San Francisco's Twin Peaks West District includes the neighborhoods of Balboa Terrace, Diamond Heights, Forest Hill, Forest Hill Extension, Forest Knolls, Ingleside Terrace, Midtown Terrace, Miraloma Park, Monterey Heights, Mount Davidson Manor, St. Francis Wood, Sherwood Forest, Sunnyside, West Portal, Westwood Highlands and Westwood Park.
Balboa Terrace is an elegant residential neighborhood in southwest San Francisco. Underground utilities, pedestrian friendly walkways, and distinctive and charming homes make this popular neighborhood even more exclusive by city standards. Residents here enjoy a quiet, luxurious atmosphere that is out of the fray, but in close proximity to amenities and convenient commuting. For every day necessities, residents can shop at nearby Stonestown Galleria Mall or head to West Portal’s popular commercial strip, known for its locally owned shops, services, and restaurants. Residential architectural styles range from Storybook turrets and balconies, to grand Spanish Colonials and Italian Renaissance Revival style homes, to charming English cottages. With fairly low inventory, an exclusive and well-manicured neighborhood atmosphere, and distinctive one-of-a-kind homes, average sale prices here are well over $1 million. However, if you are lucky enough to find a home for sale in Balboa Terrace you’ll be buying a little piece of San Francisco architectural history.
Situated on a flat hilltop near the center of San Francisco county, Diamond Heights is a low-key neighborhood with a suburban feel and plenty of mid-century charm. The neighborhood was primarily developed during the late 1950s-1970s and generally consists of single-family homes and apartment buildings. Diamond Heights is well known for its tract of approximately 100 mid-century modern Eichler homes. Residents of this area enjoy convenient access to public transportation (Muni and BART), shopping at the Diamond Heights Shopping Center, and relatively affordable San Francisco Bay Area real estate.
Forest Hill is one of the city’s most gracious and unique neighborhoods. This community hosts architecturally significant homes set on quiet, beautifully landscaped streets, and has the distinction of being one of the least densely populated neighborhoods in San Francisco. Construction of this neighborhood began in 1912 and many residences subsequently reflect the classic architectural styles popular during that era. Additionally, Forest Hill hosts a mix of mid-century and contemporary homes, including homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Henry Hill. One of the greatest appeals of this neighborhood is its traditional sense of community. The Forest Hill Clubhouse, designed by architect Bernard Maybeck in 1919, is the center of community activity, hosting a variety of events from club meetings to an annual series of summertime concerts. While Forest Hill is primarily residential, shopping and services are readily available in neighboring West Portal and Inner Sunset.
Forest Hill Extension
Forest Hill Extension, sometimes referred to as Laguna Honda, is a residential neighborhood directly adjacent to Forest Hill. This neighborhood shares many of the same desirable attributes as Forest Hill, including forested hillsides, underground utilities, manicured streets, and an interesting assortment of homes. Single-family homes here range from simple townhomes, Spanish Revival bungalows, storybook cottages, to modern and contemporary style homes. Homes built along the sides of Edgehill Mountain host spectacular city views, and a forested park in this area provides residents and visitors an opportunity to commune with nature, while remaining in the city.
Perched on Mount Sutro and surrounded by redwood, pine, and eucalyptus groves, Forest Knolls combines a park-like feel with big city conveniences. Forest Knolls is primarily residential, with shopping, dining, entertainment, and public transportation readily available in nearby Cole Valley, West Portal, and the Inner Sunset District. The Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve occupies part of Forest Knolls and offers its residents the luxury of open space, hiking and biking trails, and Mother Nature right outside their doors. Built on the hillside, many homes in this neighborhood have scenic views of the surrounding city, unmarred by poles or wires, as utilities are underground. Mid-century modern is a predominant architectural style in this quiet and very private neighborhood. However, with options for both single and multi-family homes, condos, and townhomes, there are homes to fit most lifestyles and stages.
Ingleside Terrace has a distinct suburban vibe with its wide streets, small green spaces, quiet culs-de-sac, and underground utilities. An active homeowner’s association and regularly scheduled community events contribute to the friendly neighborhood feel. Ingleside Terrace was developed in the early 1900s by architect-developer Joseph Leonard, who highlighted the area’s Ingleside Racetrack history by turning the track into the centerpiece of the neighborhood’s street layout (Urbano Drive). The neighborhood is also home to a historic, fairly accurate, large sundial; a century-old neighborhood landmark that was built in 1913 to lure prospective buyers to newly built homes in the neighborhood. Most residences here are single-family homes built in a range of architectural styles, including Spanish Colonial, Craftsman, and Mediterranean.
As a planned community of approximately 800 mid-century modern homes, Midtown Terrace is a purely residential neighborhood, but with a convenient city location. Served by Metro stations in Forest Hill and West Portal, Midtown Terrace residents enjoy an easy commute to the Financial District and Downtown San Francisco. Shopping, dining, services, and entertainment are also conveniently located in nearby West Portal and the Inner Sunset District. With street names such as Panorama Drive, Skyview, Cityview and Fairview, it is easy to tell what this neightborhood’s main attraction is: the lovely views of the surrounding areas. All homes in this neighborhood are single-family mid-century modern homes, with modern floor plans and garages for one to two cars. Developed in the 1950s, homes in this area are surrounded by trees and open space designed to take full advantage of the natural surroundings and views.
