tea Room; sipping coffee outdoors in a parklet; letting your dog run wild at the Upper Douglass Dog Park; dodging strollers during your morning walk; choosing between PlumpJack and Noe Wine Merchants; seasonal salads with a side of housemade potato chips at the Cask House; trick-or-treating on 24th and Fair Oaks Streets.

Places to go

La Ciccia
La Ciccia

Tiny, rustic and out-of-the-way, this Sardinian spot consistently appears on national “best restaurants” lists.

Chloe’s Cafe
Chloe’s Cafe

Long lines outside of this local fixture breakfast/brunch spot almost every day are a tribute to its popularity.

Bacco
Bacco

The pick of Noe Valley’s small collection of Italian restaurants, featuring homemade pasta for over 20 years.

Contigo
Contigo

Splashy Catalan and Spanish spot featuring local ingredients (and herbs from its own backyard garden!)

Cask House
Cask House

A simple formula (small selection of craft beers, wine and a limited menu) has found great success since opening in 2012.

Easy Breezy
Easy Breezy

Yes, there is yogurt (winner of the 2015 “Swirl of Honor” from the International Frozen Yogurt Association), but also: frozen custard.

Noe Valley Bakery
Noe Valley Bakery

This small, independent shop has become Noe Valley’s go-to for all baked goods since opening in 2005.

Buttons Candy Bar
Buttons Candy Bar

A newcomer to the 24th Street Scene, Buttons has quickly made its (chocolatey, sugary) mark.

Lehr’s German Specialties
Lehr’s German Specialties

One of the last of what’s become a dying breed: a specialty shop, founded over 40 years ago, stocking a vast array of German items.

Ambiance
Ambiance

Another boutique standout, with an ever-changing inventory of designer fashions for women.

Noe Valley Cyclery
Noe Valley Cyclery

Bicycles sales, bicycle parts, bicycle repairs, all in the same location for over three decades.

Mobu Dance Studio
Mobu Dance Studio

Dance space for rental plus a full slate of classes and periodic performances.

24 Hour Fitness Lite

An abridged version of the popular 24-Hour Fitness chain, with cardio and weight circuit training.

Cardio-Tone
Cardio-Tone

A small gym focusing on Cycling, Spin, TRX, Barre and Circuit classes.

Green Twig Salon
Green Twig Salon

Noe Valley’s eco-friendly salon aims to “ensure every client leaves with a hairstyle that complements their unique features and personal style.”

Honeycomb Salon
Honeycomb Salon

This salon’s ability to work with all manner of hair style has earned it raves from loyal customers.

K9 Scrub Club
K9 Scrub Club

Whether you choose full-service or self-service, your pet will appreciate the attention found here.

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