Pacific Heights is an affluent neighborhood of San Francisco, California, which is known for the notable people who reside in the area. It is located in one of the most scenic and park-like settings in northern California, offering panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, the Palace of Fine Arts, Alcatraz, and the Presidio. Its location provides a temperate micro-climate that is clearer, but not always warmer, than many other areas in San Francisco.
The Pacific Heights Residents Association defines the neighborhood as stretching from Union Street to Bush Street in the north–south direction and from Van Ness Avenue to Presidio Avenue in the east-west direction. As of 2017, Google Maps delineates its north–south extension more narrowly as reaching from Green Street to California Street.
In 2013, Pacific Heights was named most expensive neighborhood in United States stating that if San Francisco's Pacific Heights had its own zip code, it would be the most expensive place to live in the United States. The 94115 zip code includes both Pacific Heights' "Gold Coast", an area famous for its billionaire residents and record-breaking prices, and "The Western Addition", an area about 20 blocks away where real estate prices are significantly lower. In 2017, Curbed SF again announced the "occasionally chic, hardly affordable, always elite Pacific Heights" as San Francisco's most expensive neighborhood.
Pacific Heights is situated on a primarily east–west oriented ridge that rises sharply from the Marina District and Cow Hollow neighborhoods to the north to a maximum height of 370 feet (110 m) above sea level. Pacific Heights features two parks, Lafayette and Alta Plaza. Visible to the north are the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and Alcatraz Island.
Lower Pacific Heights refers to the area located south of California Street down to Post Street. Though previously simply considered part of the Western Addition, this new neighborhood designation became popularized by real estate agents in the early 1990s.
The neighborhood was first developed in the 1870s, with small Victorian-inspired homes built. Starting around the beginning of the 20th century, and especially after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, many were replaced with period homes. Still residential, the area is characterized by painted Victorian style architecture.
The oldest building in Pacific Heights, located at 2475 Pacific Avenue, was built in 1853, though the majority of the neighborhood was built after the 1906 earthquake. The architecture of the neighborhood is varied; Victorian, Mission Revival, Edwardian, and Château styles are common.
Most of the neighborhood's boutiques and restaurants can be found along Fillmore Street, south of Pacific Avenue. They include stores like Athleta, Prada, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Ralph Lauren. Other businesses in Pacific Heights are located on California and Divisadero Streets, as well as on Van Ness Avenue.
Pacific Heights is home to several schools, including the San Francisco University High School; Drew School (formerly Drew College Preparatory School); the Hamlin School; Convent of the Sacred Heart High School; Stuart Hall High School, and Town School for Boys, among others. The celebrated Grant Elementary School was open on Pacific Ave from 1922 to 1972. Its students included children of diplomats, the well to do, and the adjacent Presidio military base.
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