7.1 out of 10

Hayes Valley

Ranked 56th best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.7736039585593 -122.427814085378
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Public Transport
  • Shopping Options
  • Internet Access
  • Nightlife
Not great for
  • Parking
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Rubble to Riches"

"If you tear it down, they will come.” That paraphrase of the make-it-happen maxim offers a glimpse of the resurgence of Hayes Valley. The neighborhood was, for much of the mid-20th century, a jumble of hand-to-mouth businesses, auto-repair garages, parking lots, and declining apartments adjoining Civic Center. It sat for the most part in the shadow of the notorious Central Freeway, an elevated double-deck roadway that connected US 101 to Van Ness Avenue. Then, one autumn evening in 1989, the Loma Prieta Earthquake changed everything. The quake rendered the freeway and its multiple on/off ramps unsafe for use. After the initial shock wore off and the city recovered from its latest catastrophic temblor, people began wondering whether the damaged structure, its ugly green underpinnings blighting the surrounding blocks, was even worth rebuilding. What would happen, city planners, politicians, and neighborhood activists wondered, if you simply tore it down?

The answer proved to be a renaissance. Hayes Valley today, a leafy boulevard replacing the hated viaduct, is vibrant and attractive, a good place to live as well as a destination for those attending performances at the nearby halls and theaters. It is proof that neighborhoods can all but die off and then re-emerge as resident- and business-friendly magnets.

Its distinct name aside, Hayes Valley is nevertheless hard to define geographically. Many are the claims over its boundaries, though most people (including the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association) agree that its eastern edge is Franklin Street and that the diagonal Market Street is its southern limit. How far north and west the area extends is an open question, with nothing official. One of either Fulton or McAllister streets, or even Golden Gate Avenue, is commonly named the northern side, with Laguna, Buchanan or Webster streets the preferred western cut-off. No one disagrees that its commercial spine is Hayes Street, from Franklin to at least Laguna, where most of the eclectic shops and restaurants are lined up.

History has been kind to the area architecturally—notably in sparing many of its Victorian buildings from the fire that obliterated so much of the city after the 1906 quake. Development began in the 1850s, when Genovese immigrant farmers cultivated fruits and vegetables on the loamy soil of the “valley” floor—Hayes Creek ran through the area, fed by springs and winter rains. By the 1860s and 1870s, the streets were filling with impressive edifices, many in the ornate Italianate or, later, more linear Stick styles popular at the time. (Some notable examples from the era stand, expertly preserved, on Page Street, from Laguna to Octavia; the block-long apartment building on Laguna between Fell and Linden that houses Momi Toby’s Revolution Café is also an exuberant specimen of a once-common building in San Francisco with French Empire pretensions, complete with bulls-eye windows on its towers). By the turn of the century, the area had a number of well-to-do residents living side-by-side with the tradesmen and workers; all co-existed harmoniously to form a prototype of what might be called the quintessentially diverse San Francisco neighborhood.

That changed with the advent of the Jazz Age and the rise of the nearby Fillmore District as a predominantly African American enclave, when many white residents fled the area. Then, by the mid-20th century, with the highway overpass scarring the district and suburbs beckoning, the remaining old-timers pulled out and Hayes Valley became something of an afterthought—an area of urban decline, perhaps, but also perfect for hippy artists and bohemians who settled in the neglected houses and apartments with cheap rents. They ultimately led the community through the transition from shanty to chic.

Though it didn’t happen overnight, the transformation is remarkable. The centerpiece is Octavia Boulevard, the sweep of palms and greenery that leads north from Market to Hayes Street culminating in an exquisite mini-park, with ingenious play areas, a geodesic jungle gym, and benches framing tidy lawns—just enough for toddlers to learn the joys of turf. It’s hard to believe that this quarter mile or so of successful urban planning, in which motorists and pedestrians and park-goers are all accommodated, was once overhung by a hulking, shadow-casting freeway overpass. Trees seem to be everywhere, with tidy perennial-filled boxes at their bases. Even the neighborhood’s northwestern quadrant, marred by the anonymity of 1970s public housing, is showing signs of renewal, with many renovated exteriors and much new landscaping.

