The People's Guide is Curbed SF's tour of neighborhoods, led by our most loyal readers, favorite bloggers, San Francisco celebrities, and other luminaries of our choosing. Have a piece to say? We'll be happy to hand over the megaphone. This time around, we welcome Dan Jackson: avid Giants fan whose Twitter musings during games have become must-reads for fans. Let's find out what he has to say about the Lower Haight.
How long have you lived in the Lower Haight?
I've been in Lower Haight for about 10 years. Lived at Pierce/Haight for a short bit, but I've been at Haight and Webster nearly that whole time.
What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
I remember looking at houses when I first moved to the neighborhood – not seriously, just out of curiosity. We'd laugh cause there were a bunch of houses and flats for sale for around $400K. My wife and I were like, "LOL, yeah like we'll ever be able to afford that."
Do you need a car to get around?
Not at all. In fact, after just a year of living in the neighborhood (like nine years ago) I got rid of my car. I was literally only driving it to move it for street cleaning. After a year the battery started dying because I was driving it so infrequently and it needed to be jumped constantly. Then it got broken into several times so between that and all the parking tickets I was getting from not being able to get it jumped in time to move it before work, it just wasn't worth keeping it. I ended up donating it to the MS Society.
Pretty much anything in the city is just a short walk from Lower Haight, and there's tons of public transportation options to get you anywhere you'd want to go.
Most reliable public transit?
One of the best things about living in the Lower Haight is that between the Muni lines (6, 7, 7R, and 22) and LRVs at Church/Duboce and Church/Market, you can get much anywhere in the city super easily. Except North Beach. It's still somehow quicker to get to effing Oakland than North Beach. Doesn't make any goddamn sense.
Nearest grocery store (and why you like it)
Safeway, Golden Produce, and Golden Natural Foods (all on Church between Market and Duboce) are super close. Between the three you can find pretty much anything you'd need. And if you're feeling lazy, the Whole Foods (not part of the chain) at Haight/Fillmore has decent produce in a pinch. And if you're on the western end, you have Bi-Rite at Divisadero/Hayes that's pretty great (but obviously very pricey).
Good for kids?
Well I'll find out first hand in September! But, yes, there are tons of families with little kids in the neighborhood; it seems like a pretty great place for them. Duboce Park is awesome and has a playground (not to mention a lot of puppies!), and Alamo Square playground also has ample room to run around. Except for a few bars, the area seems pretty kid-friendly too. Walking around the hood I always see lots of sidewalks totally covered by kids' sidewalk chalk drawings (lol the kids start tagging early here I guess) and on sunny weekend days its not uncommon to find a couple enterprising children with a lemonade stand set up on a corner.
Best place to get a coffee:
Unfortunately, Bean There on Waller and Steiner just closed down, but Cafe Du Soleil on Fillmore and Waller and Cafe International at Haight and Fillmore are pretty good.
It's a pretty close tie between Duboce Park and Alamo Square (if you don't count Alamo Square as it's own separate neighborhood, of course). On the one hand, Alamo Square has one of the best views in the city and is a great place for a picnic. But because of the incredible views, it is usually packed with big groups of tourists trying to take selfies with the Painted Ladies (thanks, Full House!).
Duboce Park feels a lot more neighborhood-y. It's an awesome place to sit down with a burrito and a beer and watch all the dogs play.
Beloved neighborhood joint:
Toronado for beer, Wing Wings for chicken, Nickie's to watch the Giants win the World Series, Kate's Kitchen or The Grind for brunch, Rosamunde for sausages, Memphis Minnies for BBQ, Wonderland for Chinese... omg ok now I'm hungry, brb.
Also Rookie Ricardo, one of the best record stores in the city, and Upper Playground for clothing and some pretty awesome stuff from local artists like Jeremy Fish.
Most common sight:
Parents franticly steering strollers to avoid feces.
Stay away from:
The aforementioned feces.
Who wouldn't be happy here?
I would say if you're overly reliant on a car and don't have a garage, it could get old. But luckily you really don't need a car here. Again, so much of the city is just a short walk away and there are tons of public transit options.
Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
Beer, art, and chicken wings.