One of San Francisco’s original Seven Hills, Nob Hill is the historic and present-day home of the city’s upper crust. This area features luxury apartments and mansions, elite hotels, and towering Grace Cathedral. A short but steep walk from Union Square, Nob Hill gives visitors a look at how the other half lives in San Francisco.
The top of Nob Hill is the block bordered by Sacramento, Taylor, California, and Mason streets. You’ll feel like you’re at the top of the city as you take in the French Gothic–style architecture of Grace Cathedral, the stately Fairmont Hotel, and the Flood Mansion. Book a history walking tour or a movie sights tour, or stop into the popular Cable Car Museum, to get the most from this tony neighborhood.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is a lot of metered and free street parking available, but pay attention to posted signs about parking limits during street cleaning, rush hour, construction, or special events.
- Bring a jacket; the fog and wind can roll in quickly and it gets chilly on top of the hill.
- Wear shoes appropriate for walking down steep grades.
How to Get There
Nob Hill sits between Van Ness Avenue, Broadway, Powell Street, and Bush Street. For the most quintessentially San Francisco experience, ride up the hill on the Powell-Hyde cable car line from Union Square, or the California line from Market Street. The neighborhood is also accessible via Muni bus No. 1.
When to Get There
Commuting locals and traffic crowd the main thoroughfare of California Street during morning and evening rush hour, so either avoid this time or embrace your experience of the city’s daily bustle. It’s not a major nightlife area, so go during the day to visit the attractions and admire the elegant architecture at the top of the hill.
Nob Hill Hotels
Check out these three hotels for a taste of old San Francisco luxury and unparalleled views. The
Fairmont opened in 1907 and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places; enjoy a drink in the famous Tonga Room Tiki bar. At the InterContinental Mark Hopkins, which opened in 1926, visit the upscale Top of the Mark cocktail lounge. Or head to the Huntington, opened in 1922, and dine at the Big 4 restaurant.