Hayes Street itself is a fast becoming a rival for shoppers attracted to Union Street or other boutique-centric strips of the city: one-of-a-kind home furnishings at Zonal and Propeller and the designer footwear at Gimme Shoes to kids’ clothes and toys at Fiddlesticks to exquisite Mexican art, antiques, and crafts at Polanco.

The restaurants are also a draw, particularly at the crucial pre-curtain time between 5 and 7:30 p.m. on mid-weekday nights and Saturdays. Zuni stands as the progenitor, a longtime success story in the neighborhood, though located away from the main Hayes Street drag on Market and Rose. Zuni began as a tiny café in 1979 (its “kitchen” a Weber grill and an espresso machine) that expanded with its clientele over the years to encompass a multi-tiered dining room with a brick oven and a renowned style of simple, California-European cooking that has spawned not only a cookbook but a cult of acolytes. Hayes Street Grill (near Franklin and the performing arts houses) follows the Zuni formula, but with an emphasis on fresh fish. Yet another star in the culinary firmament is Jardiniere, on Grove and Franklin, a bit fussier than Zuni presentation-wise but with inventive dishes by noted chef Traci Des Jardins. These three establishments have been followed by numerous others, along Hayes (Caffè delle Stelle, Absinthe), Gough (Paul K., Sauce), and Franklin (Bistro Clovis, Canto do Brasil). But just because the area is a hot spot for fine dining doesn’t mean it’s devoid of other eats, such as good pizza (Go-Getters on Gough), Moishe’s Pippic on Hayes (a Chicago-style deli and longtimer in the neighborhood), Flipper’s Burgers, and Powell’s Soul Food, as well as Suppenküche, a casual German restaurant, and Frjtz Gourmet Belgian Fries.

All this storefront activity makes parking challenging, especially considering that many apartments don’t have garage spaces for all tenants. The city’s Department of Parking and Traffic issues resident parking permits “S” and “R” (depending on the area) for locals who need to park on the street; those from outside the neighborhood can take their chances on finding a spot or use any of a number of garages or lots, though with all the activity in the nearby War Memorial Opera House, Herbst Theatre, and Davies Symphony Hall, parking can be a crap shoot.

Luckily, the area is a nexus for much of the city’s public transit. Not only is it served by MUNI buses (Nos. 5, 21, and 71 traverse the area east/west, while Nos. 47 and 49 go north/south on nearby Van Ness), but also the Metro subway for destinations up and down Market Street (all lines), not to mention the Market Street historic F trolleys, as well as Golden Gate Transit (along Van Ness) for Marin and Sonoma destinations and SamTrans for stops in San Mateo County and downtown San Francisco (along nearby Mission Street). The BART Civic Center station is a few blocks away from the Hayes Street shopping district, offering residents and visitors alike access to downtown and regional points beyond.

Though many of today’s residents are more commercially inclined (as opposed to the underground artists and “alternative” types of a generation ago), the area has held on to its roots with numerous galleries and artist studios, along with the Hayes Valley Art Coalition, which promotes artistic endeavors in the neighborhood. According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, the population in Hayes Valley is still fairly diverse, with roughly 60 percent white, 20 percent African American, and the rest a mix of Asian and dual-race. The median household income of $40,000 explains why almost 90 percent of all residents rent their homes.

Public schools are limited to one: Civic Center Secondary on Golden Gate Avenue (occupying the campus of the former the John Swett Alternative Elementary School), known for its so-called integrated behavior academic program for at-risk students (truants, drop-outs, and other behaviorally challenged kids) as well as young adults attempting to reintegrate into society after long periods in the criminal justice system. Intenational High School—on Oak Street and on a different plane altogether—takes children from mostly privileged backgrounds and gives them a French baccalaureate-level grounding in the basics as well as English and French, Italian, German, or Chinese language skills.

