8.2 out of 10

Laurel Heights

Ranked 12th best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.7839364628039 -122.452671669331
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Medical Facilities
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Safe & Sound
  • Eating Out
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Nightlife
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
2yrs+

"Nothing special in the neighborhood"

Laurel Heights is a small, quaint neighborhood located just east of Inner Richmond. It is bordered by the University of San Francisco to the south. It carries much of the same flavor that the Mission does. Its saturated by Edwardian and Victorian homes in a middle class, suburban neighborhood. It’s also calm and somewhat secluded neighborhood with relatively safe streets. Many families live in the area, mostly of white or asian ethnicity. It is of relative middle to upper class neighborhood bliss.

For transportation, the Muni’s 1 line will take you all the way to the Financial District while the 33 runs north and south. Parking garages are sprouted throughout the area while street parking is mostly metered. But many of the shops offer storefront spaces. In some respects, its proximity to the Golden Gate park make the neighborhood a prime destination for families.

If people come to visit the neighborhood, it’s probably due to the fact that their visiting California Pacific Medical Center’s California Campus. The hospital has a great reputation for care and specialties. Another perk of the neighborhood is Roosevelt Middle School which lies within its borders. It had a good reputation among locals and is well funded by the community with a beautiful 3 story brick building.

The main shopping hub lies on California Street, but only offers the typical shopping center with a book store, cafe, deli and grocery store. Further down the block, shoppers can browse through more specialty shops, ethnic eateries and even a movie theatre.
Pros
  • Good Shopping for Moms
  • Great Restuarants
  • Great Schools
  • near Presidio
  • nearby hospitals
Cons
  • Smallish Homes
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Expensive but nice"

Laurel Heights reminds me of a more western Pacific Heights. Being away from the busy areas that Pacific heights sits adjacent to certainly has its benefits. This neighborhood is situated near the foot of the Presidio and has a quiet ambience. Similar to Pacific Heights, there are an abundant number of Victorian homes with wealthy families to fill them. Laurel Heights is like a piece of suburbia dropped into the middle of the city. I can often forget that I'm even in San Francisco when I'm there.

When I take morning jogs, I love to run along Sacramento and then down a few blocks into Laurel Heights because it's not very crowded. And if I can't finish my run, I have a number of transportation options to take me back home. including the 38 bus that runs along Geary and the 1 on California. It's always fun window-browsing around the shops that are both on California St. and Sacramento. I have also seen and heard about many good restaurants in this area, even though I haven't had the chance to eat at them all.
Pros
  • nearby hospitals
  • near Presidio
Cons
  • expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Pacific Heights West"

Laurel Heights is basically just Pacific Heights west, as many have already noted. It is a very expensive family neighborhood.
I would say that the main differences between Laurel Heights and Pacific Heights have to do with the look of the homes. Generally speaking, you can find larger homes in Pacific Heights than in Laurel Heights. Laurel Heights you get a lot more two story modernist type homes (think squarish with sharp angles rather than older looking Victorians with flourishes).
The view is pretty different from this area as well. You get a lot more views of the Presidio from here rather than the Bay.
You do have a Trader’s Joe and a full fledged supermarket, which is not that common in SF—its mostly old style corner groceries in places like North Beach.
Although you don’t really have bars in the neighborhood, you have some great choices when it comes to restaurants, including several Italian places, a couple of sushi places and even an Ethiopian restaurant. This is definitely a step up from Pacific Heights which is pretty much a dead zone as far as having anything resembling a singles scene.
Apartments from my research so far range fairly greatly in prices—the pattern seems to be that the closer you get the Pacific Heights on the east the higher it goes (I saw one 2-br for $4800) while the closer you get to Richmond, the more reasonable the prices become (a 1 br for $1100 right on the dividing line). So I would definitely have to stay on the western edge of Laurel Heights.
Right off California, you have lots of expensive shops from jewelry and furniture stores to women’s clothing and toy stores. It is definitely targeted at well-off stay-at-home moms right by there.
As you would expect in this kind of affluent family neighborhood, the schools are great too. San Francisco University High is well liked and there are a number of other choices as well.
Pros
  • Great Schools
  • Great Restuarants
  • Good Shopping for Moms
Cons
  • Smallish Homes
  • expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"In the Middle of the City, the Model Suburb"

