NFT San Francisco Presidio Heights / Laurel Heights

Presidio Heights / Laurel Heights

This upscale part of the city features distinctive neighborhoods. Mansions border the Presidio in the Pacific Heights section (visit the Roos House), while Laurel Heights, south of California Street, is a quiet mix of apartments and town houses. Hike up to the University of San Francisco perched high on the hill for 360-degree views.

California and Sacramento Streets are the destination for boutique shopping and specialty foods. Try Bryan's for excellent meat and fish. Geary Boulevard has the ethnic-shopping bargains -- and, of course, Pig & Whistle.


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Posted By:  Eric Saxon
Photo:  Eric Saxon

Blood Centers of the Pacific Fountain
These three aqua velva blue stalagmites of fountain water are located on the west side of a blood bank, Blood Centers of the Pacific. BCP does good work in the blood game, pumping the red stuff through the veins of many in dire need. However much blood is being pumped inside, the more important pumping is outside, at the fountain. This is the most consistently flowing, unnaturally blue fountain in the city. Blue water can be found in water closets here and there, notably in the bathrooms of Hyde Street Studio, but an entire fountain cascading the visually cooling water is worth remarking upon. The pump is not always on, maybe because water pressure must occasionally shift to the pipes inside for the daily business of a blood bank. But when all that is done, it's time to celebrate flow. One would hope that the fountain was expanded and placed front and center of the building, instead of off to the side and partially obstructed by shrubbery. For now, however, this gem splashes gatorade frost only for those who care. Surprisingly non-potable.

Posted By:  Dan Johnson
Photo:  Dan Johnson

Trader Joe's
Sometimes I think I never really left college. Yeah, I have my own place, and I eat stinky cheese. Sometimes I even think about throwing some money into a retirement account. But I sill have a soft spot for cheap booze. The only problem is that I’m a little old to be mixing cocktails with plastic cups and bottles. Enter Trader Joe’s on Masonic. Everyone knows about Two-Buck Chuck (reverse-snob wine for two dollars a bottle) but the best deals for the truly hardcore can be found on the side. Wild Turkey 101 will set you back $16 ($22 at Safeway). They have Lismore for a good price. And Boodles gin is a bargain. It’s great if you’re throwing an old-school kegger and need cheap vodka to spice the punch, but it’s even better if you’re having friends over for snotty cocktails and don’t want to break the bank.

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