Defined by its bohemian charm, Hayes Valley could be described as San Francisco’s answer to NYC’s West Village, but it’s much more than that. Lined with upscale boutiques, some of the Bay Area’s best restaurants, and exciting galleries, Hayes Valley has quickly topped San Francisco’s list of trendy neighborhoods. 

Hayes Valley is a popular shopping destination in San Francisco. Hayes Street is lined with upscale boutique shops, offering everything from clothing to bath and travel accessories. Photo: Shannon McInerney, 49Miles.com.
Hayes Valley is a popular shopping destination in San Francisco. Hayes Street is lined with upscale boutique shops, offering everything from clothing to bath and travel accessories. Photo: Shannon McInerney, 49Miles.com.

While Hayes Valley is now a foodie and fashionista haven, it wasn’t always that way.

Twenty years ago Hayes Valley was symbolic of San Francisco’s drug and homeless problems. The neighborhood we know and love today was inconceivable.

It wasn’t until the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake destroyed the northern half of the city’s Central Freeway that Hayes Valley was given a second chance. (Talk about a silver lining.) At the time, the freeway passed over the neighborhood, crossing Octavia Boulevard and ending at Turk Street. It was completely demolished by CalTrans in 1992.

In the years since the Central Freeway’s demolition, Hayes Valley has undergone a complete transformation.

Today the neighborhood features numerous upscale clothing boutiques and specialty shops, trendy restaurants, sophisticated bars, and several new and rising developments, including 300 Ivy388 Fulton400 Grove, and 450 Hayes.

As Hayes Valley continues to experience a surge in developmental and commercial growth, its influence continues to expand beyond neighborhood boundaries. Hayes Valley’s unofficial neighbor, Mid-Market, also has an exciting pipeline of housing projects, bringing new life to the neighborhood, along with a crop of restaurants, bars, and shops.

 

Restaurants

Monsieur Benjamin
$$$ | 451 Gough Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Monsieur Benjamin is the second project from chef Corey Lee, who has earned three Michelin stars for his other restaurant, Benu. This modern restaurant and bar was inspired by Parisian bistro culture and the great traditions of French cooking.
What to Order: Duck Confit or Arctic Char
Dinner: Monday–Sunday: 5:00PM–12:00AM
Brunch/Lunch: Saturday & Sunday: 11:00AM–2:30PM
Reservations: OpenTable

Pläj
$$ | 333 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Located inside the Inn at the Opera, Pläj is one of Hayes Valley’s hidden gems. With a focus on local and seasonal ingredients, Pläj brings the rustic flavors and simple elegance of the New Nordic cooking movement to San Francisco. If you though IKEA’s Swedish Meatballs were good, prepare to have your mind blown.
What to Order: Swedish Meatballs, Potato Dumplings, Taste of Herring, Mikkeller Pilsner
Dinner: Monday–Sunday: 11:00AM–10:00PM
Reservations: OpenTable

Suppenküche
$$ | 525 Laguna Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Suppenküche is an authentic German restaurant serving up traditional Bavarian fare, including brezels (pretzels) and schnitzels (fried cutlets). Open since 1993, Suppenküche is a Hayes Valley staple. If you’re looking for a warm, friendly atmosphere and great beer, Suppenküche is the place to go.
What to Order: Venison Medallions with Red Cabbage and Spätzle, don’t forget “Da Boot”
Dinner: Monday–Sunday: 5:00–10:00PM
Reservations: Only for parties of six or more people

Little Gem
$$ | 400 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Having just opened in December 2015, Little Gem is one Hayes Valley’s newest and buzzed-about arrivals. This fast-casual café offers complex, quality meals that are free of refined sugars, dairy and gluten. Little Gem has 75 seats and is a great spot to grab a quick, delicious, no-regrets meal.
What to Order: Slow Cooked Pork with Mushrooms & Brussel Sprouts
Dinner: Tuesday–Sunday: 8:00AM–9:00PM, Closed Mondays
Reservations: Walk-in only

Souvla
$ | 517 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Souvla is a fine-casual Greek sandwich shop and wine bar located in the heart of Hayes Valley. Inspired by souvlaki joints found all over Greece, Souvla has some of the best lamb sandwiches and falafels on this side of the Aegean (or at least Van Ness Ave.).
What to Order: Lamb Sandwich and a Sea Salt & Olive Oil Frozen Yogurt
Dinner: Monday–Sunday: 11:00AM–10:00PM
Reservations: Walk-in only

 

Shopping

Azalea
$$$ | 411 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Azalea is a trendy boutique located in the heart of Hayes Valley offering upscale clothing items, accessories and shoes.
Hours: Monday–Sunday: 11:00AM–7:00PM

Gimme Shoes
$$$ | 416 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Gimme Shoes is the go-to shoe store in San Francisco. This Hayes Valley establishment is known for its wide variety of designer men’s and women’s footwear and accessories.
Hours: Monday–Saturday: 11:00AM–7:00PM, Sunday: 12:00–6:00PM

Fiddlesticks
$$$ | 540 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Fiddlesticks is a children’s boutique with a wide variety of stylish apparel and outerwear, shoes and accessories. On top of Fiddlesticks’ inventory of high quality, well-made clothing, it also has a selection of childrens’ toys and books.
Hours: Monday–Sunday: 11:00AM–7:00PM

gather
$$ | 541 Octavia Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
gather is a trendy independent retailer based in Hayes Valley that aims to connect local designers and consumers through its curated inventory of handcrafted apparel, jewelry, housewares and more.
Hours: Monday–Saturday: 11:00AM–7:00PM, Sunday: 12:00–6:00PM

 

The annual median sales price in San Francisco’s Central North district reached $1,172,500 in 2015, an 8.0% year-over-year increase, and a 65.7% increase from 2011.

Stay tuned for expanded Neighborhood Guides — coming soon to www.jodigroup.com — with all the information you’ll need when deciding on the next neighborhood to call home (or maybe just for a night out on the town).