Cole Valley, the tiny neighborhood nestled beneath Sutro Forest, is all about community and living the nice, slow life in an oasis hidden from the rest of the city. While it's oft mistaken as a part of the Haight-Ashbury, Cole Valley is a neighborhood in its own right (even if tourists have never heard of it), and is worth some exploration: There is something for everyone here, whether you are looking to fuel up on food or challenge your inner hiker.
(Photo via San Francisco Days)
This is the unmistakable brunch spot in Cole Valley. Lines are long on the weekends, but the mimosas and eggs Benedict are some of the best we've had. Go on a weekday to enjoy the food and the patio without the one-and-a-half hour wait. // 941 Cole St., zaziesf.com
The neighborhood coffee shop as it should be. Good, affordable, and friendly. Check out the backyard to do some relaxed reading or quiet work. // 848 Cole St., 415.242.0200
After work, head to this modern, modest wine bar and ask your knowledgeable server to recommend a glass of wine—or a bottle, depending on how your day went. Pair with small bites. // 108 Carl St., inovinosf.com
Just in time for SF's fancy Mexican food craze, Padrecito is the latest additin to Cole Valley's culinary scene. It's open for brunch and dinner, and is an energetic spot to gather groups of friends for happy hour. // 901 Cole St., padrecitosf.com
Actually, this might be the cutest burger joint around. Tucked between two large buildings, little Burgermeister has a neighborly vibe. Grab your burger of choice and fries, and enjoy it in the small adjacent park. // 86 Carl St., burgermeistersf.com
Crepes on Cole
No frills, just quick, solid food for hungry folks who need to take a break while running errands. // 100 Carl St., 415.664.1800
Ice Cream Bar
Wherever you land for your savory meals in Cole Valley, be sure to save room for sodas, floats, and creamy scoops the Ice Cream Bar. This 1930s-style soda fountain in the heart of Cole Valley is a charming spot to share a milkshake with your date. // 815 Cole St., theicecreambarsf.com
This local fromagerie has been making cheese lovers smile since 1927. The assortment is just amazing—look for rare, limited edition varieties such as Alpe Loch, a raw cow's milk cheese from the Austrian Alps. This is a must-stop to impress your guests at your next home dinner party. // 856 Cole St., saycheesesf.com
Four words: good ole hardware store. Cole can't exactly compete with Home Depot's big box prices, but this small business has legit customer service and delightful window dressing. We're crazy about their handyman referral service. From plumber to painter, they know the best. // 956 Cole St., colehardware.com
For all you mommies and daddies and just the young at heart, Tantrum is destined to be everyone's favorite kids store. Vintage-inspired toys, local art and jewelry, cute books, and treasures abound in this little shop. // 858 Cole St., shoptantrum.com
Val de Cole
J'adore this tres Frenchie wine shop with a yen for Americana. This is the neighborhood's go-to for bottles to drink now. // 906 Cole St., 415-566-1808
Say hello to an Instagramer's heaven. Climb the stairs on Twin Peaks Blvd. for insane views of the city and the bay. Perfect for catching the fireworks on Fourth of July 4th. Here's a handy map.
This might be one of SF's best kept secrets, so please keep it to yourselves! In the middle of the city, this dense urban forest has winding trails, swaying eucalyptus trees, and a peaceful vibe that feels miles from town. Put on your sneakers and discover this unique piece of land. Here's another handy map.
For more local resources, don't miss our Ultimate Guide to San Francisco Bay Area Neighborhoods here.