7.6 out of 10

Lower Pacific Heights

Ranked 35th best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.7863163926455 -122.435155693779
Great for
  • Public Transport
  • Shopping Options
  • Eating Out
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Medical Facilities
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Cost of Living
  • Lack of Traffic
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish

Reviews

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

"Central and Convenient"

Sometimes overshadowed by its older sibling to the north, centrally located Lower Pacific Heights has its own unique charms. Easy access to the city’s urban core, an eclectic mix of restaurants and shops, and classic San Francisco architecture are just some of the reasons that home prices in the neighborhood are on the rise.

Bordered by California Street to the north and Geary Boulevard to the south, Lower Pacific Heights offers its residents an easily walkable commute to the Financial District and many downtown office buildings. Buses — including the 1-California, 3-Jackson, and 38-Geary lines — run often and bisect the neighborhood’s western and eastern boundaries of Presidio Avenue and Gough Street respectively. Drivers can access Highway 101 and Interstate 80 less than two miles directly to the south.

For a relatively small neighborhood, Lower Pacific Heights offers a surprisingly diverse array of dining, entertainment, and shopping options within just a few blocks walk.

The tiny enclave of Japantown packs in more than 50 restaurants and sushi bars, ranging from high-end eateries, such as Kappa, to establishments where $10 (tip included) will cover lunch. If you’re in the mood for post-dining entertainment, you can find it a few blocks away at the Sundance Kabuki Cinema, one of just six movie theaters in the country affiliated with the film festival of the same name.

Fillmore Street, considered the neighborhood’s main drag, is home to two restaurants on the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Bay Area restaurants list: SPQR and State Bird Provisions. Music aficionados will appreciate close proximity to concert venues The Fillmore and Boom Boom Room, while shoppers will enjoy browsing Fillmore’s many trendy boutiques.

Though technically located a few blocks north of the neighborhood’s proper boundaries, Lafayette and Alta Plaza parks stand out as nearby urban sanctuaries where visitors frequently can soak up the sun. Both feature tennis courts and playgrounds, and the sunset views of San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz Island are more than a bonus.

The architectural style of Lower Pacific Heights properties ranges from stately Victorians built in the early 1900s to more recently constructed multi-family units. Historic Cottage Row is home to a block-long stretch of late nineteenth-century houses situated along a pedestrian promenade and adjoining a miniature park.

Median single-family home prices in the neighborhood topped $2.6 million in May 2013, a 78 percent hike from a year ago. Lower Pacific Heights homes for sale are also in high demand; since the beginning of the year, 71 percent of single-family homes have sold or are under contract.
Pros
  • great shopping
  • great restaurants
Cons
  • Expensive
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 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Has something for everyone"

Lower Pacific Heights seems like a mix of everything you could want. There are a number of distinct areas that you could break the neighborhood into: a suburban part, an upscale shopping area, and Japantown.

Japantown is smaller than you might expect. It's only a few blocks long and a couple blocks tall. Most of the stores are situated on Post Street, including a cool mall there. It doesn't have much shopping available, but there are some good restaurants in the mall and on the street. The mall sits on a nice plaza where events are sometimes held (including a Cherry Blossom festival in April). Overall, Japantown is quiet and is a good place to grab dinner.

Most of the Lower Pacific Heights shopping occurs on Fillmore. This is a more upscale shopping experience. I love going here. There are a number of higher quality restaurants and a Johnny Rockets for when you just want to grab a regular burger. To enjoy this kind of atmosphere, it's going to be a bit pricier to rent on this street.
Pros
  • great shopping
  • great restaurants
  • quiet
Cons
  • just above a bad area
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"Nice Older Buildings"

Although Lower Pacific Heights is mostly made up of older buildings and high rises, it is surprisingly leafy and pleasant looking. You do not have the feeling of being in a run down urban neighborhood. In fact, the neighborhood seems a lot more like its northern neighbor Pacific Heights. You shouldn’t get the wrong idea, the buildings here are actually quite attractive.

In addition, there are some really attractive buildings here—some giant manor like Victorians (a few of them are open to the public so you can get a sense of what life was like in pre-Earthquake SF) and also some residential buildings that date back to when Hitchcock was making films around here. So it definitely has its attractions.
Included within this area is Japantown. Sometimes its included as its own neighborhood. If you are looking to have some sushi, this is definitely the place for it. There is also a shopping mall right in the middle of Japantown that will make you feel as if you have been transported to the Far East, or at least the Westernized versions of the Far East.

