8.7 out of 10

Russian Hill

Ranked 2nd best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.80202279557 -122.419830990859
Great for
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Clean & Green
  • Eating Out
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Internet Access
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Parking
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Feb 08, 2016
Editors Choice

"Altitude Equals Attitude"

One of San Francisco’s best-kept secrets is hidden in plain view. It’s quiet (if not serene) yet sophisticated, with an agglomeration of some of the city’s first (and, to this day, finest) high-rise apartment buildings. Unrivaled views—of the East Bay, Alcatraz, Angel Island and Marin County—abound. People keep to themselves, while remaining outwardly cordial and polite. An upper-crust pedigree has endured here for more than 100 years. Its geographic prominence as one of San Francisco’s original “Seven Hills” underscores the fact that it is difficult to access by foot or by car (its steep slopes account for the fact that few main thoroughfares traverse the neighborhood, and parking can be a harrowing experience). But whatever it lacks in terms of convenience, Russian Hill makes up for in terms of cachet.

The neighborhood takes its name from the fact that Gold Rush settlers found a small Russian burial place at the hill’s summit with graves thought to be of traders and military men from Fort Ross, a Russian outpost 60 miles north on the Pacific Coast. But the hill is Russian in name only; few, if any, Russians lived on the hill historically (the Russian émigré enclave today is farther west, in the Richmond District). What most tourists see of the neighborhood they glimpse from the Hyde Street cable car, which stops at the top of the curvy, one-way portion of Lombard Street, where its eight switchbacks have earned it the moniker “the crookedest street in the world.” That, and the several prominent high-rises that crown the hill, are about all many residents of the rest of San Francisco ever see of the area as well, for the steep slopes make it too challenging for many to drive or even walk through (the Broadway Tunnel conducts most of the major traffic underground). A few streets, including Vallejo and Chestnut, simply stop and become pedestrian stairways, the grade too steep for cars. These steps, along with pedestrian-only alleys like Macondray Lane (which Armistead Maupin rechristened as Barbary Lane and used as a setting for his “Tales of the City”) and Fallon Place, only add to the charm of Russian Hill.

High-rise apartment buildings, many of them adorned with art-deco friezes or Spanish-colonial motifs, are clustered around the hill’s crest, in an area bounded roughly by Hyde, Union, Mason, and Vallejo streets. Other landmarks include the San Francisco Art Institute (its Spanish-villa architecture the home of a Diego Rivera mural in the school’s gallery) on Chestnut and Jones, and one of the city’s two surviving 19th-century octagon houses, the Feusier Octagon House at 1067 Green, near Leavenworth. The mid-20th century house at the northwestern corner of Lombard and Jones was Jimmy Stewart’s bachelor pad in “Vertigo.” Though it’s not much to look at today, it served in many pivotal scenes in Hitchcock’s thriller, its blank exterior a perfect backdrop for the tortured love story set in an autumnal San Francisco. Elsewhere, fine Victorian and Edwardian homes, their gardened and well-landscaped lots setting them off pleasantly from the street, hark back to an era when elite businessmen and politicians dominated the neighborhood. Historic San Francisco traces many of its leading figures to this neighborhood.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Russian Hill today remains an outpost of old San Francisco but also a reminder of the multi-culti place it is becoming. Although about 60 percent of its roughly 20,000 residents are white, nearly 25 percent are Asian, making their way into the area from the adjacent (and crowded) Chinatown. The neighborhood also has a number of African American residents, as well as people who claim dual-race heritage. Most are well off, averaging a per-capita income of nearly $100,000 (owing to the number of young lawyers, bankers, and entrepreneurs who make their home here). But a significant percentage of people (almost 20 percent) are 65 and older. Contrary to what these demographic figures might suggest, most residents (85 percent) rent rather than own their dwellings. Either way, they pay some of the highest prices in the city: upward of $750,000 for a two-bedroom condo on the lower flanks of the hill, with the price increasing with the elevation (think views), and as much as $3 million for a single-family dwelling that overlooks Golden Gate Bridge. A studio can fetch as much as $1,300 a month, while one- and two-bedroom apartments start at $1,600 and can easily go to $4,000 or more, again depending on what scenery you look out onto.

