Nob Hill: A Guide to San Francisco Neighborhoods

nob hill neighborhood guide san francisco

Nob Hill is historically one of the wealthiest and swankiest sections of San Francisco, home to upper-class families at the turn of the 20th century and hosting elite visitors at some of the city’s finest hotels, like the Fairmont. It’s a small area in the northeast section of the city with easy access to the Financial District, Russian Hill, North Beach, Chinatown, and Union Square. Because it’s in the heart of the city, it’s densely populated with a more urban feel – tall residential buildings and busy, narrow streets – than you’ll find in other sections of the city. 

We polled local moms to find out what makes this neighborhood a good fit for their families. Want to get the scoop directly from the experts? Join our Russian Hill/ Nob Hill Neighborhood Group or reach out to a realtor at

Why Moms Love It 

No car is necessary when you live on Nob Hill. You’ll quickly get used to pushing strollers up and down hills to navigate this small area and the surrounding neighborhoods. Corner markets and a Trader Joe’s make every day shopping convenient and proximity to Union Square means retail stores for every price point are always within reach. It’s in walking distance to all of the Marina/Cow Hollow kid-friendly activities, too. 

Local Family Favorites 

Huntington Playground

Situated between Grace Cathedral and the Fairmont Hotel, you can admire the architecture surrounding you while your children play at this quaint playground. 

Helen Wills Playground

On the border of Russian Hill and Nob Hill, this small playground underwent a renovation in 2005, including a multi-functional clubhouse, unique play features, and sports courts. The park also includes its own boardwalk, giving visitors a bird’s eye view of the attractive grounds.

Cable Car Museum

The kids will love checking out the antique cable cars and live machinery, while you learn all about one of San Francisco’s most iconic features.

The holidays are a festive time all around the city, but nothing quite compares to the two-story gingerbread house displayed at the Fairmont Hotel

Childcare and Schools

Here’s the thing about childcare and schooling: Your personal situation will determine the right fit for you, and, while there are options around this neighborhood, your best bet is to check out for an interactive map and comprehensive list of daycares and preschools across the city.  

Likewise, for K-12 schools, we can’t tell you whether the schools here are “good” or not because a good school is based on so many other factors besides test scores. Check out our Tips for Moving to San Francisco with Kids for more help navigating childcare and schooling and a local mom’s take on raising a family in San Francisco.

Learn More 

To get an even better feel for what it’s like to live here, scan our list of 100+ kid-friendly restaurants in the city, find the nearest branch of the public library, and check out the area’s trick-or-treating hotspots.

Check out the other areas featured in our San Francisco Neighborhood Guide for Families.