Top San Francisco Neighborhoods
Welcome to Lower Pacific (or Pac) Heights, one of San Francisco's most upscale neighborhoods. It's been through a couple name changes over the years, so you might hear it called Upper Fillmore or Western Addition. The new-ish name reflects the neighborhood's similarity to Pacific Heights, its wealthy big sister. Lower Pac Heights provides San Francisco luxury living at a slightly lower price tag than Pacific Heights. This quiet, mostly residential neighborhood is known for its impeccably kept Victorian mansions. Lower Pac Heights is also home to Japantown, a six-block 'Little Osaka' that features a large Japanese shopping mall. Despite its small size and residential focus, there's a solid selection of restaurants and high-fashion boutiques here. Most of the shops and eateries, including the internationally-acclaimed restaurants SPQR and State Bird Provisions, are on Fillmore Street. Nearby Geary Street serves residents' nightlife needs.
Transportation and Livability
Lower Pacific Heights is between California Street to the north, Geary Street to the south, Presidio Avenue to the west, and Van Ness Avenue to the east. This is a walkable neighborhood with multiple grocery stores, restaurants and shops. The Downtown Financial District is just 2.2 miles away and is accessible by public transportation via the MUNI (San Francisco's Municipal Transportation System) 1 line. The area's central location and multiple MUNI stops make it a great home base for city exploration.
Lower Pacific Heights is popular with people who have children, because of it's proximity to excellent Pacific Heights schools. Though technically a couple of blocks outside of the neighborhood's boundary, Lafayette and Alta Plaza parks offer playgrounds, tennis courts and views of the bay and Alcatraz Island. Though it is one of the quieter neighborhoods in the city, it's still home to a large number of young, childless professionals who like being close to the action while still being able to enjoy a tranquil environment.
With 60% of its residents holding bachelor's degrees or higher, Lower Pacific Heights is a well-educated neighborhood. Just over 17% of population is married, and the median age here is 35 years old, which is slightly lower than many other neighborhoods.
Lower Pacific Heights is 2.2 miles from the Financial District, which is easily accessible by public transportation using the MUNI 1 line. There's a conveniently located MUNI stop at Geary and Fillmore, providing easy access to the rest of the city and to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), the commuter train to Silicon Valley. A public transportation commute to Silicon Valley takes about two hours.
Although luxury shopping is a popular activity in this neighborhood, life in Lower Pacific Heights offers much more. The area was made for afternoon strolls and people-watching at sidewalk cafes. Laurel Village on California Street features practical destinations, such as grocery stores and banks, as well as a variety of cafes. Japantown offers not only authentic Japanese cuisine and shopping, but also the Sundance Kabuki Theater, which is popular for its independent film screenings. The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is held here for two weeks in April, and the Nihonmachi Street Fair in August is a celebration of a 'melting pot' of Asian-Pacific cultures. In the evening, The Boom Boom Room on Fillmore Street offers live roots music.
Lower Pacific Heights History
Some of the city's most beautiful Victorian-style homes are in Lower Pacific Heights; Stick, Italiante and Queen Anne architecture from 1800 to the early 1900s dominate. Lower Pac Heights started as a middle-class, family neighborhood developed to serve the needs of a growing city. The neighborhood survived the fires caused by the catastrophic 1906 earthquake, because prior to the disaster the city had intentionally demolished buildings along Van Ness Avenue to the east. This established a fireline that protected it. In the late 1980s, Lower Pacific Heights started to draw a younger, hipper demographic, and the chic shops and trendy restaurants followed as a result. Today, the neighborhood is still a family-friendly spot, even as it escalates in price and prestige.
Despite a quiet and residential history, there are several notable addresses in Lower Pacific Heights: 2080 Washington St. - The Spreckels Mansion is home to best-selling romance author Danielle Steel. 1709 Broderick - The exterior of this house was featured as home to the Tanner family of the late 80s and early 90s hit television show Full House. 2066 Pine St. - The Madame C.J. Walker Home for Girls was named after the first African American woman to become a millionaire. Today it is a city landmark. 1405 Sutter St. - The office of the General Consulate of Spain is here.