Slow your roll, Hayes Valley deserves another look. Tucked away from the frenetic pace of nearby Market and Van Ness corridors, the snug streets of quaint urban hamlet will inspire you to make like Elsa and let it go.
Start out your day with your dog and a pleasantly jolting cup of Blue Bottle coffee, and head over to postage-stamp-sized park Patricia’s Green. Spend a sunny afternoon reading and taking in the park’s ever-changing art exhibits (an ice cream from Smitten or a frozen Greek yogurt from Souvla’s will sweeten the deal). In the afternoon, grab a seat the counter at the adorable 20th Century Café and feel transported to 1950s Europe as you sip from a pot of tea and make eyes at the pastry case until you figure out which tasty treat is calling your name. When night falls and a tropical rum cocktail is on the agenda, head to Smuggler’s Cove, a festive Tiki bar, where you’ll be treated like family – and feel like you’re on a pirate ship (eye patch and hook sold separately).
The tree-lined streets of Hayes Valley are made for strolling – preferably hand in hand, on the way to brunch or an epic night out. A cluster of cozy restaurants and bars feed the area’s buzz. Absinthe plays to the SF Symphony sophisticates, Fig & Thistle is an oasis for oenophiles, and Brass Tacks welcomes all comers – canines included.
Hayes Valley’s location is pretty stellar if being central is your goal. This small, cozy collection of blocks is nestled the heart of the city. Bordered by Haight-Ashbury, Western Addition/NOPA, SoMa, and Civic Center, there are few places in San Francisco that aren’t directly accessible from the area. There’s immediate access to a dozen different MUNI lines and the neighborhood’s quick access to the 101 and 80 means you’re golden if a car is in your plans.