SF Trends

The Hot Sunset: The Sunset District neighborhood

The Sunset District

Located in West Central San Francisco, this mist-shrouded neighborhood used to take the backseat to other SF areas until last year – the Sunset District was named the hottest neighborhood in the city in late 2016.

SF’s hottest neighborhood

Come home to the sight of windswept dunes and eucalyptus forests. This neighborhood is a stunner, no doubt about that – but what really make it desirable are the gorgeous homes and mom-and-pop shops that give it a distinct character. Take the MUNI further out into SF and step into the Sunset. You won’t regret going the extra mile for this place.

A 2016 report by local Realtors found that the neighborhood had become SF’s hottest, taking the lead in bidding wars. Homes stay in the market just 26 days on average, and sales have been steady.

And it’s not because the city’s best-known neighborhoods like Noe Valley are retracting and cooling down – the Sunset truly has something great to offer, and people are paying attention.

It’s comprised of two areas, namely Inner and Outer Sunset. The former gives you the best of big city living, while the latter brings you beach country bliss. The rolling fog that covers the district only adds to the mystique.

Buyers and renters can choose from a wide range of single-family homes, row homes, condos, and apartments.

A tale of two sunsets

Nestled between Golden Gate Park and the Haight, Inner Sunset offers you prime location. Despite its big-city conveniences, including artsy cafés and  restaurants serving ethnic cuisine, its unassuming, low-key atmosphere endears it to anyone who comes here.

Outer Sunset, lined with stucco homes, feels removed from the tech boom that has dominated the rest of SF. Once called “The Outside Lands” for the rolling sand dunes that form its landscape, it’s now a beach town of artists and surfers. Despite the influx of stores selling surf gear and artisanal goods, it retains its independent spirit and rugged charm.

What’s in the Sunset District?

  1. Sutro Cloud Forest

    Visiting this ancient eucalyptus forest will make you feel like you’ve been transported to another world. At 80 acres, it is but a remnant of the 1,100-acre forests that once covered the west side of SF. Trek to the slopes of Mount Sutro and prepare to be amazed. The sight of winter rain and thick fog descending upon towering trees will take your breath away.

  2. Ocean Beach
    Listen to the sound of crashing waves and feel the cool breeze at Ocean Beach. The largest of SF’s beaches, it spans three miles and adjoins Golden Gate Park. Go for a stroll along the esplanade, go fishing, or bring a board and ride the waves.
  3. Golden Gate Park

    Here you’ll find exquisite gardens, picnic groves, nature trails, playgrounds, and glistening lakes. It’s an oasis in the middle of the city. Come here for a quiet afternoon. Go for a walk, have a picnic, or simply admire the scenery.

  4. 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project

    The product of a community effort to beautify the steps that run up 16th and Moraga Avenue, these colorful mosaic tiles will bring a smile to your face.

Explore your real estate options in the Sunset. Call Bernie and Mike Homes at (415) 906-6000.


Best off-leash dog areas

Best Leash Area

An off-leash dog is a happy dog, and San Francisco offers a wide array of dog parks for you and your four-legged friend. Here are some of them:

  1. Duboce Park

    Take your dog to this small but well-maintained park. Play fetch, go pet-watching, and meet other dog enthusiasts. It’s much quieter and less crowded than Dolores Park, so you and your canine companion will have more space to roam. You’ll also get treated to sweeping views of Lower Haight, which is lined with stately Victorians and lovely corner stores.

  2. Corona Heights Park

    Located just a little over a mile from Twin Peaks, this park has an enclosed area where your pooch can run free. What’s more,  the park offers panoramic views of the city. Get a good look at the SF skyline and the rolling hills of Noe and Eureka Valley. It’s worth the trek, but make sure to bring a jacket – it gets chilly on certain days.

  3. Rincon Hill Dog Park

    The park features an enclosed area where your dog can roam off-leash. No need to worry about Fido getting lost or escaping – Rincon Hill is secure, and other dogs are supervised by their owners at all times. It’s a wonderful place to spend a quiet afternoon. Go for a walk, play catch, and meet other animal lovers.

