Neighborhoods / Pacific Heights

Pacific Heights

If you make it here you’ve made it everywhere

Pacific Heights lies, fittingly, at the top of a hill. Symbolically, it also lies atop a hill, one you must climb to reach its rarified air. Pacific Heights is San Francisco’s star neighborhood, for over a century “the” place for the city’s wealthy, dating back to the day “the earth shook, the sky roared” in 1906. The great San Francisco earthquake transformed what had been a middle- to upper-middle-class neighborhood of Victorian homes into the collection of Edwardian, Arts and Crafts, French Chateau and Spanish-style mansions that now make up Pacific Heights’ persona. This is a place where life is lived to the fullest, by people who’ve worked hard to get here.

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Commute

Commuter Buses
Apple, Google, Yahoo, eBay and Facebook buses stop at Van Ness/Pacific and Van Ness/Sacramento. The Apple bus also stops at Fillmore/Jackson.

MUNI 12 (Jackson Street), 1 (Sacramento and California Streets) and 3 (Jackson) travel east/west; MUNI 22 (Fillmore and Steiner Streets) travels north/south

Nearest MUNI Metro
Jackson Street

Nearest BART
Civic Center

Estimated Commute Times
Financial District via MUNI: 25 minutes
Financial District via auto: 15 minutes
South San Francisco via auto: 30 minutes
Silicon Valley via auto: 65 minutes

Around the Block

Who Lives Here
San Francisco’s high- and highest-end; society families, upwardly mobile professionals, wealthy tech executives.

For many, this is the finish line
Pacific Heights is where the ambitious young professionals of Cow Hollow and The Marina (and a dozen other San Francisco neighborhoods) hope to end up, should all their cards fall into place. It’s been this way since 1906, when the Great ‘Quake sent all of Nob Hill scurrying west, where they rebuilt mansions larger than the ones they’d left behind. Today’s Pacific Heights gathers most of San Francisco’s upper-echelon in one place – the tycoons, heirs, tech movers and shakers, even some athletes, actors and at least one musician, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. In a city where space is at a premium, Pacific Heights is the only neighborhood east of The Presidio that offers truly enormous homes and large city lots. It’s one-of-a-kind, and its population reflects that.

How They Live
On top of the hill, with views stretching to infinity, or on quiet side streets within walking distance of Fillmore Street or Divisadero Street services, shops and restaurants.

Life is good at the high end
San Francisco is full of upscale neighborhoods. Most – if not all – someday hope to be Pacific Heights. This neighborhood, perched atop a 400-foot hill, is awash in confident elan, less of a nighttime destination than some, somehow managing to appear subtle and circumspect despite streets lined with eight-figure mansions and residents whose names read like a who’s who of prominent San Franciscans. Pac Heights locals enjoy world-class shopping on Fillmore Street, an impressive variety of dining options on Fillmore and Divisadero, two large parks and proximity to The Presidio and Japantown. Union Square and downtown are within reach for serious walkers, but for many Pacific Heights denizens, the question is this: why leave the neighborhood? Everything we need is right here.

Housing Market
Pacific Heights ranges from upscale (apartments, condos and single-family homes) to “The Gold Coast,” a stretch of Broadway populated by the likes of Larry Ellison and Melvin Belli.

Museum pieces with unsurpassed views
In real estate terms, “Pacific Heights” is shorthand for “top of the market.” This neighborhood contains the city’s largest, grandest mansions, homes with upwards of 5,000 square feet of space and long histories of ambassadors, mayors and captains of industry. It also has a large collection of intact, restored Victorian homes, remnants of its mid-19th-century roots, and several tasteful Edwardian apartment buildings, most now condo-converted. Nothing is inexpensive; rents here often soar into five figures; sale prices routinely top eight.

What To Expect
Jaw-dropping mansions, stately Victorians, beautiful Edwardian apartment buildings, full-sized candy bars on Halloween, boldface San Francisco family names.

