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San Francisco/Nob Hill-Russian Hill

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Nob Hill-Russian Hill is an area in the northeastern part of San Francisco, made up of the two adjoining neighborhoods. Nob Hill is an affluent neighborhood dating back to the gold rush, today renowned for its lavish hotels, charming shops and restaurants, views of the city, and the cable car lines which pass through the neighborhood. Just to the north is Russian Hill, a quieter residential area most well known for its pleasant walks and the crooked section of Lombard Street. The district is bounded roughly by Van Ness Avenue to the west, Bay Street to the north, Sutter Street to the south, and Powell Street and Columbus Avenue to the east.

Understand

Nob Hill

Nob Hill is one of the city's most affluent neighborhoods. The advent of the Cable Car made this hilltop accessible, and the city's early railroad and Gold Rush millionaires rushed to settle here, far away from the unruliness of the Waterfront and Barbary Coast. In fact the hill derived its name from a slang term used to describe men of wealth and prominence -'Nabobs'. Today, it is most renowned for its famous hotels and for city landmarks such as the impressive Grace Cathedral. At its peak is Huntington Park, with the Roman "Fountain of Tortoises" located at its center. The area was almost completely destroyed in the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, but ensuring its survival were a host of luxury hotels that were built over their charred ruins. Given its lofty elevation, the hill has great select views over the city and bay.

Russian Hill

Russian Hill is a hilly residential neighborhood located west of North Beach (and Telegraph Hill) and north of Nob Hill. These three hills have largely given San Francisco its "hilly" charm. The boundaries of Russian Hill are generally considered to be Van Ness Avenue on the west, Pacific Avenue on the south, Columbus Avenue on the east (northeast), and Bay Street on the north. In spite of the hilly terrain, the streets of Russian Hill are laid out mainly in a grid pattern, resulting in some of the steepest grades in the city, e.g., Filbert between Jones and Leavenworth. Because of the steepness of the hill, several streets, e.g., portions of Vallejo, Green, Greenwich and Larkin are blocked to motor vehicles and replaced by staircases. There are also beautifully landscaped pedestrian-only lanes such as Macondray Lane and Fallon Place. The most touristy block in Russian Hill is the winding Lombard Street, between Hyde and Leavenworth, with eight switchbacks, beautiful landscaping, and an arresting view of Telegraph Hill, Alcatraz Island and the East Bay. The hill's name goes back to the Gold Rush-era when settlers discovered a small cemetery at the top of the hill which contained Russian colonists who had created a settlement here during the 18th century. The cemetery was removed, but the hill's name remains to this day. There is no significant Russian presence here as the city's Russian community is located primarily in the Richmond District.

Get in

By car

Driving into this district is not recommended due to the steep hills, narrow and dead-end streets, lack of parking, and sometimes confusing traffic diversions. Avoid any street that is also a cable car line (Hyde between Washington and Fisherman's Wharf, Mason between Columbus and Washington, and Jackson/Washington between Powell and Hyde), as the cable cars stop at every intersection, and they usually stop in the intersection.

If you must drive in, the best streets to take are Van Ness Avenue (running north-south along the western edge of the district), Columbus Avenue (running northwest-southeast through the northeastern corner of the area) and the east-west Broadway Street, which becomes a tunnel between Powell and Larkin Streets. When parking in this hilly district, remember to always apply that parking brake and turn your wheels so that the tires are against the curb.

By cable car

All three Cable Car lines cross at Powell and California. The Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason cable car lines run between Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf. The Powell-Hyde line runs on Powell Street, Jackson/Washington Streets, and Hyde Street, running up and down Nob and Russian Hills and stopping at the top of the crooked section of Lombard Street. The Powell-Mason line runs on Powell and Mason Streets on the east edge of the district. The California cable car line runs east-west on California Street between Market Street in the Financial District and Van Ness Avenue.

By bus

MUNI [1] bus routes #1-California, #10-Townsend, #12-Folsom/Pacific, #19-Polk, #27-Bryant, #30-Stockton, #45-Union/Stockton, #47-Van Ness and #49-Van Ness/Mission pass through the district. The #1, #10, #12 and #45 run east-west through the district, the #19, #47 and #49 runs along the western edge of the district, the #30 runs on Columbus through the northeastern corner of the district, while #27 crosses across the southwestern part of the district.


Get around

This district is small enough for walking, but being very hilly, it can be somewhat strenuous.

See

Do

Buy

Eat

There are many great options in these two neighborhoods -- lots of smallish, cozy eateries. Frequently the nicer restaurants require reservations.

Drink

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget under $100
Mid-range $100 - 199
Splurge $200 and over

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Contact

There are many cafes in Nob Hill which provide internet service.

Related Information



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