The invention of the cable car in the late 19th-century gave access to this hill, helping transform it into a posh residential area. Today, Nob Hill's elegant hotels and restaurants tower above the city, and private schools and exclusive clubs occupy turn-of-the-century mansions. Luckily, though, it's wealth is not just for the rich.
See & Do
We don't need to sell Grace Cathedral. This iconic French-Gothic church that dominates the top of California Street is hard to miss and impossible to pass up. The third-largest Episcopal church in the country keeps its doors open to visitors almost all day, where you can marvel at the Ghiberti doors, the intricate labyrinth, or the gorgeous stained glass.
If you're wandering around Nob Hill and need a place for romance, you can't do better than Le Colonial. Serving sensual French-Vietnamese dishes like Bánh Hấp Sò điệp (Pot stickers filled with scallops, shrimp and ginger with a zesty sesame-soy dipping sauce) in a sultry, exotic atmosphere, Le Colonial has all the right ingredients for a hot night out.
Join locals who are celebrating that their beloved Tonga Room was not recently demolished. Not many restaurants have their own indoor lagoon, complete with boat and occasional "rain" showers, so the Tonga Room is a must-see for theatrics alone. But they have been making a mean Mai Tai for generations, and the Happy Hour from 5-7, Wednesday through Friday, is legendary.
Nothing screams the historic decadence of what some call "Snob Hill" more than the Fairmont Hotel. Straight across from Grace Cathedral, perched as if it was a church itself, the 55,000 square foot Fairmont indeed has it all. And if it doesn't have it, it will buy it next week. Definitely worth a walk-around, even if you can't afford a room.
When you walk into a shop that's housed in the opulent Fairmont Hotel with the slogan "Living Well Is the Best Revenge," be prepared for some hefty prices. Even if you can't afford buying one of Vendetta's "Pre-Embargo" Cuban cigars, there's no charge for ogling their sparkling array of accessories, watches and men's apparel. Take a tour - money never looked so good.