I have been going to Hayes Valley once a month for the last 7 years. My amazing, adorable and very talented hairstylist has his shop in this neighborhood right across the street from SF Jazz. It is an eclectic area with really great restaurants (you know how I love my food!). But there are a ton of spots I have yet to visit, and for that, I look to an expert.
San Francisco is often quoted as being a town of villages, which is why I love doing the San Francisco Profiles series. It’s an opportunity for a local to share their favorite spots in their neck of the woods. San Francisco is a big city and having someone guide you to the best spots can prevent a lot of heartaches….or at least bad meals!
When it comes to knowing the City by the Bay there is no one better than Victoria Smith of SF Girl by the Bay. She has dedicated her blog to keep you informed of the city’s most beautifully designed spots which she has now collected into a gorgeous book, See San Francisco: Through the Lens of SFGirlbyBay.
Victoria has organized her fantastic book by neighborhood and she shares her best spots. They will surely make you want to hop on a plane and check out why San Francisco is one of the best cities in the world.
And who better to share Hayes Valley with us?!! I have been a fan for a LONG time (along with having the pleasure of working on a project with her) and I am so pleased to have her.
Let’s meet Victoria.
 Favorite thing about Hayes Valley.
It’s a great mix of shops, cafes and has great walkability. A fun spot for an afternoon stroll.
 Least favorite thing about Hayes Valley.
The influx of brand new condos with questionable looking architecture.
 What differentiates Hayes Valley from all the other parts of the city?
What started as a cluster of Pop-Up shops helped this neighborhood grow and become prosperous again. I’m not sure that’s gone on in other places in the city.
 Favorite coffee spot in Hayes Valley.
Blue Bottle. The kiosk at 315 Linden Street near Gough was the first official Blue Bottle cafe opened back in 2005 and is still serving great espresso from this little spot.
 Favorite spot for drinks in Hayes Valley.
Two Sisters Bar & Books. It’s a bar plus a book exchange, an idea inspired while the two owners (you guessed, sisters) were traveling on a train from Krakow to Warsaw.
 Favorite local hangout in Hayes Valley.
Makeshift Society a beautiful, creative co-working space with design-focused classes and events.
 Favorite breakfast spot in Hayes Valley.
Century Cafe, a retro cafe serving specialties from Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
 Favorite lunch spot in Hayes Valley.
Gourmet to Go, a lovely Mediterranean cafe with great patio seating and an attached wine shop.
 Favorite dinner spot in Hayes Valley.
Rich Table, an award-winning restaurant that serves California cuisine with local products in a salvaged-barn-wood space.
 One thing you always do/spot you always take friends from out of town to do/see.
Fort Funston for a hike along the ocean. It’s stunning and a lot of people aren’t aware it even exists
Check out Victoria’s site SF Girl by the Bay and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to keep up with her and adventures continue to see amazing shots of San Francisco. And don’t forget to pick up her book, See San Francisco: Through the Lens of SFGirlbyBay.
Here are other great spots in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley:
EAT – Breakfast/Brunch:
> Arlequin Cafe (384 Hayes St b/t Gough St & Franklin St) delicious egg, bacon and aged cheddar bagel.
> Café du Soleil (200 Fillmore St.) Parisian-style café.
> Boxing Room (399 Grove St b/t Franklin St & Gough St) Beignets with chocolate espresso cream…enough said!
> Dobbs Ferry (409 Gough St b/t Hayes St & Ivy St) bellinis, mimosas, and Bloody Mary’s on the weekend.
> Nickies (466 Haight St b/t Webster St & Fillmore St) AYCD mimosas with a brunch entrée.
> Nojo (231 Franklin St b/t Linden St & Fell St.) ramen (only served on the weekend) with shoyu broth and grilled chicken confit.
> The Grove (301 Hayes St b/t Gough St & Franklin St) Amazing bagel: scrambled eggs, Fontina cheese, bacon (add tomato!).
EAT – Lunch:
> Absinthe Brasserie & Bar (398 Hayes St b/t Gough St & Franklin St) good basic burger that becomes extraordinary with Gruyère cheese, pickled chilis, and spicy onions.
> 20th Century Cafe (198 Gough St b/t Oak St & Lily St) Pete’s pastrami – one of the best in SF!
> Arlequin Cafe (384 Hayes St b/t Gough St & Franklin St) crispy skin duck confit tacos.
> Canto do Brasil (41 Franklin St. b/t Oak and Page) delicious Brazilian food.
> Chez Maman West (401 Gough St b/t Hayes St & Ivy St) I love the moules-frites (mussels and fries).
> Double Decker (465 Grove St b/t Octavia St & Gough St) great classic burgers with the usual suspects but also mac or potato salad.
