The West Portal neighborhood has set the bar for a suburban experience within a bustling big city. While some people move to San Francisco for the hyper-speed of living, trendy nightclubs, and internationally-famed destination restaurants, it is the lack of these things that make West Portal a gem.

Once you arrive via the Muni streetcar tunnel, the beat of the city slows down a notch to help residents appreciate the highly residential, self-reliant, walkable district. With one main drag down West Portal Avenue, residents have access to a few dozen restaurants, a first-run movie theater, several book stores, hardware stores, jewelry stores, banks, pubs, and toy stores, a number of which have had roots in the neighborhood for decades.

What the neighborhood lacks in trends, it makes up for by having a relatively affordable housing market with an abundance of single-family homes. A popular place for families, West Portal offers a playground, rec center, and public library within blocks of each other and a number of educational options from primary schools up through the high school level.

While the neighborhood feels like a freestanding town far from the chaos of the rest of the city, the best part is that it really isn’t. The western border opens up to the well-known 33-acre Stern Grove while Muni trains can get residents from their home to downtown in less than 15 minutes.