As might be expected, this is a neighborhood with few elementary-age kids, so the one major public school is a secondary one: Galileo High (also known as Galileo Academy of Science and Technology), which received an 8 out of 10 GreatSchools rating. Yick Wo Alternative Elementary serves about 250 children from the diverse area near Chinatown. It also received an 8 out of 10 rating from GreatSchools. The only other elementary school is a private one: St. Mary’s Chinese Day School, which offers a K-8 curriculum to kids mainly from Chinatown (which explains why it is building a new school there, on Jackson and Kearny streets).

Two buses—the 41 and the 45—make their way up and down the steep incline of Union Street en route to the Financial District, and cable cars ply both Hyde Street and Mason Street back and forth from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf. The 19 bus also lumbers up and down Polk Street. These few choices of speedy public transportation mean that many residents own cars, as witnessed by the numerous garages underlying buildings as well as the difficulty of on-street parking. Residents who don’t have a parking space purchase an “A” residential parking permit from the city for $96 a year.

According to the San Francisco Police Department, vandalism, disturbing the peace, robbery and burglary—pretty much in that order—are the infrequent crimes that affect the area. Although the trend is not as pronounced as elsewhere in the city (perhaps because of the steep streets), car break-ins and outright vehicle thefts are growing in number. There have been no homicides in the last three years.

Green spaces include George Sterling Memorial Park, which sits atop a reservoir and is perhaps best known among area residents for its tennis courts, which offer magnificent panoramas of the city and bay, as well as the East Bay, Marin hills and Golden Gate Bridge. Ina Coolbrith Park is a leafy (if somewhat steep) expanse of trees and paths named for the Mormon renegade and first poet laureate of California who once lived on the hill, and Russian Hill Park is a large, grassy field enclosed by a tree- and shrub-studded mound. Michelangelo Playground is a recent addition to the neighborhood, a pleasantly designed and landscaped space with play equipment for kids, basketball hoops, a community garden, and benches, all tucked in a secluded spot.

What the neighborhood lacks in splashy attractions it makes up for in small, intimate ones. In the two-block stretch along Hyde from Vallejo to Union are neighborhood favorites like Frascati and Luella, both serving Mediterranean-inspired cooking, as well as Zarzuela (noted for its tapas), Sushi Groove, and Za Pizza. For ice cream aficionados, the flagship Swensen’s at Hyde and Union has been going strong since 1948. Farther north on Hyde, at the cable car turnaround, sits the birthplace of the Irish coffee, the Buena Vista Café, which, though flanked by the kitschy Ghirardelli Square, is one bar beloved by guide-toting tourists and locals alike. Numerous other restaurants, cafes and shops line Polk Street between Broadway and Filbert Street, including Real Food (a local chain that offers organic fruit and vegetables and other natural products), Russian Hill Bookstore (offering used books that make it popular with the bohemian crowd that populates this part of Lower Russian Hill), and an array of ethnic restaurants (Chinese, Thai, and Italian). There’s even a Little Paris forming around Green Street, with La Boulange café, La Folie restaurant, and a number of French-themed boutiques selling antiques and housewares. Each place has something to offer a curious mind, and, much like this hill-clinging neighborhood, offers a surprise at every corner.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
5/5
Feb 08, 2016

"Quintessential, Old-School San Francisco Vibe"

A classic San Francisco neighborhood, Russian Hill offers stunning views, vibrant businesses, and plenty of local history.

Home to the one-block stretch of Lombard Street dubbed “the crookedest street in the world,” Russian Hill attracts tourists, residents, and foodies to its many restaurants and shops on Polk and Hyde streets.

Local favorites include brunch and burger joint Polkers; longtime neighborhood staple Swenson’s ice cream shop; Cole Hardware and Brownie’s Hardware stores; and the popular Greens Sport Bar. A small French section has sprung up near Polk and Green with La Folie restaurant, La Boulange Bakery, and the nearby La Tulipe Noire antiques shop.

