Youthful energy still flows in Cow Hollow, from heart-pumping workouts to boozy brunch
Opened in 1913, SF legacy business Balboa Cafe remains an anchor in Cow Hollow. (Courtesy of Balboa Cafe)

Youthful energy still flows in Cow Hollow, from heart-pumping workouts to boozy brunch


Anchored by Union Street between the Marina and Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow is a haven of trends, treats, and eats for the millennial set.

This is a neighborhood to sweat and stretch, detox and retox. Local yuppies have their endless pick of outlets for health-conscious beverages and comfort foods alike, along with fitness studios for any life stage and a string of boutiques to satisfy every sense.

The neighborhood's main drag is so iconic it even gets its own party each summer: the Union Street Festival (June 1-2, 2024). But the rest of the year has an equally lively vibe, with sidewalk parklets busy at meal time and sunshine nearly year-round.

The Best Cafes + Restaurants in Cow Hollow, San Francisco

Bar Crenn slings cocktails and elevated snacks in a chic space inspired by Japanese hi-fi bars.

(Courtesy of @barcrenn)

Fine Dining

For those who don't frequent this slice of the city, chef Dominique Crenn's three-Michelin starred Atelier Crenn(3127 Fillmore St.) is the neighborhood's defining destination. Arguably San Francisco's most imaginative restaurant where each and every dish is a piece of poetry and a work of art, Atelier Crenn is choice for special occasion dining. For a slightly more casual albeit highly stylish Crenn experience, the adjacent Bar Crenn (3131 Fillmore St.) is a sexy spot for cocktails and fancy snacks with a welcoming interior inspired by Japanese hi-fi listening bars.

Casual Eats

Balboa Cafe(3199 Fillmore St.) is practically an official landmark: Opened in 1913, this legacy business is still hoppin'. Go for a burger and the famous espressotini. // Even omnivores enjoy the modern vegan fare at Wildseed(2000 Union St.), which serves gorgeous cocktails alongside plant-based plates such as mezze plates, scrumptious salads, and seasonal pizzas. // Spend your day on island time with a trip to Palm House(2032 Union St.) for island-inspired eats and tropical cocktails, slushies, and punch bowls. (Pro tip: Join 7x7 Social Club to get that $69 punch bowl half price!) // Order a Naked and Famous and the signature nachos at The Brixton(2140 Union St.), where the barkeeps serve up tasty tipples along with solid burgers and classic brunch fare. // Perry’s(1944 Union St.) is a crowd-pleaser for its streetside seating and all-American menu. // Don't miss the zucchini-onion haystack side at toppings-centric Roam Burger(1785 Union St.), which has options of grass-fed beef, all-natural bison, turkey, and veggie patties. // For a Chinese food fix, fill up on Xiao Long bao and fan-favorite DanDan noodles from Dumpling Union(1809 Union St.). // Take outside dining away from the sidewalk bustle with a date night on the patio at Camino Alto(1715 Union St.), featuring Japanese and Mexican inspired cuisine. // For a more lively affair, get the margaritas flowing and chips and guac coming at Flores(2030 Union St.), a stylish Mexican restaurant with a Bib Gourmand seal of approval. // Just off the main drag, Terzo(3011 Steiner St.) serves Mediterranean-style dishes perfect for sharing. // Rose's Cafe(2298 Union St.) is a neighborhood favorite for its locally sourced organic produce, housemade pasta, and delicious baked treats. // The Italian Homemade Company(1919 Union St.) also satisfies cravings for lasagna Bolognese. // For Mediterranean-style small plates and wines from the under-the-radar regions, we love the warm flavors and neighborhood vibes of Roaming Goat(1830 Union St.).

Cafe Culture

Wander down to the corner of Fillmore and Union where you'll find the charming Union Street Coffee Roastery(2191 Union St.) with its delicious brews made from beans roasted on site. // Coffee snobs will also appreciate Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters(2271 Union St.), a cozy spot that also has an impressive inventory of specialty coffee curated by husband-and-wife team Nick Cho and Trish Rothgeb. // Or make it coffee and a wood-fired bagel from the latest Daily Driver (1977 Union St. B) outpost. // Top it off a scoop of creamy gelato from the authentic Gio Gelati(1998 Union St.)—the milk and caramelized figs flavor is divine.

Gourmet Stores

Feast your eyes on the highly curated collection of delectable small-batch goodies (craft whiskeys and mezcal) at The Epicurean Trader(1909 Union St.). // For the discerning home chef, Luke’s Local(2190 Union St.) offers an elevated approach to grocery.// For something truly special, head over to The Caviar Co.(1954 Union St.), for a wide selection of sustainably sourced caviar, including flights and fabulous gifts. // When it's time to grab a bottle of wine, Plumpjack Wine & Spirits(3201 Fillmore St.) is the neighborhood's go-to. // Even our four-legged friends can shop gourmet snacks here: Cow Hollow is home to two neighboring bakeries, Mishka Luxury Dog Treats(2124 Union St.) and Le Marcel(2066 Union St.) that cater specially to our BFFs.