Crime is prevalent mostly along well-traveled corridors such as Franklin, Gough, Fell, and Oak. Car theft and break-ins are common, as is graffiti and other such vandalism. Robberies (including purse snatchings) and burglaries frequently occur before and after theater performances. Noise nuisances are especially frequent at the Hayes/Octavia junction, and assaults have also been committed regularly in a recent three-month period. Over the last three years, there have been four homicides.

Though bargains in this up-and-coming neighborhood are rare, a one-bed/one-bath condo on Buchanan near Fell was asking $475,000, a two-bedroom/two-bath townhouse loft on Fulton near Octavia was listed on Trulia recently for $700,000, and a three-bedroom, two-bath condo in a restored Victorian recently listed for $900,000. Rentals remain in the affordable range (for San Francisco): studios for around $1,000 a month can still be found, a one-bed/bath goes for $1,600 to $1,800, and a four-bedroom, two-bath apartment was recently advertised at $3,750. Taking into consideration the trendy neighborhood, proximity to Civic Center attractions (museums, library, performing arts venues), and ease of public transit, a real-estate agent would likely call these prices “reasonable.” It shows, more than anything, what a difference a demolished freeway makes.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5
2yrs+

"A Lot Has Changed Since the 90s"

Want to live in the center of all the action with access to some of San Francisco’s best public transit? Hayes Valley is the neighborhood for you.

The neighborhood took off after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the Central Freeway, leading to the removal of ramps at Franklin and Gough streets. It’s now home to an array of boutique shops, trendy restaurants, and galleries.

Condominiums make up a large portion of Hayes Valley homes for sale. In September the median price of condominiums in the neighborhood increased 18 percent to $822,500, up from $695,000 a year earlier, according to MLS data.

The neighborhood centers on a small park called Patricia’s Green on Octavia Street between Hayes and Fell, home to a playground, inventive sculptures, occasional food trucks, and Smitten Ice Cream, which serves up made-to-order scoops with its liquid nitrogen technology.

Java drinkers flock to Blue Bottle Coffee on Linden Street, a tiny alley between Hayes and Fell with landscaping and a seating area. Dark Garden, a leather, lingerie, and corset shop, also attracts shoppers to the alley.

Favorite Hayes Valley dining includes Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, known for its inventive cocktails and French fare; Brazilian churrascaria restaurant Espetus; Chicago-style pizza joint Patxi’s; carnival-themed restaurant Straw; Japanese Izakaya spot Nojo; and the ever-popular German eatery Suppenküche, which has also opened a beer garden across from Smitten.

The charming Hotel Biron wine bar is located on Rose Street, and Fillmore staple the Grove opened a cafe on Hayes and Franklin last year. The Fatted Calf Charcuterie offers an astounding supply of meats, cheese, and other treats, and even holds a “pork happy hour” on Wednesday evenings.

SFJAZZ is building a new concert hall at 205 Franklin Street, scheduled to open in January 2013.

Hayes Valley’s central location near City Hall gives residents some of the easiest access to public transit, Highway 101, and the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. Both Muni and BART have train stations in the neighborhood, and numerous buses run along Van Ness Avenue and surrounding streets.

The neighborhood also boasts community farm and garden the Hayes Valley Farm and is home to the French American International School.
Pros
  • Good restaurants
  • Lots of shops
  • Hip social scene
Cons
  • A Little Unsafe
  • Still a little grungy
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"On the upswing"

The epicenter of Hayes Valley is Hayes Street. This street is developing cooler eateries and stores every week and it's really on the rise as a fun area. The area is pretty centered on bar life, eating, and buying expensive clothes. Some favorite restaurants include include 4505 Meats (meat store), Suppenkuche (German food + beer), Paxti's (Chicago pizza), and Moishe's Pippic (deli).

