Nob Hill: Not a Zip Code, It’s an Attitude

Nob Hill is a neighborhood in San Francisco. 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.


Couples, small families and empty nesters enjoy the peace and safety- the almost haughty seclusion from the hustle and bustle of the city that this neighborhood offers. Single professionals, on the other hand, would love the proximity to dining and recreation- what with Polk St bars, Union Square, Japantown, Van Ness, Russian Hill Downtown and Embarcadero… all a downhill short walk away.

Still one of the most exclusive and sought-after zip codes, the turnover of properties in Nob Hill is on a low rate. Why? Most of these properties were passed on from generation-to-generation. Owners tend to hold on to the property given the desirability of the neighborhood and come on, it could only really go up in value.


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 MLS and you’ll understand wh


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 it’s 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.



With muni, buses and the iconic cable cars en route, Nob Hill -even with it’s steep hills- is highly-accessible.


Rebecca’s Tips:

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. Found on the ground floor of The Gramaercy 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.

Posted by: Rebecca White on

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