The 9 Best Things to Do in Pacific Heights, San Francisco

Pacific Heights

 Geri Lavrov/Getty Images

Perched a few hundred feet above sea level, San Francisco's magnificent Pacific Heights neighborhood is known for its multi-million dollar homes and sweeping views that extend all the way out to the Marin Headlands, located across the Golden Gate Bridge. But there are also plenty of other things to see and do in “Pac Heights,” including dining at some of the city's top restaurants, catching a movie at a historic theater, and shopping.

01 of 09

Relax in Alta Plaza Park

Steps of Alta Plaza Park in Pacific Heights San Francisco

John Manoogian III/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Jackson St. &, Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
Phone +1 415-831-5500

The neighborhood's two parks—Lafayette Park and Alta Plaza Park—both served as refugee camps when the 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed much of San Francisco, and they've been safe havens since. Alta Plaza has a particular draw, with stunning views of San Francisco Bay, including Alcatraz, and downtown. Watch a game of pick-up basketball, play a round of tennis, or catch some afternoon sun on the southern-facing terraced lawn of this 12-acre park. There's even an off-leash area for pooches and a playground for kids. The park's grand staircase has its own bit of lore: It was used, without permission, in a car chase scene from the 1972 Barbra Streisand film "What's Up, Doc?" The damage to the stairs is still visible.

02 of 09

Ogle the Mansions Along Billionaires' Row

Pacific Heights, San Francisco Architecture

RiverNorthPhotography/Getty Images

Pacific Heights became the de facto neighborhood for San Francisco's rich after the 1906 earthquake when they realized it offers some of the best views in the city. Today it's where you'll find some of San Francisco's most spectacular homes: sprawling mansions with manicured lawns, ornate balconies, and gawkable exteriors. The residents are a mix of Old Money and current tech magnates—people like Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman—though all the homes are equally impressive. SF City Guides offers walking tours of the area, which also includes the Spreckels Mansion, a 27-room French Baroque chateau built with sugar magnate money that occupies an entire city block. 

03 of 09

Catch a Film at a Historic Theater

In a city where classic theaters are slowly going the way of the dodo, Pac Heights has managed to hold on to at least one of its cinema treasures. Although the Art Deco-style Clay Theatre on Fillmore Street—built in 1910 as a nickelodeon house—closed in January 2020, The Vogue on Sacramento at Presidio Avenue is still going strong. This independent venue mixes classic and first-run cinema and hosts the annual Mostly British Film Festival in February or March.

3290 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94115-2007, USA
Phone +1 415-346-2228
04 of 09

Go on a Shopping Spree

Fillmore Street, where the shops and restaurants intertwine

Clay Gilliland/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Get ready to spend (or do some killer window-browsing) in Pacific Heights, a neighborhood known for its high-end designer shops and independent boutiques. Fillmore Street is Pac Heights' main shopping hub, a stretch of storefronts devoted to trendy names like Athleta and Rag & Bone. There's also prime shopping along Sacramento Street, stretching into Presidio Heights with a more family-oriented (though still high-end) selection. Fashionable consignment shops are also the norm. 

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Chow Down at Some of the City's Top Restaurants

Curbside Café interior

Curbside Café 

Gourmet dining definitely has its place in Pacific Heights, one of the few neighborhoods in San Francisco where dressing up for dinner feels somewhat appropriate. Restaurants run the gamut from Fillmore Street's Michelin-starred Italian eatery SPQR to the cozy, French bistro Curbside Café and brunch hot spot Ella's. From Neapolitan pizza to innovative sushi offerings, you'll find plenty here to satisfy your appetite.

06 of 09

Go Bar Hopping

Laureate Bar and Lounge

Laureate Bar and Lounge 

If imbibing is your thing, Pac Heights has a surplus of worthwhile bars to get your drink on. Don't miss Harry's, a decades-old sports bar (and neighborhood institution) serving up American eats and cocktails in an elegant mahogany wood setting. The San Francisco Athletic Club is home to a couple of dozen big-screen TVs and the “bathtub of beer,” an ice-filled porcelain tub holding two-dozen bottles of beer—delivered directly to your table. Trivia Tuesday and fried pickles also keep crowds coming. Tucked into the Laurel Inn on Presidio at California St., the Laureate Bar & Lounge is brimming with mid-century modern aesthetics and inventive cocktails. Meanwhile, the aptly named Snug occupies a remodeled two-story space, serves up cocktails infused with bee pollen and mixed with wheatgrass, and features a bar made from salvaged Douglas Fir trees. 

07 of 09

Tackle the Lyon Street Steps

Lyon Street Steps

John Weiss/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

2990-2996 Lyon St & Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA

Being a city of hills also makes San Francisco a city of staircases. The Lyon Street Steps (at Lyon and Broadway) are one of the local favorites: a 332-step stretch from top to bottom, covering about two city blocks and connecting Pac Heights with San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood and the Marina waterfront below. Views from the top are simply incredible. While many locals use the steps for their daily exercise, you may want to take it easy and enjoy the scenery as you go. 

08 of 09

Visit Famous Filming Locales

The Mrs. Doubtfire House on Broadway

@markheybo/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Whether you're a TV and film buff or have a penchant for pop culture, Pacific Heights happens to be home to some of San Francisco's most famous on-screen locals. Grove High School, which Anne Hathaway's character Mia attends in the 2001 film "The Princess Diaries," is a residential mansion located at 2601 Lyon Street. The "Mrs. Doubtfire" house can be found at 2640 Steiner Street at Broadway, and the towering Victorian from the '90s TV show "Party of Five" is at 2311 Broadway. Pac Heights is even the site of the Tanner family's "Full House" home, tucked away on the neighborhood's southwest side at 1709 Broderick Street. Surprisingly, the 1990 thriller "Pacific Heights"—named for the neighborhood—was actually filmed in San Francisco's Potrero Hill. 

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Tour the 1886 Haas-Lilienthal House

Haas-Lilienthal House,

Sanfranman59/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0 

2007 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94109-2909, USA
Phone +1 415-441-3000

Built in 1886, San Francisco's Haas-Lilienthal House is San Francisco's only Victorian home open regularly as a museum. This Queen Anne-style beauty—complete with peaked roofs and a turret—has been welcoming guests since 1973, when the family of the home's original owners turned it over to San Francisco Heritage. The house is filled with authentic furniture and artifacts from the Gilded Age, and tours cover everything from the basement ballroom to the second-floor sleeping quarters.

Article Sources
TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. San Francisco Parks Alliance. "Lafayette Park." Accessed April 1, 2022.

  2. SFGATE. "This SF-Set '70s Comedy Permanently Damaged a City Landmark." February 9, 2022.

  3. Business Insider. "Take a Tour of San Francisco's 'Billionaires' Row,' Where Old Money and Tech Execs Collide." January 29, 2016.

  4. Atlas Obscura. "Spreckels Mansion." Accessed April 4, 2022.

  5. National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Haas-Lilienthal House." Accessed April 4, 2022.

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The 9 Best Things to Do in Pacific Heights, San Francisco