At Hayes and Octavia is a small (but pretty) park called Patricia's Green. You can take your lunch there and watch people play with their dogs. Currently, a number of eateries are opening on the edge of Patricia's Green. The Project Project is a plan to open a number of businesses in empty lots using recycled shipping containers. So far, Smitten Ice Cream and Ritual Coffee have opened. There are also plans to install a Suppenkuche biergarten, a container for 4505 Meats, and possibly a spot for the famous Delfina Pizzeria.

One of the problems with San Francisco is that a lot of places don't stay open very late, but luckily Hayes Valley comes to the rescue. You can find great cafes and bars open later than other neighborhoods.
Pros
  • Lots of shops
  • Good restaurants
Cons
  • Not very big
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Just So-So for SF"

Okay, so Hayes Valley has pretty much been yuppy-fied. I’m told that this used to be a scary section of SF but that was a long, long time ago indeed. Except for its proximity to some semi-scary places its relatively tame now.
Tucked between Alamo Square and the Tenderloin, Hayes Valley has rents that fluctuate wildly. You can find some areas where apartments are just 1 K / mo while in other spots it’s like Russian Hill rents. Often these places are barely around the corner from each other. As my ex would say, “It’s crazy town.”
Patricia Park is fairly nice in appearance though it is really too small for more than a fifteen minute stay. In fact, I would say that is the main criticism I have of Hayes Valley is that it mostly looks nice from the outside but doesn’t really deliver much for those who actually live. Also, it is bit too close to some of the high crime areas, so you never quite feel safe.
Nevertheless, some of the rents make it worth checking out.
At the southern edge of Hayes, on Market there is quite the party scene if you are into the whole gay dive bar scene. You have Marlena’s and a bit farther north SF Underground. Not being gay, I’ve never really been to these, but I suppose if that were my scene I might be there. There is also Pisco Latin Lounge and Absinthe, which are more eateries in some ways then bars and they can be a good place to have a bite with friends.
Pros
  • Some Affordable Rents
  • A Good Mix of People
  • Good Bars
  • Good restaurants
Cons
  • A Little Overrated
  • A Little Unsafe
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
2yrs+

"The Bowery of San Francisco"

Hayes Valley reminds me a lot of the Bowery in NYC. Obviously, they are significantly different architecturally. But, the recent transformation happening with both neighborhoods are pretty much identical. Hayes Valley used to be crack central. There were a lot of dilapidated old houses and hookers and that was about it. . . aside from the drugs and rats, of course. Apparently, the neighborhood was doomed to stay Cracktown until the '89 earthquake destroyed most of the freeway overpass that made the neighborhood unseemly. Without that, a lot more foot traffic was generated and a new vibe slowly started to take over Hayes. A hip, younger set started to migrate into the hood and then the trendy shops came. Soon after, the bars and restaurants flooded in and now the area is pretty happening. . . although I still it's a little gritty for my taste. Some of the homes are gorgeous so I'm really glad that the neighborhood has turned around so those homes get a new lease on life.
Nightlife wise, Hayes is pretty cool. It's really central to a lot of fun stuff and a lot of the pre-theatre crowd eats and drinks here. Absinthe is a popular restaurant, and to its credit, it is really cool. The halibut is to die for and the place actually holds cocktail making classes which I think is pretty cool. There's a really bizarre store called Dark Garden (on Linden) that I'm kind of obsessed with going to. It specializes in corsets and other apparel for circus people, trapeze people, just general goth people and the like. I think this store is a pretty good testament to the nature of the neighborhood. But, just up at Laguna Street is one of my favorite stores in the city, Minnie Wilde. Minnie Wilde is vintage inspired clothing that two women started in their garage. The clothes are fantastic and very reasonably priced.
The rent is still somewhat reasonable (for San Francisco) despite the fact that it's a pretty trendy neighborhood now. But, it's still a wee bit danger time, if you ask me, so I would say, if you live here, to live in a secure building. In a couple of years, it'll be really gentrified so you'll be fine . . . then again, the rent will be astronomical at that point.
Pros
  • Hip social scene
  • Good restaurants
  • Lots of shops
Cons
  • Still a little grungy
  • Not very big
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"New Renovations, New Life"

Once the seedy underbelly of San Francisco, Hayes Valley has now re-emerged after the 1989 earthquake and offers plenty of attractive destinations. The neighborhood, now injected with new life, is complete with leafy sidewalks and renovated buildings. Just recently, a couple dozen new businesses have sprouted up in the area. Although its still not without its faults. Crime and drug problems still riddle the area. And there are still a few seedy side streets that the district hasn’t acknowledged yet.

