One of the city’s most sophisticated neighborhoods, Nob Hill is known for its city landmarks and fabulous hotels—not to mention its classic San Francisco topography, complete with cable cars ushering tourists to other parts of the city. The area’s upscale reputation dates back to the Gold Rush, when cable car lines made the hilltop accessible and the railroad barons built their mansions far above the waterfront. Many of the homes from that era were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and have since been replaced with luxury hotels such as the InterContinental Mark Hopkins. Some of these elegant mansions survived, and they now co-exist with a handful of Julia Morgan Arts and Crafts-style homes, luxury apartment buildings, and some smaller single-family homes.

For outdoor enjoyment, Huntington Park provides residents with a playground and shaded benches, while a few additional outdoor spaces are just a short walk away. Despite its swanky character, Nob Hill is influenced by the diverse personalities of the downtown neighborhoods that surround it, including Chinatown, North Beach, and the Tenderloin, which, combined, provide a wide assortment of dining and nightlife options. For shopping, nearby Union Square provides all the department stores and retail shops one would ever need, not to mention a wide range of culture, arts, and entertainment. ©2016 Maryann LoRusso

Grace Cathedral is the West Coast’s largest Episcopal church and looms over Huntington Park with Gothic splendor.

Grace Cathedral is the West Coast’s largest Episcopal church and looms over Huntington Park with Gothic splendor.

At the heart of Nob Hill is Huntington Park, whose shaded benches and children’s playground make it a favorite neighborhood spot. Inside the park is the Fountain of the Tortoises, whose turtles and nymphs are lit by underwater halogen lamps. 

At the heart of Nob Hill is Huntington Park, whose shaded benches and children’s playground make it a favorite neighborhood spot. Inside the park is the Fountain of the Tortoises, whose turtles and nymphs are lit by underwater halogen lamps. 

The Fairmont Hotel San Francisco is known for its fine accommodations, dining and nightlife, including the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar.

The Fairmont Hotel San Francisco is known for its fine accommodations, dining and nightlife, including the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar.

At the apex of the elegant InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco is the Top of the Mark, a high-end cocktail bar with 360-degree views of the city.

At the apex of the elegant InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco is the Top of the Mark, a high-end cocktail bar with 360-degree views of the city.

Sons & Daughters restaurant features locally grown produce and an ever-changing, seven-course dinner menu.

Sons & Daughters restaurant features locally grown produce and an ever-changing, seven-course dinner menu.

The Big 4 Restaurant takes its name from the four powerful railroad tycoons of San Francisco history.

The Big 4 Restaurant takes its name from the four powerful railroad tycoons of San Francisco history.

St. Francis Memorial Hospital serves Nob Hill residents.

St. Francis Memorial Hospital serves Nob Hill residents.

Cable cars are a common sight in Nob Hill.

Cable cars are a common sight in Nob Hill.

The Cable Car Museum is a free museum housed in the city’s cable car barn and powerhouse.

The Cable Car Museum is a free museum housed in the city’s cable car barn and powerhouse.

Opened in 1952, the Broadway (Robert C. Levy) tunnel connects Chinatown and North Beach to the east and Russian Hill and Van Ness to the west.

Opened in 1952, the Broadway (Robert C. Levy) tunnel connects Chinatown and North Beach to the east and Russian Hill and Van Ness to the west.

The Helen Wills Park features sports courts, a playground and clubhouse.

The Helen Wills Park features sports courts, a playground and clubhouse.

San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia.

San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia.

The Betty Ong Rec Center is a state-of-the-art recreation destination.

The Betty Ong Rec Center is a state-of-the-art recreation destination.

Named after a basketball star, the Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground features sand-floor playgrounds, athletic courts, and a gym.

Named after a basketball star, the Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground features sand-floor playgrounds, athletic courts, and a gym.