7.2 out of 10

Portola

Ranked 52nd best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.727438679855 -122.410845310272
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Cost of Living
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Public Transport
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Eating Out
  • Shopping Options
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Jun 17, 2017

"Cool Little Up-and-Coming Neighborhood With A Strong Community"

What we like:
We bought here about 3 years ago, moved from the Mission, and have grown to love this funky little neighborhood. It's no "sNOEwy Valley" and we are totally cool with that. Instead, It's a unique working class "old San Francisco" community that's getting nicer without getting exclusive. You will know your neighbors here - if you make the effort, it will be returned. Our neighbors close our garage door if we leave it open and collect our FedEx packages if we are not home. There is a strong and active community of neighbors committed to making the neighborhood a good place to live and in the short time we have been here, it looks to be making a difference. Murals by local artist have been popping up and once neglected and overgrown areas are being turned into gardens slowly. While the neighborhood is not as green as we would like to see it, the massive McLaren Park more than makes up for our need for nature. It's vast and lush and a walk through the eucalyptus or redwood groves recharges us when the pressure of the city becomes too much. It also helps that this neighborhood is sunny (and very windy at times) so when the rest of SF in fogged in, we pretty much see the sun in Portola every day of the year-if only for an hour.

Businesses:
A strong neighborhood association is attracting interesting new businesses to San Bruno Ave. (the neighborhood's main street). A new mircobrewery opened up last year and while it's not inexpensive, it has become a gathering spot for all walks of life in the community with it's award winning beers. The neighborhood brunch spot, Breakfast At Tiffany's, was recently renovated and has become very popular with large servings of tasty high quality meals that attracts a diverse crowd. There is also several places to get coffee with Four Barrel being a hidden away gen for the neighborhood. A cool little park and free library that community volunteers maintain is next to the coffee shop, providing a great place to meet neighbors or relax. The majority of San Bruno Ave businesses are Asian and Mexican restaurants, markets and herbalists. Some are good and others aren't but they all help to create a bustling street atmosphere during the day that reminds me of 24th street in the Mission years ago.

A new grocery store opened this year, Grocery Outlet. While we didn't think much of it before it opened, we are total converts now. The Portola store is new, clean and well stocked with a lot of organic and specialty items. We still supplement with other stores like Rainbow or TJ's but this place is great for everyday basics and it's constantly changing. It's also walk able and the parking lot is nice. Owned and run by a Portola resident and feels well run.

Residential Area & Crime:
The residential part of the neighborhood could use more trees (community groups working on that too) but the houses have huge back yards and are generally well built. Not many typical SF Victorians but a lot of variation including charming Mediterranean style bungalows, a lot of art deco and mid-century homes waiting to be appreciated. Some neighbors feel the crime is high due to fear mongering on Nextdoor.com (where everyone goes to complain) but we don't feel unsafe here. It's still the city and we treat it as such when walking around at night or remembering to lock the front door. .

Since the city is growing out, many of the once single family homes are being rented to multiple roommates or large multi-generational families. This means that while most houses have garages, there are a lot more cars and parking is becoming tight if you don't have a garage. Still better than most other neighborhoods though. The upside is that the added population density and influx of 20-somethings is slowly changing the vibe for the better IMO.

Location & Transit:
If you want one toe in the city and one toe out, this is a good place for you. We are in our 30s now and while we want access to all our old haunts, we also want space, some peace and a yard. All with the density of a walkable urban community. From the Portola, all of our favorite areas of the city for culture and food (Castro, Mission, Hayes, Downtown, SOMA, etc) are only a 10 minute Lyft/Uber ride away. Public transit to downtown is easy on the 8x or 9 buses which run very often and can be crowded. Depending on which side of the neighborhood you are on, Glen Park Bart or Muni T line are fairly close by depending if you mind walking or taking a 5 minute bus ride. Bike access to downtown is flat through the Mission and along 3rd and car access can't be beat. The proximity to 101 and 280 mean that most areas of the Bay Area are easy to get to including SFO, silicon valley and Oakland. I work in downtown SF and my partner is in Palo Alto so this is the perfect location to get in and out of the city easily.

LGBTQ:
We never expected to find such a large and active community here. Portola and Bayview appear to be a new destination for couples and families that have been priced out of, or are a bit tired of, the Castro & Bernal. The neighborhood association now holds a Drag Queen Bingo fundraiser every year that is hosted by a Portola Drag Queen (who knew?). This year was also the first "Portola Pride" event at the Brewery to kick off pride month for the neighborhood. There is even now a prominent rainbow painted house perched up on the hill overlooking the neighborhood.

