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Nob Hill

This affluent neighbourhood is one San Francisco's original Seven Hills.

TravelCurious Tip

The Lumiere Theatre is a great art house cinema on Nob Hill that screens a cracking selection of independent films, foreign releases and documentaries

Nob Hill is not just one of today’s San Francisco’s 44 hills — it was one of the original Seven Hills too. It was actually first known as California Hill, but was renamed when the Central Pacific Railroad’s Big Four - known as the Nobs - built their luxurious mansions there. Robert Louis Stevenson described it as “the hill of palaces.”


They chose it for its stunning views and central position, and ever since it has been an exclusive enclave for the rich and famous of the West Coast. Although the 1906 earthquake levelled almost the entire neighbourhood, it retained its air of affluence all the same. The air of privilege marks it out from the Bohemian feel of the rest of San Francisco — you might not want to live there, but it’s great fun to visit.


Nob Hill is dense with building but still finds space for some of San Francisco’s loveliest little parks. Huntington Park takes up an entire block and was formerly the site of the mansion of the railroad baron Collis P. Huntington. It’s a sleek spot for well-dressed wanderers and coiffured poodles, and the central fountain is a copy of Rome’s Fontana delle Tartarughe.


Looming over Huntington park, Grace Cathedral is the cherry on top of Nob Hill. It’s the largest Gothic structure on the West Coast. It also nods to Italy: its gilded bronze doors were made from the cast created by Lorenzo Ghiberti for the Baptistery in Florence. None other than Michaelangelo dubbed them fit to be the gates of heaven. They hold frequent concerts in the cathedral, and it’s a glorious setting.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in San Francisco
Painted Ladies
These colourful Victorian homes are an icon of the city.
Cable Cars
San Fran has the world's last manually operated cable car system - an old-fashioned ride with breathtaking views.
Chinatown
One of the largest Chinese communities outside Asia gives rise to San Fran's thriving Chinatown.
Ghirardelli Chocolate
Started by an Italian confectioner in San Francisco during the gold rush, Ghirardelli chocolate is a San Francisco institution and a must for all travelers.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is one of the largest art collections in the US and is a cultural hub for the West Coast.
Ferry Building Marketplace
Now a dedicated marketplace for local vendors, restauranteurs, and artisans, the Ferry Building Marketplace was once the thoroughfare for the ferry, which was the only way to access the city for travelers and commuters until the 1930’s.

Related Tours

Private Full Day Highlights, with Alcatraz Island
Immerse yourself in the highlights of San Francisco, and discover the infamous history of Alcatraz. On your private tour of San Francisco, you will:

  • Soak up the San Francisco skyline from the top of iconic Nob Hill 
  • Explore Union Square, San Francisco's bustling shopping area
  • Immerse yourself in the customs, cuisine and curiosities of Chinatown 
  • Snap panoramic pictures from statuesque Colt Tower 
  • Venture through North Beach to absorb the community’s Italian heritage 
  • Enjoy striking views of the Golden Gate Bridge from atmospheric Fisherman's Wharf 
  • Dig into some of San Francisco's famous seafood - like clam chowder soup in a sourdough bread bowl (price not included)
  • Visit the world’s most notorious island penitentiary, Alcatraz.
On this Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights, you will learn about the city’s founding in 1776, when Spanish colonists settled the area during gold-rush fever. See first-hand San Francisco’s colorful mix of quaint buildings and modern architecture in a stunning ocean-facing city that is more than just flower power and social consciousness. 

Your Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights will take you through an urban landscape, set on the northern tip of a peninsula, shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and the Pacific’s rolling waves. At the top of Nob Hill, soak up an extraordinary cityscape at cable car height. Iconic landmarks, such as Golden Gate Bridge, Japantown, the Colt Tower and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Set on San Francisco's picturesque steep slopes, enjoy a stunning skyline across streets criss-crossed by street cars, yellow taxis and jogging trails. 

Wander through some world-class shopping centered on Union Square, where big-name brands and local stores nestle amongst chic boutiques. At beautiful North Beach, known colloquially as Little Italy, soak up the ambience of the city’s lively historic Italian-American community. Lastly, Fisherman’s Wharf, lined with seafood cafes, is home to basking sea lions, jugglers and mime artists and enjoys striking views across the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Angel Island. At the ‘dress to character’ ferry, your guide will leave the tour so that you can explore the world’s most infamous island prison - Alcatraz. 

Your guide will leave you at the dock for Alcatraz, once you are in line. Then, take an audio tour at a leisurely pace to hear tales of notorious felons such as Al-Capone and Robert Franklin Stroud in this former fort, military prison and maximum security federal penitentiary.  

Please note: Alcatraz tickets are in high demand during the summer and tickets cannot be guaranteed at the time of booking. We will contact you soonest should we be unable to obtain tickets.
Private Half Day Highlights of San Francisco
Dating back to 1776, the city was founded by Spanish colonists, and grew rapidly during the gold rush of the 1840s.  Through the centuries the city has become the centre of several industries - especially banking and high-tech, and is one of the most beloved cities for people on the West Coast. On your private half day tour of San Francisco, you will: 

  • Learn the history of its famous neighbourhoods, including Downtown, the Financial District, Nob Hill, Chinatown, and Little Italy. 
  • Take a cable car to the top of Nob Hill  for spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline.
  • Explore Union Square, San Francisco's bustling shopping area
  • Immerse yourself in the customs, cuisine, and curiosities of Chinatown 
  • Snap panoramic pictures from statuesque Colt Tower 
  • Venture through North Beach to absorb the community’s Italian heritage 
  • Enjoy striking views of the Golden Gate Bridge from atmospheric Fisherman's Wharf 
Considered by many as the USA’s most beautiful city, San Francisco - a.k.a The City by the Bay - is a seductive mix of exotic cultures renowned world-wide for its liberal free-thinking ideals. A vibrant arts, music and festival scene continues to echo San Francisco’s long-standing progressive stance on activism: the city is credited with trailblazing the so-called “Flower Power” peace movement, pioneering the sexual revolution, and powering the gay rights movement to one of the largest and most prominent LGBT communities in the world. Deeply-embedded Mexican cultures stem from San Francisco’s strong historical bonds with Spanish America and Mexico with today’s buzzing Hispanic population fully immersed in the city’s art scene, both in galleries and studios as well as urban murals. 

On this Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights, you will learn about the city’s founding in 1776, when Spanish colonists settled the area during gold-rush fever. See first-hand San Francisco’s colourful mix of quaint buildings and modern architecture in a stunning ocean-facing city that is more than just flower power and social consciousness. Your Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights will take you through an urban landscape, set on the northern tip of a peninsula, shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and the Pacific’s rolling waves. At the top of Nob Hill, soak up an extraordinary cityscape at cable car height. Iconic landmarks, such as Golden Gate Bridge, Japantown, the Colt Tower and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Set on San Francisco's picturesque steep slopes, enjoy a stunning skyline across streets criss-crossed by street cars, yellow taxis and jogging trails. Wander through some world-class shopping centred on Union Square, where big-name brands and local stores nestle amongst chic boutiques. At beautiful North Beach, known colloquially as Little Italy, soak up the ambience of the city’s lively historic Italian-American community. Lastly, Fisherman’s Wharf, lined with seafood cafes, is home to basking sea lions, jugglers and mime artists and enjoys striking views across the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Angel Island. 

Please note: Historic cable cars cannot run in adverse weather conditions, so on days with inclement weather you will take an uber or taxi to the top of Nob Hill. 
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