Named after a Russian cemetery discovered in the 1800s, the neighborhood is one of San Francisco’s original “seven hills.” Russian Hill contains some of the city’s steepest streets, with stairs built into many sidewalks for better walkability.

Alice Marble Park at Greenwich and Larkin streets and Ina Coolbrith Park at Taylor and Vallejo are great places to take in spectacular views of the city and Bay. Macondray Lane, a charming foot lane, figured prominently in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” under the pseudonym Barbary Lane.

The San Francisco Art Institute, designed by the same architects behind San Francisco City Hall, offers visitors fabulous vistas, a beautiful Diego Rivera mural, and community education courses.

Russian Hill is well-connected to downtown San Francisco by public transit, with Muni buses and cable cars carrying locals and tourists up and down its hilly streets. Some fit residents even walk to work in the Financial District.

With its large apartment and condominium buildings and lovely single-family homes, the neighborhood boasts a mix of housing stock, with most Russian Hill homes for sale dating back to the 1910s. Portions of Greenwich and Lombard streets offer secluded urban oases, including a Willis Polk-designed home at 950 Lombard that recently sold for $4.5 million.

In September 2012 the median price of Russian Hill condominiums increased 20 percent to $875,000, up from $729,000 a year earlier, according to MLS data. Meanwhile, the number of condos for sale plunged 46 percent, while those under contract increased 100 percent over the year-earlier period.
Pros
  • Classic San Francisco Feel
  • Great Views
  • Parks
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5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Legendary San Francisco Grace"

Russian Hill is a signature San Francisco neighborhood that embodies the charm and bohemian grace the city has become so well known for. Perched above the chaos of North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf, Russian Hill offers chic restaurants and tasteful bars along Hyde Street between Jackson and Union. Zarzuela is a festive and popular Spanish restaurant with an outstanding offering of traditional tapas. For more nightlife, Russian Hill’s section of Polk Street is lined with unique bars like the Bigfoot Tavern and live music venues like The Red Devil Lounge. The seafood restaurant, Pesce, is exhilarating and owned by the same group that runs Beretta in the Mission District.

Russian Hill’s streets are lined with beautiful historic apartment buildings. The views from many streets are as spectacular as those in nearby Nob Hill. The Hyde-Powell cable car runs directly through the center of Russian Hill and there are a few buses that provide service to downtown, the Financial District and the Waterfront. Parking is notoriously challenging in Russian Hill and its steep slopes and busy streets make parallel parking especially stressful.

At the edge of Russian Hill lies Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world. Other than the sightseers that wander up out of North Beach to Lombard Street, most tourists pass through Russian Hill on the cable car without ever jumping off.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Lombard Street and Cable Cars"

Russian Hill is a charming little neighborhood. Russian Hill receives a lot of tourist attention, or in other words it’s a tourist attraction mostly because of the ever-so-famous winding streets of Lombard. On busy days you’ll see a plethora of people lining up on the streets here just watching as cars go down this incredible twisty and steep street. It’s funny sometimes to watch people’s reactions because it’s their first time looking at such a sight, and most of the times, you can see the older generation folks talking about it and trying to figure out the geometry or whatnot of it.

In Russian Hill there is also Ghiradelli Square. It’s basically a chocolate restaurant. Ghiradelli Square is a great place to go to for tourists and San Franciscans alike. There you can get delicious ice cream and chocolate (of course). There, they even serve huge platters or servings of ice cream, that even a seven of my friends and I couldn’t finish. Although the menu there may be on the expensive side, it is totally worth it to go there with friends.

Nearby is the Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, another bustling area full of tourists and local San Franciscans there to just have fun. Taking the cable car in Russian Hill is also very fun because of all the hills the cable cars climb up and go down on, it’s like a mini-roller coaster. Just outside of the Russian Hill neighborhood is the Wax Museum and the Northpoint Centre Shopping Center.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A great place to hang out or live"

Russian Hill is a great neighborhood because it has tons of restaurants from $ to $$$$ plus local and boutique shops. It's also a great place to live. Quiet, unless you live on the cable car lines and super friendly. Lots of people raising families, walking their dogs or singles hanging out at local coffee shops. It just "feels" like San Francisco.

