Pacific Heights, San Francisco
Lowest: $1.9 million
Median home price: $3.9 million
Highest: $32 million
Home Price/Square Feet
Average no. of Beds: 5
Average no. of Baths: 5
Median square feet: 4,297
There’s no other neighborhood in San Francisco that exudes quiet elegance quite like Pacific Heights. Lined with architecturally significant homes and a select few consular offices, this is where many of the city’s elite live.
Living in Pacific Heights comes with a lot of perks for those who can afford the price of admission: a serene environment shielded from the urban bustle, acres of lush green space, proximity to some of the Bay Area’s top attractions, and a high-end selection of homes that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the city.
The crème de la crème of San Francisco real estate, Pacific Heights naturally attracts the wealthy and influential. If you’re in the market for a home in this part of SF, here is everything you need to know about the neighborhood.
WELCOME TO PACIFIC HEIGHTS
Pacific Heights– sometimes referred to as Pac Heights– occupies an enviable location in San Francisco: its geographical heart, covering less than a square mile. It is bordered by Van Ness Avenue to the east, Presidio Boulevard to the west, Green Street to the north, and California Street to the south. And with Pacific Heights’ 370-feet perch on a ridge, the neighborhood features sweeping of the bay and the rest of San Francisco.
From this sought-after location, residents have easy access to the city’s bustling commercial areas and top attractions. The Presidio, a vast recreational park that was once a US military outpost, is just within walking distance to the west. The Financial District and Union Square are both a 10-minute drive away, while the southern section of San Francisco can be reached well within 30 minutes. Additionally, Silicon Valley is less than an hour by car.
- Lower Pacific Heights is relatively more affordable, with its fair share of Victorian-style homes from the 19th century. The neighborhood is known for its distinct jazz and blues culture, as well as being right next door to SF’s Japantown, where you’ll find a unique retail and restaurant selection.
- Cow Hollow is a community that strikes a careful balance between tranquility and vibrancy. As one of the smallest neighborhoods in SF, there’s a sense of calm that’s hard to find anywhere else. At the same time, it’s within convenient walking distance to a decent range of galleries, shops, restaurants, and outdoor spaces.
- Nob Hill is one of SF’s original seven hills. Prominent for its legacy of affluence (mining and railroad titans made this neighborhood their home), this posh community has some of the most expensive homes in the city. Many of its historic mansions have been beautifully restored as luxury hotels.
- Marina District is situated along SF’s northern shore and is home to the Palace of Fine Arts, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Aside from its picturesque waterfront, this affluent enclave is highly desired for its serene environment and proximity to classy restaurants and watering holes.
A short history of Pacific Heights
The Ohlone people were the first settlers of San Francisco and much of Northern California — long before the neighborhood of Pacific Heights came to be. New settlers arrived in the area during the mid 1800s, as the city’s population continued to grow following the California Gold Rush.
In the 1870s, a series of fairly modest Victorian-style homes began to crop up in Pacific Heights. And with quite a few business tycoons moving to the community, such as the Spreckels and the de Youngs, Pacific Heights slowly became one of the choice addresses for SF’s upper crust.
After the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, many prominent families in the surrounding area moved into Pacific Heights to rebuild their vast estates. Since then, the neighborhood has always been associated with monied families and industry titans.
PACIFIC HEIGHTS REAL ESTATE
Homes in Pacific Heights, even with their premium pricing, are some of the most coveted slices of San Francisco real estate. Its housing inventory is an upscale roster of stately single-family units, restored mansions, and renovated apartment buildings. You’ll also find a small selection of condos and multi-family properties.
Home prices can range anywhere between $600,000 and $30 million. At the eight figure mark, you’ll typically get upwards of 10,000 sq. ft. of living space, a great location in the neighborhood’s elevated eastern section, and spacious outdoor areas where you can enjoy panoramic city views.
