7.6 out of 10

Parkside Panhandle

Ranked 33rd best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.7324258180864 -122.488939930253
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Safe & Sound
  • Internet Access
  • Peace & Quiet
Not great for
  • No ratings yet
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  •  
  •  
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Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Singles
  • Country Lovers

Reviews

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

"Beautiful Lakeside Neighborhood"

Lakeside is really an accumulation of neighborhoods: Lakeshore, Parkside, Parkmerced and Lakeside proper. They all surround SFSU and are just to the north of Daly City.

I suppose most cities have a Lakeshore neighborhood and a Lakeshore Drive—the Bay Area has at least two that I know of, one here and one in Oakland. This Lakeshore is right next to Lake Merced, one of the most beautiful and least touristy areas of SF. Those who discover the area often do it when they visit the Zoo, which is on the western end of the Lakeshore Neighborhood. Though this is hardly the boonies, country lovers will love this area because of the surrounding parks, both welcome leafy areas in the middle of SF (though, I must say that I can hardly think of a more leafy urban city of this size in the US). To the northeast is Pine Lake Park, just in case you didn’t get enough natural beauty from Lake Merced.

Beach lovers who love the aesthetics of beaches are only five minutes from the breakers. Though, of course, as everyone who lives in this area knows, 360 days out of the year it is too cold and foggy to really enjoy the beach around here.

This is a family friendly neighborhood as well. Lowell High School is one of the very best public schools in the city, with tests scores in the 90’s virtually across the board—which is head and shoulders above Lincoln to the north in the Sunset District. In addition, the area is mostly made up of medium sized to large homes nestled away on quiet streets with little traffic. There is also a big mall in the center of the area.

Though students will find rents in area like Lakeshore a bit out of their reach, they tend to like the area around the actual campus. Most of those who live around the campus probably live in Park Merced which I believe is the student housing area—if not, it certainly looks like it.

Overall, I really like this area and would love to live here if I could find housing.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Great Lake and Park
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Cold and Foggy
  • No Real Nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
2yrs+

"Close to the SF Zoo"

Parkside Panhandle looks like its right out of a 1950‘s white American, middle-class suburb complete with young families and a great school system. Each house looks almost identical to the one next to it. Front lawns are neatly trimmed, houses are tightly packed into quaint little rows and small neighborhood shops where ice cream feels like it should be a nickle. All of this seems like a familiar suburban anonymity.

No special shops or grand commerce is located in the district. A basic commercial plaza serves the communities shopping needs. Chain fast food restaurants are paraded near the entrances of the plaza. After that, the area is dotted with a couple markets, small restaurants, a deli and a handful of small businesses. For those younger, two great schools serve the district, Lakeshore Alternative Elementary and Lowell High School.

There are a few perks that the neighborhood boasts. San Francisco zoo lays within close proximity to Parkside Panhandle, sharing its eastern border. To the north lies Lake Merced, an attractive location for joggers and byciclists. Public transportation is also convenient with lines 23 and 29 running east and west. For those commuters heading north, the L car heads downtown.

The neighborhood is relatively safe with criminal activity of little to no concern among the locals. However, the weather is. Since Parkside Panhandle lies close to the Pacific Ocean, it is victim to windy overcast conditions almost 2/3 of the year. But on days where the sun comes out, residents have the luxury of having the ocean so close.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Suburban Rhapsody in a California Key"

Streets so clean they look as if they’d been vacuumed. Manicured lawns. Topiary sculpted to look like a poodle. Ersatz French chateau, Tuscan villa, Spanish colonial, Dutch farmhouse, and faux Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. A garage (sometimes two) with every home. The place is as close as San Francisco gets to a classic suburb. It’s predictable without being cookie-cutter, typical without being uniform.

This is Parkside Panhandle, one of San Francisco’s late-20th century western neighborhoods. It shares the fog, wind, and the zoo with the rest of the city, though it looks very much as if it could belong anywhere up and down the Peninsula—or for that matter, Middle America. And yet, this being California, there’s something totally West Coast about it as well: xeriscaped yards, no telephone poles, the absence of deciduous trees and a plethora of evergreen shrubs and pines. The final attribute is that the Pacific Ocean lies only a few blocks away. Hence the fog and wind, but also clean air and a Mediterranean climate that allows palm and even citrus trees to grow here.

