Roughly bound by 21st, Randall, Dolores, and Grand View Streets, Noe Valley is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in SF in large part because of the high quality of life. Living in Noe Valley keeps you firmly planted in the central core of the city but able to enjoy a more mellow, less “hustle and bustle” lifestyle. And the real estate is booming! Proximity to Silicon Valley and downtown SF, sunny weather, and charming residential streets combine synergistically to create a highly localized real estate boom.
Clean Cut, Upscale Charm
In Noe Valley, you’ll find a variety of interesting shops to browse, yummy restaurants, cafés, and related foodie delights such as a very pretty weekend farmer’s market and the well-loved 24th Street Cheese Co. You’ll also find relatively clean streets, for San Francisco!, and lots of cute row houses of varying vintages such as Edwardian, Victorian, Mid-Century, and Marina, all tucked together on the rolling streets that give Noe Valley its beautiful views. Contrary to the name, much of Noe Valley is on a hill offering spectacular vistas in all directions!
Like so many San Francisco neighborhoods, Noe Valley has a rich and interesting history. Founded by the last Mexican alcalde (mayor) of what used to be called Yerba Buena, Noe Valley started its life as two quarries, and was built up after the famous 1906 earthquake — another reason that, of neighborhoods in SF, the houses are relatively uniform in style.
Today, as one of San Francisco’s most sought-after neighborhoods, Noe Valley is home to young families, long-time locals, creatives, and people working in the tech industry. You can shave a good 30 minutes off of the South Bay commute by living in the southern half of the City!
When San Franciscans think of Noe Valley, they think “family friendly.” Locals make jokes about the dangerous and crowded stroller conditions on the sidewalks, but don’t let this worry you. Just say “Excuse me,” and the mama (or papa) who almost knocked you over while texting and navigating the Bugaboo will give you a friendly smile and step aside. You’re safe.
One of the many things that makes Noe Valley great is the location. As I said, it’s sunnier than most neighborhoods in SF. Protected from the fog by the western hills, a lovely late afternoon sight is watching the fog spill over Sutro Hill (famous for Sutro Tower and home to GREAT views).
In addition to the natural environment, Noe Valley makes an easy commute to downtown, is surrounded by excellent transportation (though locals do complain about traffic congestion along 24th Street, especially on weekends), and is adjacent to Glen Park, Diamond Heights, the Castro, Mission Dolores, Eureka Valley, and la Mission.
Shopping and Services
Noe Valley offers plenty of great shopping and personal services. If you’re going upscale, go to the beautiful and well-edited Mill. If you just want to pick up some gorgeous flowers, head to the French Tulip Flower Shop. Need something last minute for a child’s birthday party? Look no further than The Ark, home of collectible wooden toys and educational games. Want to get pretty (or handsome)? Our dear friend, Gillian Hanson, and her expert staff of hair stylists at Honeycomb Salon will take good care of you. Or perhaps you need to work on stress reduction? REALTOR®s know a lot about stress so our endorsement of Robin Sheared at Blue Ova Health and Acupuncture is well-deserved.
Some of our personal favorites include Omnivore Books because hello! this is an independent bookstore, Just For Fun because they have pretty much everything, including an amazing collection of menorahs, Ambiance for the cute clothes and accessories and Wink SF for interesting gifts and home accents. The shopping and personal services in Noe Valley get better and better.
There is no lack of foodie delights in Noe Valley. For starters, and this is just for starters, Noe Valley is one of the neighborhoods in San Francisco blessed to have a Whole Foods. (Though we must admit that we head down the hill to Rainbow Grocery as often as possible. Who doesn’t want to support a worker-owned organic grocery since 1975?!). Firefly offers an eclectic, fusion style menu, while le Zinc provides a Parisian style bistro experience. Contigo offers authentic Spanish Tapas while at Lupa Trattoria just around the corner, you’ll find delizioso cibo italiano. Other hot spots include Saru Sushi Bar, Fresca, and Caskhouse.
But our personal favorite is Patxi’s Pizza … deep dish, thin-crust, gluten-free … we love pizza.
Douglass Park is Noe Valley’s largest and most popular park (although Dolores Park is a quick jaunt away), and you’ll find many families enjoying it throughout the week. Getting there is its own workout. The climb is well worth the view, even if you don’t have tots in tow.
The very picturesque Noe Valley Ministry also hosts frequent neighborhood events — everything from chamber music to Celtic dance nights.
Locals also love to gather at their Saturday farmer’s market (see above), which often features live entertainment and activities for kids.
Noe Valley is not known for its nightlife, which is the trade off for its quiet, friendly charm. Fortunately, finding nightlife within walking distance is incredibly easy. Just head to the Castro or the Mission and you’ll find plenty of it.
Still, if you need a pint, you can head to Dubliner, The Peaks, or The Valley Tavern — nothing fancy, but they’re friendly and accommodating. Caskhouse (see above) is a recent addition offering nibbles and a well-curated wine list.
Noe Valley Real Estate
Everyone talks about how Noe Valley is the “new Luxury” real estate market in San Francisco, which only speaks to what a great neighborhood in San Francisco it is. Noe Valley comes packed with almost everything “San Francisco” a San Franciscan could want, making its real estate hot, hot, hot. Single family home prices in 2014 were up 19% from the year before. Now that’s an ROI!
If you have questions about Noe Valley, one of the most popular neighborhoods in SF, or want to learn more about how to buy a home in Noe Valley, I’d love to talk soon.
P.S. Below you’ll find a very cool video with January 2015 Noe Valley updates. Enjoy!