Charming cul-de-sacs, lush greenery and hidden luxury homes make Lake Street special.
A commonly asked question from newcomers is “Where is the lake on Lake Street?”
There’s a very simple answer. It is called Mountain Lake and is the only natural freshwater lake inside the city limits of San Francisco. It is also the source of the longest (1/2 mile) remaining free-flowing waterway in San Francisco, called the Lobos Creek, which ends at Baker Beach. You can find it where Lake Street and Park Presidio cross.
Mountain Lake Park is a 15.2-acre park situated on land bordered by the Presidio to the north and Lake Street to the south. The recently renovated playground "sits at the end of 12th Avenue, north of Lake Street, and is bounded by the lake to the north", according to San Francisco Recreation and Parks. It is a wonderfully whimsical, yet modernized and safe place for children to play.
The Lobos Creek Valley offers a winding boardwalk for neighbors and those looking to stroll through native dune habitats. From the Lobos Valley Overlook, you can see dazzling sunsets and unbelievable views of the Pacific Ocean. Famous photographer, Ansel Adams, once lived nearby and was inspired by the valley’s expansive beauty.
A less commonly asked question is “Where is the street on Lake Street?”
Surprisingly, it is a valid question these days. In response to the Covid 19 crisis, Lake Street itself was turned into a slow street. While cars are still allowed to drive on it so residents can access their garages, or to park in front of businesses, they are only allowed to do so for less than one block. Restricting through traffic in this way was designed to make it a safe place for walking, running, wheeling, biking, and playing so that residents could more safely use the outdoor space.
It turns out that Lake Street is the perfect street on which to take a run, walk, or bike ride now that it is closed off for slow streets. It is flat and running from Arguello Boulevard to 28th Street and back is an exact 5K. (Can you beat my record?) It’s so popular that there is a movement to make the change permanent.
What both of these questions fail to notice, however, is that Lake Street is more than just a lake and a street. It is a charming neighborhood in the heart of San Francisco. It is outside of the central core of the city, but still easily reachable thanks to ample off ramps and public transit lines. (Although the main throughway, Park Presidio, tends to be jam-packed as early as 3 pm on weekdays.)
The streets are broad and wide, and Lake Street homes tend to be detached, most with gardens and yards, creating a suburban feel. And yet, the abundance of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks make it also has a dense, urban feel. It’s the best of both worlds.
Residents love it for its proximity to The Presidio and California Street, where they can find destination restaurants. Likewise, many surrounding neighbors from Sea Cliff and the Richmond district take advantage of Lake Street’s amenities like Angelina's Cafe & Deli that has been there for over 30 years, and the Avenue 12 Art Gallery.
Halloween is quite an event in the neighborhood. The streets are safe for trick-or-treaters of all ages, and many of the large homes are transformed into haunted houses. Of course, the local bars keep the scares going well into the spooky night.
Lake Street real estate has many architectural styles, such as Mediterranean Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, Beaux Arts, and Spanish Colonial Revival, in addition to Bay Region Craftsman and Shingle. The residents are similarly diverse. Though there is a heavy dose of young professionals, there is also a diverse mix of mid-level professionals and long-time residents, as well as more than a few worldly retirees.
You can find an income spectrum as you travel across Lake Street. In the center of the neighborhood, there are plenty of large apartment buildings and 2 unit buildings that are mostly condos or income properties. Many of these have garages on street level. As you move further west toward Sea Cliff and Land’s end, or further east toward Presidio Heights, however, you’ll find increasingly large and stunning homes. Homes on West Clay Street, for example, have larger lots, more square footage, and some of the best views in the area. Its secluded layout effectively makes it feel like a gated community, without the formalities of actually having gates.
The neighborhood is great for outdoor lovers. Mountain Lake Park has plenty of running trails, tennis courts, a dog run, and a lake popular for gathering or jogging around. Just beyond that, the Presidio has a golf course, yacht club, and beaches. There are sidewalks and it is dog friendly. The streets are well lit at night, making it safe all hours of the day.
Overall, Lake Street is a quaint little suburb tucked right into the heart of San Francisco. It’s a bit of a cozy corner where things love a little slower, but it does so without sacrificing any of the advantages of being in a dense, urban center. The streets are a little wider, but they’re still connected to the hustle of the city to the east, or the expansive outdoors of the Presidio to the north (or Land’s End to the west).
Lake Street is a great place to live when you want to be in the middle of everything, but you also enjoy a nice, quiet evening.
We have helped clients buy and sell many of the homes here. In fact, we looked up our stats in the last 12 months and they are as follows:
All Agents (Lake Street sales): PPSF $1,088 | DOM 29 | SOLD IN UNDER 30 DAYS = 68%
Missy (Lake Street sales): PPSF $1,167 | DOM 7 | SOLD IN UNDER 30 DAYS = 100%
Contact Missy Wyant Smit to find exclusive real estate, large houses, and luxury homes for sale in Lake Street.
Mountain Lake Playground
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