Here are some of the other attractions to Lower Pacific Heights:

Rents—The prices start looking a lot like those in Pacific Heights proper. Although it is possible to find some steals in this area, for the most part as you approach the northern part of the neighborhood you get 4 bedroom Victorian stand alone homes going for between $6K and $20K per month—if paying $120,000 in rent per year sound it extreme, well it is. You can even find studios here going for $4K.

That said, I also noticed some more moderately priced places like rooms going for $1800—if you can call paying nearly $22K on rent for a room moderate. (And there was even a place right by the border with Western Addition that listed a 6 room apartment for $900—I’m not sure what the deal with that is.)

Schools—The good thing about being so close to Pacific Heights is that you can benefit from PH’s private schools. There are a lot of them, you know that they are pretty good—P.H. is the kind of neighborhood that would not accept anything less. Whether you want a Montessori school or a school that is geared for preparing from college right from the beginning, then this is definitely the place to be.

Oh yeah, and you definitely have to take into account all the great places to eat and play on Geary--like the Boom Boom Room and all the other cool bars around there.

Overall, I would say that this is a nice place to live if you can find an affordable apartment and if you are close enough to Pacific Heights proper. I will be keeping this neighborhood on my radar.
Pros
  • quiet
  • great restaurants
  • great shopping
Cons
  • Some Bad Spots
  • Expensive
  • Bad Parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"Upscale and lively"

Lower Pacific Heights is one of the many hilly, middle-class neighborhoods centrally located in San Francisco. It’s appeal lies in the tranquility and clean-cut residential image it conveys. The commercial streets, the biggest of which is Fillmore, are lined with a variety of shops, cafes and ethnic restaurants offering accessible options for locals. For shoppers, the neighborhood provides a crop fashion boutiques, wine shops and book stores. Due to this commercial development, real estate values has risen in the past few years.

Japantown is a popular destination among tourists. The two square blocks sit in the southeastern part of Lower Pacific Heights. It offers a couple public parking garages, gift shops and three Japanese themed shopping centers. The area can be a little gritty at times, but the cuisine is well worth the visit.

The neighborhood also offers plenty of hotspots for nightlife activities. One of the most popular among locals is the Wreck Room. The sports bar, visited mostly by yuppies and fashion forward post grads, provides customers with a wide range of bar games including pop and shot, darts and arcades.

In July, the Fillmore Jazz Festival is packed with people and provides plenty of live entertainment, ethnic food vendors, exhibits and plenty other attractions for locals. For those visiting, the Muni offers plenty of transportation options in all directions.
Pros
  • quiet
Cons
  • just above a bad area
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"An area with a lot of history"

Lower Pacific Heights is a great little neighborhood that encompasses a lot of San Francisco’s history. Lower Pacific Heights itself is like a historical site of San Francisco. First of all, Lower Pacific Heights is quite known for its Jazz age in the past, especially since it is home to the Boom Boom Room, there are still shows happening there. Second, Lower Pacific Heights is home to San Francisco’s own Japantown, although it may not be as popular or well-known as Chinatown (to tourists and non-Californians that is), most San Franciscans know about it; probably because it is one of the places to get the most authentic and best sushi at. Not only that, at Japantown, there is a shopping mall where there are a plethora of little shops inside, some sell produce, some sell little gadgets and toys, some are sushi bars, and some are ramen stalls. With all this available in Japantown, you’ll always find something to do and have somewhere you’ll want to eat at. There are also several great Japanese hotels, as well as Kabuki Theatres. One thing about Lower Pacific Heights is that it seems quite gloomy and dirty, this is because of the number of homeless people that frequent this neighborhood. Besides that there are several high schools nearby as well as parks.
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 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Jazz, Sushi and Good Times"

Lower Pacific Heights is a great neighborhood to both visit and live. Public transportation will take you there quickly from downtown via Geary Street, or from the Mission via the 22 Fillmore bus. Rents in the lower part of the neighborhood are good value, but gradually increase as you move up the hill towards Pacific Heights.