A neighborhood fit for a king
Pacific Heights is where tech tycoons casually rub elbows with the descendants of San Francisco’s oldest families and the ambitious youngsters aiming to topple both of them from the top of the pyramid. It’s where you’ll find arguably the finest houses in the city, along with the best views. It’s not a loud neighborhood, but instead values elegance and grace above all else. Fillmore Street is a parade of Polo shirts and high-end home furnishings stores, casually proper cafes and smart sunglasses. Downtown and Silicon Valley may be where the deals are made, but Pacific Heights is where the deal-makers live.

What Not To Expect
Bargains, beat-up couches on porches, poorly maintained yards, modest homes, peeling paint.

Pacific Heights is not Kmart.
Pacific Heights was once a solidly middle- to upper-middle-class neighborhood, but that was well over a century ago. This is a wealthy neighborhood, and while Fillmore and Divisadero Streets do have some casual restaurants catering to students (there are four high schools and a dental school in Pacific Heights) and busy professionals, bargains of any stripe are difficult to find in Pacific Heights. Don’t expect much diversity, fixer-upper homes, kids playing catch in the street, impromptu neighborhood block parties or loud music.

PERFECT FOR
Landed gentry, successful executives, colorful, eccentric heiresses, first-born sons with trust funds, ambitious young professionals, those who appreciate great views, tons of shopping and restaurant options, walking up and down hills and the feeling of having arrived. Large families of means, tech titans, legendary attorneys, doctors.

NOT PERFECT FOR
Entry-level homebuyers and renters; sedentary individuals and/or those who dislike walking up and down hills; multiple car owners who expect to find parking spots right away; commuters who depend on trains, not buses; class warriors; suburbanites who can’t abide attached homes; fans of new construction.

You’ll Fall In Love With
The views, the architecture, the mansions, the boutiques, the sense that finally, you’ve arrived.

The view from the corner of Fillmore and Broadway; the trick-or-treating scene on Pacific and Broadway; the playground with a view in Alta Vista Park; strolling the streets and gawking at the mansions; dinner at the counter at Jackson-Fillmore; sidewalk dining at The Grove; spa days at International Orange; designer bargains at Seconds for Less.

Places to go

SPQR
SPQR
1911 Fillmore Street

This innovative Italian restaurant’s local ingredients and vast wine list have made it a regular on Bay Area “best of lists.”

Elite Café
Elite Café
2049 Fillmore

A slice of New Orleans in Pacific Heights with a hip setting and crowd to match.

Via Veneto
Via Veneto
2244 Fillmore

Understated, elegant Italian fare without the flash.

State Bird Provisions
State Bird Provisions
1529 Fillmore

Considered by many to be one of the best restaurants in the U.S.

Jackson-Fillmore Trattoria
Jackson-Fillmore Trattoria
2506 Fillmore

Every neighborhood needs its reliable Italian trattoria; Jackson-Fillmore fits the bill for Pacific Heights.

Harry’s Bar
Harry’s Bar
2020 Fillmore Street

An after-work staple with a comforting food menu, sports on the TV and vibrant crowds almost every night.

Boom Boom Room
Boom Boom Room
1601 Fillmore

Live blues, jazz and funk at the nightspot founded by John Lee Hooker.

San Francisco Athletic Club
San Francisco Athletic Club
1750 Divisadero Street

A Pac Heights newcomer which raises the sports bar bar considerably.

Palmers Tavern
Palmers Tavern
2298 Fillmore

Another popular happy hour spot but with a sophisticated, high-quality food menu.

Fat Angel Food & Libation
Fat Angel Food & Libation
1740 O’Farrell Street

A destination for lovers of exotic beers, unusual wines and light fare.

Smitten Ice Cream
Smitten Ice Cream
2404 California Street

The newest branch of the made-daily, liquid nitrogen-produced ice cream shop that has already taken Hayes Valley by storm.

