Nob Hill

One of San Francisco’s marquee neighborhoods is home to a cluster of signature landmarks wrapped up with swanky character and diverse personalities. The area’s history dates back to the Gold Rush that brought the cable cars and mansions up to the top of the hill. Today Nob Hill is crowned with luxury hotels, including such historic hotels and the Fairmont Hotel and the Flood Mansion.

Further afield is a different Nob Hill, one with Chinese temples and small businesses spilling over from neighboring Chinatown. Towards Union Square you find new boutiques and trendy bars and along the edges of the Tenderloin (i.e., ‘Tender Nob’) you can find a cocktail any time day or night.

What makes Nob Hill so unique is its mix of old and new. Amongst the new hotels and trendy restaurants you will find a nostalgic barbershop and a vintage diner.

Where it’s At

The exact boundaries of Nob Hill can be hard to distinguish, but generally is said to be bordered by Polk, Post, Mason and Washington streets.

What to See

There’s no shortage of sites in Nob Hill. The Cable Car Museum pays homage to the iconic cable cars that trek up and down San Francisco’s hills. The museum is free and is housed in the city’s cable car barn and powerhouse where you can take in interesting displays of historic cable cars and how the system works today. The perfectly square Huntington Park is the heart of Nob Hill and is popular for relaxing in the shade. The Fountain of the Tortoises is an exact replica of the famous one in Rome. Grace Cathedral Episcopal Church is the largest Episcopal church on the West Coast and is easily spotted looming over Huntington Park. Of particular interest are the church’s gothic spires and elaborate stained glass windows.

Where to Eat

Taking its name from the four powerful railroad tycoons of the neighborhood’s storied past, Big 4 Restaurant (1075 California St) offers big steaks and wild game dishes all enjoyed in a dark wood paneled atmosphere. Grubstake (1525 Pine St.) is a diner and more. Part of the restaurants is in an old cable car and its menu leans towards a Portuguese flair – with the obligatory burgers and milkshakes. Sons & Daughters (708 Bush St.) serves up beautiful dishes made of locally grown produce.