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Dylan Pilaar Tells Us About Golden Gate Heights

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The People's Guide is Curbed SF's tour o' the nabes, lead by our most loyal readers, favorite bloggers, and other luminaries of our choosing. Have a piece to say? We'll be happy to hand over the megaphone. Join us in welcoming our latest Curbed operative, intern Dylan Pilaar.
Neighborhood: Golden Gate Heights

Tell us something we don't know about Golden Gate Heights: Well, for one thing, many San Franciscans aren't aware of the neighborhood's very existence, so here's a quick overview of Golden Gate Heights: It's a small neighborhood characterized by winding streets and beautiful 360-degree views of San Francisco, and, on clear days, the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge can be seen head-on from 16th and 17th avenues. Despite the neighborhood's relatively small size, it has three great big open spaces, all with spectacular views of the city that are seldom seen by those who don't live in the neighborhood.

Local customs of note: People who live in Golden Gate Heights, myself included, love to climb up to the top of Grandview or Rocky Outcrop parks (but watch your step!) to watch the sunset. Many of us who live in Golden Gate Heights also love to complain about the summer fog, as do a solid portion of other western neighborhood dwellers.

Hidden gems in Golden Gate Heights: My favorite gems in Golden Gate Heights are the hidden stairways found throughout the neighborhood. From the steps at 15th street and the magnificently tiled mosaic stairs on Moraga, to those at Mount and Ortega streets. These leafy stairways are reminiscent of the far more popular stairways of Telegraph Hill, but feel much more intimate as they are rarely used by hoards of residents or out-of-towners.

Are your neighbors "Rotten Neighbor" worthy? If so, dish. If not? well, why not? Overall my neighbors are sweet as can be. That being said, Golden Gate Heights is a very kid-friendly part of town, and children can often be heard laughing, crying and occasionally yelling at one another (just good old sibling rivalry) throughout the day. Hearing screeching from the neighboring backyard can sometimes be a drag when I'm trying to relax on my day off, but it's nice to see families in the neighborhood.

Inflate the bubble or burst it: What's not-so-swell about your "perfect" neighborhood? Unfortunately, Golden Gate Heights is quite far from retail corridors, which makes it tough not use a car when running errands. Because the closest large supermarkets are each a good fifteen-minute walk from the neighborhood border, most drive to get their groceries. Also in the "not-so-swell" category would have to be our 'hood's precariously narrow sidewalks.

The final word on the Golden Gate Heights: Ultimately, Golden Gate Heights is a fantastic neighborhood. There are views galore, easy access to public transit (the N, the 6, the 66, and the 28) and a laid-back vibe. It may not be known to many, but as someone who has lived in various parts of beautiful San Francisco, I can say that it definitely holds its own against even the most famous neighborhoods in the city.
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