Changes We Would Like:
More beautification and greenery in the neighborhood to sum up in one sentence. As another review called it, "a diamond in the rough." This neighborhood has the potential to be very charming with wide streets, classic California architecture and plenty of nice light. Since we have lived here, the trash on the streets has gotten better, more houses are being painted and little bits of greenery are popping up. San Bruno Ave. could use monthly powerwashings too but we will take gritty over vanilla any day.
Pros
  • Strong Community Spirit
  • Getting Nicer
  • Cool businesses Starting to Open
  • Affordable Houses
  • Relatively Safe
  • Great Parks
  • some restaurants
  • Okay Restuarants
Cons
  • Lack of trees
  • Close to Crime
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
2yrs+

"Affordable, Good for Couples and Families Who Wish to be Close to the City"

I lived with my friend in Portola for several months in 2012 and 2013 (and have visited for short periods of time many, many times). Overall, the neighborhood is fairly run down. There are a few great Pho restaurants, but the area is fairly lacking in in bars or great restaurants. Very diverse population, you'll be in the extreme minority if you're caucasian.

Only a short drive to to SFO. The 8X gets you downtown fairly easily, and runs every 15-20 minutes. The 9 will take you closer to Mission on a slightly longer/slower route to downtown. Unfortunately, there isn't a BART stop that is easily walkable, you'd likely want to take a cab to the 24th street station to get on.

The plus of the neighborhood is that its affordable comparatively to other nearby neighborhoods. The Mission, where a lot of startups reside and is in extremely high demand, isn't too far away.
Pros
  • Affordable Houses
  • Relatively Safe
Cons
  • A Bit Run Down Looking
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
AlexH
AlexH The nearest Bart station is Glen Park, it's a 5-10 minute bus ride on the 44 line down Silver which goes all the way to Golden Gate Park. 8x runs every 8-10 minutes, gets you to SOMA/downtown in 10-20 depending on where you are going and runs all the way to the Wharf, Caltrain Bayshore Station and the T third light rail line are all fairly close as well and walkable depending on your location in the neighborhood. When you include 101 & 280 and consider the amount of rideshares driving through the area on 101, easy and multiple types of access in and out of the city is one of the main highlights of this neighborhood in my opinion,

Demographically, Portola is a little over 50% Asian, a little over 20% caucasian, a little over 20% Latino, 5% African American and the remainder is only categorized as "other".

To each their own opinion but I wouldn't call this neighborhood "fairly run down" compared to most urban areas, its much cleaner and well kept than the far pricer Mission but it could use some more trees.
2yrs+
Add a comment...
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Diamond in the Rough"

Part of me wants to tell everyone how great this neighborhood is and part of me doesn't want anyone to know how great this neighborhood is. How do I reconcile that?

One of the last bastions of affordable housing in San Francisco, the Portola is a quiet residential neighborhood that is sunny and friendly. I've become good friends with many of the neighbors that I have met. There's been house parties, dinner parties, and a holiday dinner. And heck, there was even a bingo night with sassy drag queens hosting. Who knew?!

A stone's throw away from the Bayview District, the Portola is diverse and feels like where all of the San Franciscans who are not tech millionaires live. Most people have never heard of it. It's second cheapest to Bayview, with less crime.

Where the Bayview District is like the next Williamsburg, the Portola is like the next Park Slope. You have families and regular people living and working to make the neighborhood better. San Bruno Ave., the main commercial strip, has a variety of ethnic restaurants (though mostly Chinese, Vietnamese, and Latin) and produce markets. There's a Four Barrel Coffee shop and soon a microbrewery. There is a vibrant and active neighborhood association striving to improve the community using Facebook and NextDoor. Projects to beautify and improve the neighborhood are already underway.

It's also right next to McLaren Park and two public pools are about five minutes away by car. Shhhhh! That's the biggest secret! Additionally, there's a recreation center nearby. If you're lucky enough to be on a hill, the views are AMAZING as well as offering you some exercise.

Being relatively far from downtown, it's actually really fast to get there by MUNI because the bus (8X, 8AX) takes the freeway and can get you downtown in 15-20 mins, surprisingly.

