Nob Hill San Francisco – Mansions, Luxury Hotels & VIP Views

The highest of the city's seven major mounds, Nob Hill in San Francisco is a tiny but exclusive neighborhood dominated by grand hotels, Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park. Look in any direction from Nob Hill and you will see a different neighborhood — Chinatown, The Financial District, Union Square or Russian Hill.

It was the railway tycoons Hopkins, Stanford and Huntington who vied to build the most beautiful mansions on the peak, creating a lavish, luxurious hill of palaces. Interestingly, Nob Hill was not a desirable location until the cable cars were installed in the late 1870s. Only then did the railroad barons rush to build their mansions along California Street. The climb to the top of Nob Hill ends at California Street, where all the cable car lines cross. From there, you'll be rewarded with magnificent views of the bay and the Bay Bridge, framed by the pagodas of Chinatown and the spire of the Transamerica Pyramid.

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The Cable Car Museum

Cable Car Museum

San Francisco has the only operating cable car system in the world. Learn about the incredible history of the city's most loved national treasure at the Cable Car Museum. The museum is set in an authentic cable car barn and powerhouse, and is filled with displays and views of the cable car winding machinery.

Grace Cathedral, Nob Hill, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, Nob Hill

This large Gothic-inspired cathedral (designed to look like Notre Dame Cathedral) looms over Huntington Park with its distinctive stained glass, bronze doors and labyrinths. The exterior labyrinth is made of terrazzo stone and the interior maze is made of woollen tapestry. Both are intended for quiet moments of contemplative walking.

  • 1100 California Street

Huntington Park

Huntington Park

It was Arabella Huntington, widow of railroad baron CP Huntington, who donated the land to the City of San Francisco to be used as a public park after the 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed her mansion.

The classic square is a central meeting point for children to play and adults to watch on shady benches. The park reminds us another square, one in Paris — Places des Vosges, also built in a square shape with fountains.

  • California Street & Cushman Street

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The Best Places To Stay On Nob Hill

Mark Hopkins Hotel

Mark Hopkins Hotel San Francisco

Sitting majestically at the summit of Nob Hill is the famous Mark Hopkins Hotel. Step out the front doors and the three cable car lines await you at this 1926 landmark hotel.

Don't miss the Top Of The Mark Lounge, famous for their 100 Martinis menu and dazzling views. You might be interested in the Penthouse suite with large picture windows that open towards the San Francisco Bay. Admire the original wood paneling and bookcases in the separate living area and library or the soft green silk touches in the bedroom.

But, even if you're not in the Penthouse Suite, all the guest rooms have neoclassical touches with rich mahogany furniture and breathtaking views of the city.

Fairmont Hotel

The Fairmont San Francisco

The grandaddy of Nob Hill hotels survived the 1906 earthquake and fires and went on to become the site of the United Nations Charter signing in 1945. This is the place where Tony Bennett first sang out his famous tribute song, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, in the Fairmont's Venetian Room. And during it all, the Laurel Restaurant has been serving afternoon tea everyday for the past 110 years.

Scarlet Huntington Hotel

Scarlet Huntington Hotel San Francisco

This elegant Nob Hill luxury hotel overlooks Huntington Park and the Grace Cathedral, and has been doing so since 1924.

This San Francisco landmark has recently been updated and it feels more like an exclusive private residence than a hotel — it reopened to great acclaim as the Scarlet Huntington after a massive renovation and upgrade in 2014. If you're in the mood for discreet luxury, this is the hotel for you. Enjoy the award-winning Nob Hill Spa and the equally appreciated Big Four restaurant.

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Stanford Court Hotel

Stanford Court

Another historic Nob Hill hotel that has recently been updated — this time with a $35 million facelift. Meet under the illuminated Tiffany glass-domed ceiling in their new restaurant Aurea or hop on one of the three cable car lines that meet in front of the Stanford Court. The rooms offer stunning vistas of the city.

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