If you are single, the nightlife is good too. Plenty of wine bars or dive bars. Russian Hill has its fair share of both. And if you are a health nut, plenty of organic groceries, yoga, and gyms within walking distance. Or you can just opt for a walk as it is extremely hilly, hence the name.

It's one of those neighborhoods that has something for everyone and it's not overly trendy, nor is it overly stuffy.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Bimbos and Corner Stores"

For those of you not familiar with the city, this is the hill on the northwestern end of North Beach—to the west of Fisherman’s Wharf. For tourists, this is where Lombard Street is (you know, the “crookedest street in the world”) and some of the best views of Coit Tower and the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge.
This is also where Bimbos 365 Club is, for those of you that love live music. Bimbos is kind of the centerpiece of SF music—or at least one of them. I’ve seen lots of concerts here and it is really a great venue. It’s got a real classic ballroom/lounge feel to it, with architecture dating back to the 30’s, I think. Anyway, its great spot for a date. You go to the Indian place down the street first and then catch the show. Afterwards you walk up Columbus into North Beach and get a little table at Vesuvio’s or one of the bars and talk till you’re all talked out.
Up on the northern end of the hill is Fort Mason and the Waterfront. This is right at the western edge of Fisherma
Pros
  • Close to North Beach
  • Nice Victorians
  • Parks
Cons
  • Poor Parking
  • A Little Expensive
  • Old Building Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Neighborhood for the wealthy"

Want your San Francisco experience to be mellow, neighborhood-y, quiet, and, uhh, steep? This is the neighborhood for you. Just off the main drags of Van Ness on the west and Columbus Avenue on the east, this place leaves the hustle and bustle of city life below as its altitudes climb.

Russian Hill is best known for being the home of the curviest road in San Francisco. And that little section of Lombard Street that climbs the hill in a series of switchbacks is definitely worth the hype. But come on, people, this neighborhood is so much better than that.

Polk Street on the west side of the hill has tons of great eateries, shops, bars, coffeehouses, dessert spots, and anything else you can think of. The same great perks can be found on the east side of the hill in neighboring North Beach. But up on the hill itself is a fun little park, some corner stores and delis, housing with a ton of character, and some of the best views you can get in the city (from here, the Marina looks just like Italy’s famed cliffside village, Positano).

If you’re up on Russian Hill, heading straight down to the water is always a good stroll. Avoid over-touristed and out-of-the-way Fisherman’s Wharf in favor of the narrow beach and winding pier at the end of Van Ness (just outside of Fort Mason). This area doesn’t get as much traffic and has killer views of Marin County to the north.
Pros
  • Nice Victorians
Cons
  • A Little Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
2yrs+

"Safe Neighborhood with Ritzy Feel"

Boasting the highest altitude of any other San Francisco neighborhood, Russian Hill offers breathtaking views of the city at every direction. On clear days, you can get a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz Island. But because the hills are so steep, getting around on feet isn’t the best option. Parking is typically hard to come by, with streets being monitored by parking enforcement somewhat frequently. Luckily, bus lines and taxis run through the neighborhood quite frequently. Hop on the 41 or 45 running east to west or track down the 12 to head down to the Financial District. If you miss that, the cable car chimes up and down Hyde Street every half an hour or so.

Russian hill is relatively clean, upscale and expensive with a couple high rise apartment buildings and lofty hotels. The neighborhood is predominately occupied by the higher socioeconomic class with extravagant Victorian and Edwardian homes dazzling passers-by.

If you’re looking to be active, there’s a handful of tennis courts and a basketball court at the peak of Union Street. Or walk down windy Lombard Street, one of the most pivotal San Francisco attractions.

