Magazine article Sunset

A Village Unto Itself: In the Heart of San Francisco, Cole Valley Has Its Own Small-Town Vibe. (Travel: Northern California Day Trip)

Magazine article Sunset

A Village Unto Itself: In the Heart of San Francisco, Cole Valley Has Its Own Small-Town Vibe. (Travel: Northern California Day Trip)

Article excerpt

Residents call it "the village" because, though Cole Valley is close to San Francisco's geographic heart, it can be its own world.

Its short business district has one auto shop, one hardware store, an art gallery, an antiques store, and plenty of good restaurants and wine shops. And if you visit this month, you might see Cole Valley's own celebrity summer visitors: San Francisco's wild parrots, who otherwise reside on Telegraph Hill, head to Cole Valley For summer break.

Even if you don't see the birds' green feathers, there's lots of green to be found here. "Four blocks in any direction and you're in a park," says resident Dan Nye, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1998.

Hike to the top of Tank Hill above Cole Street and you'll be able to see downtown, the bay, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Named for a long-gone water tank--only its foundation remains--the hill has trails with signs identifying area wildflowers.

On the way, check out the neighborhood novelty at 1591 Shrader Street: a sculpture of an angel carted from the trunk of a Monterey cypress.

But the best thing about a trip to this neighborhood is the good eating you can find along its streets. Start with Zazie, the well-loved provencal eatery. Or try the great pastries at Boulange de Cole Valley, opened late last year. …

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