> Hayes & Kebab (580 Hayes St) upscale falafel spot.
> Hayes Street Grill (320 Hayes St) 1st and oldest Hayes Valley resto, get the house-made whiskey-fennel sausage with fries.
> Papito (425 Hayes St b/t Octavia St & Gough St) fresh, organic Mexican bistro.
> Patxi’s Pizza (511 Hayes St b/t Octavia St & Laguna St) all SF’ers love this place!
> Rickybobby (400 Haight St) beef and bacon burger (beef and bacon in the patty!).
> Souvla (517 Hayes St b/t Octavia St & Laguna St) Greek souvlaki sandwich shop.
EAT – Dinner:
> Jardinière (300 Grove St b/t Franklin St & Gough St) fresh, fine dining from Traci Des Jardins.
> Monsieur Benjamin (451 Gough St b/t Grove St & Ivy St) amazing French food, menu changes, order anything with egg, duck or foie!
> Rich Table (199 Gough St b/t Oak St & Lily St) award-winning American cuisine, favorites: porcini doughnuts, and sardine chips.
> South at SF Jazz (201 Franklin St b/t Linden St & Fell St) Vietnamese chef, Charles Phan’s Mexican spot.
> Suppenküche (525 Laguna St b/t Linden St & Fell St) oh that mushroom sauce…
> Zuni Café (1658 Market St b/t Van Ness Ave & 12th St) the roasted chicken is WORTH the wait.
EAT – Dessert:
> Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate (401 Hayes St b/t Octavia St & Gough St)
> Miette (449 Octavia Street b/t Linden St & Hayes St) I personally love the Chocolate Fleur de Sel Caramels, but don’t forget the Tomboy cake!
> Sauce (131 Gough St b/t Oak St & Lily St) mini S’mores are a must.
> Shulzies Bread Pudding (364 Hayes St b/t Gough St & Franklin St) shop dedicated to bread pudding!
> Smitten (432 Octavia St b/t Linden St & Fell St) made to order ice cream using liquid nitrogen.
> Three Twins Ice Cream (254 Fillmore St b/t Laussat St & Haight St) delicious organic ice cream.
DRINK – Bars:
> Biergarten (424 Octavia St b/t Linden St & Fell St) who doesn’t love a German beer garden?!
> Brass Tacks (488 A Hayes St) check out the Brass Smash—made with Venezuelan rum, cynar, mint, and lemon.
> Smuggler’s Cove (650 Gough St b/t Mcallister St & Ash St) pirate-themed bar.
> Two Sisters Bar and Books (579 Hayes St b/t Octavia St & Laguna St) bar with a book exchange!
DRINK – Coffee:
> Blue Bottle Coffee (315 Linden St b/t Octavia St & Gough St) the first official Blue Bottle café.
> Ritual Coffee Roasters (432b Octavia St b/t Linden St & Fell St) microbrewed coffee with single-origin Sweet Tooth espresso.
> Azalea Boutique (411 Hayes St b/t Gough St & Octavia St) affordable mens and womens wear.
> Fatted Calf Butcher Shop (320 Fell St b/t Gough St & Octavia St) fantastic butcher, out of this world beef jerky.
> Flight 001 (525 Hayes St b/t Laguna St & Octavia St) whimsical travel store.
> True Sake (560 Hayes St b/t Laguna St & Octavia St) party gift shop.
> Reliquary (544 Hayes St b/t Octavia St & Laguna St) clothing, accessories, jewelry, and folk art.
> Sauce (135 Gough Street) urban g8-room guest house over Sauce restaurant.
> Hayes Valley Inn (417 Gough St) European-style neighborhood hotel.
> While Hayes Valley has a lot of commercial spaces, lodging is a bit tough to find. Your best bet for living like a local here is renting a private home or apartment via services like Airbnb. They have a great guide for Hayes Valley that includes some of their locations to rent. [New to Airbnb? Use this link to sign up and get $25 for your first stay. (affiliate)]
THINGS TO DO:
> Proxy (432 Octavia Blvd b/t Linden St & Fell St) rotating retail pop-ups.
> Patricia’s Green (Hayes St and Octavia St) green space with playgrounds, public art and benches and tables.
> Take in a show at SF Jazz, the first free-standing building in America built for jazz performance and education.
> See a performance at the Davies Symphony Hall concert hall.
> Do a Hayes Valley food tour with Gourmet Walks.
WHAT OTHERS SAY:
Here are other posts and guides from a few other local sources:
> All of Victoria’s blog posts on Hayes Valley
> Hayes Valley, a kid-friendly spot from Red Tricycle
> San Francisco City Guide from Gal Meets Glam
> Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association blog
How about you? Do you have any Hayes Valley additions? Have you been to this area of San Francisco? Did you find this post helpful for a future trip?
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