The Victorian, Edwardian, Spanish, and French Chateau styles epitomize the neighborhood’s architectural character, but you’ll also find Traditional and a few contemporary-style homes. Much of the neighborhood remained intact after the 1906 earthquake and you can find a good number of homes that date back to the turn of the 20th century.
Famous homes in Pacific Heights
- The Spreckels Mansion at 2080 Washington. Popularly known as the current home of best-selling author Danielle Steel, who acquired it in the late 1960s. Prior to the sale, the palatial French Chateau mansion was owned by the highly illustrious Spreckels family. The property was originally a single Victorian-style mansion when Adolph Spreckels bought it as a gift to his wife Alma. The Spreckels had it converted into an even larger French Classical abode, buying up several nearby Victorians in the process.
- “Full House” home at 1709 Broderick Street. This Victorian home in Pacific Heights became well known thanks to the famous 80s sitcom, Full House. The show was set in San Francisco and frequently featured the house and the Alamo Square neighborhood. To this day, there’s a few people who mistakenly think that the home is located in Alamo Square as it was portrayed in the show.
- The Mrs. Doubtfire house at 2640 Steiner Street. Just a few blocks away from Alta Plaza Park along Steiner Street is the home featured in the comedy film, Mrs. Doubtfire, where Robin Williams plays the role of voice actor Daniel Hillard and his alter ego, Euphegenia Doubtfire.
Learn more about Pacific Heights real estate and the rest of San Francisco by working with seasoned real estate agents in the city. Consider consulting Team Hatvany to find the best properties currently on the market.
LIFE IN PACIFIC HEIGHTS
Pacific Heights, despite its central location, is the very picture of a relaxing suburban community. Nightlife options may be lacking– even nonexistent– but the neighborhood makes up for this by providing residents with easy access to parks, well-rated schools, a bevy of locally owned restaurants, miles of hiking trails, and of course, that unbeatable view of San Francisco Bay.
Schools in the area
Family-oriented buyers will be pleased to know that the city is served by the San Francisco Unified School District, the seventh largest school district in California. Below is a glimpse of the educational options (private and public) available for young learners:
- Tule Elk Park Early Education
- San Francisco Public Montessori
- Convent & Stuart Hall K-12 Preparatory
- The Hamlin School for Girls
- Town School for Boys
- Drew School
- San Francisco University High School
- San Francisco Waldorf Grade School
- Saint Brigid School
Open spaces and outdoor spots
Lafayette Park and Alta Plaza Park are two public parks within the bounds of Pacific Heights. Both have scenic views of the city and the bay, and also feature playgrounds, sports facilities, and areas for dogs.
Just a short walk down the hill, Presidio National Park offers a vast 1,500-acre outdoor escape for SF’s residents and tourists. Aside from having some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge, thepark also has miles of trails, countless picnic spots, historic sites, and a beautiful golf course. The Presidio is divided into four sections:
- Main Post, where many first-time visitors are introduced to the Presidio. The Visitor Center, Presidio Tunnel Tops, and Presidio Officers’ Club can be found here.
- Crissy Field, a vast recreational space where runners, bikers, beachgoers, and birdwatchers enjoy the spectacular sights in the SF’s northwestern section.
- Golden Gate, the park’s western subsection where you’ll find rugged yet scenic trails, miles of pristine beach, as well as a number of historic sites like Fort Point and Battery Crosby.
- Southern Wilds, which covers nearly the entire southern half of the park, features a picturesque blend of forest, natural water sources, breathtaking overlooks, and manicured golf grounds.
- Marina Green, located along Marina Boulevard, is dog-friendly and offers a serene space to appreciate San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Various boats and yachts are docked in the area.
World-famous cultural attractions
- The Greco-Roman inspired Palace of Fine Arts was originally built for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. Since its unveiling, it has become a popular tourist spot and an upscale setting for various corporate gatherings, trade shows, weddings, and other private events.
