Noe Valley

Noe Valley is a melting pot of contradictions, exemplifying the very best of what San Francisco has to offer. Here liberals live next to conservatives, the working class with the DotCom millionaires. Surrounded by picturesque hills, this valley community seems isolated from the city proper, giving it a pleasant, suburban-chic feel. But this by no measures means Noe Valley is boring – quite the contrary. Within its Victorian mansion-lined streets you will find raved-about restaurants, interior design showrooms, fashion boutiques and everything in between.

Where it’s At

The Noe Valley neighborhood is best explored via the pedestrian friendly 24th Street.

What to See

Noe Valley’s best sights are in its shops, making it a shopper’s paradise. The 24th Street Cheese Company (3893 24th St.) is the place to sample your way around the cheese world. Sample its wide selection or sit down for a cozy fondue with breads, oils, olives and, of course, wine. On Saturday mornings from 8:00 to noon, wander down to the New Noe Valley Ministry parking lot (24th Street between Vicksburg and Sanchez) for the weekly organic farmers market, where you can sample local produce and enjoy live bluegrass performances. To travel the world without leaving the Noe Valley, Global Exchange (4018 24th St) stocks goods imported from Latin and South America, Africa and Asia. The store specializes in crafts, decorative arts and handmade goods.

Where to Eat

After shopping until you’ve dropped, why not drop into Firefly (4288 24th St at Douglass) for some of the city’s best cuisine. Specializing in Asian, Polynesian, Mediterranean and California cooks, the Sonoma lamb and mahi-mahi are highly recommended. For top-notch Italian, try Incanto (1550 Church at Duncan). The neighborhood classic has a daily menu and is well-known for its slow cooked pork and fresh herbs – grown above in a 1,000 square foot rooftop herb garden. And for Italian with a twist, Lupa (4109 24th St) is a Roman styled trattoria serving a too die for fava bean bruschetta. For a main, the tortelloni with creamy mascarpone sauce is highly recommended, as is the creamy lemon tart.