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Writer Leilani Marie Labong Guides Us Through Presidio Heights

The noted freelance writer shares her favorite spots, as well as a choice, albeit grisly, piece of neighborhood lore

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 freelance writer and editor Leilani Marie Labong. Let's find out what she has to say about Presidio Heights.

How long have you lived in Presidio Heights?

Six years.

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?

Even if you can afford a hulking manse, there aren’t very many here that come up for sale.

Better for buyers or renters or both?

For the record, I do not live in a hulking manse, I live in an apartment. There aren't very many apartments that come up for rent here very often. The neighborhood is too good.

Most reliable public transit:

Muni's 33 route stops and starts in on Sacramento and Cherry in Presidio Heights and can take you to the heart of the Mission in 40 minutes or so.

Favorite grocery store:

Cal-Mart in Laurel Village is an old grocery store, and really expensive, and kind of smells like bleach, and you have to ignore that there’s a dark closet-slash-public restroom right in the deli (very unappetizing to see ne’er-do-wells go in and out while people are preparing sandwiches), but I like the produce and the avocados are always ready for toast, no counter-ripening needed.

officially smitten @serenaandlily #mytinyatlas

A photo posted by lindsay {stetson} thompson (@mstetsondesign) on

Notable residents:

Many, but the stand out for me is rumored resident (not sure if she's still here now) Linda Ronstadt.

Best place to get a coffee: 

Starbucks. Although, there’s a new place on Sacramento Street called AQ. They weight out their coffee grinds and use St. Benoit whole milk. That said, Starbucks is faster, cheaper, friendlier, and dare I say, better.

Best park:

The Presidio. It’s a rare privilege to have a national park three blocks from your house.

Beloved neighborhood joint:

Spruce, duh.

Best-kept secret in Presidio Heights?

This place is dope for watching the Blue Angels. Set up your lawn chairs on the corner of Spruce and Washington. It’s at the top of a hill, so you’ll have a view of the Bay and the Presidio. The fighter jets will buzz very close, so don’t forget your ear plugs.

Gruffs on the green.

A photo posted by @leilanimarielabong on

Stereotypical residents:

Tesla owners, people who drop lists on the sidewalk titled "Things to bring to the summer house," and Lululemon-clad mothers donning Ray-Ban aviators and pushing jogging strollers.

Most common sight:

See reference to Lululemon-clad mothers above.

Where are the best places to chill and/or experience the outdoors?

Take your pick: Mountain Lake Park, the Presidio, Crissy Field, shall I go on?

Who wouldn't be happy here?

Poor hipsters. True socialists. Displaced Missionites. 

Best piece of neighborhood lore:

The Zodiac Killer shot a cab driver on the corner of Cherry and Washington on October 11, 1969.