- Located in Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum houses a vast collection of American art from the 17th century to the modern era. It also showcases African and Oceanic art. The museum was named in honor of Michael H. de Young — one of the notable former residents of Pacific Heights — after he made a $200,000 donation. He was a co-founder of the Daily Dramatic Chronicle, which eventually became the award-winning San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Legion of Honor, also located in Golden Gate Park, houses an extensive European art collection (Monet, Rembrandt, and Rodin are some of the highlights) and priceless ancient artifacts. The museum was founded by the prominent Spreckels couple, Adolph and Alma Spreckels. Together with the de Young Museum, these two institutions comprise the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
- The San Francisco Cable Car Museum contains several exhibits showcasing antique cable cars and photographs of the city’s early days adopting this mode of transportation.
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is the epicenter of modern and contemporary art in the Bay Area. The museum opened its doors to the public in 1935, featuring just over 1,000 art donations from Albert M. Bender’s private collection. Since then, that initial slate of artworks (mostly paintings and sculptures) has grown to over 33,000, with photography and media arts comprising a burgeoning portion of the collection.
- The Mission San Francisco de Asís is an essential piece of San Francisco history. Situated in the Mission Dolores neighborhood, this 1776 chapel was one of the first key structures in the Mission area and is now the city’s oldest intact building. It has witnessed several pivotal events, from the California Gold Rush during the mid 19th century to the devastating 1906 Earthquake.
Trendy restaurants and watering holes
Good dining is plentiful in and around Pacific Heights. Starting at Fillmore Street, you can find a decent selection of neighborhood restaurants. These include Chouquet’s, Jackson’s Fillmore Trattoria, and The Snug.
The vibrant stretch of Union Street is also full of cafés and local restaurants. Check out Sushi Hakko if you’re craving for some finely prepared sushi; Roam Artisan Burgers for custom gourmet burgers and excellent shakes; Kaiyo for a fusion between Peruvian and Japanese cuisine; and Flores San Francisco for delectable Mexican-style dishes and craft cocktails.
Although frequently packed with foodies and shoppers, the Marina District is where you’ll find several top notch establishments just a few blocks away from the edge of the bay. A few standouts you shouldn’t miss out on: Cultivar, Norcina, The Tipsy Pig, and Isa Restaurant.
Closer to home is SF’s historic Japantown, one of the few remaining Japantowns in the country. It has an eclectic roster of ramen houses, sushi bars, gift shops, and karaoke bars. The community’s roots go all the way back to the early 1860s. Ramen Waraku, Osakaya Restaurant, and Benihana are some of the most frequently visited restaurants in the area.
Vibrant commercial and retail areas
Union Square is home to an array of upscale shops, department store chains, and swanky hotels. Here, you’ll find the high-end Saks Fifth Avenue, the Westfield San Francisco Centre, Beacon Grand Hotel, and The Ritz-Carlton Club San Francisco. You can also head over to 555 Ninth Street is a busy urban shopping center located in the city’s South of Market (SoMA) neighborhood. It’s about a 10-minute drive from Pacific Heights.
Another retail option located nearby is Embarcadero Center, a one-stop shopping mall for all the essentials and some of the finest dining and entertainment options in the Financial District. And for those looking for high-quality Japanese products, Japan Center Malls in Japantown is the best place to shop.
WORK WITH SAN FRANCISCO’S #1 REAL ESTATE TEAM
Whether you have your sights on Pacific Heights real estate or you’re interested in exploring housing options in San Francisco’s storied neighborhoods, you’re in capable hands with Team Hatvany.
Local knowledge is essential to ensure a hassle-free homebuying experience. With a combined real estate experience of more than 60 years, Team Hatvany has assisted countless buyers and savvy investors find the right property in San Francisco. Led by Nina Hatvany, Paul Hatvany Kitchen, Natalie Hatvany Kitchen, and Vanessa Hatvany Kitchen, the brokerage prides itself on aligning your real estate options with your overarching financial priorities for maximum return on investment.