San Francisco Walking Tour: Pacific Heights
This well-heeled neighborhood has something for everyone.
In the late 1800s, the newly rich started setting up in Pac Heights, and to this day it remains a place mostly inhabited by the moneyed. The area is largely residential with a stretch of Fillmore Street—roughly from Post to Presidio—occupying its commercial center. Here, the specialty boutiques comfortably integrate with big name clothing and design shops. Although the area leans towards the high-end, it’s a shopping destination worthy of a visit, regardless of bank balance.
Alta Plaza Park
There may be a bit of stair climbing involved, but the views from the hilltop park are some of the best in the city. To the South: a bowl of neighborhoods leads up to Sutro Tower on the horizon. To the North: a view of the Marina opens up to the Bay beyond.
The booths are the best way to enjoy Elite’s California Cajun cuisine. They’re only remaining element of the original space built in 1922, and they offer a unique amount of privacy and charm. Don’t miss the deviled eggs and gunpowder martinis.
Bun Mee’s fusion Vietnamese sandwiches are light enough for lunch but filling enough for dinner. Don’t miss the Belly Bun, piled high with its braised kurobuta pork belly, salted radish relish, pickled carrot and daikon, and jalapeños. Less adventurous eaters can start with the Sloppy Bun, made with red curry and lemongrass ground beef—it’s a tasty riff on the classic Joe.
More eclectic and accessible than Design Within Reach just a few doors down, the independently owned Zinc Details has been selling contemporary furniture, lighting, and objects—from Normann Copenhagen’s Grass Vase to Blue Dot’s Buttercup Rocker—since 1991.
Nest is a kooky but cultivated mix of precious objects. Little shoes are on display next to dragonfly plates, locally made note cards and lotions disguised as elixirs.
The Dry Bar
Want salon-grade hair without the cut? The Dry Bar specializes in blowouts only, and caters to locals and visitors alike. Its menu includes weekend-ready styles like the Mai Tai (loose curls billed as “messy, beachy hair”) and the Straight Up (sleek with a touch of body). Tip: Friday and Weekend appointments are often snapped up a week out.
The Clay is a sweet single stream theatre, distinguished for being one of San Francisco’s oldest. It’s a mix of classic and contemporary programming in a deco setting.
Browser’s cozy carpet-lined interior, collection of antique typewriters, and solid selection of local authors has made the independent bookstore a favorite stop on upper Fillmore since 1976.