Is it a sexy neighborhood? No. It's not great if you're looking for nightlife and bars. But if you are past that and ready to settle down and want some extra leg room, this could be the perfect spot for you.
Pros
  • Friendly neighbors
  • Diverse community
  • Easy commute to downtown
  • Affordable Houses
  • Great Parks
  • Relatively Safe
  • some restaurants
Cons
  • Close to Crime
  • Under served by The City
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"A small town in the big city"

We love living here, close to everything, yet away just enough to be quiet with a small town feel. We can get to the airport or downtown in just ten minutes, biking to and from the neighborhood is getting easier, transit is busy but direct to everywhere you want to go, and access to the Saturday Alemany Farmers Market and McLaren Park can't be beat. The neighborhood is generally safe. Homes tend to be less expensive here, but prices are rising. New schools like SF School and Alta Vista are giving us much better education options. A vibrant neighborhood association is working hard to improve the appearance and offerings along San Bruno Ave.
Pros
  • Affordable Houses
  • Great Parks
  • Relatively Safe
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"Probably the best place to live in SF price wise in relation to amenities and location"

This part of town is the best for those who own a car and need to drive for work as there is still street parking available. It's literally a 1 minute drive to get onto the highway(101/280) yet you can still walk around if you'd like. Food is limited to ethnic(Asian/Mexican) but new spots are re/opening such as Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Some people are concerned about safety and theft and I will say that those fears are not unfounded. That being said, those concerns hold true for 99% of SF except for maybe St Francis Wood and Pac Height/Marina. Don't leave valuables/bags in your car and no one will smash your car window. Don't walk around staring at your phone and you'll be just fine.

I love living here and can only see this neighborhood getting even better.
Pros
  • Four Barrel Coffee
  • Affordable Houses
  • Great Parks
  • Relatively Safe
  • some restaurants
Cons
  • A Bit Run Down Looking
  • far removed
  • Under served by The City
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
2yrs+

"Decent neighborhood, cheap rent"

I have lived in Portola for a little over a year now. I previously lived in the East Bay where Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville all meet up. While I do feel slightly safer walking around Portola at night, my car has been stolen (and unharmed upon recovery) not once, but twice, from a few houses down the street. Both times, when at the Bayview Police Station, I flipped through the rap sheet and noticed many other car thefts in the neighborhood as well. If you want to move here and have an older model car, BUY A CLUB! Or install a kill switch or something. Protect your car!

Other than the abundance of car theft, I have had few other problems. My apartment is spacious with a great kitchen and an AMAZING view of the entire Bay Area. Close proximity to the high school does mean alot of noise from band practice (I swear, they only play ONE song). Being atop the hill also means parking is a nightmare if you don't have a spot to claim directly in front of your house. Also, there I have often seen and smelled skunks that stalk the area where I live. In fact, one night coming home from work, I had to wait until my downstairs neighbor parked in front the house and scared away the skunk that was hanging out right outside the entryway to my place. But these are manageable problems, and walking up the hill is a great way to get some exercise everyday.

The reason I moved here was the rent is way more affordable than anywhere else I looked in SF and I can get to and from work in less than 10 minutes by car. 15 if there is traffic. After commuting on BART and MUNI from the east bay and then driving across the bridge for a while, the practically non-existent commute makes it pretty much worth it for me.

Sure there aren't many lively social spots or great restaurants, but McLaren park is barely more than a stone's throw away and you can hop on the freeway and be in the heart of SF in 15 minutes. Sure, it would be nice not to have to worry about my car all the time and to be closer to all the great stuff SF has to offer. But there are way fewer gunshots at night than there were in the East Bay and you can't beat the rent.

Overall, its a decent place to live if you prefer affordable housing to nightlife and fancy restaurants, if you can tolerate the inconvenience of occasionally having your car stolen and if you don't mind skunk odor every now and again.
Pros
  • Affordable Houses
  • Great Parks
Cons
  • Difficult parking
  • Abundant car theft
  • Close to Crime
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Nice people, good weather, great views"