Located at the western base of Market Street, Hayes Valley has a business friendly reputation with commercial buildings crammed into a small plot of land. However, the neighborhood is still comprised of a lower socioeconomic population. The neighborhood still lies on Market Street, but foot traffic of the busy downtown hustle and tussle dies down at this point. The district also plenty of symphonies, opera houses and art galleries for the culturally informed. For your shopping needs, the neighborhood is full of women’s footwear, trendy fashion boutiques and lush furniture stores.

There are a few upscale restaurants that lay between its borders. Moreover, the community offers a variety of wine bars, cocktail happy hours and cafes. Nightlife can vary bar by bar, but the crowd is usually of the hipster and techie type. Rickshaw stop is a great place to relax, with moderate drink prices with some groovy live music. But during the week, the neighborhood is relatively quiet.

Transportation comes easy in this area with two Muni stops and plenty of bus lines driving through the district. However, parking is rather sparse, especially because there are only a few public garages available and street parking is overcrowded.
Pros
  • Good restaurants
  • Lots of shops
Cons
  • Not very big
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
2yrs+

"Up and coming trendy neighborhood"

Hayes Valley is one of those places that can be very quaint.

Hayes Street, which is the main street through Hayes Valley is super cute. Lots of shops, great restaurants and they even have their own street festival now. But stray too far off the beaten path and it's drug city.

There is a cute little park on Octavia between Hayes and Fell Streets. This is where they have the street fair.

Some awesome restaurants including Absinthe, who had one of their chefs as a Top Chef contestant (Jamie), but she has since moved on. It's trendy in that it's the only place in the city that you can do sake tastings. It's close to the Haight for the grunge atmosphere and close to the Civic Center for the theater crowd.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Enclosed in by great lively neighborhoods!"

Hayes Valley lies in the middle of busy neighborhoods, enclosed by Market Street, Geary Boulevard, and Divisadero Street/Panhandle. But because of this enclosure, Hayes Valley has become a thriving, lively, and hip neighborhood, encompassing much of what the surrounding neighborhoods have to offer into itself. Hayes Valley is a great neighborhood to live in as living here will provide you with one of San Francisco’s best experiences. You’re basically living in the middle of everything. There are great restaurants and cafes in and around Hayes Valley; you’ll never go hungry if you have the money. You can go towards Geary, Market, Divisadero, in any direction practically you’ll always have a wide variety of foods to choose from. However, I’d say living in Hayes Valley is more suited for couples rather than a family because of the feel and environment the neighborhood throws off. Because of the liveliness, it is more suited for couples. There are always things going on here, whether it be at a bar, art gallery, or small theater, there are always things to do, so much to do that focus for a family might be diverted. If you want to meet new people, drink coffee, eat good food, etc. then head towards Octavia Street in Hayes Valley, and you’ll find endless things to do and eat within a 4-5 block radius.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Missing Hayes Valley, a great all around place to live, visit"