Though this place owes part of its name to the area of the Sunset District directly north from it across Sloat Boulevard (Parkside is a much older development, with some homes dating from the early 1900s), Parkside Panhandle was developed primarily after World War II, when the Sunset had filled in and tracts south of it were opened around Lake Merced, the freshwater lake that had served a century before as one of San Francisco’s primary sources of water. The westernmost section of Parkside Panhandle, separated from its eastern side by Sunset Boulevard as it is indeed shaped like the bulbous end of a pan’s handle. In these semicircular blocks (Lakeshore, Country Club, and Huntington Drives), 1960s modern houses are spaced evenly, each with front, back and side yards, and all with a driveway leading to a garage and a prominent doorway on the ground level, with living space above, mimicking the style of home found elsewhere throughout the neighboring Sunset District.
The area’s residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are a diverse group: about 50 percent white, 40 percent Asian, about 6 percent Latino of any race, and the rest of mixed race. They are middle-aged (median age is 45, with more than a quarter retired), and comfortable if not affluent, with a median household income of $75,000. Nearly everyone owns his or her home.
The area is perhaps best known for bordering the campuses of two of San Francisco’s best schools (which themselves sit side by side on Eucalyptus): Lowell High and Lakeshore Alternative Elementary. Lowell High, which got a coveted 10 out of 10 rating by GreatSchools and was rated 28th in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report, is known for attracting college-bound students, with an almost 100 percent graduation rate, with the largest number of graduates entering the University of California system, primarily at Berkeley and Davis. Lakeshore Alternative Elementary, rated 7 out of 10 by GreatSchools, is noted for its strong parental participation and art enrichment programs.

Lake Merced’s northern finger borders Parkside Panhandle on its southern side, along Lake Merced Boulevard. The lake’s sidewalks and paths present joggers and walkers a fine circuit around the lake’s perimeter, and at many points offer access to the lake as well. Near the parking lot off Lake Merced Boulevard stands the Juan Bautista de Anza statue, removed from in front of Mission Dolores as “offensive” to the community’s sensibilities, but perhaps more appropriate here, as the lake was among one of the first places the Spanish explorer visited in the Bay Area.
Another statue has found a home nearby as well. Though it’s technically not in Parkside Panhandle, one of the last remaining Doggie Diner icons now stands guard nearby on Sloat Boulevard at 45th Avenue, smack dab in the median, surveying westbound traffic. The chain of Doggie Diner restaurants, with their cartoonish Dachshund heads, were common in the western half of San Francisco in the 1960s. The chain was sold in 1979, and the last diner with the name Doggie Diner closed in 1986. The fate of the iconic dogs became a matter of civic pride, and a committee raised awareness and the funds to permanently locate one of the last remaining Doggie Diner heads in a prominent spot. It now welcomes visitors to Ocean Beach from 45th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, greeting all who come west—and representing the serious silliness of San Francisco.
The only commercial area in the neighborhood is a prosaic shopping center, the Lakeshore Plaza, notable for its banal architecture and outsized parking lot. Here, residents can shop for groceries, sporting goods, discount clothing, and pet supplies, and see a doctor or dentist in one of the smaller storefronts. There are also a couple of owner-operated Asian restaurants mixed in with the chain fast-food outlets. Although not ideal, the center serves a clientele from a wide radius in the neighborhood. It even consults a neighborhood group about changes to the overall center as well as soliciting support for new tenants.
Public transit is a straightforward matter: the No. 23 bus goes east/west along Sloat Boulevard (the neighborhood’s northern limit), and the No. 29 skirts Lake Merced Boulevard along the area’s southern border before turning onto Sunset Boulevard and points north. The L Taraval streetcar is an option for downtown commuters, traveling from its eastern terminus near Sloat Bouvelard and 46th Avenue Parking to Civic Center, Union Square, and the Financial District in about half an hour.

Parking is not an issue if you own a home here, as most residences have one- or two-car garages. It’s also generally fairly easy to park on the streets, though near Lowell High during school hours, the influx of cars can make finding a spot difficult; likely for that reason, the city’s Department of Parking and Traffic has issued residential parking permits “DD” for certain streets.

Crime in the area is light, and generally follows a trend for the western half of San Francisco: scattered noise nuisances, graffiti, a car theft or break-in here and there, a few burglaries, and the rare assault. There have been no homicides in three years.

Though the area has seen some foreclosures in the recent economic downturn, prices have stabilized somewhat. Still, the neighborhood is considered something of a bargain for its relatively new housing stock, stability of the area, and proximity of good schools. A three-bedroom/one-bathroom single-family home on Forest View Drive recently listed for $799,000. The rare condo or co-op is generally in the low $400,000 range. There are no apartment buildings (though some homes have “granny” units on the garage level that are rented to college students and young professionals—even as their legality is questionable); one three-bed/two-bath home near Sloat Boulevard was lately advertised at $2,800.
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 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"A great location perfect for anyone!"