Laurel Heights on a sunny day suggests the kind of place urban planners had in mind for the ideal suburban neighborhood: clean, orderly streets and homes fronted by lawns and a variety of trees and shrubs, the blocks bordered on one side by a shopping center and on the other by more shops and transportation options, with a park in the middle and good schools (primary and secondary) and other amenities within the district or accessible a short distance away. It’s a compact, easily navigated area, and it has just the right amount of cafes and restaurants and even a movie theater. In short, suburban bliss in the midst of urban hubbub.

To paint Laurel Heights as a peaceful, tidy island surrounded by a sea of city noise and nuisances, while more or less accurate, doesn’t tell the whole story, however. Laurel Heights has always been peaceful and restful, but in a different sense. What few know (or care to know) about the neighborhood is that it once served as a final resting place, a vast burial ground. Laurel Hill Cemetery (formerly Lone Mountain Cemetery, established in the 1850s) once spread over the area, with hundreds of marble monuments lining up on the hilly terrain between Geary Boulevard and California Street. Among the first underground denizens of the area were Andrew Hallidie (inventor of San Francisco’s ingenious cable cars) and numerous U.S. senators. Their graves were visited by thousands of city residents, who for decades treated the cemetery as a park, wandering its groomed footpaths and enjoying picnics amid the tombstones and trees. (This practice of using a cemetery as a park continued until the development of Golden Gate Park in the 1890s. Indeed, having a home near such a pretty cemetery helps explain the proliferation of grand homes on the west side of the neighborhood in the early 1900s.) Finally, when the land became more and more valuable for potential development, the cemetery was closed, and some 35,000 graves were removed to Colma in 1941. The neighborhood’s newer homes, along with Laurel Village shopping center, quickly filled the space.

Today, Laurel Heights can be divided into two parts: the older, more stately western half (typified by the houses along Commonwealth Avenue) as contrasted with its more modern, somewhat sterile-looking eastern half (roughly defined by the area adjacent to the Laurel Village shopping center). Though there are some nice examples of late moderne style buildings in the eastern half, the western half, especially Palm, Jordan, and Commonwealth avenues, hosts some of the finest residential architecture in the city (rivaling Pacific Heights for the beauty of design and materials), with large, single-family homes predominating. St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church on Commonwealth is among the neighborhood’s architectural highlights, a Byzantine-style structure with a tile roof and dome built in 1966. As for centrally located parks, the Laurel Hill Playground, located on a terraced hill in the geographic middle of the neighborhood at Euclid and Collins, has a baseball diamond, tennis and basketball courts, and swings and play equipment for children.

The neighborhood is made up of 9,000 or so residents, about 65 percent white, 25 percent Asian, and the remainder either African American or a mix of two or more races. They are solidly middle class, with a median annual household income of $70,000. Curiously, however, only about a third of the neighbors own their homes, with the great majority renting.

Because the neighborhood is bordered on the north (California Street) and south (Geary Boulevard) by stores, cafes, and restaurants (not to mention one of the area’s biggest and best-staffed hospitals, California Pacific Medical Center’s California Campus), virtually everything one could need is a short walk away. The main shopping strip is between Spruce and Laurel on California Street (the appropriately named Laurel Village). Here are two grocers, one high-end (Bryan’s, noted for its fish and meats) the other less so (Cal-Mart, though it has a much-lauded produce department), plus the usual array of boutiques and chains that cater to the area’s middle- and upper-middle class: The Gap, Chico’s, Starbucks, Pasta Pomodoro, Walgreen’s, Standard 5&10 Ace Hardware. On-street metered parking here can be difficult, though a small lot on the back side of Laurel Village on Mayfair Drive is available to shoppers. The stretch of Geary Boulevard from Masonic to Arguello hosts a number of specialty stores as well (one with pet goods, another for tires, two for mattresses), along with an array of ethnic and American restaurants. The Bridge Theatre (at Blake) shows first-run movies, many of them independent- and foreign-produced. Finally, there’s a Trader Joe’s grocery (one of four in San Francisco) just off Geary on Masonic.