Nightlife in this area is pretty low key, but Russian Hill offers plenty of great restaurants from charming Italian themed eateries to an array of Asian cuisine spilling over from Chinatown. Nick’s Crispy Taco’s is one of the neighborhoods best bets for cheap mexican food and great deals on Taco Tuesdays.
Pros
  • Nice Victorians
  • Close to North Beach
Cons
  • A Little Expensive
  • Poor Parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
2yrs+

"Serious View"

Russian Hill isn't the most expensive part of the city, but it is definitely upper middle class and beautiful. The homes are charming and the streets are impeccably clean. Russian Hill has the most sunshine in all of the city, too, because it is the highest point of San Francisco. The views from the northern most tips of Russian Hill is exceptional. You can see Alcatraz, Marin, the bridges and miles of ocean. It's really stunning from this neighborhood but it'll cost ya. Russian Hill isn't as snooty, in my opinon, as Pacific Heights or even in some cases, the Marina. But, it's not a terribly eclectic neighborhood. The rent (most people rent around here) is about $1500 - $2000 for a one bedroom which is pretty steep but not New York high -- which some SF neighborhoods are. And, you get what you pay for: it's clean, beautiful, and relatively riffraff free.

One thing that's kinda weird about this neighborhood is that there are a lot of old people that live here. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of young professionals too; but, I always see a lot more seniors around these parts than other neighborhoods in the city proper. It's kind of amusing considering that the area has so many steep hills. Speaking of which . . . .if you are a tourist or a local, Lombard street is a must see. It's pretty cool and so ridiculous. Known as the "crookedest street in the world," Lombard is just as steep as it is wayward. Parking is an absolute nightmare in this neighborhood because even though none of the other streets zigzag, they are just as steep. And, trying to parallel park a car at a 80% incline is next to impossible and way too scary for my mental health. I don't even like driving in this neighborhood because I'm always scared that either my car or someone else's is gonna run out of steam and just start sliding down the hill. And, biking? Forget it. There's only 2 buses that roll through this neighborhood too, so the one thing Russian Hill definitely lacks is any way in or out. In some ways it's good because it keeps lurkers away. In other ways, it's a pain to get home if you live there and kinda makes you not want to have to move your car.

There are a lot of great restaurants and shops in Russian Hill, so the good news is that you won't have to leave much. Pesce has divine seafood and Zarzuela is fantastice (but usually crowded). There are a ton of used book shops with some hard to find editions in Russian Hill (and by a ton, I mean three that I've seen). I like Acorn the most out of all of them because I like bigger shops that really overwhelm me. Dylan is a magical clothing shop for women and to offset that credit card bill there's a pretty cool housing store where everything is half off right down the street.

Russian Hill has pretty much everything to offer as far as neighborhood charm. The transportation is a problem and the nightlife isn't off the chain, but other than that. . . it's pretty awesome.
Pros
  • Charming
  • Great Views
  • Good shops
  • Nice Victorians
Cons
  • A Little Expensive
  • Poor Parking
  • Old Building Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Pleasant and Perilous (driving that is)"

My place for pleasant walking and perilous driving. Witness Lombard Street for its curves and Filbert for its steeper than steep descent. I’ve had a few scary moments cresting the peak of Filbert in a friends old VW Beetle. No thanks. I’ll stick to something safer, like sky diving. Drivers new to this area are encouraged to come in an automatic transmission car. As for the streets themselves, get used to doubling back, circling, and detouring to circumnavigate all of the one way streets. When my friend Sharon moved here after law school, she rented an apartment in Russian Hill. When I’d visit her, we had our daytime routine and late night routine. Daytime was lunch after a late night out. One taco, Nick’s way, at Nick’s Crispy Tacos was always enough to soak up my hangover. Walking the parks (especially repeat ascents up the Vallejo steps) was our choice method for working off a few bites of taco. Russian Hill’s best attribute is its central location and hilltop elevation. There’s a 1000-2000 dollar difference between RH apartments that don’t have a view and those that do. Sharon’s was, well, the affordable variety, but all we had to do to feast our eyes on a porterhouse-sized chunk of the city was step outside her door and tread not even half a block to the corner.
Recommended for
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"You Don't Have to Be Russian to Enjoy Russian Hill!"