Miraloma Park rises above most of San Francisco and is home to Mount Davidson, which is the highest point in the city at an elevation of 925 feet (15 feet higher than nearby Twin Peaks). Along with a convenient location, this neighborhood offers a suburban feel right in the middle of the bustling city. Commuters will find that the Glen Park and West Portal MUNI stations offer quick and easy transit options; additionally, the Glen Park BART station provides transportation throughout San Francisco (including SFO airport) and the East Bay. Home development began in the late 1920s and continued through the 1940s and 1950s, resulting in an interesting mix of architectural styles. From two-story rowhouses to contemporary and mid-century modern homes, Miraloma Park offers real estate options to suit everyone’s personal preferences.
Monterey Heights is a small residential neighborhood on the western slopes of Mount Davidson. Much likes its neighbor, St. Francis Wood, Monterey Heights is well known for its beautiful homes and gracious living set in a quiet, comfortable location. Monterey Boulevard, on the southern boundary of Monterey Heights, provides a direct route to Highway 280, the main freeway that transects San Francisco and links with destinations to the north, south, and east of the city. Homes in this neighborhood are elegant and eclectic. From Mediterranean villas and Tudor estates, to contemporary modernist homes, homebuyers will find an array of architectural styles featured here. Monterey Heights’ hillside location also provides nice views to the west toward the Lake Merced and Sunset Districts.
Mount Davidson Manor
A gracious and subdued residential neighborhood, Mount Davidson Manor has much of the personality and sweeping views as its neighbors, without the higher home prices of St. Francis Wood and Monterey Heights. Developed in the early 1900s after the opening of the Twin Peaks tunnel in 1918, residents commuting to downtown San Francisco will find a simple and direct route. While Mount Davidson Manor is a quiet residential neighborhood, it is close to every day amenities, shops, restaurants, and services found along nearby Ocean Avenue. Residents may also shop at the Stonestown Galleria Mall and the West Portal area, both only a stone’s throw away. Most of the homes in Mount Davidson Manor were built in the 1900s prior to World War II, and many feature the Spanish Revival and Mediterranean styles that were popular in that era.
St. Francis Wood
One of the most exclusive and affluent neighborhoods in San Francisco, St. Francis Wood maintains a stately air and a correspondingly low profile compared to similarly wealthy neighborhoods such as the Marina and Pacific Heights. Shopping and commercial amenities are close in nearby West Portal, while commuters will find that the Civic Center, Financial District, and Downtown San Francisco are easily accessible. Strict building and architectural guidelines have assured that St. Francis Wood is, and will continue to be, a hamlet of palatial homes on large, graciously landscaped lots situated on mature tree-lined streets. Prominent architects Julia Morgan, Timothy Pflueger, Bernard Maybeck, Martin Rist, and Willis Polk designed many of the early-built homes in this neighborhood. Real estate is incredibly competitive in this neighborhood, as relatively few homes are on the market at a given time.
At just two by three streets, Sherwood Forest is San Francisco’s smallest neighborhood. Sitting between St. Francis Wood and Miraloma Park, there are only about 200 homes in this tiny, hard-to-find community. The only street that starts and ends in Sherwood Forest is Robinhood Drive – a street almost hidden from the hustling public, offering a unique sense of seclusion within an urban environment. Conveniently, every day amenities are located in nearby West Portal, and MUNI/Metro stations connect you easily to the Financial District and Downtown. Two trailheads leading into Mount Davidson Park begin on Sherwood Forest’s northern boundary, putting jogging, hiking, and peaceful meditation in nature only minutes away. Architecture ranges in this neighborhood from ranch style dwellings, sleek modernist homes, and classic Mediterraneans. Notably, two of the earliest homes in the neighborhood were designed by influential architect Tim Pflueger.
Comprised of approximately 280 homes built between 1925 and 1929, Westwood Highlands is a small, secluded neighborhood in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks West district. This affluent residential community of well-maintained homes is set on quiet, meandering streets – a departure from much of the city’s grid planning. As were a number of western San Francisco subdivisions built in the early 1900s (such as Diamond Heights, Midtown Terrace, Monterey Heights, St. Francis Wood, and Sherwood Forest), Westwood Highlands was developed as a residential park and features elegant homes surrounded by polished landscaping. Residents will find that shopping and services in the commercial center of West Portal, along with public transportation, is close by, and BART and freeway access is just a straight drive down Monterey Boulevard. Long considered one of San Francisco’s best-kept secrets, the Westwood Highlands neighborhood is full of stylish homes in a tranquil, community-friendly setting. Pride of ownership is evident throughout the neighborhood and the Westwood Highlands Association ensures that community standards be upheld for the benefit of all residents. Underground utilities, along with a balance of architectural styles including Mediterranean, Tudor, and modern homes, provide great appeal for the neighborhood.