  4. Mission Creek Dog Park

    This double-gated dog park is secure enough for your pup to run around without a leash. There’s a small water fountain that your dog can drink from, as well as an artificial turf and gravel area where you can play fetch. There are no separate enclosures for small and large breeds, so make sure your pet knows how to play nice.

  5. Mary’s Dog Play Area

    St. Mary’s fenced dog park features large, grassy areas where your dog can roam comfortably. Located in Bernal Heights, this play area has a reputation among dog owners as among the best off-leash parks in SF. This recreational complex also features a children’s playground, a gym, and clean sitting areas.

  6. Stern Grove Dog Park

    This scenic park is loved for its eucalyptus trees and the exquisite pergola where you can sit and watch dogs playing. It also features a vast open field where dogs can run and play to their heart’s content. There’s ample parking space, along with water stations where you can rehydrate.

  7. Pine Lake Park

    One of SF’s best-kept secrets, this park is populated by willows and tules. But its crowning jewel is Lake Merced, a glistening body of water that will take your breath away. It’s quiet and fairly empty, which means you and your pooch will have the place to yourselves at any given day. A flat trail winds through the park, so go for a relaxing stroll and let your dog explore.

  8. Upper Douglass Dog Park

    Located in Noe Valley, this fenced off-leash dog park boasts vast grassy areas where your pup can play. It also features a hiking trail that you can explore with your dog. Friday afternoon tends to be the busiest time of the week, so feel free to drop by if you want your pets to play with other dogs.

Being an SF resident gives you access to all these amazing dog parks. If you want to live here, call Bernie and Mike Homes at (415) 906-6000.


What’s happening in Eureka Valley?

Eureka Valley

Better known as the Castro, Eureka Valley is famed for LGBT nightlife and the historic theater palace from which it gets its moniker. But Castro Street is just one segment of this neighborhood and only tells one side of the story – Eureka Valley is a wonderful place to live, work, and play, regardless of how you identify.

A storied past

Eureka Valley is known as an LGBT mecca, but its history goes further back – it was a predominantly Irish, staunchly Catholic, working-class neighborhood up until the 1960s.

That decade saw the rise of the Beat Movement, with luminary Allen Ginsberg fighting obscenity charges for his poem, “Howl.” Prominent Beat writers like Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac would also reside here.

White-collar gay men started moving to the Valley as part of the massive shift to the suburbs at the time, buying up Victorians.

A police raid in Greenwich Village in New York set off the Stonewall riots in 1969. The neighborhood’s LGBT activists and allies marched in solidarity the following year, marking the start of SF’s annual pride parade.

The neighborhood would become a vibrant entertainment hub, thanks to its diverse nightlife options, as well as the Castro Theater, which hosts film screening and festivals to this day.

Eureka Valley continues to be an inclusive space where people from all walks of life can be whoever they want to be.

Must-attend events

Mark your calendar for these local events:

  1. Castro Farmers’ Market

    Buy fresh produce and listen to local bands play every Wednesday from March to December at Noe Street. The weekly farmers’ market rounds up some of the finest growers and food artisans in the area.

  2. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Annual Easter Party

    Celebrate Easter in Dolores Park. This family event offers lots of fun games and activities, including an Easter egg hunt and a bonnet-making contest. Organized by a fictional sect of queer nuns, the “sisters” also host a series of fundraisers throughout the year.

  3. San Francisco Pride

    SF Pride is arguably the biggest LGBT event in the US, taking place in the last weekend of June to commemorate the Stonewall riots. The parade is the highlight of the event, but the two-day festivities also include pride-themed parties and film screenings.

  4. San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival

    Organized by Frameline, a local nonprofit dedicated to the promotion and distribution of LGBT media, this festival brings you the work of up-and-coming LGBT filmmakers.

  5. Folsom Street Fair< This annual affair celebrates leather subculture, taking place in the last week of September. It caps off Leather Week, with over 200 vendors, exhibitors, and live bands. The event raises funds for local charities and attracts over 400,000 guests each year./li>
  6. Castro Street Fair
  7. Founded by the late politician Harvey Milk, this community celebration brings some of the best artisans, vendors, and performers together in one place. A portion of the proceeds is set aside for local charities, and is used to fund the rainbow flag that hangs over Market and Castro streets. The fair traditionally takes place on the first Sunday of October./li>

If you want to live in this neighborhood, call Bernie and Mike Homes at (415) 906-6000.