The Portola is a blue collar neighborhood on The City's southeast side. It is mostly residential with a busy commercial corridor, San Bruno Avenue. The Portola has two large parks, Palega Rec Center at Portola Park between Silliman and Wayland, Hamilton and Somerset and McLaren Park which has more than 300 acres of recreational space and spans from Burrows Street to Mansell. It has many hilly areas with great views of the bay and downtown. San Bruno Avenue has its challenges. There are a lot of restaurants with fairly good food at good prices, but there are few comfortable enough to sit and enjoy a meal as you would in other areas of The City. Portola Four Barrel, a trendy coffee shop, is slated to open in November of 2012 on Burrows Street at San Bruno Avenue which may help change attitudes about the area and ultimately the choices available. A Fresh and Easy grocery store opened in February 2012 at Silver Avenue and Goettingen and filled a need for a one stop shopping experience that was missing for more than three years. The neighborhood has a friendly feel with an active community working to improve the quality of life. The Portola Neighborhood Association is working to clean and green San Bruno Avenue, the Goettingen Neighbors Group maintains a community garden on Dwight and Goettingen and Help McLaren Park is working to make McLaren Park more beautiful and welcoming. A yearly garden tour takes place the last Saturday in September and benefits a scholarship fund at City College of San Francisco and work projects for students in the Portola. The elementary schools, private and public, are inviting and have fairly good ratings. The middle school and high school have their challenges. The neighborhood is among the most diverse in San Francisco with a high level of home ownership.
Pros
  • Great Parks
  • A lot of potential
  • Affordable Houses
  • Relatively Safe
  • some restaurants
Cons
  • Under served by The City
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 1/5
2yrs+

"A Bit Blah"

Portola looks like a lot of the neighborhoods to the south and west of SF. (I realize it is not very far west—I saying both south and west.) In other words, there are lots of smallish homes packed up against each other. In fact, despite being fairly far from the center of SF, the population density here matches about the average for the city as a whole. That means lots of people packed fairly close together.

This is a middle class neighborhood—roughly. Or to put it differently, the household incomes here are about average for SF—about $70K per year. To those who don’t live in SF this may sound like upper middle class, but you have to take in the cost of living in the Bay Area, which continues to be ridiculously high despite the Recession.

The census stats indicate that about half the population is Asian, and a quarter Hispanic. From the presence of a Ukrainian Catholic Church in the neighborhood, I assume that makes up much of the majority Asian population and that the other races are fairly equally distributed.

This might sound like a fairly nice middle class neighborhood in which to raise a family—and maybe it is, I don’t know for sure—but one of the drawbacks here are the schools. The local middle school, MLK, does pretty badly when it comes to State scores, with its students scoring below the national and state averages across the board (though usually not falling below the bottom third). The local high school to the east is even worse. So this might not be the best place to go in terms of educational opportunities. (There is a prep school just to the west, Cornerstone Academy—though I can’t vouch for their quality.)

The big worry, of course, when you are adjacent to high crime areas like Bay View and Silver Terrace is crime. Compared to Bay View which has roughly the same population, Portola has only about one fifth the number of crimes as its more infamous neighbor. Unfortunately, much of this crime is of the assault and burglary variety. So this is a bit of a concern.
Like in most places in the City you have to keep your wits about you. Overall, however, you are much safer than if you lived one mile to the east on the other side of the Bayshore Freeway.

The rents here are about as good as they get in SF, with a three bedroom going for between $2K and $3K and with several choices of this variety. Basically, I would say that anywhere you can rent houses with rooms going for under $1000/room in the Bay Area is pretty good.

Now the commute is not very nice here. I would not want to try to go into the City on the Bay Shore, but public transportation—Muni—is abundant and could definitely be a good option. Candlestick is also nearby, so as long as the 49ers continue to play there you could check them out.

There are some restaurants here. They are not the great SF restaurants that people come into the City for, but if you live in Portola they might be worth checking out. They are all mostly on San Bruno Blvd (the main drag in Portola) right next to the freeway—and they are predominantly Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants. So you would not have to go to far for some take out.

There are a couple of run of the mill bars here, which would be okay if you are hanging out with buddies and didn’t feel like driving anywhere, but which I would not call a real draw in themselves. In other words, no one is driving in to some to these places.

Put simply—this is the kind of neighborhood that might work if you are looking to save on rent but still be on this side of the Bay Bridge.
Pros
  • Affordable Houses
  • Okay Restuarants
  • Relatively Safe
Cons
  • Terrible Schools
  • Close to Crime
  • A Bit Run Down Looking
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A far off place"

Ahh, Portola, where do I begin? You’re a quiet, nothing-happening neighborhood just to the side of a major highway. You’re a little shady at night, but you’re an okay place to raise a family. But you’re so damn far away from the main San Francisco drag, someone living there can feel like they’re in a totally different place.

The scattering of businesses along James Lick Boulevard make it all worthwhile, though. Johnson’s Barbeque is one of the best BBQ places in San Francisco. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a great dinner place (despite it’s name!). Jim Georgie’s Donuts has pastries to rival bigger names like Bob’s. The San Bruno Café is a classic pit stop on any lazy day. And Yummy Bowl is one of the better pho spots in the city, even though this area is no pho hot spot.