Parkside Panhandle is located directly east of the San Francisco Zoo. That means that you are close to the water and to Lake Merced. You are also south of Sigmund Stern recreation area, which is 33 acres and very much stands on its own. During the summer, you can find free performances and concerts at Sigmund Stern. Needless to say, Parkside Panhandle is a prime location close to lots of fun things to do.

Many families with kids live in this neighborhood, not just because of its proximity to the zoo, but also because of the convenience of this part of town. However, be forewarned that this neighborhood is pricey. There are a lot of big houses, and you have to "pay to play." However, with that said, I have seen apartments for rent in Parkside Panhandle at fairly decent prices, so all hope may not be lost!

There are a ton of restaurants in this part of town. If you head just a bit North to Taraval street, you have a wide variety of different types of stores too. There is also Parkside Farmer’s Market, which is a very nice addition to this neighborhood. It’s not an actual farmer’s market, but instead a produce/grocery store with a Middle Eastern flair.
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 5/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"This place has it all"

The Parkside Panhandle has just about everything if you think about it. There are nice homes, schools, places to eat, shopping centers, parks, and recreational activity opportunities.

First, the homes; the homes in Parkside vary but they are very nice and big. Many of them are placed in a suburban style setting. Some of these houses even have three stories. And just about all of them have very nice looking, green lawns. The neighborhood in general is just very clean and nice. Definitely a great place to raise a family and kids.

There are several schools near the neighborhood which include Lakeshore Elementary and Lowell High. These schools are high esteemed schools; another plus to living in Parkside, your children might be able to get into these schools.

In the Parkside Panhandle there is a very well-populated shopping center, I call it the Sloat Mall, I’m not even sure what the actual name of the center is. Anyways, there are many places to eat there including Arby’s, Quiznos, Hawaiian, Thai, and many more choices. I haven’t tried all the restaurants here, but I would definitely recommend coming here when eating out.

There are a lot of places to shop at in this shopping center. There is a Gamestop, Ross, Albertsons, Kinkos, Big 5, etc. You can get just about everything in this shopping center.

There are two big parks nearby and a small lake, great place to just sit there in the sun for a little tan while reading a book. Or you can just go there for a stroll or to play catch with your pet. There is also a little sidewalk along Lake Merced which is very populated with joggers, bikers, and all sorts of people exercising.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5
2yrs+

"Go East Young Man!"

The best thing about Parkside Panhandle is its proximity to everywhere else. The closeness to Golden Gate Park is great. The terrain is flat and there is not the heavy traffic congestion that you find in some of the other San Francisco neighborhoods.

Most of the restaurants and nightlife hotspots are nearby as well. Places like Club Waziema (Ethiopian cuisine) and the Page (a local and tourist favorite if you like ski-cabin feeling bars that are a overly crammed).

Panhandle neighborhood parking is pretty good. There is lots of room and it doesn’t take thirty or more minutes to locate a spot within walking distance of your destination. The fog does set in during summer. My advice is to head east!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"Ride Like the Wind"

If you own a bike and you enjoy riding in a mostly flat area, this is actually a part of San Francisco where you can get a good ride in without too much traffic, too many traffic devices, nor too many hills. Be careful of cars on Sloat as you ride west toward the Ocean, though it shouldn't be too much trouble as it is a main road and fairly wide. When you hit Lakeshore, turn left and head down to Lake Merced.

A ride around the lake is a great way to go, heading back up Skyline toward Sloat. If you're up for the challenge and want a few hills, take Sunset Blvd. north to Golden Gate. Or you can simply stop and rest by Lake Merced and enjoy the view of the water.

If you're traveling by car, remember to leave extra time to get around here in the summer, especially on weekends.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

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Best Streets in Parkside Panhandle

1

Eucalyptus Dr

3.5/5
"A Small Street with a Big School"
37.7308459222186 -122.486585418194
2

Gellert Dr

3.5/5
"Amazing view of the bay"
37.7297087646449 -122.49079768636
3

Forest View Dr

3.5/5
"A street that is very busy before and after school."
37.7333485000196 -122.483704999063
4

Sylvan Dr

3.5/5
"Close to schools and shopping centers"
37.7332355000062 -122.485459999154
5

Riverton Dr

3/5
"A nice street near many things."
37.733759000005 -122.48726299988
"A friendly street near Lowell High"
37.7332730000287 -122.484584499093
7

Havenside Dr

3/5
"Very close to schools and shopping centers"
37.7316450000027 -122.489714999823
"Very nice street in a great neighborhood."
37.731493500006 -122.490554499727
9

Inverness Dr

3/5
"Inverness Drive: Many places to go"
37.7333495000198 -122.482819999105
"Mostly Low Houses"
37.7337195000008 -122.488142999878

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