The Richmond, Sea Cliff, Jordan Park, Lake Street
On the northwest portion of the City below the Presidio, south of the Golden Gate and east of the Cliff House and north of Golden Gate Park sits District 1.
The area is mostly dominated by the Richmond District but is also anchored by Sea Cliff, the Lake Street area, Laurel Heights (which is so very cute) and Jordan Park (where there are very, very large houses). The District features more houses than condos, which all tend to be on the bigger side than you’d get on the Sunset side for example. The area was settled earlier than the Sunset and points south, but after the central parts of the City, which also explains why the area is mostly laid out in a grid.
Yes, it’s foggier but is also very scenic in parts as its bounded by Golden Gate Park, the Ocean and the Presidio and has more gently sloping hills than other parts of the City — some of which will have dead-on views of the ocean, Golden Gate Bridge or the skyline (more expensive anyone?). The other hallmark is that public transit is weaker here as there’s no BART, no MUNI light rail line. This puts a lot of stress on the big thoroughfares like Geary, Fulton, 25th Avenue, Park Presidio and California Street.
The main shopping areas in the District: Geary Street, Clement Street, California Street.
The Richmond. On the north side of Golden Gate Park, this area was settled before the Sunset. While foggier the streets are wider and curvy; some with a lot of power lines, others without. Houses are bigger than the Sunset and average 3-4 bedrooms and 1.5+ bathrooms with garage parking. Some are stately and large Edwardian/Arts and Crafts single-family homes with wood floors and some Spanish details like roof tile or stucco exteriors and single-pane glass windows. You’ll find bigger fixers and more and more redone houses that blend modern and traditional. There are various guises of rental buildings, 4-unit condos or flats. Most homes will have garages; beware scraping the bottom your car with steeper driveway entries. Building systems should be good with concrete foundations for most homes and old-growth wood construction. Issues of concern: moisture control (especially western exposures), updating electrical service, in-law units, faulty-grades and drainage, sewer lateral pipes.
The People: Buyers will compete with families who have kids looking to locate in a location near to private and public schools; flipper/developers, multigenerational families, renters and income-property buyers.
Sea Cliff. Right at the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula near the Golden Gate Bridge, this exclusive neighborhood overlooks the cliffs of Baker Beach. Area views can be postcard-perfect stunning and feature the Bridge, Marin Headlands and the ocean. The sunsets are amazing specially in the fall. Even on foggy days it’s still cool to see the sun sink beneath the fog and clouds. Price will depend on lot size, building size and views. The area is set off with stone gates (just the posts no real gates) and while many homes have been turned into catalog-worthy houses you will be able to snare a fixer once in a while. In any case be prepared to pay top dollar whether it’s a fixer or finished. Streets are curvy and quiet. You’ll find bigger, grander homes on larger parcels so you’ll have detached homes too. Finishes will vary from being top-of-the-line (for the time it was last remodeled) to downright odd.
The People: Home to celebrities, old money, new money, financiers, and people with ‘homes around the world,’ the views and prestige draws people in. Public transit is not the primary concern when folks park their spare BMW or Tesla on the street. That said, you’re also likely to see Toyotas and Hondas parked here too.
Jordan Park. Focused around the CPMC Hospital/medical center on California Street this neighborhood wedges itself between Geary, USF, the Richmond and Laurel Heights. You’ll have big, angular single-family homes with Spanish-Mediterranean or Arts and Crafts details that may be detached from each other. Errant Palm trees break up the relatively flat blocks and more houses have been updated and upgraded . The houses are quite large for some reason averaging 3+ bedrooms and garages (a few have been divided up).
The People: A diverse mix of professionals, physicians, students, families and long-time residents.
Lake Street (Lake District). People who live here love it here. Like love it. While this neighborhood is further removed from the central core of the City it still has a tight-knit feel and borders Park Presidio, Sea Cliff and Arguello. The street feel here feels meandering as there are nice buildings and trees to look at. The variations you’ll see range from Victorian/Edwardian 2-3 unit buildings, apartment houses, and some grand homes off the main drags. Most buildings will have garages on the street level. As you get closer to the Presidio and to Land’s End you’ll find some large and stunning houses. Most structures here are stucco and brick. On the inside, you’ll get wood floors, coved ceilings and some ornamentation. Because of this, you’ll encounter more TIC units too. Traffic can be very tight getting to and going fro as the main thoroughfare to Marin County — Park Presidio — is jam-packed as early as 3:00 p.m. on weekdays with traffic radiating out accordingly.
The People: A diverse mix of younger to mid-level professionals and long-time residents, and retirees who are more ‘worldly,’ to tenants in those apartment houses.
Lone Mountain. Okay, so it kind of is a mountain here. Focused mainly around USF, the area is home to a large number of sprawling single-family homes that are wider than usual. Dating from the 1940s to the mid-century era, the houses here are bigger. Many will have multi-car garages and, of course, in-law units to rent to the errant USF student. Previously more isolated, the area sees more traffic now that there’s a Target and Best Buy near the ever-packed Trader Joes.
The People: Your usual mix of folks but the area seems move low-key and understated in general.