Russian Hill got its name when gold rushers found seven Cyrillic-inscribed gravestones at the top of the hill. Consensus on the identity of the Russian men buried there — they were reputed to be anything from sailors to fur trappers — was never reached, the gravestones disappeared in the late 1800s and the Russian influence has long since dissipated.
Charming restaurants and small businesses cluster on leafy Hyde Street between Jackson and Union Streets, and Polk Street is crowded with unusual boutiques, antique shops, trendy restaurants and night spots. The center of Russian Hill is accessible by the Hyde-Powell cable car and two Muni buses, the 41 (weekday rush hour only) and the 45. The 19 runs along Polk Street, stopping frequently from Ghirardelli Square to the Tenderloin.
Housing tends to be condominiums and flats, there are few single family homes. High-rise condominium towers grace the hills and offer views of the Golden Gate and bay and some have doormen and valet parking. While next door to a 27 story building you could discover a small two-unit building offering Victorian flats with the same outstanding view.
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