Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, Marina, Laurel Heights
When people think luxury or expensive houses you think Pacific Heights. When you have movie shots that aren’t the Painted Ladies or the Golden Gate Bridge you’ll see shots from here.
Presidio Heights. A lot of times when you think of big, detached and stately Pacific Heights mansions you’re really thinking of Presidio Heights homes. Tucked next to the woodsy Presidio, butting up against the Marina with vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge, Tiburon, Marin and the Marin Headlands, this is the Restoration-Hardware-meets-Architectural Digest cover homes. These are the detached homes that are either imposing (on top of a hill) or framed just so. These homes have been redone and done up (the Designer Showcase showdown homes are here a lot of times along with AIA tour homes). So why is this the epicenter of big, well-done mansions? It’s got to do with demographics. The truth of the matter is that many of the homes in Pacific Heights have only just turned over to new internet money. That’s why you’ll run into more porta potties and scaffolding trucks over there than you will in Presidio Heights where you’re likely to run into an embassy or dead-end street.
The well-heeled who are never home, upwardly mobile professionals with younger families and aspiration, the established family, financiers and ambassadors and diplomats (or at least diplomatic plates).
Marina/Cow Hollow. The Marina is a singular neighborhood known for stunning homes, casual restaurants, engaging nightlife, winding streets, and unmatched physical beauty. A pervasive continental allure extends from the rows of charming eateries and shops to the neighborhood’s awe-inspiring views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
This is the land of the just-out-of-college or MBA-in-hand-just now crowd that lives here and take the 1 California Express bus that brings these legions of financial/services sector workers to the Financial District on weekdays. You’ll find spacious houses, art-deco era condos, and a score of rental buildings with garages on the bottom floor in this maritime neighborhood that has 2 main shopping drags (Chestnut and Union) and Lombard as your big thoroughfare. Living here is about the outdoors and night life to an extent. Views, if you get them, are of Alcatraz, the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll get fog earlier and the area is avoided a lot of times because it’s built on fill from the World’s Fair. Many of the properties here will be investment income properties with 2-5 unit buildings filled 1 and 2 bedroom rental units. The units will have single-pane windows, dated bathrooms (circa 1930 or 1980), a double parlor layout with hardwood floors, Spanish-style stucco buildings with some embellishments with garages underneath.
The upgraded versions of these former rental units make up the condominium inventory here. Usually the condos have thicker (and darker) hardwood floors, nicer cabinets with a Bertazzoni (maybe even Viking) gas range, stone countertops, recessed lighting, a higher bedroom-to-bathroom ratios, marble-laden bathrooms with plush finishes, plantation shutters and carpeted bedrooms. You’re bound to find a coved ceiling or two too. in These condos tend to start in the $1.2M+ range going all the way up to $3M-$4M+ depending on views, room count, finish level and/or amenities.
Ambitious young professionals matched by long-time residents.
The Marina is largely populated by dynamic working professionals and new families living side-by-side with empty nesters who enjoy the neighborhood’s flat streets and ample sun.
WHAT TO EXPECT
A resort-like enclave within the city.
The Marina combines high-end housing with a high-energy commercial strip. Some of the city’s best restaurants and its most unique boutiques can be found here. The Marina is set apart by its location, boasting incredible, iconic views and outdoor opportunities galore.
Quiet residential streets surrounding a dynamic commercial district.
Marina residents embrace the distance dividing them from downtown, because that makes their little corner of San Francisco a bit quieter than others. Theirs is a retreat, with ample parks and Golden Gate Bridge views on-demand. Chestnut Street is a bit quieter than Union Street, but it has no shortage of chic restaurants and stylish boutiques.
Endless entertainment options all within an elegant locale.
Residential streets can be quiet, but being a destination in its own right, the Marina is seldom empty. Fans of casual dining and comfortable watering holes will love the neighborhood’s seemingly endless culinary choices.
Spanish-style homes commanding a premium.
The Marina is unique among San Francisco neighborhoods; it’s completely free of Victorians. Instead, the district is populated by breezy Mediterranean buildings. Those who can afford the steep price of admission are rewarded with magnificent abodes and an exclusive address.
YOU'LL FALL IN LOVE WITH
The feeling that you’ve stumbled onto a place that’s equal parts California, New England, and Italy.
The feeling that you’ve somehow stumbled onto a place that’s equal parts California, New England, and Italy. Whether you spend sunny days on the Marina Green, watch sailboats on the Bay, or enjoy a farm-to-table meal from the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market, San Franciscans can feel the international influence throughout this illustrious neighborhood.
Cow Hollow is one of San Francisco’s most well-known and desirable neighborhoods, featuring world-class boutique shopping, a diverse housing market and easy proximity to recreation and work. Blessed with quiet residential streets and ample entertainment opportunities, Cow Hollow sits atop the wish lists of a variety of San Franciscans, from new families to long-established members of the city’s upper class.
A mix of young professionals and San Francisco veterans.
Who lives in Cow Hollow? A combination of San Francisco families and young, active professionals make this neighborhood one of the city’s most vibrant. Weekend mornings on Union Street feature a parade of spandex and yoga mats, while just up the street society matrons tend to their small sidewalk gardens.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Endless entertainment options just minutes away.
Cow Hollow has been a desirable neighborhood for decades, but its recent demographic shift has given it a shot of adrenaline. Union Street has found new life as trendy new boutiques, spas, cycle shops, and casual eateries share space with long-time neighborhood fixtures.
Buzzy, cosmopolitan, and vibrant.
Cow Hollow residents work hard, play hard, and yet somehow it seems that they’re doing it all with ease. They can blow off steam at a multitude of bars and clubs in the neighborhood, but also appreciate a quiet night at home, entertaining friends, or maybe just sitting with a glass of wine and gazing out the window at the bay.
A plethora of outdoor activities.
Cow Hollow delivers the quintessential urban, dynamic lifestyle as much as any other neighborhood in San Francisco. Think of it as Manhattan — only without the skyscrapers and humidity, and located just a short walk from incredible outdoor recreational opportunities.
Plentiful apartments and townhouses with few single-family homes.
Cow Hollow is not cheap and it is no place to find small, reasonably priced single-family homes. However, it has an abundance of apartments and townhouses, most of which have been remodeled several times over. Though once a neighborhood of fixer-uppers, Cow Hollow is that no more.
YOU'LL FALL IN LOVE WITH
The neighborhood’s casual elegance and simple glamour.
There is always something to do in Cow Hollow, which is why locals love their neighborhood so much. Cow Hollow residents love being outdoors, whether that means passing the time at a sidewalk café or setting a new personal best time on a run to the Marina Green, all while maintaining a level of luxury and style.
Pacific Heights is the granddaddy (or grand-mommy?) of San Francisco neighborhoods. People think of decades and years here instead of months and days. There are plenty of homes that can trace their ownership lineage to the time when X family came to the City from the East Coast where X made their fortune in something. That pattern has repeated itself of late as the area has become home to many a tech-derived fortune. Houses are large and opulent and vaguely East Coast-meets-London. The scale of properties here is what sets them apart from many other parts of the City. You’ll see many a porta-potty here as renovations take a long time as there’s more house and more to do as the homes that haven’t been touched in years can be cavernous, drafty and creaky. Lots of changes (some elective, some required) are needed in a Pacific Heights fixer but the resulting product can be over-the-top and is likely to be refined, restrained and tasteful — or so we hope. More tawdry renovations at these price points tend to take place on the Peninsula as most developers, architects and homeowners like to show off the views you’re likely to get here. And yes, you’re paying for location, prestige and views.