On the southeastern edge of the city is a group of often forgotten neighborhoods. Although they have a long-standing reputation of staying under the radar, they are in fact some of the biggest residential treasures in San Francisco.
Because it does not draw in the crowds with any monumental tourist attractions, the Portola neighborhood has remained a quietly sprawling residential sanctuary within the city borders. Approximately one square mile in size, this neighborhood functions as if it were a stand-alone town. Many of the homes are occupied by longtime residents who have helped build the neighborhood by opening and supporting small businesses, and taking care of the cleanliness and upkeep of the area.
Its well-known neighbors (Bernal Heights to the north and the Bayview to its east) are both on many house hunters maps. Meanwhile, the stealth Portola neighborhood is buzzing with just as much energy and is filled with enough restaurants and retail to keep residents within its borders most of the time. Charming commercial thoroughfares, like the large one along San Bruno Avenue, are lined with unique eateries, bakeries, boutiques, and small grocers.
The 101 borders its eastern side while I-280 runs across its northern border. Residents have direct access to both freeways, as well as the public transit lines that service the area. McLaren Park, a gem in itself and the second largest park in San Francisco after Golden Gate Park, takes up a massive chunk of the neighborhood’s southwestern corner where residents tend to gravitate.
Once a rural and sparsely populated area, Portola has evolved into a community populated by a diverse group of people working and living life in a residential sanctuary on the outskirts of big city chaos.