Visitng Nob HillNob Hill is a short but very steep walk up from just about anywhere in downtown San Francisco, but is especially lung-taxing if coming from Union Square as the grade is the sharpest - fitness buffs take note and couch potatoes be forewarned.
But that's why they put in the Cable Car after all, and you can take any one of the three lines to get to the top of Nob Hill. In a pinch, you can also grab the 1 California Muni Bus, which comes up from the financial district and Chinatown.
Nob Hill is also included on several different bus and shuttle tours of San Francisco, including the Postcards of Historic San Francisco tour, which visits the city's most historically important areas and monuments in a vintage touring car.
Architectural Highlights of Nob HillThe first thing you will notice upon arriving at the top of Nob Hill - besides the astounding views - is the magnificent architecture, much of it built by the rich railroad barons, mining kingpins and timber magnates of the 19th and 20th century.
- Grace Cathedral: This ornate Gothic Cathdral is easily the prettiest church in San Francisco and it contains several notable features including bronze doors from the Italian Rennaisance, an outdoor walking labyrinth and an international AIDS memorial chapel designed by artist Keith Haring.
- Historic Hotels: The top of Nob Hill is home to several of the city's poshest historic hotels including the Fairmont, the Mark Hopkins and the Huntington Hotel. All of these are open to the public for visitation and have onsite bars and restaurants - try the "Top of the Mark" for awesome views and the "Big Four" in the Huntington for a wealth of historic artifacts.
- The Pacific Union Club: This 42 room brownstone mansion was the only private residence on Nob Hill to survive the 1906 earthquake. Now a private club and open to it's members only, it must be enjoyed from the outside.
- The California Masonic Memorial Temple: Home to a library and museum on freemasonry, this 1950s structure is decorated with statues and masonic symbols. www.masonicauditorium