Three words. Cha Cha Cha. They make the best Sangria and you can get small plates of tapas to soak up the amazing alcohol punch, wich costs 5 bucks a glass, 25 for a pitcher. Well worth it. If you are eating, get the cajun shrimp or the fried new potatoes. It's not the potatoes that are so luscious, but the poblano pepper aioli that comes with them. On a few slow Sunday mornings, Zunis on market street was our favorite place for a bloody Caesar ( bloody Mary with clam juice added and super spicy), and eggs florentine. Great upstairs window views, airy and with the rumble of the muni going by. I hate to dwell on food and drink, but there's so much in this neighborhood, it keeps me coming back again and again. I lived there for two summers with a friend and fellow foodie. It's been a while since I visited Germany, but Zeitgeist on Valencia is the closest thing to a traditional biergarten I have found in this area. Huge beer garden for mellow hanging cut, great beer selection, and awesome burgers. Don't expect servers to be solicitous with you here, but the expect the beer to be frothy, smooth, and so fresh. My last recommendation for this hood Is a seemingly spare but pricey shopping recommendation, but, hey, you do get what you pay for and this place is worth a splurge. I'm talking about Hideo Wakamatsu on Valencia. Save up and buy a 500 dollar bag that will last you a lifetime and weather any trend. Then, make yourself feel better with a follow up trip to Community Thrift Store at 632 Valencia. I made the pilgrimage there after the July 4th holiday, because I had received an email notification that the entire store was half off already decent thrift store prices. I got some clothes for the kids and a sundress. One thing I like about this second hand shop is they are a consortium of sorts, with over 200 partner charities whose members donate to create a rich assortment of finds and treasures. After my next visit, I will post more. There's much to do here.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Where the cool kids go"

Hayes Valley is where lots of the cool trendy people live. And in keeping with that fact, you can find hip places to go.

This is a great place to go shopping for innovative items. There are art stores, craft stores and even stores selling interesting clothing by independent designers. I also liked how they have the Absinthe Brasserie. Absinthe, of course, was once outlawed. But today people drink this green liquid freely at places like this one. It looks like many of the restaurants and bars have very good atmosphere.

I did stop at the Mercury Café. This is a nice little coffee shop with decent food. They have excellent organic coffee. I also ate at Sushi Zone which is located on Market Street. It’s a popular spot with absolutely fantastic sushi! I am glad we got there early; because there were lots of people lined up waiting by the time we left.

I definitely recommend Hayes Valley as a place for singles and young couples to live. It is clearly an up and coming neighborhood. Apparently, before the onslaught of cute trendy stores and galleries, there was a plethora of crack dens and hookers. I am glad I missed those days!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Posh and Artsy"

Hayes Valley is a small but thriving neighborhood. This area has undergone a lot of change over the last two decades. Before the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, Hayes Valley cowered in the shadow of a massive freeway overpass. The place was riddled with derelict houses, drugs and shady characters. However, it was one of the more affordable neighborhoods for artists. So, after the quake the freeway collapsed and was dismantled and the neighborhood was well positioned for an economic revival. Artsy cafés, galleries and boutiques opened up and most properties underwent significant renovation.

The dot-com boom in the late 1990’s brought skyrocketing rents to Hayes Valley that pushed almost all of the artists out of the area. Over the next few years the neighborhood became a nexus for posh fashion boutiques, antique furniture stores and five-star restaurants. I’m not sure if it’s the recession, but I have noticed over the last year Hayes Valley shifting once again. The city has re-vamped the Octavia off-ramp corridor and through public art grants created a very sweet art park with sculptures, art installations and a nice playground. Several of the posh boutiques have closed their doors and are being replaced by more moderately priced restaurants and shops. I’ve noticed a lot of homes for sale (and selling) in this neighborhood over the last year. I’m curious to see who is moving in and how the new residents may affect the neighborhood.

Keep in mind that Hayes Valley is the perfect place to grab cocktails/dinner before or after the opera and symphony a few blocks over in Civic Center. You may want to park in the underground Civic Center garage by City Hall and walk over as parking in Hayes Valley is very challenging. Also note that the 21 Hayes and 5 Fulton MUNI buses are terribly overcrowded in this area during the morning and evening rush hour.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"The place for the young and hip."