Russian Hill is in North San Francisco, just Southeast of Fort Mason. This is a fantastic neighborhood in a great locale. First of all you are bordering San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, which is an interesting place with lots of well-crafted historic vessels and great views. The Russian Hill area also includes Russian Hill Park and George Sterling Memorial Park. If you happen to be an artist, the San Francisco Art Institute is also located in Russian Hill.

There are also some very good restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques in this part of town. Simply stated, Russian Hill is classy, relaxing and has a lot of flair. I seriously wish I could afford living in this neighborhood. Yes, you will indeed need some serious money to live in Russian Hill. This fact probably won’t surprise most people. After all, you are indeed neighboring pricey Nob Hill.

Incidentally, Russian Hill really has very little to do with actual Russians, so you won’t find an enclave of Russian restaurants and grocery stores. The name comes from the fact that a cemetery with Russian people that was found hundreds of years ago.

There are some really cool looking homes in this area. You will also find apartments to rent. It is worth visiting Russian Hill just to see Lombard Street, which is the “crookedest street in the world.”
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"Artistic and bohemian upscale neighborhood"

Magnificent views, winding staircases, and quaint cafes make Russian Hill one of San Francisco's favorite neighborhoods. In the late 1970s, Russian Hill became known as one of the most bohemian and artistic communities in the country and still holds that flavor today.

There are great pockets of restaurants and businesses along Hyde Street between Jackson and Union Streets, and Polk Street. You can always find crowds of people hanging out at the many antique shops, unique boutiques, and trendy night spots. You'll even find a miniature French quarter that recently sprung up along Polk and Green.

If you want to add some spice to your night life, check out the Tonic, home to black clothing and pink cocktails. Plush dark blue velvet couches and bar stools accompanied by floating candles at every table set the atmosphere relaxed while you listen to alternative music from the jukebox playing British bands such as the Smiths and Pulp.

There is so much to do and see in Russian Hill, but if time is a limitation, at least get your heart pumping while you walk up (or down) the world's crookedest street - Lombard. Between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets you'll also even pass by the ornate home featured in the San Francisco edition of MTV's "The Real World."
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"Really a 4.5, though not quite a 5"

I'd rate this area a 4.5 if I could, and it just doesn't *quite* deserve a 5.

That does not, in any way, take away from how amazing this area is. For one thing, there is Maritime Aquatic Park and the whole view by the water in this historic park area. A stroll by there after passing Fisherman's Wharf is a must for tourists in that part of town and even better for residents who are looking for a view of water and/or a part of the city to explore since it's not quite as bustling with tourists as a wharf.

Enjoy Russian Hill Park, even if it is small, and then you can appreciate Columbus street whe you want to cut toward the south part of the neighborhood. If you're on a bike, be sure to pick up a bike map which will help you get around a lot easier since the map shows the road gradients well.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

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Best Streets in Russian Hill

1

Columbus Ave

4/5
"The Hustle and Bustle of North Beach "
37.8043407487741 -122.416029592193
2

Macondary Ln

4/5
"Barbary Lane, Maupin Fans!"
37.799151739384 -122.415669361295
"Ghirardelli Square is an Oasis on the Edge of Fisherman's Wharf"
37.8051825028431 -122.424477001161
4

Hyde St

3.5/5
"Great Place For A Date"
37.8021733659503 -122.419648827469
5

Bay St

3/5
"The way to the Bay"
37.8048259332011 -122.419887655483
6

Vallejo St

3/5
"Stepping It Up Through North Beach"
37.7976059058908 -122.416511662245
7

Lombard St

3/5
"LOVEbard street"
37.8021223831976 -122.418766302356
8

Jansen St

2.5/5
"More like an alley than a street, nothing special"
37.8022580000431 -122.413765999395
"Quaint side street in the heart of North Beach"
37.8012247082483 -122.414399074311

Unranked Streets in Russian Hill

Allen St

3.5/5
"Allen St: Crystal Clean and Clear"
37.7993983342161 -122.419763000987

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