Noe Valley | California
My neighborhood is quaint. Well maintained Victorian row houses line its streets and baby strollers and young people clad in Patagonia fill its sidewalks. 24th street, filled with its shops and restaurants, roots the neighborhood as a village instead of a residential area. A small town under the guise of a big city zip code, Noe Valley is the refuge I call home.
24th Street is the heart and soul of Noe Valley. On weekends it bustles with friends and families headed to brunch and on weekdays serves as the hub for residents’ daily lives. Three cafes, two floral shops, two wine merchants, a cheese shop, a bookstore, a post office, a bank, a grocery store (Whole Foods) and numerous boutiques and restaurants make this street charming, homey, and practical.
WHAT TO DO
EAT | Start your day with a double baked almond croissant and single origin Sightglass coffee from Noe Valley Bakery.
HIKE TWIN PEAKS | Once you’ve finished breakfast, hike to the top of Twin Peaks, two hills that provide some of the best views in the city. From 24th Street, the hike is around 2.5 miles round trip.
SHOP | By the time you are done with your hike most of the shops will be open. I recommend starting just west of Castro street at Wink SF and then heading east. Don’t miss Rare Device, my favorite boutique to pick up gifts and stationary; Chocolate Covered, a shop dedicated to chocolate with hundreds of varieties from around the world to choose from; Folio Books, a local book store with a curated selection (I’ve always loved the books I’ve purchased from their fiction table - it’s like having my own book concierge); and Mill, a women’s clothing and accessories store (think an earthier, higher quality J. Crew).
PICNIC AT DOLORES | Shop and stroll your way towards 24th Street Cheese Company to buy cheese, charcuterie, almonds, cornichons and a bottle of wine (or two). Take your picnic supplies to Dolores Park for an afternoon of relaxing, napping and people watching. When the sun starts to set and it begins to get cooler, head to one of Noe Valley’s great restaurants for dinner, followed by a drink at Caskhouse, before retiring home for the night.
WHERE TO EAT
Noe Valley Bakery | 4073 24th Street | 415.550.1405 | Hours: 7am - 6pm
bakes up to-die-for pastries and cupcakes (the Hostess with the Mostess cupcake to be specific). I dream about their fruit slabs and twice baked almond croissants. Bonus: they serve locally roasted Sightglass coffee.
Firefly | 4288 24th Street | 415.821.7652 | Opens at 5:30pm daily
Think of Firefly as the best home cooked meal you’ve ever had in a cozy environment. Their menu is constantly changing with the seasons, so there is always something new to discover here. Reservations recommended.
Caskhouse | 3853 24th St, San Francisco | 415.834.5005 | Hours: M-F 4pm - 12am; Sat 2pm - 12am; Sun; 2pm - 10pm
My favorite neighborhood gastropub where locals come to relax for a few hours. Great beers and wines, as well as delicious gourmet pub grub. My favorite dish is the porter braised beef served with horseradish sour cream and brioche. There are no TVs, which helps keep the atmosphere intimate, and you’ll often see a group of people playing cards at one of the tables. No reservations needed here! Just head in and find a spot to settle in.
Saru Sushi | 3856 24th Street | 415.400.4510 | Lunch from noon - 2pm, Tues - Sun; Opens daily at 5:30pm for dinner
A tiny, rustic Japanese restaurant serving perfectly prepared and presented sushi. Reservations recommended (otherwise be there 30 minutes before they open).
Novy | 4000 24th Street | 415-829-8383 | Open for lunch & dinner, see website for details
Relatively new to the neighborhood, Novy serves up Greek inspired American fare. Ingredients are super fresh, with my favorites being their burgers and their Greek salad.
Insider Tip: Wear comfortable shoes! It’s hilly around here and you won’t last long in uncomfortable shoes. Also, don’t feel a need to dress up. People here dress stylish, but practical. Think a nice pair of jeans and a Patagonia jacket on cold days and simple classics on warm ones.