SF Neighborhoods

Sleek lifestyle at 200 Brannan #506 – Luxury Bay Living in San Francisco’s South Beach.

Today I had the pleasure of viewing a luxury Penthouse at 200 Brannan in the exclusive South Beach neighborhood, steps from the Embarcadero, near the Ferry Building, South Parks’ 2nd St. restaurants and boutique’s, Giants Stadium, only steps from San Franciscos’ quintessential bay views and numerous outdoor activities. Close to the Bay Bridge, 101 and 280 and public transportation.

200 Brannan is one sleek, beautifully kept, luxury condominium building of 191 homes.

As an experienced luxury Realtor, I am the appointed representive for 200 Brannan through our Vanguard Properties website and will keep you informed of the latest offerings.  I will arrange your private showing or provide accurate comparables and comparisons for your home sale at 200 Brannan.

I view every home with the idea in mind of who the buyer might be, and ask, “Would I live there myself”? I can give a definite “Yes”, to the current offering of penthouse Unit 506 and easily picture a sophisticated couple, business bachelor or bachelorette, design or art world professional, luxury pied-a-terre seeker, or a young urban dweller making this prestigious offering their home.

Greeted at the door by the engaging door man, Roberto, one immediately feels secure and that they are entering an exclusive, service oriented, 5 star living experience, from the atrium entry, to the exquisitely chosen neutral palette on the walls of the quiet, plushly carpeted hallways. Dotting those walls are custom art and photographs that are finished with sophisticated lighting; which guide you past the serene green bamboo ground floor courtyard and on to the multiple elevators that bring you closest to your home.


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San Franciscos’ One Hawthorne, a Luxury Highrise in the Middle of the Action – Affordable and Stylish

One HawthorneWorld-Class View from a Junior 1 Bedroom

Downtown San Francisco is host to many new and newish high rise luxury buildings offering homeownership opportunities to the most discerning urban dwellers.  Experience life with all of the amenities, like exercise rooms, valets, roof top gardens with outstanding world-class views and some buildings include concierge service.

Tonite I attended an invitational cocktail fete hosted by the sales team of One Hawthorne.  Catty-corner to our new Vangaurd Office at 199 New Montgomery.  One Hawthorne’s sales office is at the corner of Hawthorne and Howard with the building entrance around the corner on the quiet Hawthorne Street, not a thoroughfare, a calm street in the midst of the action.

Our Hosts, Sales TeamJessica Keenan & Carrie Barrett, with their wonderful caterer!

Greeted by the sales team who offered wine and beautifully prepared nibbles,  I was given the inside scoop on the upcoming offerings in this building.  Sales have picked up, are brisk with available homes moving quickly.

Sold in phases, the first phase has only 8 units left before the anticipated release of the upper floors 21 to 25 in the next several months.  As the floors go up, so does the pricing. Jessica gave us the grand tour of the sleek, modern, impressive models of a junior one bedroom, the perfect pied a terre, a 1 bedroom at 800+ Square Feet and the 2 bedroom/2bath of over 1200 Square Feet.  Continue reading

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Touring San Francisco Luxury Property

Today I took out a client who wanted to tour luxury property in all neighborhoods of the City!  That was a big bill to fill as luxury means something different to each person.  In this case, it was in the form of at least a 3 Bedroom, 3 Bath home of over 1800 SqFt, with a price point of $1m-$2.3m and up.

Luckily that is easily achievable in our town.  Though we are a great city, buyers often note, its’ diverse neighborhoods make it feel like a town.  We began our tour in St. Francis Woods.  Known as District 4, this neighborhood sports detached mansion like homes on larger parcels of property.  I would call this “the country in the middle of the city”.  Some of our oldest and most beautiful Mediterranean and Spanish style homes are in this neighborhood that exudes a charming elegance.  They loved West Portal, the 3 block shopping district at the base of St. Francis woods and its’ boutiques, pubs, cafe’s and art cinema.

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San Francisco’s Tradition of Building Murals Thrives!

