A Secret View of the Hidden Precita Valley

Precita Valley
On some level, anyone who lives in this City learns that there are really two San Franciscos: The public City we see at street level, and the secret City that’s only visible from private back yards.

Though not much distance ever separates them, the quiet spaciousness of backyard San Francisco is often a world apart from the shoulder-to-shoulder bustle of life on the street. That’s even more true in hilly parts of town, where the topography of the City’s steep grades is fully revealed only within the sheltered perimeter of the surrounding homes.

Here’s one such place: Precita Valley, on the north slope, between Mirabel (above) and Precita (below). It also happens to be the view I wake to every day from my bedroom window.

It’s a whole ecosystem that only the locals get to see.

Photo: Telstar Logistics

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7 Responses to A Secret View of the Hidden Precita Valley

  1. chuck_b. says:

    People who’ve visited San Francisco but never lived here are often surprised to learn the houses have backyards. They see the houses built right up to the sidewalk and right up to each other and naturally assume that’s how it is in back too.

    • someJuan says:

      That was my case when I first came to SF. I wasn’t expecting well-sized backyards. But what took me a while to get used to once I moved here, was how one can see the neighbors backyards as well. I grew up in a house with a big backyard, tall fences and privacy. So it was daunting knowing that a bunch of neighbors could see me in my backyard.

  2. Lovely. Makes me want to take a picture from my garden in Bernal as well.

  3. Nina says:

    Are you familiar with the alley off Treat St. just south of Precita Park? Just past the school on the right there is an alley that leads to another alley where you can see the backs of all the houses on Folsom st. There is a house hidden back there. A whole house!! I have lived here almost 7 years and just discovered the alley a few weeks ago. Maybe that is what people refer to as “the ravine”, apparently a lot of stray cats live there… I didn’t see any.

  4. There are many large/long gardens & yards behind our building in Cole Valley as well (almost as long as the buildings themselves!)… it’s really like another world. We often fantasize about taking down all the fences between them and creating one huge shared secret garden.

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