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Noe Valley

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History: Noe (pronounced No-Ee)0 Valley, named after original landowner José de Jesus Noe, was first developed in the early 1850s by John Meirs Horner, a Mormon farmer who gave many of the neighborhood streets their names (Elizabeth Street was named for his wife, and Jersey Street for his home state of New Jersey). In the 1870s, Irish immigrants flocked to the then ou-of-the-way area- so many that by 1880, San Francisco was one quarter Irish. In the 1970s, the neighborhood became a haven for middle-class families attracted to the sun.

Don’t Miss: Noe Valley is ideal for sunny-day shopping, so join the dog walkers and baby-stroller pushers as you make your way along 24th Street. A local columnist once joked that the best use of a baby stroller is to part Noe shipping crowds- if that’s true, then you might want to chart a course to Mapamundi Kids where they sell trendily organic and fair trade- faithful kid’s clothes and toys. Ambiance has been voted the best local boutique by the San Francisco staff nine times, while nearby Isso San Francisco offers womenswear “made, found, or design in the Bay Area”- singular goods that you can’t get anywhere else. Stop at either Bernie’s or Martha & Bros (or both!) as they compete for the strip’s best cup of coffee. Neighborhood dining options run the gamut from candlelit Italian at Lupa to happy-hour fun at Peruvian fare at Fresca and Catalan tapas and outstanding churros at Contigo. While the debate to name San Francisco’s top sushi is rivaled only by the great burrito controversy, Hamano Sushi’s hand rolls, which are named for local neighborhoods (choose from the Noe, the Castro, and the Mission), are formidable contenders. Once the clock hits happy hour and you’re in the mood for a no-nonsense drink, forget about the trendy cocktail clubs in other neighborhoods in favor of this once working-class Irish neighborhood’s best enduring working-class Irish pub, the Dubliner, where the drinks are solid, the atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, and they let you bring in takeout food from neighborhood eateries.