Nestled between elite Pacific Heights and the stylish Marina, charming Cow Hollow is one of the city’s most livable—and lively—neighborhoods. Named for its former life as cattle grazing grounds, the area is now home to gorgeous Victorian and Edwardian architecture and art deco apartment buildings. Cow Hollow’s swanky commercial hub centers around Union Street, which is overflowing with sidewalk cafes, upscale fashion boutiques, jewelry stores, antique shops, spas, salons, and natural food stores. The blocks surrounding the intersection of Fillmore and Union Streets are a popular nightlife destination, with everything from post-collegiate sports bars to quiet wine bars attracting after-hours partygoers. Daytime in Cow Hollow is also a treat, with many beautiful recreational facilities nearby.

Lombard Street marks the entrance to the sprawling Presidio, a former military base that now offers miles of hiking trails, playgrounds and scenic views—not to mention several museums, restaurants, and a state-of-the-art YMCA. A little further afoot are Fort Mason, Moscone Recreation Center, and Crissy Field, all of which provide wonderful family-friendly excursions. Here in Cow Hollow, cabs are never too hard to find, but several bus lines make the neighborhood extra convenient for commuters. ©2016 Maryann LoRusso

Fillmore Street is a trendy place to grab coffee, dine with friends or pick up some upscale designer duds.

Fillmore Street is a trendy place to grab coffee, dine with friends or pick up some upscale designer duds.

Often referred to as “The Triangle,” the area around Fillmore and Union Streets is home to several bars, clubs and lounges.

Often referred to as “The Triangle,” the area around Fillmore and Union Streets is home to several bars, clubs and lounges.

The Lyon Steps offer a great workout and—if you make it to the top—stunning views of the Palace of the Fine Arts and the Bay below.

The Lyon Steps offer a great workout and—if you make it to the top—stunning views of the Palace of the Fine Arts and the Bay below.

A former military base, the Presidio offers miles of wooded areas, hills and scenic vistas—as well as several restaurants and museums, a YMCA and even a bowling alley. 

A former military base, the Presidio offers miles of wooded areas, hills and scenic vistas—as well as several restaurants and museums, a YMCA and even a bowling alley. 

The McElroy Octagon House, also known as the Colonial Dames Octagon House, is an historic building on Gough Street.

The McElroy Octagon House, also known as the Colonial Dames Octagon House, is an historic building on Gough Street.

Just inside the Presidio’s Lombard Gate, the Letterman Digital Arts Center is a serene 23-acre campus that serves as the headquarters of Lucasfilm. The property includes a public park and an iconic Yoda fountain at its main entrance.

Just inside the Presidio’s Lombard Gate, the Letterman Digital Arts Center is a serene 23-acre campus that serves as the headquarters of Lucasfilm. The property includes a public park and an iconic Yoda fountain at its main entrance.

An army post for more than 100 years, Fort Mason is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and a National Historic Landmark District. More than 49 buildings of historic significance—which now house restaurants, art galleries, museums and more—are spread over 1,200 acres that also include a grassy hilltop park.

An army post for more than 100 years, Fort Mason is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and a National Historic Landmark District. More than 49 buildings of historic significance—which now house restaurants, art galleries, museums and more—are spread over 1,200 acres that also include a grassy hilltop park.