Hayes Valley seems, on the surface, to be where poor artists live and work. Artists are here, many of them fantastic ones, but it's not for the broke! Living in the area is fun because there are many shops, restaurants, and small art galleries to visit. It's close to freeway access, so folks from the East Bay and other parts of San Francisco pass through often, making it a busy place in the day time hours. At night, the energy drops to almost nothing. Only a handful of restaurants and other eateries remain open much past six or seven. People are generally friendly and those that actually live in the valley consider themselves to be part of a special community, giving it that "small town" feel. A standout place to eat is Fritz, the Belgian joint where, it is considered, the best fries are sold. The place is tiny so it's usually packed, sometimes flowing out the door. Hayes Valley has a large number of places to get hair cut, styled, or colored. Many of the shops are geared toward those interested in the newest look. The prices might seem high for out of towners but anyone, man or woman, who frequents the trendy hair salons with super fashionable stylists - there won't be any surprises here. Dogs are welcome to join your stroll down the street, as it's a dog friendly neighborhood, but pets still can't go in stores, even if on a leash. Living in Hayes Valley is pricey and apartments (if any single family houses are left!) are small and hard to find. Like the rest of the Bay Area, buying may be cheap but renting is still expensive. Most places are beautiful and have victorian styling, if not actually victorian.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5
2yrs+

"The up-and-coming community"

To San Francisco natives Hayes Valley is a diamond in the rough. The neighborhood is sandwiched in by two not so great communities, but Hayes Valley is one of a kind. Between Civic Center and Western Addition, and its main street between Hayes St. and Franklin and Laguna, Hayes Valley brags intriguing shops, great places to eat, and many places to slurp a cup of joe.

My favorite place to eat: Zuni Cafe. One of the best restaurants in the city, and many tourists and San Franciscans would agree. It's a simple and successful joint with much French and Southern Italian influence. Their signature roasted chicken and bread salad is to die for. Zuni Cafe is located on Market Street, you can't miss it.

Great shopping in Hayes Valley, from vintage (Ver Unica) to Gimme Shoes.

Overall, when in San Francisco, Hayes Valley is a win-win neighborhood that can be easily over-looked. Highly recommend a quick stop.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
4/5
2yrs+

"Rejuvenated and Hip"

If you haven't seen the lovely new row of palm trees put in as you exit from 101 onto Octavia Street you must check out the beautiful new stretch of road, including a great bike lane -- freshly paved -- going in both directions. Octavia terminates where it meets Fell street a lovely park is there. Continue to the other side and you'll also enjoy Stacks dinner.

If you enjoy going out to bars with food as well as some great DJing and dance music, Triple Crown on Market Street is not to be missed. This sizzling new location is owned by some of San Francisco's dance communities hottest promoters and DJs so you're bound to have a great time there.

Be sure to look around on the corners. One of the fenced in North East corners has a set of hand painted signs made to help rejuvenate the neighborhood. My favorite sign: "The Land of Plenty is Already Here"
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Travelling to Hayes Valley?

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Best Streets in Hayes Valley

1

Waller St

4/5
"Haight Ashbury residential"
37.7710970689769 -122.430859215978
2

Hickory St

3.5/5
"Hickory Street for anyone who wants everything near by"
37.7752032756228 -122.42492481365
3

Carmelita St

3/5
"Quiet street hidden nearby major streets"
37.7702310000246 -122.434321499528
4

Potomac St

3/5
"Very quiet and hidden"
37.7703770000364 -122.432619499369
5

Rose St

2.5/5
"Small narrow one-way street"
37.7733169962733 -122.424678549688
6

Lily St

2.5/5
"Small one-way street."
37.7742665969418 -122.424738442252
7

Linden St

2.5/5
"Somewhat Creepy, But ok to live"
37.7756820028498 -122.428639501156
8

Birch St

2/5
"Narrow one-way street"
37.7778692894765 -122.42648379319

Unranked Streets in Hayes Valley

Ash St

1/5
"Horrible Place to Live"
37.7790068674822 -122.425116238149

Banneker Way

2.5/5
"A small street"
37.7775655000213 -122.428843499589

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