Upscale, somewhat secluded Russian Hill is a unique and charming place to live. Named for the 1800s discovery of Russian tombstones—thought to be the final resting place of fur traders from a Russian fort north of San Francisco—the neighborhood perched over San Francisco Bay is known for its large, architecturally diverse homes (a few of them historical landmarks), gorgeous views, and proximity to some of the liveliest parts of town. The homes and streets of Russian Hill are among the city’s most frequently photographed, while Lombard Street, “the crookedest street in the world,” as well as some of the city’s most picturesque staircase streets, including parts of Vallejo and Green, are popular with tourists. The city’s “steepest street” on Filbert is where movie producers love to take car action shots. And Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series was inspired by the cobbled, tree-lined Macondry Lane.

For more private recreation, residents enjoy the vistas at both the Ina Coolbrith neighborhood park and George Sterling Park, home to the popular Alice Marble tennis courts. The San Francisco Art Institute on Chestnut Street features several Diego Rivera murals and is a cultural treasure. Even though the neighborhood is reasonably secluded, Russian Hill is within comfortable walking distance to the wonderful assortment of restaurants, nightlife, and shopping in the nearby neighborhoods of North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Marina. © 2016 Maryann LoRusso 

Winding Lombard Street is “the crookedest” and probably the most photographed, street in San Francisco.

Winding Lombard Street is “the crookedest” and probably the most photographed, street in San Francisco.

The Alice Marble Courts sit at the very top of Russian Hill and are located within George Sterling Park.

The Alice Marble Courts sit at the very top of Russian Hill and are located within George Sterling Park.

Tiny Ina Coolbrith Park, which sits on a steep hill, is one of Russian Hill’s hidden gems. 

Tiny Ina Coolbrith Park, which sits on a steep hill, is one of Russian Hill’s hidden gems. 

Macondray Lane is famous for inspiring Armistead Maupin’s fictional 28 Barbary Lane boarding house in Tales of the City.

Macondray Lane is famous for inspiring Armistead Maupin’s fictional 28 Barbary Lane boarding house in Tales of the City.

The Norwegian Seaman’s Church is usually open to the public and has a reading room, a balcony with great views, and a place to buy goodies. 

The Norwegian Seaman’s Church is usually open to the public and has a reading room, a balcony with great views, and a place to buy goodies. 

Built between 1857 and 1859, the Feusier Octagon House is one of the last remaining octagon-shaped structures in the city.

Built between 1857 and 1859, the Feusier Octagon House is one of the last remaining octagon-shaped structures in the city.

Swensen’s Ice Cream, at the corner of Union and Hyde, was the original store in the famous ice-cream-fountain chain. 

Swensen’s Ice Cream, at the corner of Union and Hyde, was the original store in the famous ice-cream-fountain chain. 

The Powell-Hyde cable car lines run to Aquatic Park at the edge of Fisherman’s Wharf.

The Powell-Hyde cable car lines run to Aquatic Park at the edge of Fisherman’s Wharf.

Occupying the northern waterfront area from Ghirardelli Square to Pier 35, Fisherman’s Wharf is a lively spot filled with seafood restaurants, museums and tourist-friendly shops.

Occupying the northern waterfront area from Ghirardelli Square to Pier 35, Fisherman’s Wharf is a lively spot filled with seafood restaurants, museums and tourist-friendly shops.

Renowned Gary Danko is one of the most consistently lauded restaurants in the city. 

Renowned Gary Danko is one of the most consistently lauded restaurants in the city. 

Ghirardelli Square is home to upscale shops, wine bars and the famed Ghirardelli chocolate company.

Ghirardelli Square is home to upscale shops, wine bars and the famed Ghirardelli chocolate company.