8.5 out of 10

Presidio Heights

Ranked 7th best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.7884137170304 -122.453423680077
Great for
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Schools
  • Clean & Green
  • Internet Access
  • Resale or Rental Value
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Parking
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Singles
  • Trendy & Stylish

Reviews

5/5
2yrs+

"Huge Houses, Sweeping Bay Views"

Presidio Heights has some of San Francisco’s largest homes, on enviably ­private and quiet lots. Add that to sweeping views, great neighborhood shopping and dining, and easy access to the Presidio, and it’s clear why the area remains among the most expensive in the city.

The neighborhood boundaries run east-west from Presidio Avenue to Arguello Boulevard, and north-south from Pacific Avenue to California Street.

Most Presidio Heights homes for sale date from the early 1900s to the 1930s and are primarily Edwardian in style. Prices for condominiums and single-family residences range from $900,000 to well over $10 million.

Earlier this month, a six-bedroom home at 3524 Jackson St. sold for $12.5 million, and in 2005 former Gap CEO Mickey Drexler sold his Willis Polk-designed home for an undisclosed sum after listing it for $27 million.

In addition to its gracious, large homes, Presidio Heights offers residents easy access to numerous stores and restaurants in the Sacramento and Fillmore shopping districts and at Laurel Village, home to high-end grocery stores Cal-Mart and Bryan’s Grocery, Noah’s New York Bagels, Books Inc., and Rigolo Cafe & Restaurant.

Other neighborhood favorites include Garibaldi’s Restaurant, elegant eatery Spruce, popular brunch spot Magic Flute Garden Ristorante, and Yoko’s Designs in Flowers and Plantings. To catch a movie, head to the Vogue Theatre at Sacramento and Presidio or the Clay Theatre on Fillmore Street.

Julius Kahn Playground & Clubhouse at Jackson and Spruce offers two play structures, a sand pit, tennis courts, and soccer and baseball fields. Located at Clay and Walnut streets, the Presidio Heights Playground recently underwent a significant renovation thanks to a community group.

For families with children, many excellent schools are located nearby including San Francisco University High School, the Drew School, Town School for Boys, the Hamlin School, and Stuart Hall & Convent of the Sacred Heart.

To take in one of the most spectacular views in the city, head to the Lyon Street steps at Pacific and Lyon, which overlook the Palace of Fine Arts, the ocean, and beyond.
Pros
  • Stunning Architecture
  • Incredible Views
  • Near the Presidio
Cons
  • very expensive
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 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Land of the really rich"

Presidio Heights seems like a richer extension of Laurel Heights to the south or Pacific Heights to the east. All three of these neighborhoods would be a dream to live in, really. However, it will be only that: a dream (unless you're practically a millionaire). Residents here easily make over $100,000 a year and houses sell for the millions.

Presidio Heights stands out because it has the Presidio as its backyard. This vast expanse of greenery is one of the greatest parks in the city. If you live in Presidio Heights, then it's like having a natural fitness center nearby. You can run along the paths or just relax among the trees. You can even go camping in the Presidio.

This neighborhoods is near a lot of great restaurants and shops, which is surprising because it seems far from the busier areas of the city. There are many greats stores on California Street to go to and you can also hop down to Laurel Village, which has a grocery store. You'll also find good places to eat on Sacramento.
Pros
  • Near the Presidio
Cons
  • very expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Presidio Front Property"

Presidio Heights is often not even considered a neighborhood onto itself. Most people I know, in fact, would just consider this area either to be just the western end of Pacific Heights or, more likely, the northern most portion of Laurel Heights.

But I happened to drive through this area the other day, and I must say that its 38 blocks do have a distinctive feel to them. Partly, it is just that the neighborhood faces the Presidio on the southern end, which looks a lot like Golden Gate Park.