Portola’s in good proximity to some of the lower gems in San Francisco, too. John McLaren park, one of SF’s biggest and least-known green spaces, is just blocks away. Bay View’s pretty shady, but a stroll around South Basin (in the daytime) makes the trip worth it. Same deal with Candlestick Point State Recreation Area: definitely take a look. And Visitacion Valley and Crocker-Amazon are both worth stroll-throughs if you’ve got nothing better to do.
Pros
  • some restaurants
Cons
  • far removed
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
citygalsf
citygalsf There is no James Lick Blvd. in the Portola. The main commercial strip is along San Bruno Ave. Unfortunately, with Mr. Johnson's recent death, the BBQ restaurant is now closed, and sorely missed. A relatively new gem is the "Fancy Wheatfield Bakery", a terrific source of Chinese pastries.
2yrs+
PortolaGardener
PortolaGardener We're anxiously awaiting Portola Four Barrel. It is to open at the dead end of Burrows at San Bruno Avenue in November 2012.
2yrs+
Add a comment...
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • 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+

"A nice little neighborhood for the family"

Portola is a pretty chill neighborhood. There isn’t much to do here in terms of entertainment or going out to restaurants or bars, just mostly homes. But if you’re looking for entertainment, food, shopping, bars, things like that, you might have to travel a good distance before find anything of that sort. This is because Portola is deep within a residential area of San Francisco. But I mean, if you’re a laid back person, who likes nature, the open outdoors rather than spending money, then I’d say Portola is a good neighborhood for you as Portola is a neighborhood that’s nature-filled. You have John McLaren Park, a big park, in the area, including a golf course and several playgrouns. There is also a basin, split up into two. There are also an abundant amount of schools in Portola. There are a few elementary schools, there is MLK Jr Middle School and Philip and Sala Burton High School. Living in this neighborhood would be great for raising a family, you have a great natural setting including nearby schools of all grades up until 12th grade. Commuting and transportation is quite adequate as well since the 101 and 280 freeway lies right next to Portola. Candlestick Park isn’t far from Portola as well.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 1/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"An Awesome Place To Live"

With easy access to both 101 and 280, this part of town is perfect for people who want to be near the city, but not in the heart of it, and also able to get to the south bay easily. I lived in Portola when I was working in Mountain View and the commute was often under 40 minutes during non rush hour times because I was so close to the highway. I also travelled a lot so this location made getting to and from the airport a breeze.

While eating out and the night life in this area are quite limited, you do have the amazing McLaren Park right near by with trees and open space as well as views and nature.

I did get my car stolen from this area -- right in front of my house. But it was recovered quickly (totaled, sadly). Still, the houses are mostly free standing with back and/or front yards and it's a great place for families.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5
2yrs+

"Check out the new library!"

Portola is a great neighborhood for kids and adults alike. Hilly streets, although not too hilly, make for a fun and energetic walk or jog. Our dog used to love to run her short little legs up and down these streets.

Have only eaten at one restaurant in Portola and would never return. Stay away from Wing Hing Restaurant – bad service and equally bad food. The food is cheap though, and they hang the meat in the window like most places in Chinatown storefronts.

The Portola Library is a great place to browse for those research books. Previously located on San Bruno, the library just moved into its new building this year (2009) and celebrated a grand opening in late February. Dana Zed, renowned artist, created art glass shutters near the entrance and the look is stunning.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

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Best Streets in Portola

1

Colby St

3.5/5
"Great views, large yards"
37.7228995536691 -122.411479821726
2

Dwight St

3.5/5
"Great views, but not much else"
37.7227540651857 -122.407130824615
3

Bacon St

2.5/5
"Near two basins"
37.7262734903988 -122.408804380683
4

Madison St

2.5/5
"A plain residential street"
37.7265973045149 -122.422841066477
5

Oxford St

2.5/5
"A pleasant, peaceful street"
37.7287415000273 -122.420450999803
6

Silliman St

2.5/5
"A residential street by Silver Ave."
37.7287867361706 -122.414462915274
7

Pioche St

2/5
"A street near schools"
37.7283012071676 -122.421360411735
"San Bruno Avenue: An Okay Place"
37.7289848156002 -122.404162639385
9

Mansell St

1.5/5
"Can be dangerous at night, beware"
37.7199424857477 -122.407651742747
10

Silver Ave

1.5/5
"A street that has access to many stores and parks"
37.7306903187603 -122.411179064794

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