The two main shopping streets are also transportation corridors, with Muni buses Nos. 1 and running along California to the Financial Distric and back, and the Nos. 31 and 38 running along Geary, again toward downtown and Union Square. The No. 33 runs north and south along Arguello, while the No. 43 travels on Masonic before heading to the Presidio and points east. Golden Gate Transit operates buses bound for Marin County along Geary Boulevard as well. Though parking is generally not difficult away from California Street’s shops and the hospital, the city’s Department of Parking and Traffic does issue “F” and “L” residential parking permits to allow those who live in the neighborhood to ignore the posted two-hour limits on most streets.

An award-winning public school is located within the neighborhood: Roosevelt Middle School on Arguello and Geary, in an impressive red-brick building with three-story tower. The middle school was rated 9 out of 10 by GreatSchools. There’s a small preschool (One Fifty Parker Avenue School) and the large, private Marin Day Schools operates its Laurel Heights preschool on the Laurel Heights campus of the University of California at San Francisco (on California at Walnut).

Crime here is infrequent and characterized mostly by noise nuisances and a few thefts in a recent three-month period, according to San Francisco Police Department statistics. Car theft and auto break-ins are increasingly common, particularly in the neighborhood’s eastern sector and along Geary and California, with these corridors experiencing the same rise in these crimes as elsewhere in the city. The occasional assault takes place along Geary (where bars and other night-time business may explain the altercations). There have been no homicides reported here in the last three years.

Real estate prices in Laurel Heights have recently rebounded from the slump of 2008-2009, showing a jump since April 2010 of as much as 25 percent in the last year, according to Trulia. Still, prices remain volatile, as potential buyers sniff out the best deals. Prices range from about $3 million for a seven-bedroom, six-bathroom single family home on Euclid in the neighborhood’s tony west section to about $900,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bath single family house near Geary in the area’s eastern half. Apartments range from about $1,500 a month for a simple one-bedroom, one bathroom unit near the UCSF campus to a renovated three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo for $3,800 near Laurel Hill Playground.

Take it all around, this neighborhood would suit established families looking to move up to a bigger home, couples looking to begin a family, and students seeking safety and easy access to the area’s college campuses.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Great little neighborhood"

Laural Heights is a little neighborhood that contains more than you’d expect. The Laural Heights neighborhood is lies in a rectangular area between California Street and Geary Boulevard, some of San Francisco busiest streets. But that doesn’t take away the peace from this neighborhood. Since Laural Heights lies right next to Geary Boulevard, you can expect to be close to local produce markets as well as a wide variety of restaurants to dine at. You’re also very close to the California-renown restaurant, Mel’s Drive-in. Mel’s Drive-in is the place to bring your family, or to go eat at after a good basketball game or such. Geary Boulevard isn’t the only place to go for shopping if you’re from Laural Heights. If you’re from Laural Heights you must also frequent the little Laural Heights shopping Center on the California Street side of this neighborhood. Whenever I ride by California Street, specifically this area of Laural Heights, there is always this little lively charm or feel towards this part of the neighborhood. It’s hard to explain, but it makes you want to stick around for a little longer, strange I’ll admit, maybe it’s because of the liveliness of the place. Nonetheless, you’ll definitely enjoy your time here in Laural Heights.
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"Elegant, Stylish and Pricey"

The Laurel Village Shopping Center is at the center of Laurel Heights. This ritzy shopping area also is for residents of nearby Presidio Heights. This neighborhood is North of Anza Vista and South of the Presidio of San Francisco. Since you are nearby both the Presidio as well as Golden Gate Park, this is a great location for exposure to outdoor recreational possibilities.

In this modest neighborhood also lurks one of San Francisco’s best restaurants called Spruce, which is located on Sacramento Street right near Presidio Heights. You may find this place snooty, but critics and residents alike love this place. It has been written up in Food and Wine Magazine as well as Travel and Leisure Magazine.