San Francisco has a tradition of fostering its’ artists and creative’s.  Nowhere is this as evident as with the prolific amount of mural art exhibited on the exterior of buildings throughout the city!  This art expresses local tradition, cultural expression and adds a dimension to the city that makes us unique.

Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visual Center at 2981  24th St., in the Inner Mission is home to a non-profit mural arts center, store and awareness program representing local mural art and artists. Visit their locale to purchase posters of the art and find out more about the locations and artists. Continue reading

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Map of San Francisco Districts



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Inner Sunset

Some of the Parks in the Sunset

This narrow little neighborhood squeezed between Golden Gate Park and Kirkham Avenue sprouted out of the sand.  From the eastern boundary of Stanyan Street, the Inner Sunset District runs along the four wide avenues of Lincoln, Irving, Judah and Kirkham and ends at 19th Avenue.  Once a wasteland of billowing dunes, the Inner Sunset is now a family neighborhood, chock full of outstanding restaurants, cafes and sandwich shops.  The N-Judah Muni rail line slices through the district, providing fast downtown access via the Judah Streetcar Tunnel.  Lincoln Way provides a quick outlet for cars headed in toward the Haight, or out toward the Outer Sunset and Ocean Beach.  The border with Golden Gate Park gives residents easy access to the wild green forests and man-made green fields of this San Francisco landmark.  Though Lincoln Way is the neighborhood’s main artery, the main commercial district runs along the length of Irving Street.  Blessed by a wave of Asian-American immigration in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the area boasts some of the city’s finest Asian restaurants, including the award winning Ebisu Sushi and the wonderful Marne Thai several doors down.  Dotted up and down this corridor are numerous restaurants, boutiques, shoe shops and novelty stores.  There is no shortage of sub shops, sandwich shops, creperies and coffee houses as well.  The area’s oldest waterhole, the Little Shamrock has been servicing locals since 1893.  Don’t overlook the charm and walk-ability of this little neighborhood hub.  Very convenient to UCSF and USF it lives up to it’s role of providing  housing to the residents and students who work and school there.  Close to park and a direct line to the beach –what’s not to love.

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The Presidio

Capping the northern-most tip of the San Francisco peninsula, the Presidio is 1500 acres of cypress, eucalyptus, and pine forests, grasslands, meadows, ocean bluffs, trails, beaches, a seal of wildflowers, the city’s last free-flowing creek, and what remains of a 220 years of military occupation.  There are hiking trails and vistas with outstanding views of the Bay and San Francisco beyond.  Now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the park possesses spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay.  Long abandoned as a fortification, the Presidio developed into an army administrative, then medical center. It’s still home to t area research institute, the century-old San Francisco Military Cemetery, and an 18-hole golf course.  Today Skywalker Ranch has relocated here – George Lucas; film operations and a sales office that leases and sells old homes to civilians.  Today’s visitors are drawn to Baker Beach and the pre-Civil War- era Fort Point, which both offer spectacular views of the big orange bridge.  At high tide, fantastic waves bash, crash and smash the seawall approach to Fort Point, a favorite destination for runners and dog walkers.  Surfers and windsurfers love the water under the bridge and off Crissy Field, which is a great old landing strip that offers miles of lawn, walking, beach and dog beach to its’ visitors.  Her you will find wind surfing and sailing competitions, a view of Alcatraz plus the tide pools of the bay. Home to families and individuals looking for a country feeling in the city, tinged with a little bit of history.  Marin county commuters would be happy to live so close to the GGB.

