I swoon for beautiful Victorian homes. It must relate to my childhood back east when I asked each week to go to my neighbor’s church just to drive by the massive Queen Anne homes with their wide, curved porches and capped turrets. In San Francisco, there is no better neighborhood to get a fix of true Victoriana then in the Western Addition*.
Each week I noodle over to the Castro from Lower Nob Hill, zig-zagging southwesterly to garner as many Easklakes, Queen Annes, and Italianates as possible. This is a little tricky because I want to see as many Victoriana beauties as possible while ducking the crowds clamoring to see “Postcard Row” and the Full House house at Alamo Square. Streets that should not be missed for an Instagram-worthy Victorian indulgence are Steiner from Turk to Oak, McAllister from Webster to Scott, Scott from Eddy to Oak, and Pierce from Golden Gate to Oak (with a swing west around the park). Allow yourself plenty of time to loop in-and-out of side streets. If walking the length of Oak from Van Ness to Scott watch the traffic when taking photos!
In the Alamo Square historic district be sure to step back and take in the accurately and meticulously placed paint colors. They are not only precise but worthy of any Pantone color chart.
Noodling is about exploring so I either cut across Hayes Valley on one of the narrower streets such as Linden or Ivy, or drop down from Japan Town/Fillmore. While the homes around Alamo Square are more stately, modest-sized Victorians outside the district are very much worth appreciation. They give us a sense of how economically diverse the neighborhoods were originally.
I realized the other day that my taste in architecture hasn’t changed all that much since childhood. The bowed windows, patterned shingles, and iron cresting continue to grab my attention. I’m still pressing my face against the glass except now it’s on my phone instead of a car window.
This is a residential neighborhood and the only restroom is in Alamo Square Park. Your best bet is to freshen up at one of many delightful cafes along Fillmore or Divisidero.
*For purposes of this post I am using the boundaries of Van Ness to the east, Oak to the south, Divisidero on the west and Eddy on the north.