Also though there is a fair amount of Tudor architecture here which makes the homes look a little bit different. Lots of stonework and wooden shingles. Lots of those stately square buildings modeled on English manors. Basically it looks like they took Beverly Hills and dropped it into SF. There are also a lot fewer Victorians which is a welcome change for SF if you have lived here for a while. (Victorians are lovely but, just like eating burritos every day, they can get old.)
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
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 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A small high class neighborhood next to the historic Presidio"

Presidio Heights is a really nice neighborhood residing next to the Presidio of San Francisco, the big green forest-like area just north of the Presidio Heights. Living in this neighborhood is great, great for singles, couples, and families. This neighborhood is for people of higher class though, the homes here are big and magnificent and definitely have the style of homes back in the 80s-90s, or like what you’d see in the TV show Full House, although the setting of that TV show wasn’t in this neighborhood, the homes there have some resemblance to the homes in the Presidio Heights. Not only are the streets of Presidio decked out with these big nice homes, but also with a lot of beautiful, green flourishing trees, which really brings out the colors of the Presidio Heights during sunny days.

The great thing about living in Presidio Heights is that you’re right next to the Presidio of San Francisco. If you ever want to go for a peaceful stroll, you won’t have to go far. As you go through the Presidio of San Francisco you’ll also get to experience a bit of San Francisco’s history as the Presidio use to be a US Military Base and a Spanish fort before that. The buildings you see in the Presidio definitely emit an older feel to them.

Living in Presidio Heights you are also very close to the action of California Street where you will be able to find a few places to shop at and places to eat at.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"A Classier Class of Upper Class"

You may not have heard of this somewhat exclusive district, or if you have, you can’t think of exactly how to get there or a good reason to go in the first place—which is exactly the way the people who live here want it. Presidio Heights is home to many of San Francisco’s “quiet” millionaires, people who don’t wish to flaunt their fame and (especially) fortune in the same manner as those who live in Pacific Heights or even the Marina do. Many of the homes here equal those found in Sea Cliff for sheer grandeur (and many exceed the standard for good taste as well). Yet they all exude a certain style indicative of their owners’ good breeding—a classic “classiness” not always found in much of the rich and well-to-do.

The demographics here also differ from those of other “upper class” enclaves in San Francisco. First of all, this is a more diverse population. Of the neighborhood’s 6,000 residents, about 85 percent are white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly 8 percent are Asian, with the remaining 7 percent African American or of two or more races. They are approaching midlife (median age is 38), and all share a certain financial ease (median annual household income is $145,000) and about 45 percent own their homes, while the rest rent.

One thing they all share is well-built domiciles. This being an area built primarily after the 1906 earthquake that tumbled much of San Francisco, the housing is of sturdy construction, much of it brick (reinforced since the Loma Prieta quake in 1989). Most prominent single-family homes (found generally along Washington, Jackson, and Pacific) are set back from the street, with imposing facades. Two Georgian-revival piles stand on opposing northern corners at Laurel and Jackson, their red-brick exteriors seemingly challenging the other for dominance. There are other examples of extraordinary architecture as well: Temple Emanu-El, designed by noted local architect Arthur Brown Jr. and completed in 1926, is inspired by the Haggia Sophia in Istanbul and has gathered many an admiring glance, perfectly sited on a rise at Lake and Arguello. And the Swedenborgian Church, at Washington and Lyon streets, is a registered national historic landmark famous for its founder’s desire to achieve a “poetry of architecture”—which in this case is a wonder of eclectic design, melding elements of Romanesque, mission revival, and arts-and-crafts styles. (Its small congregation maintains the chapel mainly by renting it out for weddings.) The Russell House, at 3788 Washington, was designed by the famous German-Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn, one of the Bay Area’s prime proponents of streamline-moderne style. It occupies the site of the childhood home of Madeline Haas-Russell, who had the newer home built between 1947 and 1952.

