San Francisco: Cole Valley Merchant Walk

Living like a local goes beyond guests staying in a neighborhood, it also extends to the unique businesses they visit during their stay. The sidewalk cafe where they enjoy their morning coffee, the shop where they find unexpected gifts, the restaurant where they are welcomed in like a regular.


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This is where the host comes in — Airbnb hosts are local experts and community ambassadors, and able to refer guests to their favorite restaurants, shops, and sites. Our Merchant Walk events bring hosts directly to neighborhoods they may not typically frequent, and provide an introduction to local businesses which allows them to give their guests an authentic travel experience. These walks also highlight the economic impact the Airbnb community has on small businesses.

Recently, hosts explored Cole Valley, a quaint neighborhood nestled between Golden Gate Park and the bustling Haight-Ashbury. Hosts visited businesses on Cole Street, the main merchant corridor of the neighborhood.

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Hosts first gathered at Finnegan’s Wake to enjoy a round of drinks, greet familiar faces, and meet new ones. From there, they traversed to Cole Hardware, a neighborhood anchor since 1959. Hosts sipped on Cole Hardware’s signature wine while they learned about simple projects to spruce up their listing.

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Afterward hosts hopped into Say Cheese, a speciality wine and cheese store offering a wide selection of goods from all over the world. The final stop was The Ice Cream Bar, a 1930s style soda and ice cream shop. Hosts sampled a selection of desserts, all of which were made in-house by their pastry chef.

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Afterward visiting each business, the group convened at fellow host Beth Moore’s home for a middle eastern meal from neighborhood favorite Taboun.

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Beth, a resident of the neighborhood for nearly 10 years, said “I’m proud of my neighborhood and the home I’ve created in it. I love sending guests to my favorite local businesses, and it was a pleasure to introduce those gems to other San Francisco hosts – some of whom never spend any time in Cole Valley, and to welcome them in my home. I think it helped create a sense of community among the hosts and merchants, and I’m happy to have been a part of it!”

To learn more and join us at future merchant walks, sign-up for Airbnb Action.