Best SF restaurants

Best SF Restaurants.

San Francisco is a culinary destination, home to more than 50 Michelin-starred restaurants and neighborhood eateries that come highly recommended by locals. With more superb places to eat than you can possibly sample, we’ve whittled down options to the following:

  1. Una Pizza Napoletana

    210 11th Street

    Simplicity is the key to delicious pizza and Una Pizza Napoletana sticks to the formula. Made with just flour, olive oil, mozzarella, and tomatoes, this no-frills restaurant’s handmade pizzas are considered some of the best in the US. So good in fact, that Una Pizza landed a spot in the Food Network’s list of Top Five Restaurants. They serve no more than five kinds of pizza, with an additional pizza served only on Saturdays.

  2. Walzwerk

    381 S Van Ness Avenue

    This East German restaurant serves some of the best schnitzels in town. Come here for traditional German cooking, as well as amazing beer-like Radeberger Pilsner and Köstritzer Schwarzbier. The warm and welcoming interior makes it perfect for family dinners and casual get-togethers. The restaurant has been feeding San Francisco residents for over 18 years, testament to the quality of its food and service.

  3. The Charter Oak

    1050 Charter Oak Avenue St

    Charter Oak brings you a family-style dining experience like no other SF restaurant. This is the place to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and reunions. Enjoy grilled meats and artisanal cocktails in an elegant but approachable setting. The restaurant prepares its dishes using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. Dishes are meant to be shared, so bring the gang and feast on delicious food.

  4. Hitachino Beer & Wagyu
    639 Post Street

    Feast on the buttery goodness of Wagyu rib-eye steak and wash it down with ice-cold Hitachino Nest beer in this pub-style restaurant. Owned by Japan-based Kiuchi Brewery, the restaurant also serves Wagyu sushi and wine. If you’re not sure where to start, try their nine-course tasting menu to get a broad idea of what they have to offer.  The food is superb and the atmosphere is unbeatable.

  5. The Saratoga

    1000 Larkin Street

    Housed in SF’s historic Saratoga Hotel building, this fine-dining restaurant features an elegant cocktail bar and a dining room filled with period artwork. The sophisticated atmosphere makes it ideal for dinner dates and business meetings.

    The food is no less impressive than its interiors – the menu consists of contemporary American dishes that will make your mouth water. Try the tomato burrata, followed by butterscotch pudding for dessert.

  6. Trestle
    531 Jackson Street

    Trestle offers three-course, fixed-price meals at good rates. You get an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert for the price of one.  This restaurant serves New American fare in a cozy setting – saffron risotto, crispy skin-striped bass, and braised beef short rib are just some of the dishes they offer. Come here with a date or a small group for a meal you won’t forget.

For more dining options, visit the SF Travel website or Bernie and Mike’s Top 10 Picks.

If you’d like to live close to San Francisco’s vibrant restaurant scene, Bernie and Mike Homes would be happy to assist you. Give us a call at (415) 906-6000.


SF street fairs

SF-Street-Fairs

There’s never a dull moment in the Bay Area, with all the festivals that take place here throughout the year. Not to be missed are:

  1. Uncorked Wine Festival

    The annual Uncorked Festival brings you the best of Northern California and San Francisco wine. Sample as many as 50 wines and meet other wine lovers. The festival also features wine-tasting workshops, cooking demonstrations, and live music.

  2. Carnaval

    This two-day festival, traditionally held in May, culminates in the Grand Parade, which features colorful floats with multicultural themes. Listen to international music, sample global cuisine, and buy arts and crafts at the festival grounds along Harrison Street. Carnaval brings you a fun-filled event with dozens of activities for the whole family to enjoy.

  3. Union Street Festival
    Union Street gets closed off each year for this festival. Wander in and out of bars with friends, meet new people, and listen to live music. The festival also includes fashion shows, featuring the work of local designers. Other highlights include over 100 vendors and restaurants selling food, craft beer, wine, and original works of art.

    USF takes place in the Marina District each summer. It’s the biggest open-air neighborhood festival in SF, and anyone who comes here is guaranteed to have a good time.

