Cow Hollow

This vibrant North Side neighborhood combines hustle and bustle with class and style.


Welcome to Cow Hollow

Lively neighborhood with spectacular homes and views.
Cow Hollow is one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco. This vibrant North Side neighborhood combines hustle and bustle with class and style. Union Street is one of SF’s best commercial areas, offering boutique shopping, outstanding restaurants, and a variety of spas and wellness centers. Cow Hollow is close to other popular spots, too, such as the exciting bayfront Marina neighborhood and the sprawling greenspace of the Presidio. The neighborhood also has quiet residential streets and great private schools. Housing styles here include classic Victorian and Edwardian single-family homes and Art Deco apartment buildings on steep rolling hillsides boasting some of the city’s greatest views. Living in this dreamy section of San Francisco will make you feel inspired and energized.

What to Love

  • Classic Victorian and Edwardian homes
  • Close to the Presidio and the Marina
  • Union Street shopping and dining
  • Excellent schools

People & Lifestyle

Cow Hollow’s name comes from its early years as a grazing patch for the herds of local dairy farmers. Today the neighborhood features a diverse array of dining choices and some of the best shopping in San Francisco. Away from the bustle of Union Street, the neighborhood is as quiet as its bucolic name suggests. Affluent families love Cow Hollow for its spacious homes, excellent schools, sweeping views, and convenient location.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Union Street has long been one of San Francisco’s premier shopping and dining destinations. Since the 1950s, the historic Victorian buildings of Union Street have housed some of the city’s finest restaurants and fashion boutiques. This hip commercial stretch features specialty stores, gyms, spas, health centers, coffee shops, stylish fashion outlets, and trendy nightlife venues.
Some highlights here include Rose’s Café, an Italian-style spot for delicious baked goods and meals prepared using the freshest local ingredients. The Black Horse London Pub is a local favorite for its friendly atmosphere, rotating beer taps, and elevated pub grub. On nearby Fillmore Street, Atelier Cren is a stylish French-inspired eatery offering an innovative multi-course dining experience in an upscale setting.
San Francisco has no shortage of coffee shops serving gourmet espresso blends, but those in the know consider Union Street’s Wrecking Ball Coffee one of the best. There are also plenty of options for indulging in a signature San Francisco weekend brunch. Some local favorites along Union Street include Belga, Palm House, and Perry’s.
Many big-name brands have outlets along Union Street. Head to the Nike Store to pick up apparel and engage in free weekend workout sessions. Other special events at Union Street stores include daily cooking classes at Sur La Table.

Things to Do

Cow Hollow has an abundance of beautifully designed classic homes. The McElroy Octagon House is one of the few architectural gems in the city that opens its doors to the public. Built in 1861 by William McElroy, this distinctive home contains a museum that invites visitors inside on each month’s second Sunday. Allyne Park is close to the McElroy House. This tree-shaded neighborhood greenspace is the perfect place to spend a sunny summer afternoon. Cow Hollow is also adjacent to the famous Lyon Street Steps, a steeply tiered set of 288 stairs with mesmerizing views out to the San Francisco Bay.


Public schools within Cow Hollow are operated by the San Francisco Unified School District. Highlights include:
  • Claire Lilienthal Elementary School, Public, K-8
  • Chinese Immersion School at Deavila, Public, K-5
  • Lowell High School, Public, 9-12
  • Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Public, 9-12
  • The Hamlin School, Private, K-8

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Valerie Aliwarga is a leading real estate agent in California and has helped hundreds of buyers find their dream home.
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