Cole Valley to The Castro
Eat, wander, take photos, edit, repeat. Basically my day-to-day in an (over simplified) nutshell. And eating is best done in brunch-form in my opinion. This is the first installment of what I intend to be a series of brunch walks: where to eat followed by where to stroll. Starting off at Zazie Cafe this route leads through Cole Valley, across Buena Vista Park, and down into the Castro. There's a map waiting for you at the end of this post if you want to follow my exact footsteps, but no need to. Maybe you'll find some magic I missed!
Zazie is a famed and beloved San Francisco French bistro/brunch locale - and the line on Sundays reflects it. I'm a fan of weekday brunches, but if you visit on the weekend be prepared for a wait or to be there before opening (this will be a recurring theme with SF brunch spots). Not every long line is worth waiting in in this city, but Zazie is well worth your patience.
They have a patio out back when the weather's nice, meaning you can catch a few rays in a highly-photogenic environment. When it comes to ordering, I usually opt for their daily omelette... with a pancake on the side, because look at that thing. Their potatoes are baked to crisp perfection with soft, roasted roasted cloves of garlic.
Be sure to always brunch with friends who only casually judge you for taking pictures of everything. Dana was a sport, holding off on digging into her baked eggs so I could snap photos. Her sacrifice gives life to this blog.
When you're fueled up and heavily caffeinated, it's time to walk. Victorians and vistas await on the hilly climb up to Buena Vista Park. Be sure to always stop and pet the neighborhood dogs. Or, like we did, go down a street with dogs sitting at the end of the block with the sole purpose of bumping into said pups.
Cole Valley is a small neighborhood packed with cute facades, some of which date to the 19th century (sorry Europeans, this is impressive for San Francisco). I especially love the sky blue house below with the darling painted mailbox.
This tiger house lies along the route I charted below, but I’ll hold off from sharing the exact address. Go hunt for the hidden treasure that is this wild facade...there's even moss growing on it (though I'm not clear whether that's an intentional design choice or hazard of San Francisco fog...).
Buena Vista Park
Up, up, up you'll go through Cole Valley until you reach Buena Vista Park. As you wind through the park, you'll notice breaks in the trees letting you peep great vistas of the city. Follow whichever paths catch your eye, and enjoy a break from concrete before heading downhill into the Castro.
My route drops you into the Castro just where the F-line heritage streetcars pause before heading down Market street. The streetcars come from cities around the world, and their vintage style and fun colors liven up the neighborhood.
Every good photo walk ends with more caffeine and a chance to flick through pictures or simply rest your legs. I love Réveille in the Castro because it offers ample space to meet a few friends, seating out front in the sun, and a mean matcha latte.
Follow my map below and have a wonderful, hilly wander punctuated by pancakes on one end and coffee on the other!!
PS: For expert city-strollers, on a sunny day you can continue through the Castro to Dolores Park in the Mission for some well-deserved lounging in the grass amongst tipsy, frolicking San Franciscans.
- Zazie 941 Cole Street
- Réveille Coffee Co. 4076 18th St