  4. Haight-Ashbury Street Fair

    Over 200 vendors gather at this iconic street each year to showcase their wares. Ransack the booths for artisanal goods and original works of art. Catch live performances at one or both stages, located at Stanyan and Masonic, respectively. SOUL Band, The Silk Road Truckers, and No Exit are just some of the musical acts that have performed at the street fair.

  5. SF Pride

    Celebrate diversity at San Francisco Pride, the largest gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and allies in the US. Join the parade or any of the pride-themed activities that take place over the last weekend of June, including Frameline, a renowned LGBT film festival, and a series of VIP parties.

  6. Fillmore Jazz Festival

    Running for over 34 years, this annual festival takes place on Fillmore Street. It’s the largest jazz festival in the West Coast, attracting 100,000 attendees each year.  Aside from great music, you can look forward to amazing food, with vendors selling everything from Cajun to Asian cuisine.

  7. Berkeley Kite Festival & Championships

    The young and the young-at-heart will have a great time at the kite festival, where you can join kite-making and kite-flying lessons. Children will also enjoy the bounce houses and the petting zoo on the grounds. Don’t have your own kite? No need to worry, as organizers sell kites on the day of the festival.

    The Berkeley Kite Festival often takes place in July and has been making attendees smile for over 30 years.

  8. SF Shakespeare in the Park

    This festival has been making Shakespeare available to SF residents for over 35 years. Their stage performances and education programs continue to instill a deep appreciation for the Old Bard and his works. Watch your favorite Shakespearean plays come to life and get the chance to interact with the actors.

Being an SF resident gives you access to all these amazing events. If you want to live here, call Bernie and Mike Homes at (415) 906-6000.


SF Pride

SF-Bride

Dive headlong into a weekend-long celebration of gay pride in San Francisco. The city has long been the epicenter of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, with a long history of activism. Join the festivities for a weekend you’ll never forget.

A long-standing tradition

Pride celebrations have been taking place in SF since 1970 in various forms. It began as a small gathering of about 200 to 250 in Golden Gate Park, in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots – a series of gay protests that rocked Greenwich Village after a violent police raid in 1969.

Today, pride festivities take place annually in the last week of June to honor this historic event. As many as 1.5 million attend the parade, which begins in downtown SF. It is considered the largest gathering of LGBTs and LGBT allies in the United States.

San Francisco has been home to prominent LGBT figures over the years, including Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay public official; Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, renowned lesbian activists and publishers; George Choy, who advocated for the rights of gay Pacific Islanders; and more.

The iconic rainbow flag was also created here, designed in 1978 by local artist and activist Gilbert Baker. The flag initially had eight stripes, but as it became mass produced, the six-striped version of the flag has become more popular.

A colorful weekend

The pride parade is the highlight of the weekend, but there are a number of related events that are also worth attending. Film festivals, bazaars, pride-themed parties, the Trans March, and the Dyke March take place in the days leading up to the parade.

You can also look forward to more than 20 community-run stages where you can catch live performances and DJ sets. However, the main stage is the largest one, and previous performers include artists like Betty Who and Cazwell.

More than 200 exhibitors and contingents join the parade each year, and the festivities are organized by nonprofits and volunteers. Attendees come in their flashiest attire, so wear your most over-the-top outfit.

If you’d rather watch from the sidelines, you can view the parade in its full glory from the grandstands. Spectator seating is usually available on the north end of Market Street.

If you’re bringing a car, you can have a parking slot reserved ahead of time with GottaPark. But organizers recommend public transportation in order to avoid traffic issues – take the BART to any of the downtown stops and forget about parking.

Not an SF resident? Book a room at any of the local hotels and stay for the whole weekend. It’s generally advisable to find a place in Civic Center or the Financial District – both locations will put you in the thick of the action, being close to parade routes.

But Castro is still the best place to stay if you want to experience SF’s famed gay nightlife. Hit the bars and clubs, and walk back to your hotel once the night is through.

Can’t join the parade? Don’t fret. There’s live coverage, so you won’t miss a thing.

If you’re thinking of moving to San Francisco, call Bernie and Mike Homes at (415) 906-6000.