With its location adjacent to Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, and Nob Hill, Russian Hill is part of many city sightseeing itineraries, but most tour buses won’t travel up the steep hill itself. Opt for an urban hike, food walking tour, or Segway tour for a more in-depth look at the neighborhood, which is one of San Francisco’s prettiest.
Ina Coolbrith Park at Taylor and Vallejo streets is a tiny spot with a lush garden, benches, and bay views—it’s a great place to take a short break if you’re exploring the neighborhood on foot.
Things to Know Before You Go
There is a lot of metered and free street parking available, but pay attention to posted signs about prohibited parking during street cleaning or other times.
Wear shoes appropriate for walking down steep grades.
Hyde and Leavenworth streets at either end of Lombard Street’s switchbacks are busy San Francisco roads; blocking traffic while trying to take pictures is not recommended.
How to Get There
Russian Hill sits roughly between Van Ness Avenue, Broadway, Columbus Avenue, and Bay Street. For the most quintessentially San Francisco experience, take the Powell–Hyde cable car line north from Union Square. The neighborhood is also accessible via Muni buses 19, 41, and 45.
When to Get There
For photos of Lombard Street without the crowds or serene views of the city and bay, go in the early morning before tour groups arrive. In August, the Polk Street Blues Festival features live entertainment, food stands, and arts and crafts booths.
On the western edge of Russian Hill and down into Nob Hill, Polk Street is a popular destination for shopping, dining, and nightlife. After a day of climbing up and down some of the city’s steepest blocks, check out Polk Street’s bar scene to mingle with the locals.
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