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Potrero Hill

Portrero Hill Playground

This urban suburb perches high above the neighboring SoMa and Mission districts. Seemingly peering down on its noisier neighbors.  Screaming ambulances and endless freeway construction keep a pleasant distance from this hillside enclave, where residents take in admirable views of the Bay, the downtown skyline, and points south.  The southwest quadrant near Potrero and 23rd streets is dominated by the sprawling San Francisco General Hospital complex.  Low-income housing projects jut out above highway 280 on the Cesar Chavez (Army) Street side.  Parks, playgrounds and schools give way to amass of furniture stores, antique dealers, auto-body shops and design firms in the tangled blocks near 16tha and Division.  Local architecture varies from mod, brushed-aluminum condo towers to shocking-pink and line-green row houses, mid 70’s Bauhaus styles, and pastel Palm Springs stucco units.  A handful of mellow pubs, delicatessens, and sun-drenched cafes on 18th Street between Texas and Connecticut make up the neighborhood scene.  Favorites include Farley’s coffee shop, whose tables are filled with laptop toting prose poseurs, the fantastic Thai Thanya and Sallee restaurant, and Just For You servicing one of the city’s best brunches.  Not to mention whole Foods and Starbucks!  Lots of hip happenings in Potrero, one of the most recently gentrified, and developed neighborhoods in the City, with a mixture of old homes and new urban techno dwellers side by side.  Home to a Caltrain Station – this neighborhood is suitable for Silicon Valley commuters and first time home buyers seeking modern low to high end condominiums.

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North Beach

North Beach is a food lover’s paradise, which is probably why Kristina chose to live there! The smell of garlic wafts across the streets.  For truly authentic Italian sandwiches, pasta, breads, wines and salads, head to Molinari’s Delicatessen on Columbus Avenue, which still makes its own cold cuts and pasta.  Or try Panelli Brothers on Stockton, owned and run by the Panelli family since 1934.   Another venerable establishment is Capp’s Corner on Powell Street west of Columbus, where the meals are served family style and atmosphere at the bar is anything but pretentious.  It’s a popular spot with older locals, families, and groups that come from Club Fugazi next door, hungry after a performance of the riotous Beach Blanket Babylon.  Further down Columbus, gold Spike is a classic, no-frills eatery where patrons of days past have adorned the walls and ceiling with hundreds of quirky collectibles and personal messages.  Another landmark is Firo d’Italia on Powell Street, which claims to be the oldest Italian Restaurant in the United States.  It was established in 1886 and continues to be an important gathering place for prominent members of the Italian community.

Today –though many of the old restaurants remain, there are new cafes, boutiques and shops sprouting up and an influx of all ages groups and cultures living in North Beach, In the Center is Washington Park bordered by the Church as the oasis for this neighborhood.  Here you will find tourists among the locals sampling Stella pastries, or sitting at one of the sidewalk cafes for an Espresso.  The vendors still come out on the street beckoning you into their shops.  Just blocks from the City’s financial district, North Beach has a distinct flavor that’s hard to ignore.

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Noe Valley

“This place is great!  You can see for miles from here? And Sunny? Wow!” Jose de Jesus Noe, San Francisco’s last Mexican Mayor, liked the little valley so much he built his ranch there.  Noe Valley is roughly bordered to the north by 22nd Street, to the East by Dolores Street, Glen Park on the south and Glen Canyon Park & Market on the West.  Noe Valley is a true community, and a smart one, too.  It realizes gentrification is a dragon to slay—or at least to keep at bay.  Residents and merchants seem to have bonded here in a singular effort to keep life reasonable.  Even the neighborhood paper, “the Noe Valley Voice,” emanates from the Noe Valley Ministry, which serves as an informal community awareness center.  On 24th Street, the shopping area of this urban bohemia, there’s a mix of whole-foods stores, coffee houses, ethnic restaurants, clothing and furniture boutiques, new and used CD stores, all complemented by a couple of fine Irish pubs.  The success of 24th Street’s shops spills south down Church Street where cafes and specialty stores now predominate.  You will see families and new homeowners dotting the streets of this community in an effort to live in one of San Francisco’s most popular destination zip codes due to the sun and central location in the City.  Both hilly and flat – Noe offers views, shopping and sun!

