Noe Valley Shines
Think of well-maintained single family Victorians lined up in a row, toddlers and labradoodles, playgrounds, coffee shops and bakeries. The Twin Peaks and Diamond Heights hills adjacent to Noe Valley’s western border provide a barrier to ward off foggy days, ensuring that this San Francisco neighborhood is on the sunnier side of the city’s microclimate spectrum. Popular with families and professionals, Noe Valley’s vibe is much more aligned with cookies and milk than with after-hours nightlife.
A Village in the City
No famous landmarks or big hotels attract visitors to Noe Valley. However, independent retailers operating friendly businesses behind small street front shop windows are the order of the day. Urban nesters will find buttons and baby blankets, fashionistas can browse racks of quality consignment or comfy weekend wear, while gourmands can head for a specialist cheese shop, a year-round Saturday farmers market or one of the nearby eateries for Sunday brunch.
Those looking to check out Noe (pronounced as No-ee) will likely arrive at the popular commercial blocks along 24th Street via the J-Church light rail train with connections to Embarcadero and downtown. The BART Station at 24th Street is a 10- to 15-minute walk away. Muni buses serve Noe Valley from other San Francisco neighborhoods, too, such as the lines number 24, 33 and 48.
Walking distance Noe Valley neighbors are the Mission District and the Castro District, but steep hills dotted around Noe Valley are plentiful, sometimes made easier by steps. Photo opportunities exist at stairways encountered by pedestrians at Sanchez, Cumberland, 19th and Liberty streets, where an ascent is rewarded by a view of surrounding rooftops extending all the way to downtown skyscrapers.
Follow the sounds of giggles and “woo-hoos!” from a little shady park amidst the trees in a residential area. A piece of cardboard, frequently found lying around, is all you need for a free ride down a hilly slope built with two cement side-by-side slides instead of stairs. Called the Seward Street Slides at the Seward Mini Park, recreation and park officials neither disallow nor condone this in no way, but they do mention it on their website. Children and their parents are equally keen to watch if not try it out. Located at 70 Corwin Street near the corner of Seward Street and Douglass Street, the park is closed on Mondays and daily at dusk.
Did You Know?
- Daring folks line their cardboard with a giant sheet of waxed paper for a faster ride down the Seward Street Slides.
- In 1846, Jose de Jesus Noe, the last Mexican mayor of San Francisco, received as a land grant the sprawling Rancho San Miguel.
- After the Gold Rush, Noe Valley was known as Horner’s Addition after the man who settled it as a working class enclave. His wife was Elizabeth, for whom the local street is named.
- Noe Valley is a popular neighborhood, where property experts Trulia indicate that home prices have increased more than 75 percent over the past five years.
- Twitter is the place where locals keep up-to-date on community happenings at @NoeValleySF.