Nob Hill is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California, centered on the intersection of California Street and Powell Street. It is one of San Francisco's 44 hills, and one of its original "Seven Hills." Prior to the 1850s, Nob Hill was called California Hill (after California Street, which climbs its steep eastern face). It was renamed after the Central Pacific Railroad's Big Four – called the Nobs – built mansions there.
An affluent district, home to many of the city's upper-class families as well as a large young urban professional population. The intersection of California and Powell streets is the location of two of its four well-known and most expensive hotels: the Fairmont Hotel, the Mark Hopkins Hotel, the Stanford Court. The Mark Hopkins Hotel and the Huntington Hotel are located one block away at Mason & California.
Nob Hill is a very densely built neighborhood, there are parks at which residents and visitors can relax and enjoy the outdoors. The most prominent park in the neighborhood is Huntington Park, which takes up an entire block, bounded by Sacramento Street to the north, Taylor Street to the west, California Street to the south, and Cushman Street to the east. Huntington Park has a playground for children, landscaping, and several fountains. Washington & Hyde Mini Park is situated on a single lot between two apartment buildings on the north side of Washington Street, between Hyde Street and Leavenworth Street. Washington & Hyde Mini Park has a playground for children, landscaping, and public restrooms.
Russian Hill is a quaint, upscale residential community known for the famously crooked Lombard Street, a major tourist destination. The iconic San Francisco cable cars crest the neighborhood’s hills, which provide views of a number of city landmarks including the Golden Gate and Bay bridges. Commercial stretches along Polk and Hyde Streets offer an assortment of trendy and old-school restaurants, bars and shops.
The neighborhood is most famous for Lombard Street, the one-way section on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, in which the roadway has eight sharp turns (or switchbacks) that have earned the street the distinction of being "the crookedest street in the world". The switchbacks design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry and instituted in 1922,was born out of necessity in order to reduce the hill's natural 27% grade,which was too steep for most vehicles to climb. As it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city, this section of the neighborhood is frequently crowded with tourists. Tourists also frequent the famous cable car line along Hyde Street, which is lined with many restaurants and shops.