Van Ness Avenue - Cathedral Hill : San Francisco Neighborhoods

Van Ness Avenue/Cathedral Hill

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Now: Similar to Geary Boulevard, Van Ness Avenue is a traffic thoroughfare where larger stores, car dealerships, and chain restaurants find a home. Some highlights of the street include the Opera Plaza center and theatres, and a few unique restaurants. The Cathedral Hill area is named for the cross-shaped St. Mary's Cathedral and Geary and Gough.

Then: The homes that originally existed on Van Ness Avenue were sacrificed to create a line to hold back the fires that followed the 1906 earthquake, and protect the residences to the west.

How To Get There: Van Ness Avenue probably isn't a street that you would want to stroll the length of on foot - there isn't enough going on for that to be fun. Some of the various spots (like Opera Plaza) can be reached by jogging over from Polk Street, or parking on one of the streets separating Franklin and Van Ness.


  • Van Ness Avenue near Post Street

  • The Opera Plaza Center, on Van Ness Avenue at Golden Gate Avenue

  • Books Inc., in the Opera Plaza Center

  • City Hall in the evening, facing Van Ness Avenue

  • Mel's Drive-In, on Van Ness at Geary Boulevard

  • The AMC Theatres, on Van Ness Avenue at O'Farrell Street

  • Fast food restaurants on Van Ness

  • Tommy's Joynt, on Geary Boulevard at Van Ness Avenue

  • End of the California Street Cable Car line at Van Ness Avenue

  • Inside the 2-Clement bus on Sutter Street, crossing Van Ness Avenue

  • Matterhorn Swiss Restaurant and Bar, on Van Ness Avenue at Green Street

  • Helmand Palace Afghan Cuisine, on Van Ness Avenue between Union and Green Streets

  • The 49 bus on Van Ness Avenue

  • Looking east toward St. Mary's Cathedral, from Laguna Street

  • North edge of Jefferson Square Park, at Eddy Street between Laguna and Gough Streets

  • Jefferson Square Park

  • Jefferson Square Park, facing east

  • Looking south toward Hayward Playground from Jefferson Square Park