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Cole Valley

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Just south of the Haight, Cole Valley is easy to overlook but distinctly more mellow and relaxed than its busier neighbors.

History: Like many San Francisco neighborhoods, Cole Valley was originally farmland. (It had a pond too.) In the ’20s, the city dug a new subway tunnel to service the “Outside Lands” (now considered the Sunset district) and the intersection of Carl and Cole Streets suddenly became a transit hub.

Don’t Miss: Cozy, tasty Zazie has been drawing San Franciscans and tourists alike into Cole Valley for brunch (complete with wine and spirits) for almost 25 years. Just down the block, Say Cheese, purveyor celebrates its 40th birthday this year. Florentine immigrant Claudio Villani provides both wine and class at InoVino. and just behind UCSF Medical Center, you’ll find the entrance to the secluded Mount Sutro Forest.