Cole Valley/Parnassus Heights is a down-to-earth neighborhood that boasts a tight-knit, family-friendly community. It’s charming heart is the commercial district that runs along Cole Street. There, a myriad of trendy restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and bakeries compete for attention with mom-and-pop stores that peddle everything from gourmet food and wine to hardware. Many of the homes in Cole Valley are fully restored, single-family Victorian homes with classic details such as bay windows, crown moldings, and hardwood floors, but you’ll also find some more modern multi-unit buildings and condos with nice curb appeal. 

The streets are among the most lush and landscaped in the city, which adds to the neighborhood’s allure. Several bus lines serve the area, and the N-Judah MUNI line stops right at Cole Street, making for an easy commute downtown. But on weekends, there’s not much reason to leave Cole Valley. With an active community group hosting annual events such as a street fair and Halloween on Belvedere Street, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more friendly and fun place to live. ©2016 Maryann LoRusso

The Cole Street shopping district is a destination for great restaurants, coffee and gourmet shops, and a variety of mom-and-pop retail establishments.

The Cole Street shopping district is a destination for great restaurants, coffee and gourmet shops, and a variety of mom-and-pop retail establishments.

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) campus at Parnassus Heights is a distinctive landmark at the foot of Mount Sutro.

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) campus at Parnassus Heights is a distinctive landmark at the foot of Mount Sutro.

Beautifully updated Victorian homes line the streets of Cole Valley.

Beautifully updated Victorian homes line the streets of Cole Valley.

For two decades, a section of Cole Valley near Willard, Belmont, Woodland and Edgewood streets has been a destination of choice for a flock of birds known as the “wild parrots of Telegraph Hill.”

For two decades, a section of Cole Valley near Willard, Belmont, Woodland and Edgewood streets has been a destination of choice for a flock of birds known as the “wild parrots of Telegraph Hill.”

The Panhandle is a narrow, three-quarter-mile-long offshoot of Golden Gate Park that features sports courts, walking trails and a playground.

The Panhandle is a narrow, three-quarter-mile-long offshoot of Golden Gate Park that features sports courts, walking trails and a playground.

Nearby Haight Street is lined with stores and restaurants reminiscent of its counter-culture past. 

Nearby Haight Street is lined with stores and restaurants reminiscent of its counter-culture past. 

Golden Gate Park offers a myriad of treasures, from world-renowned museums to miles of hiking, biking and walking trails. 

Golden Gate Park offers a myriad of treasures, from world-renowned museums to miles of hiking, biking and walking trails. 

Halloween is a festive occasion every year on a strip of Belvedere Street between Parnassus and 17th Streets.

Halloween is a festive occasion every year on a strip of Belvedere Street between Parnassus and 17th Streets.

Dramatic views can be seen from atop the 600-foot-high Tank Hill, named for an old water tank stationed here in the late 1800s.

Dramatic views can be seen from atop the 600-foot-high Tank Hill, named for an old water tank stationed here in the late 1800s.