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People swarm to Dolores Park on Sunny San Francisco Days

People swarm to Dolores Park on Sunny San Francisco Days

Centrally located between urban thorough fares and mellow hillside dwellings, the Mission District stretches along Mission Street form Cesar Chavez to Market Street, bordered by Dolores Street to the West, and Potrero Street to the East.  It’s busy streets are lined with book stores, thrift shops and produce stands.  The Mission is foodie ground zero- from the cheap and numerous burrito joints to Vietnamese restaurants, greasy diners, Spanish taps bars, trendy new cafes and upscale California eateries.  In the neighborhood bars and sidewalk cafes, you’re as likely to be entertained by a wandering mariachi band as a jukebox, while you rub shoulders with feminists, freelancers, techies, nerds, and confused foreign backpackers.  Not surprisingly, suits, ties and evening gowns are not often spotted in the vicinity; you’re more likely to see adventurers heading to Mission Cliffs for a little indoor rock climbing, or artistes and wannabes flocking to Southern Exposure, the Marsh, and the Elbo Room for experimental theater, poetry readings, photography exhibits, and jazz and rock gigs.  Perhaps the wildest time to visit the Mission is on Hispanic holidays when this neighborhood shows its true colors, such as Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo, and especially, Carnival.

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Chestnut St. is lined with cafes and boutiques

With spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz,  and the Bay, the Marina is one of the most scenic and user-friendly neighborhoods in the city.  Thanks to its many amenities—museums, shops, restaurants, and a grassy flat stretch of land perfect for kite-flying, running, or sunning—the Marina is desirable real estate for the young and affluent or the older and endowed.  The side streets are lined with cozy old-fashioned flats distinguished by art deco design.  Originally an Italian neighborhood, the Marina now houses some of that community’s oldest families who live in the elegant homes that line the waterfront.  Residents enjoy unobstructed views of the activities that take place outside their windows: sailboats waiting impatiently for their owners to release them from their slips, while roller-bladers gleefully whiz by on the smooth pavement of Marina Boulevard.  A grassy park, aptly called Marina Green, runs parallel to the Bay and plays host to volleyball tournaments, dog walkers, and fitness fans.

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Hayes Valley

Hayes Valley is home to the famous Painted Ladies

For San Franciscans who attend theater opening s and symphony galas, Hayes Valley is the place to buy a one-of-a-kind gown, eat a terrific meal, and then dash off to hear Michael Tilson Thomas, without traveling more than three blocks. But dashing from here would be a shame.  This as a neighborhood designed for browsing.  It is lined with galleries, antiques shops, boutiques, and restaurants that cover most tastes, from soul food, to grilled ahi, to award winning California Chef’s cuisine.  Hayes Valley offers lots of diversions.  There’s the San Francisco Women Artists’ Gallery on Hayes, as well as the Polanco Gallery of Mexican Art, with beautiful crafts and paintings by some of Mexico’s well-known artists. There’s also an impressive blown-glass gallery, and J.C.’s Collections, a cramped shop with an assortment of kitsch including Star Trek action figures and Batman lunch boxes.  For those with Imelda-like tendencies, stop at Gimme Shoes.

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Forrest Hill

Forrest Hill Stairway

Forrest Hill is another one of those tucked away secret parts of San Francisco that tourists and even locals usually don’t see unless they’re visiting someone who lives there.  People make it up to Twin Peaks, but they rarely take notice of Forest Hill nestled on the other side.  Since Forest Hill is strictly residential, its’ not much of a draw for visitors.  But if you’re into seeing different parts of San Francisco, walk down the Grand Pacheco Stairway (which some say is the grandest and most elegant stairway in the city) from Castaneda Avenue to Magellan. The residents of Forest Hill are primarily upper middle-class, in part because the houses in the neighborhood are large and quite expensive.  The vast majority are owner occupied, meaning this is not the place to find a rental unit either, but it is the place to find a detached home with some land around it that was probably built with a lot of personality and family in mind.

