Nob Hill, San Francisco is one of my favorite neighborhoods in ALL of San Francisco. I lived on Nob Hill for 12 years when I first moved to San Francisco in 2000. It will always hold a special place in my heart. The restaurants are hard to beat. I return to my favorites whenever I can.
RebecCAREaltor’s Favorite Restaurant:
If I had to choose, I would say that my favorite restaurant on Nob Hill is Hyde Street Seafood + Raw Bar at 1509 Hyde St. For as long as I have been going there, they have always had the best deal on a dozen oysters on the half shell during Happy Hour. They used to be 12 for $12. Last time I was there, I think the price has gone up to $15 a dozen–still a great deal! Happy Hour is every day, 7 days a week, from 5-7 pm (excluding a few major Holidays).
A Place to Celebrate!
I have celebrated several birthdays and many other special occasions at Hyde Street Seafood. Their fish cooked in parchment paper is divine! When family or friends are in town, this is one of my favorite places to take them–especially of they are seafood lovers!
Another favorite is Seven Hills–which was at 1550 Hyde Street–and moved several blocks away to 1896 Hyde. Technically, no longer on Nob Hill, Seven Hills serves molto bueno Italian food. Run by the grandchildren of the Alioto Family, sometimes you will run into the grandmothers there!
Nob Hill Background and Details:
Previously referred to as California Hill in the 1850s, Nob Hill is one of the most prominent higher-end neighborhoods in San Francisco. One of the highest hills, it’s a destination for breathtaking views for both tourists and locals. Condos, apartment complexes and some single-family homes seem to be the real estate makeup while the demographic remains slightly more mature.
Boasting of arguably the best views of the Bay Area at its peaks, it’s no surprise that Nob Hill is a popular residential area. The hills are not to be taken lightly. They are the definition of steep. Huntington Park
in front of Grace Cathedral,
in all its clean and polished glory, add to the backdrop of an idyllic safe neighborhood. California St is home to the scenic cable car route. Yes, the ones featured in the movies and various travel articles and blogs.
Due to Nob Hill’s image as home to both the “old money” and the “nouveau riche”, businesses in Nob Hill tend to be of the luxurious and private scales. Brunch places, high-end spas, Bikram-only studios galore along with fine dining are staples in the area.
What’s in a Name?
The area was settled in the late 19th century. Because of the amazing views and its central position, it became an exclusive destination for the rich and famous who built large mansions. This included tycoons such as Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University. From California Hill to Nob Hill, it was renamed after the Big Four businessmen known as “the Nobs” who built the California Pacific Railroads constructed mansions there. The neighborhood was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, except for the walls surrounding the Stanford, Crocker, Huntington and Hopkins mansions. You can still see the smoke-scarred walls of these mansions.
Currently, Nob Hill is affectionately dubbed “Snob Hill”. Check the homes for sale and you’ll understand why.
Nob Hill is centered on California and Powell St. The actual peak of Nob Hill lies slightly to the northwest, approximately at the intersection of Jones and Sacramento Streets.
Even with its peace and quiet, Nob Hill is teeming with businesses. There is no shortage of dining and recreational options. A few favorites would be Tonga Room and Top of the Mark for dining; Nob Hill Spa for a truly luxurious spa experience (gold flecks on the pool while you’re having a caviar mask kind of luxury); and of course The Masonic for a live music venue.
1. Brunch at the Top of the Mark.
At the top of the Mark Hopkins
, enjoy a buffet brunch with breathtaking views and a pianist serenading you. Oh, and bottomless mimosas.
2. Nob Hill Spa
. Named one of the Top Luxury Spas in the World. Enjoy luxurious amenities and take a dip in the 24k gold-tiled infinity pool. Try the Caviar Facial that includes a pressure point massage for your face!
3. Osso Steakhouse
(currently closed). Found on the ground floor of The Gramercy Towers, take a bite out of one of the best filet mignons you’ll ever have. Their cocktails are crafted well in the restaurant’s full bar.
4. Grace Cathedral
. Whether you’re religious or not, this cathedral is worth a visit for the impressive architecture.
5. Go ahead. Take that iconic Cable Car picture on California and Jones.
Nob Hill has world-class public transportation and is somewhat bikeable.
Nob Hill is the 9th most walkable neighborhood in San Francisco and has close to 16,000 residents.