Cole Valley is a gorgeous little neighborhood bordering Golden Gate Park, right in the heart of San Francisco. It’s much smaller than other neighborhoods, but if you’ve ever spent any time there then you know that it’s proud of a character that’s completely unique and distinctive. Most residents today are families, but Cole Valley real estate definitely benefited from Silicon Valley’s Dot Com Boom in the late 90s. Still, Cole Valley has a much more approachable, softer vibe than some other parts of the city. It’s a small neighborhood with a slower pace (despite being next to the Haight Ashbury), plenty of mom-and-pop businesses, and lots to do.
Here are our favorite things to do in Cole Valley, part of our ongoing coverage of Cole Valley real estate and the 94117 area.
1. Wine and Dine and Caffeinate on Cole Street (and Carl)
The commercial strip on Cole Street spans just a few blocks, but packed into that space are more than a dozen restaurants and cafes, some of which are famous enough to pull a crowd from the wider Bay Area. This strip is home to Padrecito and Zazie, famous for the weekend brunch, two of the city’s most highly regarded eateries. Don’t miss the Ice Cream Bar for it’s vintage desserts with modern flair, either!
Over on Carl, be sure to check out InoVino, an Italian wine bar. They do offer a full menu, but the wine really is the main event. Owner Claudio Villani, born in Florence, opened InoVino shortly after earning his Sommelier Diploma, and curates the wine selection with class and attention to detail.
2. Climb Tank Hill
Tank Hill is a 600-foot-high climb with wonderful views of the neighborhood and a lot of fascinating history. Named for a 19th Century water tank that used to stand on the site, the hill is now covered in eucalyptus trees. These trees, for their part, were planted because they were fast-growing and provided a reasonably dense canopy. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the trees were planted to obscure the water tank from any future bombing runs during the latter half of the second world war. Today, the tank is gone, but the trees remain, making Tank Hill a picturesque peak with a view that goes all the way out to the bay.
3. Treat Yourself to a Shopping Spree
Cole Valley has plenty to offer the mercantile connoisseur, but the best spots are right in line with the cozy atmosphere and smaller-town vibe that the neighborhood is so proud of. Urban Mercantile seems at first glance to be a home décor shop, with the usual assortment of pillows and candles, but it’s much, much more. It goes deeper, with a level of refinement and a curatorial spirit not found in other stores of its ilk. Products are sourced from specific places around the world, including small-scale American manufacturers, always with an eye for beauty.
Also in the area is Tantrum, on Clement Street. A vintage-inspired toy store, and children’s favorite, Tantrum also offers arts and crafts, jewelry, party supplies, books, and knickknacks, and plays host to frequent book signings. Don’t miss the mechanical seal — children ride for a quarter (adults probably shouldn’t, but you do you).
4. Explore the Art and Culture
In the mid ‘90s, an ancient Monterey cypress tree was cut down in front of 1591 Shrader Street. A neighboring tree of similar vintage had fallen in a windstorm, damaging other houses in the neighborhood, so the tree was deemed too risky for preservation. The owner of the house, philanthropist Pat Montandon, had other opinions, and was able to preserve something of the spirit of the cypress in the form of the Angel of Hope, a carving in the tree’s trunk. It’s become a local landmark.
Another notable local art piece is the “dog mural” adorning for former Cole Garage, beside Cole Hardware (an interesting spot in itself, with much more on offer than duct tape and wood screws). A decade ago, artist Angela Tirrell lobbied to have the garage’s side host a mural of the neighborhood’s beloved canine companions. As she painted, more and more people asked that she immortalize their pets, living and dead, and the mural began to grow. The garage shuttered eight years later, and the space was apportioned to new businesses. The mural couldn’t be preserved, but Tirrell was contacted to recreate it for the new space, continuing the legacy.
5. Discover Cole Valley Real Estate
Cole Valley feels like a village, so it’s natural that the Cole Valley real estate offerings would be similarly comfortable. A community full of vibrant gardens and charming Victorian architecture, the homes in the area are quiet, well maintained, and have a sense of private seclusion from the abundant trees and low traffic flow.
Beyond the Victorian, Cole Valley also offers some distinct Modern and Mission homes, as well as a wide variety of more distinct options. The market moves pretty quickly, especially for urban professionals and younger families, so there’s always something new to see! Take a stroll through the residential neighborhood and see if you can find your dream home!
And if you’re looking to own some Cole Valley real estate, get in touch with Danielle Lazier + Associates and let their team of expert San Francisco Realtors make it happen. We’ve got the local real estate experience to thrive, especially in the fast-paced San Francisco market. Call today, and find out how they can get you the keys to your new Cole Valley home!