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Tucked between Alamo Square Park and City Hall, Hayes Valley is home to some of the city’s most exciting boutiques, restaurants, and bars. This neighborhood is home to one of the coolest streets in the world and is best explored on foot, with abundant opportunities to shop, dine and enjoy something sweet.
Ritual Coffe has been keeping Hayes Valley caffeinated for over a decade and is renowned for its velvety cappuccinos, nuanced single-origin coffees, and seasonal coffee creations. Their unique shop occupies a converted shipping container directly across from Patricia’s Green, a popular Hayes Valley park.
Location: 432b Octavia Blvd
2. Mercury Cafe
Mercury Cafe is known for its bright, airy interior, tasty coffee, and freshly baked scones and pies, often still warm from the oven. They also host regular live jazz nights and other community events.
Location: 201 Octavia Street
Blue Bottle Coffee might have cafes across North America and beyond but their first brick-and-mortar store is located on an unassuming alley in Hayes Valley. Loving called “The Kiosk,” this unique location has no indoor seating but has tons of charm and all the classic Blue Bottle drinks and treats.
Location: 315 Linden St
Hayes Valley Breakfast/Brunch
This brand-new bakery focuses on baked goods that draw inspiration from the Jewish diaspora. Loquat comes from the team behind Four Barrel Coffee and serves delicious coffee drinks alongside, and treats like babka, halva, seasonal tarts, and unique breakfast plates.
Location: 198 Gough Street
Hazie’s is an expansive all-day restaurant that prides itself on its contemporary handcrafted California cooking. Their brunch menu features classics like smoked salmon, garden frittata, and warm beignets with apple caramel sauce.
Location: 501 Hayes Street
6. Chez Maman
Chez Maman serves delicious French cuisine in a casual setting and at a refreshingly reasonable price for most diners. They’re known for the selection of crepes, mussels, and other sweet and savory treats.
Location: 401 Gough Street
La Boulangerie is a French bakery and cafe that has been operating in San Francisco since 1995. They’re known for their buttery croissants, rich coffee, and sandwiches made from freshly baked baguettes.
Location: 500 Hayes Street
Souvla is a fast casual Greek restaurant that focuses on inventive and flavorful salads, wraps, frozen yogurt, and other Greek specialties.
Location: 517 Hayes Street
Whether you want a quick slice or a whole pie, Gioia serves up mouthwatering pizzas, unique salads, and house-made cannoli for dessert.
Location: 579 Hayes Street
Hayes Valley Restaurants
Absinthe has attracted a loyal following as one of the neighborhood’s oldest fine-dining restaurants. The beautifully decorated restaurant evokes turn-of-the-century France and creates a warm, convivial atmosphere. You can expect beef tartare, foie gras, oysters, and other French classics.
Location: 398 Hayes Street
Suppenküche is a German restaurant and beer hall that has been serving liters of German beer and schnitzel since 1993. The atmosphere is celebratory and communal without being rowdy. It’s a popular neighborhood destination but worth the wait every time.
Location: 525 Laguna Street
12. Dumpling Home
This Chinese restaurant specializes in classic and creative dumplings ranging from soup dumplings to juicy pork bao, and other favorites like a crispy green onion pancake. The high quality and exceptional value of these hand-made dumplings have earned them a Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide.
Location: 298 Gough Street
13. Fig & Thistle
Fig & Thistle is a chic yet refreshingly unstuffy wine bar in Hayes Valley with an excellent list from Califonia and around the world. They’re also home to Outta Sight Pizza, which allows you to grab a casual happy hour glass or split a pie and a bottle of Italian Pet Nat with a few friends.
Location: 429 Gough Street
This Hayes Valley wine bar offers dozens of wines to enjoy in its gorgeous outdoor patio garden. The food menu is simple, but doesn’t mess around – options include stuffed squids, Atlantic lobster, and impressive cheese boards.
Location: 458 Grove St
Location: 528 Laguna St
16. Afterwork Bar
This upscale sports bar is a great place to watch the game and relax with a few friends over drinks. They host a weekly trivia night and have a menu packed with tasty pub fare.
Location: 409 Gough St.
This inventive cocktail bar has a generous outdoor patio, parklet seating, and one of the most impressive cocktail menus in the neighborhood. Their menu includes spritzes, stirred classics, and even a few sharable punch bowls.
Location: 482 Hayes Street
18. Smuggler’s Cove
Sporting a non-descript exterior, Smuggler’s Cove still feels like a secret hideaway. The multi-story bar has won countless awards and serves as a veritable tiki museum. The interior features vintage tiki artifacts, rum décor, and a massive waterfall. Smuggler’s Cove treats tiki with an almost anthropological approach. The novella of a menu walks you through tiki’s history and present. It’s a fascinating read and a shame that you won’t remember a word of it after that second round of drinks hits the table.
Location: 650 Gough Street
19. Salt & Straw
This creative ice cream shop is a neighborhood favorite with house-made waffle cones and unique seasonal flavors like “roasted peach & sage cornbread stuffing,” among others. They are also open until 11pm every day of the week, making them an ideal after-dinner treat.
Location: 586 Hayes Street
This renowned candy shop and patisserie appear as if it was plucked straight out of a Wes Anderson film. Cases of gourmet cupcakes are topped by jars of perfectly crafted macaroons. Jars of hard and soft cand in every shape and color fill every shelf and surface, making it a sweet tooth’s dream.
Location: 449 Octavia Street
21. Alamo Square
This hilltop park is located along Steiner St. and offers a postcard-perfect view of some of SF’s most famous houses, the Painted Ladies. This row of seven Queen Anne Victorian-style homes is one of the most recognizable sites in SF and has been featured in movies such as Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and television shows like Full House (1987-1995). Its a great place to snap a few pics or spread out a picnic blanket.
Location: Steiner Street between Hayes and Fulton.
The Church of 8 Wheels is the ultimate hidden gem, hosting San Francisco’s most avid skaters within a 120-year-old abandoned church. You can zoom around the rink before a backdrop of stained-glass windows featuring Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Disco music and neon lights bring the party to this unconventional skating experience.
Location: 554 Fillmore Street
23. The Gate Guy
“The Gate Guy,” AKA Todd Young, has been decorating his front gate with colorful masterpieces since 2014. Young creates these unique murals every month, to the delight of locals and tourists alike.
Location: The 200 block of Page Street, near the corner of Page and Octavia.
Featured image by oliverdelahaye on Shutterstock