But for the real-deal mansions here, have a gander at Presidio Terrace, a strange and beautiful development within Presidio Heights, a “gated” community (the iron-and-stone entrance is not staffed, meaning the uninvited can drive around for a look). The fine homes are an oddly harmonious mix of Tudor revival, mission revival, beaux arts and other styles, built to entice wealthy San Franciscans to stay in the city after the devastation of the 1906 quake and fire. The development includes a circular drive (also called Presidio Terrace), with palm-tree “islands” spaced appealingly around it. The place harks back to an age when racial covenants were common; its 1915 advertisements reflect the less-than subtle prejudices of the day: "There is only one spot in San Francisco where only Caucasians are permitted to buy or lease real estate or where they may reside. That place is Presidio Terrace." Homeowners here had to sign a contract stipulating that they would re-sell only to whites; in some cases, those restrictions weren’t removed until decades later. Today, when these homes come on the market, they are priced in the millions—a beaux-arts mansion designed by famed architect George Applegarth in 1911 listed recently at $10 million. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein once had a home here (which she sold in favor of another mansion with a view on the Lyons Street Steps in Pacific Heights).

The newly accessible Presidio, on the other side of Pacific Street in the neighborhood’s northern end, is likely the most favored public park, its golf course within easy reach (at the Arguello entry) and the Julius Kahn Playground right off Pacific Avenue at Locust Street.

The main shopping strip of Presidio Heights is along California, between Spruce and Laurel (in the appropriately named Laurel Village). Here, there are two grocers, one high-end (Bryan’s, noted for its fish and meats) the other more everyday (Cal-Mart, with a much lauded produce department), plus the usual array of boutiques, specialty stores, restaurants and chains that cater to the area’s middle-class clientele: Gap, Chico’s, Starbucks, Pasta Pomodoro, Walgreen’s, Standard 5&10 Ace Hardware. On-street parking here can be difficult, though a small lot on the back side of Laurel Village on Mayfair Drive alleviates the situation.

A separate, less-congested shopping district also lines Sacramento west of Lyon Street. It is home to a number of small, cozy, and somewhat expensive restaurants (Sociale, Magic Flute, Osteria, Spruce) and shops (Threshold, Ark Toy Store, Nicolette, Waterlillies), along with a dozen or so salons and spas that cater to the area’s more affluent residents. It also hosts the Vogue Theater, a small, nearly 100-year-old single-screen moviehouse owned by the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation. Again, on-street parking can be difficult, depending on the time of day. Many residents in this fairly congested neighborhood have cars (but no garage space), utilizing the “F”- and “G”-coded residential parking permits that enable them to occupy a space on the street beyond the two- or three-hour limit.

One of this neighborhood’s big assets is the Jewish Community Center on California Street and Presidio Avenue. This large, modern building, designed by architect Kevin Hart and dedicated in 2004, houses a fitness center, space for performances and lectures, art gallery, teen center, and rooms for classes and programs. It was created to be a “Jewish square” in scope, emphasizing Jewish religion and culture, but is ecumenical in spirit, open to all and featuring activities that appeal not only to the Jewish community but to all civic-minded and arts-minded people in the Bay Area.

Though a great many residents drive cars to get around, public transit buses are available as well, primarily along California Street, where options include the Nos. 1 and 2 (along with an express version of the No. 1). The No. 43 skirts the neighborhood along Presidio Avenue, while the No. 33 makes a small rectangle on the southern edge of the district before heading back down Arguello Boulevard. Likewise, the No. 3 circles the Jewish Community Center before turning back to Union Square.

As for public schools, there is a campus of the award-winning Claire Lilienthal Elementary School (which got a 10 out of 10 rating by GreatSchools) on Sacramento Street. But if you own a home here, you probably have enough ready assets to send your kids to private school, and a number of them exist in the neighborhood (or nearby) for that very reason. Presidio Hill School (K-8) on Washington; Marin Day Schools Laurel Heights (on the border of the neighborhood, off Laurel and California); Town School for Boys (in Pacific Heights)—the list goes on.

The California Campus of Sutter Health’s California Pacific Medical Center occupies a full block bounded by California, Sacramento, Maple, and Cherry. The facility, which includes more than 400 beds, is rated at or above average in the seven primary service categories evaluated by HealthGrades.