Laurel Heights is home to various nice expensive homes. It also has a large percentage of Jewish residents. This part of town hosts the Jewish Community Center. Even if you aren’t Jewish, you can use the JCC’s amazing gym facilities. You also have the benefit of University of San Francisco’s medical offices, which are located right in Laurel Heights too.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Elegant and Family Friendly"

Laurel Heights is a great neighborhood with lots of charm. Its main centers of commerce can be found along Geary, California and Euclid streets. Here there are grocery stores, restaurants, cafes and clothing boutiques. There are also many small businesses with offices along the commercial zones. On California is the popular Laurel Village shopping center with a CalMart grocery and Walgreen’s drug store as well as restaurants and cafes including Peet’s Coffee & Tea. Parking is free at Laurel Village, but can be very busy on weeknights. In general, parking is challenging along Laurel Height’s main commercial streets, however there are some parking lots with reasonable rates.

The quiet and calm residential streets of Laurel Heights are lined with beautiful single-family homes and condominiums—many with ample yards. Parking is only moderately challenging here and the Muni runs express busses to Downtown along California and Geary Streets.

The Jewish Community Center (JCC) on California Street is a beautiful facility with a full-service gym, pool, restaurant and theater that is open to the public. The University of California San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF) is nearby, as is the USF Lone Mountain Campus. The Laurel Hill playground is situated in the center of the neighborhood, making this an ideal location for families with kids.
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5
2yrs+

"Shop back in time"

The Laurel Heights neighborhood is quiet, pleasant, and spacious. The streets are wide yet the community is still very urban. South of California Street is a low-key mix of great apartments and town houses. This area is surrounded by Geary Boulevard, University of San Francisco, Presidio, and the Richmond District, putting Laurel Heights in the center of some amazing culture.

Laurel Village Shopping Center is found between Laurel and Spruce, and here you will find the Standard 5¢ & 10¢ - the last of its kind. Located on California Street, the shop carries craft supplies, cooking supplies, toys, school supplies, strange hard to find hardware items, and so much more. No, nothing costs 5 or 10 cents, but you will still have fun browsing this unique variety store.

The bulk of the eateries are near the Laurel Village Shopping Center. But, if you want the best Italian dinner in the area, my favorite is Sociale, located at Spruce and Sacramento.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"Mellow with a View"

When I ride around this area, the streets feel a lot more spacious than some other parts of town. They seem a bit wider and somewhat less hectic because of it. I did a little birthday block party event over in this area, and the vibe is very family oriented.

over by the corner of Euclid and Masonic as you head north on Masonic is one of my favorite views of San Francisco when you look out to the East. It's one of those unexpected moments where out of nowhere you suddenly see something beautiful.

If you're looking for a great shopping value, try the Trader Joe's at Masonic and Geary.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

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Best Streets in Laurel Heights

1

Heather Ave

3.5/5
"Quiet, Peaceful, Serene"
37.7848743024414 -122.452861939793
2

Iris Ave

3/5
"Iris Street: Large Houses on a small street"
37.7850653181042 -122.452017158956
3

Jordan Ave

3/5
"Jordan Ave: Looks suburban"
37.7837773331584 -122.456801664559
"Commonwealth: Beautiful houses"
37.7838383320121 -122.45570000299
5

Cook St

3/5
"Cook street: Three storied houses"
37.7819993328697 -122.452171998954
6

Blake St

2.5/5
"Great Neighborhood to Live in"
37.7820892719709 -122.451139876356
7

Palm Ave

2.5/5
"Palm Aveunue: Mostly houses"
37.783670825508 -122.457906777173
8

Lupine Ave

2/5
"A clean street!"
37.7841147839742 -122.448002063681

Unranked Streets in Laurel Heights

Collins St

4.5/5
"Realtors say this is the best street in Laurel Heights."
37.7840365697994 -122.450291755912

Emerson St

3.5/5
"A Nature-like neighborhood"
37.7830825000573 -122.448183499037

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