Lower Pacific Heights – San Francisco, CA

Lower Pacific Heights, found at the intersection of Pacific Heights, Japantown, Fillmore and Laurel Heights, embodies a unique confluence of San Francisco traits. From the tony restaurants and cultural opportunities to a lively street culture and many Asian restaurants, this area has a little bit of everything. Residents cite the lower rents and access to the city center, as well as the wonderful restaurants, shops and neighborly spirit, as reasons to move to Lower Pacific Heights. Its central location is particularly interesting to commuters and those working in the city’s central business districts.

Schools in Lower Pacific Heights

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

Lower Pacific Heights has opportunities for all kinds of dining experiences, given that it caters to a wealthier clientele overall. From American and seafood to Japanese, Italian and burgers, you've got a lot to choose from in this area. Since there's not a central location for restaurants, you may discover something great right on your own block. Woodhouse Fish Co. has some of the region's freshest seafood. From mouth-watering lobster rolls to Ipswich clams and cheddar cheese crab melts, locals keep coming back for the simple fare done well. Pair your choice with a cold beer or glass of wine. If you're in search of a filling breakfast or brunch, Sweet Maple has unique omelets such as the bulgogi or curry chicken, scrambles, and French toast done in a variety of ways. Healthy choices are veggie-centric, or you may wish to spring for a morning pizza. Whatever you choose, you're sure to leave with a smile on your face. SPQR offers soulful Italian-inspired cuisine using a mix of traditional and modern techniques. A perfect place for a romantic first date or an intimate night out with friends, its specialties include butternut squash soup, chestnut and garnet yam tortelli, and Sacramento sturgeon. Lower Pacific Heights offers a lively nighttime scene, from popular local bars such as Harry's Bar and The Social Study to karaoke joints such as Playground. The Boom Boom Room lets you relax and listen to jazz, or dance the night away to one of its live bands. Other nightlife opportunities can be found at the Sundance Kabuki Cinema, screening the best in indie and foreign films, and the Custom Made Theatre Company.

History & Culture

Pacific Heights was developed in the 1870s when the area population exploded after the California Gold Rush. The area’s many Victorian homes that lined the streets collapsed during the 1906 earthquake, but were quickly rebuilt. Though Pacific Heights, the area’s northern neighbor, mainly houses millionaire and billionaire residents, Lower Pacific Heights became known as an area that charged lower rents but allowed residents to enjoy many of the neighborhood’s positive qualities. Lower Pacific Heights houses the National Japanese American Historical Society and the Museum of Russian Culture, as well as many art galleries, art schools, and cultural schools. Some of these include Tokaido Arts, Paper Tree, and JaMaROO Kids. The Gough Street Playhouse and Audium-Theatre of Sound-Sculptured Space provide two other unique ways to experience this area’s arts scene. Annual events include the Soy and Tofu Festival in June, the Russian Festival in February, and the Cherry Blossom Festival in April.

Transportation

Driving and parking are tough throughout San Francisco and you can expect what parking you find to be expensive. Though Lower Pacific Heights lies along a downward slope, the hills can still present some issues for driving and parking. Public transportation is easy, however, with BART trains running just south of this area, more or less along Market Street. Muni buses and trains also have many routes here. Hailing a cab is always easy, and Uber cars can also be arranged with a minimum of effort. Though Lower Pacific Heights isn’t located near a freeway, Van Ness Avenue, located just east of this neighborhood, turns into the 101 Freeway traveling south. Lower Pacific Heights is a very walkable neighborhood, also considered safe for bikers, since many streets have bike lanes.

Cost

Lower Pacific Heights has a higher cost of living than other areas in the city. It costs less than $2 to get to the city’s center, but you can also walk there, since it’s very close. Since the cost of housing is higher, associated costs of food and entertainment are also higher. A typical 1-bedroom apartment rents for about $3,200 per month. A beer at a local pub runs about $6, and gas is about 15 percent more expensive here than the national average.

Shopping

One of Lower Pacific Heights' most charming facets lies in its shops, which tend toward the quirky. The neighborhood doesn't support major malls or high-end shopping like some of the nearby areas, but instead offers a variety of smaller stores. Japan Center is a small mall-like structure housing several shops and restaurants in the Japantown area of Lower Pacific Heights. Kohshi supplies the area with flowers and gifts, and Boutique Harajuku lets you fly your freak flag high with women's clothing straight from this trendy Tokyo neighborhood. Zinc Details provides unique home items and furniture if you're setting up shop in this area. Though there is a Whole Foods Market on Van Ness Avenue, at the edge of the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood, Lower Pacific Heights tends to be mostly served by smaller grocers. Nijiya Market and Super Mira Market offer traditional and Asian items, while Mollie Stone's and A&M Market are great places for convenience items, fresh produce and other groceries. The area doesn't have a farmers market, but Natural Market on Pine Street meets the neighborhood's need for fresh produce and natural foods of all kinds.

Parks

Lower Pacific Heights has one main park, the Broderick & Bush Street Mini Park. Found on a residential street, it has a small indoor pool for swimming, as well as green space for lounging and benches for sitting. The park is free, kid- and dog- friendly, and has some exercise and fitness activities, including swimming classes. Lower Pacific heights hosts no annual festivals or events in its parks.
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