Noe Valley is one of the best places to experience a slice of daily San Francisco life. Bakeries, cafes, clothing boutiques and shops selling wine, cheese, chocolate and flowers line its main drag, a tidy segment of 24th Street. Surrounded by hills and packed with Victorian homes, Noe Valley has a small-town feel and is home to a lively Saturday farmers market and multiple parklets. You’ll quickly notice the abundance of baby strollers and dogs here—this is one of the most desirable zip codes for young families. (Mark Zuckerberg and his wife bought a house in the area last year.) To spend the day or afternoon strolling around the neighborhood, hop on the J-Church Muni train from downtown for a scenic 20-minute ride.
Noe Valley is home to several destination-worthy restaurants. One is Firefly, a friendly, family-owned restaurant on a quiet corner. The homey spot has garnered a loyal following over the past 20 years with its inventive international comfort food.
The sleek and inviting Contigo serves tasty Spanish-Catalan tapas like patates braves and sardine and avocado toast.
Saru Sushi Bar, creates playful combinations, and its snug and stylish setting makes for a great date night.
Peasant Pies bakes hand-held, wholesome savory pies that make a great on-the-go meal. Gourmet Italian grocery Pasta Gina serves ready-made food and baked goods in addition to its delicious fresh pastas and sauces.
Little Chihuahua is a staple for casual San Francisco-style Mexican food (sit on the heated back patio). The black bean and plantain burrito and chile verde tacos are good bets.
When a something sweet is in order, the beloved Noe Valley Bakery doesn’t disappoint.
Cute Easy Breezy is the requisite neighborhood frozen yogurt joint, but it serves unexpected flavors like grapefruit, mango lassi and cucumber mint alongside the classics.
Soak up the neighborhood scene at the 24th Street location of local chain Philz Coffee. The popular spot sits across from a playground and has a designated kids area. If you plan to stick around Noe Valley in the evening, be warned that it’s not a nightlife destination. Although the streets are usually quiet by 9 pm, you can still find a place to drink around here. In addition to the long-standing neighborhood pubs is the contemporary, craft-beer-focused bar Caskhouse, where the soft pretzels with beer cheese sauce are a hit.
Ready to Shop?
Shop like a local on 24th Street, a hub for specialty boutiques. The diminutive Chocolate Coveredshop is crammed with an incredible variety of chocolates from around the world. The best-selling flavor is the red chile pistachio semisweet chocolate. The tins decorated with San Francisco street signs and landmarks make nice souvenirs.
At Plumpjack Wines, The passionate and engaging staff will help you pick the perfect bottle from the impressive selection of fine wines, artisan spirits and craft beers. A neighborhood gem since 1985, 24th Street Cheese Company caters to any picnic needs. Cheerful Good News (3920 24th St.) stocks an excellent section of hard-to-find magazines and newspapers, and for more than 40 years, quality lotions and soaps have packed Common Scents (3920A 24th St.), which also has a lotion bar with essential oils (refillable bottles encouraged). Flowers of the Valley (4077 24th St.) and French Tulip are both lovely spots to buy florals, and Gallery of Jewels carries jewelry handcrafted by independent jewelry designers, many local.
Folio Books is a must-stop for readers, and foodie bookworms will find their personal heaven at charming Omnivore Books, which stocks antique cookbooks as well as current food-related bestsellers and regularly hosts star chefs and authors.
And for luxurious clothing with tomboy flair and impeccably stylish gifts to remind you of your San Francisco visit, swing by Mill Mercantile.