Where to Work Out + Get Juiced on Union Street

Housed in an old movie theater, Equinox's Cow Hollow gym has every amenity and all the classes you can think of.

(Courtesy of Equinox Union Street)

Cow Hollow's Union Street is ground zero for the legging set who can be seen zipping between yoga and SoulCycle with green juices in hand. Whether you live in the hood or are just looking for a great workout, this stretch of SF has a class for even the pickiest of yoga bunnies.


At Karma Yoga(1906 Union St.), try the signature Hot HIIT Flow classes—a mix of Pilates and yoga principles with the added intensity of a HIIT workout. // Align your breathing and movement at Yoga Flow SF(1892 Union St.), which focuses on all-levels classes. // Check out The Pad Studios(1694 Union St.)—a spacious studio that provides Vinyasa and slow flow options along with prenatal yoga and mommy and baby classes. // The Lotus Method(1775 Union St.) is a holistic studio that focuses on pre- and postnatal yoga instruction. // Those looking for a high-intensity cardio workout can sign up for a spin cycle class at SoulCycle(2095 Union St.). // CorePower Yoga(2909 Webster St.) devotees can drop in for a yoga sculpt session around the corner. // If it's an all-out gym session you're looking for then Crunch (1725 Union St) and Equinox(2055 Union St) will help you work up a sweat. Crunch offers free three-day trials, while Equinox has an Earth Bar and spa for a touch of post-workout indulgence. // Barre loyalists have a home at Barre Union(2118 Union St.) and anyone needing an assist can book a session with a Flexologist from StretchLab(1869 Union St.). // When you've worked up a pain in the neck or sustain an actual injury from sport, let Dr. Jake Hennen at Premier Health Chiropractic(2001 Union St.) put you back to together again.

Gear Shops

For cycling enthusiasts, the SF outpost for UK brand Rapha(2198 Filbert St.) stocks premium cycling gear and apparel for men and women and hosts group rides. // Roll into Trek Bicycle(3001 Steiner St.) for a precision fit appointment.

Juice and Healthy Spirits

Kick off a cleanse or hydrate and replenish post-sweat at Pressed Juicery(2162A Union St). // For heartier but still-light bites, Palmetto Superfoods (2150 Union St.) has build-your-own acai and mango bowls to-go. // Don’t let health goals get in the way of imbibing with Better Sunday(1695 Union St.), a non-alcoholic bottle shop and social club. // Down the street, the first NorCal location of The New Bar(2181 Union St. Unit A) offers a colorful selection of wine, beer, and spirits for the sober set.

The Best Shopping on and Around SF's Union Street

(Courtesy of Anomie)


Shoe lovers should head directly to Birdies(1934 Union St.) to check out their collection of lounge-worthy slippers made from lush velvets, leathers and silks, all artistically displayed in a bright airy showroom decked out with beautiful furniture. // For separates and gifts, Anomie(2149 Union St.) is an independently owned boutique that stocks handcrafted objects and apparel including Australian label Finders Keepers and home goods from Areaware. // Get your European style fix at Union Street stalwart Danielle(2278 Union St.), which stocks hard to find French and Italian labels alongside U.S. brands. Pair with any of the European shoe selection atDantone Milano boutique(1784 Union St.). // Check outCarats and Stones(1833 Union St.) for their selection of stunning bling rings. // As the throngs of athleisure-clad women in the 'hood will indicate, fitness is a big deal here. Get your fix at Lululemon(1981 Union St). // For the cool-down, stock up on oh-so-soft sweat sets at Vuori(2090 Union St.). // Bonobos(1964 Union St.) stocks a stylish range of contemporary men's apparel, ranging from suiting to resort-wear tailored just for you. // Bobby London(2187 Union St.) is a dapper shop that stocks exclusive labels for both men and women. Look out for regular shop-and-sip events including a Father's Day celebration on June 15th when 7x7 Social Club members will score 30 percent off purchases. // Nearby, Untuckit(1872 Union St) carries the brand's signature casual and collared shirts, all meant to be worn effortlessly untucked, of course.


Get your makeup fix at Sephora(2083 Union St.) or at professional make-up purveyor Kryolan(1684 Union St.). // Treat yourself at Jo Malone London(2157 Union St.), where botanical-based scents are sold in an extensive home collection. // Whether you just want a manicure or need a Thai massage, we like Bamboo Spa(2284 Union St.) for its tucked-away location and spot-on service.

Specialty Shops

TopDrawer(1840 Union St.) has all the gear you need to schlep it across the globe, along with an enviable selection of writing tools. // Swing by the conceptual Casper showroom (2174 Union St.) where you can try out the brand's award-winning mattresses, pillows, and bedspreads while lounging in super cute wooden house displays. // Swing by to pick up a posy of fresh blooms for the weekend at local icons The Bud Stop(2200 Union St.) and Le Bouquet (2203-2205 Union St.) which have each been supplying the neighborhood with beautiful flowers since the ‘80s. // Proudly representing her Korean and Japanese heritage, owner Jessica Ann stocks Nikoniko Gifts(2181 Union St.) with Asian goods for kids and adults.

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