Cow HollowSummary: Cow Hollow is a younger but just about as affluent version of Pacific Heights.
Cow Hollow is like a younger version of its family oriented neighbor to the south, Pacific Heights, almost as if the young parents picked up and moved up the hill as they aged (which, in fact, many do). Cow Hollow is a Mecca for the young and well off, with a swanky commercial area centered around Union Street, and many pricey rentals with great views or quaint layouts. Unlike its southern neighbor, however, Cow Hollow’s old Victorians perch along steep, rolling hills, rather than on a gentle incline. If you are very good at spotting gradations of wealth, you might notice that Cow Hollow’s well-kept houses and apartments are just slightly less expensive than those of Pacific Heights, but for most of us, this is a distinction without a difference.
According to the 2000 census, Cow Hollow is virtually all white with almost 9 out of 10 people being Caucasian, and the rest being largely of Asian heritage. Almost 3 out of 5 are between the ages of 25 to 45. The population is also highly educated with most average residents having a college degree and a six-figure job to go along with it. Unlike their southern neighbors, however, Cow Hollow residents rent rather than own, and many tend to leave the neighborhood as their children age and their families grow.
Union Street is the main commercial drag in Cow Hollow, being in many ways an imitation of Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights. That is, Union Street is packed with ritzy, overpriced clothing stores like Bebe [I1], restaurants like Gamine [I2], and even used to have a quaint old theater that played art house films (though now it has become a gym). Unlike Fillmore, however, Union has far more interesting nightspots and pubs, including Perry’s [I3]and the Bus Stop Saloon [I4].
The northern end of Cow Hollow has a bit of tourist district feel to it, since so many hotels line Lombard Street. This is also where you will find fast food joints, gas stations and the kinds of restaurants travelers feel comfortable coming back to after exhausting their adventurous spirits—bland, middle of the road sorts of establishments. Tourists mostly use Cow Hollow as a landing pad and leave to explore the better known sites of SF, but Cow Hollow also has several historically significant constructs that draw tourists interested in the city’s past. These include, the Octagon House [I5], the Sherman House [I6], the Vedanta Temple [I7] and St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church [I8]. Cow Hollow also borders the Presidio on its western edge, which, since being converted from a military base more than a generation ago, has become the home of several companies and developers.
The neighborhood is relatively safe except near its pubs on Union Street where alcohol fueled violence leads to an occasional arrest and by the hotel district on Lombard where assaults and property crime are comparable to that of San Francisco as a whole. There has not been a murder in Cow Hollow for several years, however.
Property prices are, as you would expect, comparable to Pacific Heights and Cow Hollow’s other affluent neighbors. Million dollar homes are the rule of the day, for the most part, while rents begin at about $1,500.00 and go up from there.