Nob Hill: San Francisco's Iconic Gateway

Nob Hill: San Francisco's Iconic Gateway

Where to eat, sleep and play near this signature San Francisco neighborhood By: Emma Weissmann
<p>The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco is a historical landmark. // © 2015 The Ritz-Carlton</p><p>Feature image (above): Nob Hill gives guests a...

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco is a historical landmark. // © 2015 The Ritz-Carlton

Feature image (above): Nob Hill gives guests a convenient vantage point for exploring San Francisco. // © 2015 iStock

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If clients venture beyond Nob Hill, suggest they try San Francisco’s sutro baths.

Towering 376 feet above the bay, Nob Hill has long served as San Francisco’s posh pedestal. Deriving its name from the Hindi word nabob, or “wealthy and powerful,” this signature neighborhood is home to some of San Francisco’s most sought-after addresses. Not only is the area luxurious, it also serves as a gateway to several of San Francisco’s most iconic sites, offering a wealth of options for clients who venture just beyond its base.

Just a five-minute walk down Nob Hill is the country’s oldest Chinatown, home to the largest population of Chinese descendants outside of Asia. While there, satisfy a sweet-tooth craving with a freshly made fortune cookie at Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Ross Alley, and marvel at how the flat, Frisbee-like disks are molded by hand into the cookie’s iconic shape. 

Free samples are given, but cookies can also be purchased in bulk. Visitors to the factory can write a personalized fortune to bring back home to a loved one. Afterward, clients can check out the fresh produce markets of Chinatown, which offer several other opportunities for snacking.

After a day of exploring, guests will sleep comfortably at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. The white, neoclassical building is a historical landmark perched at the top of Nob Hill, offering guests expansive views of the surrounding city. As its namesake implies, the hotel stuns in both service and design. This year’s redesign led to updates to the guestrooms and several common areas. Cool blues and smoky grays dominate the color scheme, meant to mimic the steely waters of the nearby bay as well as the dense fog that the city is famous for.

After dinner at Parallel 37, the property’s on-site restaurant, head to the hotel’s newly opened Jean-Charles Boisset Wine Tasting Salon for a nightcap. The space functions as both as an ultra-chic tasting lounge and a high-end retail boutique.

Travel down Nob Hill, past the stores and markets of Chinatown, and you’ll soon arrive at one of the country’s most famous literary landmarks: City Lights Books. Bookworms can spend hours browsing the shelves of the three-story bookstore that still dances to the beat of its alternative roots. Originally founded in 1953, City Lights was the nation’s first all-paperback bookstore and boasts a range of titles from small, specialty publishers. Functioning as both a bookstore and publishing house, it often hosts events and weekly reading series.