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Cow Hollow

Marina Green

Cow Hollow is the neighborhood outlined by Broadway, Lyon and Lombard streets and Van Ness Avenue.  It’s best known for its Union Street commercial district and the well-groomed yupsters who enjoy the many restaurants, bars, cafes, boutiques,and galleries.  If you can afford the high rents, Cow Hollow is among the city’s most livable neighborhoods, offering residents the safety of a suburb, the nearby green spaces of Marina Green and the Presidio, and the urban convenience of union and Fillmore streets.  For these reasons, the neighborhood is popular with families and single, white-collar professionals.  Union Street, especially between Octavia and Steiner streets, is Cow Hollow’s most obvious claim to fame.  There you will find a continuous promenade of well-dressed shoppers and restaurant-goers interspersed with the fresh-faced, athletic-looking locals returning from errands or a jog.  Union Street is also home to art galleries, antiques shops, and price furniture stores.  As for restaurants, they range from formal sit-down to take-out.

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Cole Valley

Natural Food Store 'Real Foods'

Tucked between the chaotic hipness of the Upper Haight and the sleepy affluence of Sutro Forest and Buena Vista Heights, Cole Valley is a tiny, quiet neighborhood that feels more like a quaint community than a big city.  It is populated by settled yuppies who, from the looks of it, put a lot of thought into gardening.  Flowers seem to be everywhere, gracing the tops of tall wooden gates, color-coordinated to match the Spanish tile on the front steps.   For a bird’s-eye view of the neighborhood, and one of the most spectacular views in the city, climb Tank Hill, via the rickety, wooden staircase at the end of Belgrave Street off 17th.  Locals frequent the spot for watching fireworks.  What locals will not find in Cole Valley are banks, huge grocery stores and that ever-present San Francisco landmark, Walgreens.  This is a neighborhood unpopulated by chains and franchises, and shoppers are likely to find the store’s owner working behind the counter.  The main drag is a bit more “big city” with dozens of cafes and restaurants, some of which are considered some of the best Bay Area dining spots.

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Castro Theatre

Formerly Spanish ranch land, the Eureka Valley—now called the Castro—was parceled out in the 1860’s and quickly became filled with the bang and clatter of Victorian housing construction.  When the market Street Cable Railway extended to Castro Street around the turn of the century, this strip became the central artery to the neighborhood, and the Castro Theater, built in 1922, its elegant new centerpiece.  Today the Castro’s historic art deco movie palace, screens old and independent films from around the world and hosts “Sing-a-Longs” to classics such as Disney’s The Little Mermaid.   To tour the neighborhood, start at the corner of Castro and 18th Streets and take a look around.  The street life may compete for your attention, but as you walk along Castro admire the handiwork of both the city’s early craftsmen and its more recent restoration specialists. A riot of color, these Victorians never looked better and there are plenty of diversions in the unique and sometimes outrageous shops you’ll pass along the way.  On Halloween, the center of San Francisco is the Castro, with crowds in the thousands celebrating in the streets. You will note the rainbow “Gay Pride” flag flying throughout the community.

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Bernal Heights

Bernal Heights Summit

Not too many city dwellers are familiar with this unique hilltop neighborhood, but Bernal Heights residents don’t mind.  They’re happy to keep it a secret.  Looking South from the Mission district, you can see a bald hill encircled by little pastel houses.  It’s brown in the summer and fall, turning a magical green during the winter and spring.  That’s Bernal Heights.  Located about three miles from downtown, the neighborhood is bordered by Mission Street to the West, Cesar Chavez (Army) Street to the North, Bayshore Blvd. to the East and Alemany Blvd. to the South.  Bernal Heights enjoys the same sunny weather as its neighbor, the Mission District.  But unlike the Mission, not much about Bernal Heights is trendy.  You see fewer tattoos and piercings, and more small children.  The neighborhood is generally understated and low-key.  But don’t assume that just because the streets are quiet, the residents are apolitical: they have a long history of taking ownership of their neighborhood to preserve its village-like feeling.  An eclectic mix of people live here—gay, straight, black, white, Asian, Latina, artsy, blue-collar, professionals, old and young—and when asked, they cite diversity and love of community as the area’s greatest virtues.

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More Neighborhoods Coming Soon!!

Stay tuned….

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