The uniquely named Cow Hollow is due to its past function as a pasture for cows to graze, however, today it serves a much different purpose. The wealthy residents of Cow Hollow now are drawn to the main shopping area, Union Street. Exquisite boutiques, art galleries, and jewelry stores line the street making Union Street one of the most popular shopping destinations for this affluent neighborhood. Also popular in Cow Hollow is the nightlife which features many Large homes are the norm here as well as many Victorian and Edwardian style flats and apartments thus making Cow Hollow one of the most desirable neighborhoods in San Francisco.
One may ask, looking at such a beautiful and well developed city as San Francisco, how it came to have one of its neighborhoods have a name as decidedly rural as “Cow Hollow:” This beautiful urban area with its rolling hills with beautiful Victorian homes perched atop them is perched between Russian Hill, and the Presidio, and is bordered by the Marina District and Pacific Heights. How did this little chunk of downtown real estate get its name? As one might assume, the Cow Hollow district wasn’t always a center of urban growth and opulence, having instead once been little more than rolling fields for cattle grazing sitting directly on the shoreline.
Obviously, much has changed since the days of being a home to cattle farmers and fisherman, and it’s now home to the chic thoroughfare that is Union street, with its welcoming restaurants and delightful boutique shopping. For those who would like to take a moment for a bit of self-care, there are wonderful health spas, which can direct you to the wellness centers to provide care for the time between visits.
Cow Hollow’s does have a tendency to a certain mono-chromatic vibe, almost 90% of the population here is solidly white, with the rest being primarily of Asian descent. It is definitely a place for the up and coming, being a slightly higher profile neighborhood than Pacific Heights, and in fact being the go-to place for those families that are settling in to adult maturity. There is a very literally observable transition between Pacific Heights and Cow Hollow, one can literally follow the money from one point to the other as families become more affluent. Perhaps part of what draws it here is part of the philosophy of the local Cow Hollow School, who state “We believe that each child has the right to a nurturing, safe, interesting and authentic environment in which to grow, build relationships and make connections.” This sort of progressive thinking in a school is part of what draws parents to the area.
Another thing that stands out about this neighborhood is its ‘touristy’ feel, with a number of very nice hotels along Lombard Street. For those who prefer a worldlier experience close to home, this means you can expect to encounter travelers from all over in the local cafes and bars, taking in San Francisco and generally just enjoying this beautiful little burg.
There are some lovely sites of historical and architectural interest, among them the quaint and beautiful 2940 Octavia. This house is understood to be the last intact dairy house in Cow Hollow, its beautiful architecture and light coloring being a pleasant addition to the neighborhood. Also of interest is the Octagonal house on 2645 Gough Street, this house was owned by Charles Gough, who was part of a committee to name the streets of the Western Addition. In fact, the street where one finds the dairy house mentioned above was named after his sister.
However, the Gough house didn’t always stand in its current location, it was moved from further down the street to where it could serve as a Colonial and Federal Period Museum of Decorative Arts. No matter what brings you to Cow Hollow, it’s in a wonderful location to live or visit, if one has the means. The houses here range in the million dollar range and rents start at about 1,500$ a month, but it’s definitely worth every penny. Its proximity to the Marina district, its delightful little shops and restaurants, and the historical architecture all give Cow Hollow a wonderful charm that will make you want to call it home.