There is a lot going on in Lower Pac. The historic Fillmore Theater brings crowds of people to the neighborhood for great concerts. Over the last five years Robert Redford’s new Sundance Kabuki Cinema has helped revitalize Japantown and the surrounding area. This theater is revolutionizing the way San Franciscans experience the movies. The facility boasts a restaurant and a bar and patrons are allowed to imbibe cocktails during movies when they reserve seats in a lounge-like balcony, complete with end tables and cushy seats. It’s great to visit Japantown—especially it’s wonderful stationary stores and unique karaoke bars. Also the Kabuki spa is a blissful escape from the rigors of urban living. I highly recommend spending a few hours enjoying massage and sauna treatments whenever the need to recharge strikes. The Boom Boom Room is like walking on set of a David Lynch movie, and the club features live music almost every night. One of my favorite things about this neighborhood is the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival that takes place each July. This huge street festival erupts down Fillmore Street from Eddy to Jackson streets, spanning three neighborhoods (The Fillmore, Lower Pac Heights and Pacific Heights Proper). The music is world-class and the atmosphere is upbeat, diverse and smoking-hot.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5
2yrs+

"Historic and eclectic, well worth it"

I have been through this area several times in the last couple of years and love every chance I get to go back. I usually stay at the Hotel Tomo which is deceivingly part of the Best Western chain, but an excellent bargain and high-quality digs too. It’s walking distance from the legendary Fillmore Auditorium, which is a must-see for any visitor coming through town. The Fillmore re-opened a few years ago and is jam-packed with living history, allure, classic posters and generally good national acts coming through the west coast…and all at a decent price-point too.

As for food, there’s definitely a little something for everybody in this area…with Japantown supplying the meat of it (pun intended). Most of the boutique retail shops and restaurants rest along Fillmore Street. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own list of two must-do’s when/if you’re in the neighborhood:
-check out the amazing jazz at Yoshi’s Jazz Club. Even if you’re not a fan of that kind of music, it’s worth it
-visit the farmer’s market at Fillmore Center Plaza. Unfortunately it’s only up on Saturdays during the summer, but the selection and vibe there is unmatched for a farmer’s market.

And to close, this neighborhood is very safe but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to walk in pairs late at night.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5
2yrs+

"A Cultural Mix"

The Boom Boom Room boasts lots of shows and tout themselves as a "Juke Joint providing cocktails, dancing live Blues, Boogie, Groove & Soul music six nights a week." It's a cultural icon, situated across the way from The Fillmore.

Within walking distance you'll find a completely different cultural taste of things. Japantown is just across the way, with lots of little shops, Japanese eats, furniture, and bonsai trees as well as the Kabuki theatre.

If you need to unwind, take advantage of the communal bath portion of the Kabuki Springs. While they offer treatments and massage, I don't find their massage to be that good. Using the facilities though is an amazing way to nourish the body -- with steam, sauna, salt scrubs and pools to soak in. http://www.kabukisprings.com/ Be sure to check which day is Men's vs. Women's vs. Co-Ed. Clothing optional only on single gender days.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"A place to experience and remember forever"

Within the boundaries of Geary, Fillmore, Pine and Octavia Streets, lies Lower Pacific Heights, often still referred to as part of the Fillmore or Western Addition. This community also includes Japantown. Redevelopment in the 1970s has made this neighborhood a thriving residential and business center with a diverse urban population.

I have spent so much time in this community and absolutely love it. Restored Victorians on
Pine Street, new condos on Fillmore, and upscale apartments on California are among the housing options. Japantown, an enclave originally settled by Japanese immigrants after the 1906 quake, offers countless attractions for tourists and locals alike. Communal Japanese baths, flower arranging and martial arts are just some of the cultural activities available.

Eat in one of many Japanese restaurants, shop for treasures at the Japan Center Mall, or catch the latest flick at the Kabuki movie theatre.

The neighborhood also boast many private schools for parents wanting to pay for a good education. It is home to the Stuart Hall High School for boys.

You will never get bored in Lower Pacific Heights, there is just too much culture here.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Travelling to Lower Pacific Heights?

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Best Streets in Lower Pacific Heights

1

Octavia St

3.5/5
"For Bankers with Dough"
37.7880740172461 -122.426908436135
2

Webster St

3/5
"Good for seniors and families with kids"
37.7859469291537 -122.431564414957

Unranked Streets in Lower Pacific Heights

Orben Pl

4.5/5
"Chic and Exclusive Little Street"
37.7885330000355 -122.432922499373

Wilmot St

1/5
"Nothing going on here"
37.7874847789037 -122.433554051209

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