Nob Hill is one of the marquee neighborhoods in San Francisco with a long and glorious history. It has been (and still is) home to some of the wealthiest residents of the city. In the past it was the location of mansions built by very prominent people in the region’s history, such as Stanford, Huntington, Flood and others.
Today, Nob Hill is home to dedicated urbanites young and old. The housing stock is nearly all condominiums (64%)and TICs (21%), even though a few single family and small multi-family homes have survived.
The peak of Nob Hill runs along Jones Street from Sacramento to Washington. This strip has some of the neighborhood’s most prestigious addresses.
Nob Hill is within a brisk (steep) walking distance to the financial district and is bordered by numerous other affluent neighborhoods, including: Russian Hill, North Beach, Telegraph Hill and Pacific Heights.
These neighborhoods all have a higher population density than most of the rest of the city, with larger and taller buildings. Nob Hill offers some of the most spectacular views of the bay, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, downtown and more.
Since it’s in the eastern part of the city, it is often warmer than the western neighborhoods, which can have cooler temperatures resulting from ocean fog. This happens most frequently during the summer months. The fog dissipates and burns off as it moves east over land, making Nob Hill sunny, warm and pleasant most of the time.
The main shopping, dining and retail areas are along Polk Street, near the western border of Nob Hill, and in Chinatown on the eastern edge of the neighborhood. There are also many small shops and restaurants scattered throughout the neighborhood interior and also along California Street.
The Polk Street strip is easily the largest retail area for Nob Hill and it extends through most of Russian Hill as well. It starts at Union Street and runs south to Sutter. This nearly mile-long strip is one of the most vibrant parts of the city. The many cafes, bars, restaurants and clubs cater to the younger, professional demographic living in all the surrounding, upscale neighborhoods. (Bring your wallet.)
Nob Hill is also home to many lesser known landmarks in San Francisco, including:
- The Fairmont Hotel
- The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel
- The Huntington Hotel
- Grace Cathedral
- The Masonic Temple
- The Pacific Union Club (aka the Flood Mansion)
While Nob Hill is one of the city’s most upscale neighborhoods, things “go south” as you move south. The Tenderloin is one of the worst parts of San Francisco. Thankfully there is a small, dense buffer zone between Nob Hill and the Tenderloin that is now called Tender Nob.
The only area with a higher population density and larger, taller buildings than Nob Hill is the newly re-developed area of South Beach. That area includes the recently built baseball stadium, which is home to the 2010 WORLD CHAMION SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, along with a large number of newly built, high-density condominiums.