Sift Dessert Bar
Sift Dessert Bar
2411 California Street

Name your dessert: cakes? Cupcakes? Milk shakes? Frosting? You’ll find it all at Sift.

International Orange
International Orange
2044 Fillmore Street

Nurturing, personal and dependent on clients’ investment in their own wellness.

Can Can Cleanse
Can Can Cleanse
2864 California

Take a week to turn your life around under the guidance of the gurus as Can Can Cleanse.

The Mindful Body
The Mindful Body
2876 California

Yoga and massage to reduce stress and promote mindfulness.

Jonathan Adler
Jonathan Adler
2133 Fillmore Street

Whimsical, quirky, mid-century modern-influenced housewares that embodies its designer’s “happy chic” philosophy.

Steven Alan
Steven Alan
1919 Fillmore

Of-the-moment, high-end designer wares for men and women.

George
George
2512 Sacramento Street

Hidden in among all of Pacific Heights’ boutiques for humans: a boutique for pets.

Rebecca Minkoff
Rebecca Minkoff
2124 Fillmore

Eponymous outlet for the hip designer of women’s fashions and handbags.

The Kooples
The Kooples
2241 Fillmore

High-end French fashion house comes to San Francisco with a chic Pacific Heights store.

Le Labo
Le Labo
2238 Fillmore

Why buy “perfume” when you have a vast array of “soulful fragrance” to choose from?

Alta Plaza Park
Alta Plaza Park
bounded by Clay, Jackson, Steiner and Scott Streets

Tennis courts, picnic grounds, a playground with a view and steps used during a car chase in the 1972 movie “What’s Up, Doc?”

Lafayette Park
Lafayette Park
bounded by Sacramento, Washington, Gough and Laguna Streets

More tennis courts, another playground and ample ground for picnics.

Fresh Air Bicycles
Fresh Air Bicycles
1943 Divisadero Street

Small, local shop selling and repairing top-of-the-line bicycle brands.

Yoga Works San Francisco
Yoga Works San Francisco
1823 Divisadero Street

The Pacific Heights franchise of this California-New York studio has something for all yoga enthusiasts.

Pacific Heights Health Club
Pacific Heights Health Club
2356 Pine Street

Not a big chain fitness center; PHHC offers personal attention in a friendly neighborhood setting.

Simply Balanced Pilates Studio
Simply Balanced Pilates Studio
2410 California Street

One of the first fitness and wellness studios in San Francisco, dating back to 1993.

Dry Bar
Dry Bar
1908 Fillmore Street

Just drying. No cuts, no color, just blow outs. Dry Bar distills specialization to its core.

Lisa Bradbury Skin and Body Care
Lisa Bradbury Skin and Body Care
1756 Fillmore

Lisa Bradbury and Shirley Lau offer custom treatments that can “solve even the most difficult skin.”

Di Pietro-Todd Pacific Heights
Di Pietro-Todd Pacific Heights
2239 Fillmore

A high-profile, well-respected salon that doubles as a beauty academy.

Bubble Pop Electric Salon
Bubble Pop Electric Salon
2434 California Street

Founded on the principle that “great hairstyling matches your unique hair to a style that suits your attitude.

Liz Fanlo Makeup and Hair
Liz Fanlo Makeup and Hair
2335 Fillmore

Look your best for that big day, whatever it may be, by appointment only.

Go to school
Go to school

There are four independent elementary schools (Stuart Hall for Boys, Hamlin, Town and Convent of the Sacred Heart) and an equal number of independent high schools (Stuart Hall High School, Convent High School, Drew and University High School) within Pacific Heights’ borders. All are considered among the city’s best.

Visit a consulate
Visit a consulate

Seven countries – Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam – have consulate buildings in Pacific Heights.

Go to a movie
Go to a movie

Pacific Heights is the rare neighborhood with both an independent movie house (The Clay Theater, 2261 Fillmore Street) and a multiplex (Sundance Kabuki Theater, 1881 Post Street).

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