Nob Hill is one of San Francisco’s landmark neighborhoods, renowned the famous hotels and high-rise residential buildings that border Huntington Park. For those who explore further, it also reveals unexpected facets. In addition to its swanky character, the area is influenced by the diverse personalities of the downtown neighborhoods that surround it, making it an intriguing place.
The area’s reputation of privilege dates back to Gold Rush times, when cable car lines made the hilltop accessible and the railroad barons and bonanza kings built their mansions there, far above the rowdiness of the bawdy waterfront. Luxury hotels now stand in the place of those original palaces, and when you hike to the top of the hill, historic buildings such as the Fairmont Hotel and the Flood Mansion are undeniably impressive, as are the lush cascades of bougainvillea and the genteel apartment buildings with their wedding-cake facades.
Some parts of the neighborhood feel frozen in time. The hill is dotted with vintage barber shops, old corner coffee shops and cocktail lounges from bygone decades. It can be difficult to distinguish the precise boundaries of the Nob Hill neighborhood. This guide covers an area roughly bordered by Polk, Post, Mason and Washington Streets.
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