While there has been some argument over the exact boundaries of NoPa, for the purpose of this blog post we are going to consider them to be from Masonic to Divisadero. A great neighborhood to eat, drink, shop, and stroll, NoPa is easily accessible and shouldn’t be missed out on.
Existing under the umbrella of the greater “Western Addition,” NoPa came into existence during the construction of Golden Gate Park in 1870. The area, which consisted of primarily sand dunes, was set to be raised to align with the width of the rest of the park. Engineers encountered more difficulty than expected in relocating the individuals who had relocated to the area after the 1906 earthquake, and ultimately the Panhandle was built as the slimmer park that it is today. In the 1890s a plan to extend the Panhandle to Market Street was rejected, as was a proposed freeway through the Panhandle in the 1960s. In 1991 NOPNA (North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association) was formed to clean up the neighborhood of graffiti and crime. Today NoPa is a very desirable neighborhood to live in.
NoPa is a neighborhood with a down-to-earth, welcoming vibe. There is a nice variety of affordable and more upscale restaurants, boutiques, bodegas, dive bars and coffee shops. Families, USF students, and young professionals coexist peacefully. On any given day in the Panhandle portion of Golden Gate Park you will find a mix of picnickers, runners, and families with children at the playground. Head to the NoPa stretch of Divisadero on Sundays for a farmers market from 10-2. Summertime also brings the Art Walk to Divis.
Rare Device: Boasting a wide selection of stationary, jewelry, and independent art, Rare Device is a unique spot to find the perfect gift. With their rotating art gallery, this is a great spot to stop in, even if you’re just looking to browse.
San FranPsycho: A store and brand that truly upholds the San Francisco neighborhood culture.
Comix Experience: Whether you’re looking for comic books or graphic novels, the good people at Comix Experience can help you find it. A great showing of community support went into keeping Comix Experience open, and it’s not hard to understand why.
The Independent: A great venue for any and all live music.
Eat & Drink:
The Mill: Home to the infamous Josey Baker bread, The Mill is the place to go for coffee, $4 toast, and Monday pizza nights.
Jannah: Middle Eastern food with a California twist. Get ready to eat your fill of dolmas.
NOPA: A restaurant worth the hype, if you don’t make a reservation you can line up around 5:30 to sit at the community table or wait out a spot at the chef’s counter.
4505 Meats: Looking for great BBQ? Head to 4505 Meats. In addition to a delicious menu, they offer a cool outdoor patio built in shipping containers. It’s all very hip.
The Page: Get your dive bar on right at The Page, pool tables and all.
About the Author // Eliza Dropkin is the newest member of Vantigo. She enjoys live music, good food, and cruising around town in Jerry (the other newest member of Vantigo).