The area is relatively safe, with a generally low crime rate. As with many commercial areas, the blocks fronting Laurel Village on California as well as along Sacramento have frequent noise nuisance violations, as well as the once-in-a-while intoxicated person and assault. Because of the wealth concentrated here, strong-arm robberies and burglaries in any three-month period are occasional, with vehicle theft and break-in on the rise, emulating a pernicious trend in the city. But no homicides have been committed in the last three years.

According to Trulia, the neighborhood never really slipped in the latest downturn, unless you count “slip” in terms of tens of thousands of dollars. Given that median prices here are in the $1.6 to $2 million range, the status quo means that you won’t be able to find any bargains. Otherwise, it’s location, location, location: If you want something on the southern side of the district (i.e., Clay or Sacramento streets, or Arguello Boulevard), you can still find homes and condos under $1 million. Elsewhere, it’ll cost you: upward of $3 million for a six-bedroom, four-bath single-family home on Laurel Street. Rentals are likewise pricey, with studios starting at about $1,500, one bedroom apartments going for around $2,100, and a three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo fetching more than $5,000 a month. As with many areas where exterior image is a factor, you pay not only for your inside walls but for the outside ones as well.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"Unbelievable Site to See"

This area of town features large houses on some hills steep enough to wind you when you walk up them if you’re out of shape. There are several spaces in this area that feature brick and have a bit of an older feel to them. The housesBiker’s will enjoy the more modest hill on Presidio with a marked bike lane and slick pavement.

Enjoy all the cute little boutiques along Sacramento around Presidio and Baker. For those who enjoy the movies but don’t like the multiplex feeling, you can enjoy the old school movie stylings at the theatre at Presidio and Sacramento.

The really amazing part of this area of town is the unique and beautiful brick building on the corner of Arguello and Clay. This Dome shaped building (I assume it is a Church of some kind) is magnificent to look at and pretty shocking to happen upon as you go west on Clay.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5
2yrs+

"Urban and ritzy Presidio Heights"

Most of the real estate in Presidio Heights consists of two-level single family homes that include those highly coveted front, back, and even side yards. The neighborhood has wide and flat streets that are quiet and heavily tree-lined, making for an excellent environment to raise a family. Not surprising that the California Pacific Medical Center (nicknamed the "baby factory") is right next door.

If you are looking for coffee, you have come to the right area. There is never a shortage of Peet's or Starbucks. Two nice-sized supermarkets also in the neighborhood include: Cal-Mart and Bryan's Grocery. There's great shopping at Books Inc, Standard 5 and 10, or any number of children's stores such as Gymboree, Gap Kids, and Junior Boot Shop.

Youll also find a cluster of shops at California and Presidio, including the Jewish Community Center, the stylish Laurel Inn, and much more.

If you walk up the hill about a block to Sacramento Street, you will also find a great collection of high-end clothing boutiques, jewelry stores, and day spas. Presidio Heights has it all and then some.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Travelling to Presidio Heights?

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Best Streets in Presidio Heights

1

Presidio Ter

4.5/5
"A Loop of Manors"
37.7881099857548 -122.460360051635
2

Cherry St

3.5/5
"For Wealthy Doctors and Their Families"
37.7864640000337 -122.456779999399
3

Spruce St

3.5/5
"Very nice houses!!"
37.7886051334134 -122.453845922164

Unranked Streets in Presidio Heights

"Maple: A pretty nice street"
37.7863903693735 -122.453616916004

Locust St

2.5/5
"Locust & California - great shopping area"
37.7866574744077 -122.451766708858

Laurel St

3.5/5
"Swanky neighborhood, great access to shops and the Presidio"
37.7886447124933 -122.450480428747

Lyon St

3.5/5
"The Lyon's Share of Pre-Quake Homes"
37.790122571381 -122.445935138228
"Beautiful Historic Homes for CEOs and Friends"
37.7894012953386 -122.451569440408

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