West Portal is an appealing little neighborhood near the west side of San Francisco. The Saint Francis Wood borders it on the south and Forest Hill borders it on the north. This neighborhood takes its name from the railway tunnel that ran beneath the Twin Peaks and opened in the early 1900s. West Portal has a collection of little family stores and restaurants that gives it an authentic village atmosphere. This little neighborhood acts almost as its own little city with lots of little businesses supporting the residents of the area.
Although it is generally rainless here, frequent fog keeps it green. Several of the little restaurants that run along West Portal Avenue offer outdoor seating that you can enjoy with your dog, including Calibur Inc. which offers hamburgers and comfort food while the playful fast food restaurant named Lemonade provides comfort food in a cafeteria style as well as many kinds of lemonade.
Homes in this neighborhood are attractive with lots of Spanish-style architecture including arched and steepled windows, entryways, and flat roofs. Most homes have only very small front yards which are landscaped with manicured shrubbery or hardscape. Breezes are lovely throughout the neighborhood, as are the views of the city and horizon. There is no divider between the sidewalk and road, so while this is a beautiful walk with lots of tree cover, you will need to walk your dog on a relatively close leash throughout most of the neighborhood in order to prevent getting in the way of other pedestrians and vehicles.
To get a change from these rather tight streets, you can go either east or west to find a wonderful place to explore with your pup. By heading west, you will find the Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove. This is a gorgeous forest with a grassy area running up the middle and lots of lovely trails.
Within the Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove, the Stern Grove dog park is the perfect place for your dog to play off-leash with their friends. Pine Lake is a lovely place for your pup to experience water for the first time as well. If you go east, you can find Mount Davidson with its thickly forested slopes and the Edgehill Mountain that has some fun steep terrain for you to explore with your dog.
Further on past Mount Davidson, you will find Glen Canyon Park which offers miles of varied terrain. This park follows the lovely Upper Islais Creek so you can catch beautiful glimpses of the creek flowing between the rocks down the center of the canyon. This little creek is innocuous enough that your dog may enjoy exploring it as well, even if open water makes them nervous. The creek will also be a great attraction for wildlife.