Russian Hill San Francisco is one of the “Seven Hills of San Francisco” and is considered an upscale neighborhood for renters/buyers. The neighborhood is unique in many ways, from its variety of restaurants ranging from Italian to Mediterranean to its challenging but beautiful topography of rolling hills and sweeping views. Russian Hill is also a major landmark for tourists visiting Fishermen’s Wharf and winding Lombard Street, but locals live and mingle with relative fuss. There’s an Old San Francisco mysticism that permeates Russian Hill, an aura as thick and familiar as the fog rolling in from the Pacific Ocean.
Russian Hill: What you need to know about the neighborhood
With a neighborhood population of approximately 16,500, Russian Hill is aimed at professionals in their late 20s, early 30s and beyond looking for a more established, sophisticated and comfortable establishment. Hyde, which runs straight across Russian Hill from north to south, is lined with excellent bars and restaurants under the majestic shade of ficus trees. Russian Hill’s biggest perks are seclusion and quiet, so renters or buyers who enjoy “nightlife” may be more interested in looking East Russian Hill toward Columbus Ave.
Russian Hill peaks between Chestnut/Filbert and Larkin/Leavenworth, so if you like being king of the hill and enjoying strenuous walks, consider this specific area. North towards Bay Street is the start of the Embarcadero and Fishermen’s Wharf (very touristy), west towards Van Ness Ave is Cow Hollow/Chestnut Street, and south is Broadway Street just off Nob Hill, another great neighborhood nearby. One of the great things about Russian Hill is that even on something as simple as a walk to a nearby corner store with the right view and angle, you feel like you’re on top of the city. . Temperatures range from mid 40s to mid 70s throughout the year with typical rain and fog. The best part of the area is when it’s clear and sunny, it’s like you can almost touch the sky.
Story & character
Russian Hill has hosted remarkable and creative people throughout the year. The neighborhood attracted writers like Jack Kerouac and Gelett Burgess, an important figure in San Francisco’s literary renaissance of the 1890s. Gavin Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco and current governor of California, lived in Russian Hill with Milton Friedman and , now in legal trouble, Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos. The sometimes narrow and difficult streets that rise and fall steeply through the neighborhood are something of a test for those who like a challenge that doubles as beauty. Professional employment in Russian Hill is mostly white-collar employed in private companies. Overall, the vibe is focused with a bit of San Francisco class sprinkled over the top.
The name of the district dates back to the time of the gold rush. The settlers discovered a small Russian cemetery at the top of the hill. Russian naval vessels frequented San Francisco throughout the 19th century beginning in 1806, so its crew members are believed to have been buried there. The cemetery no longer exists, but the name remains.
To be honest, getting to and from Russian Hill from other parts of town is somewhat tricky. The closest Bart or Muni line is, unfortunately, Powell or Montgomery. If you like San Francisco buses, this shouldn’t be a problem! From the south/downtown near Market Street are the 8, 12, 30, 19. From the west, the 45, 1, 28 run through the beautiful Marina district. To the east, near Pacbell Park, you can take the 30 and 39-COIT. One of the best, albeit slow, ways to get to Russian Hill is to take the San Francisco streetcars. You can take the trolley up and down the hills from downtown to the Pacific from Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason.
If you are not a fan of public transport, the car is your best option next to walking everywhere. This is especially important if you commute daily to East or South Bay and prefer to avoid many transfers to BART. Street parking is difficult given the narrowness of the streets, the density of the population and its general absence. If you are moving to the area, strongly consider considering a private monthly garage or an apartment/house that includes one. You will not regret it !
Our favorite places to eat in Russian Hill
Nick’s Crispy Tacos
Walking into Nick’s Crispy Tacos after a pub crawl with friends at first may leave you confused. There are mirrored walls, disco balls and plush red curtains reminiscent of a nightclub with tacos! They give you two tortillas per taco, giving the taco a full and big feel. The Pescado and Camarones tacos are well cooked, lightly seasoned and the fish is perfectly fried. You can get any of their “Nick’s Way” tacos, including cheese and guacamole. I highly recommend it ! Since their burritos are not in the name of the restaurant, we suggest sticking with their tacos.
Address: 1500 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94109
For over a decade, Seven Hills Restaurant has been a staple of fine and innovative dining in Russian Hill. Italian restaurant par excellence, the space is family-friendly, comfortable and warm, but customers come from all over the city and around the world. Chef Tony is the executive chef with a passion for farm-to-table offerings and has worked in San Francisco for over ten years. They have a wide variety of antipasti, pastas and side dishes to choose from. The Maccheroncelli and the Imperia Wagyu NY Strip Steak come highly recommended. They also have an extensive wine list to accompany.
Address: 1896 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Cafés for work, reading or going out
Cafe Saint Frank
Saint Frank’s Coffee is the perfect cafe near the corner of Union and Polk Street. The cafe captures the typically sunny weather that shines perfectly from the west, ideal for people watching, reading or catching up on work out of the office. The space is small, but if you want to score a spot, get there early! Saint Frank wants to explore the coffee experience and rediscover the simple joys of life. They offer all the usual coffee drinks like espresso, drip, and lattes along with local pastries from the Bay Area. Their mocha, rich, creamy, but not too sweet is a fan favorite among locals.
Address: 2340 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Where to drink in Russian Hill
Russian Hill balances the perfect levels of sophistication and having a good time, which is why Bar Iris is one of those bars that never seems pushy but welcoming. Their layout is impressive, with bar seating, beautifully designed tables and comfortable sofas. The bartenders, all professional and friendly, work with a wide variety of ingredients to create unique cocktails for every occasion, be it a business meeting, a date, a drink with a friend. Try the Linda Linda (milk punch) with gin, violets, citrus, yogurt, hojicha and pineapple, or the Faithful Fool with calvados, yuzu sake, green apple, woodruff and sparkling water.
Address: 2310 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
San Francisco Brewing Co.
San Francisco is known for its rolling hills, mix of sun and fog, and unique craft beer of all varieties. San Francisco Brewing Co. is the perfect place to take a small or large group to sample local beers from across the Bay Area, chat with locals, while enjoying a long list of delicious food. bar. Try their calamari, grilled cheese, rib-eye burgers, pretzels or wild mushroom pizza, complemented by beers ranging from IPA to Kolsch or Pilsner. They have flights if you can’t decide! Check out the full beer list here.
Address: 3150 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Things to do in Russian Hill
Russian Hill Bookstore
This neighborhood boutique offers a wide range of used books, games, cards and an assortment of gifts in a friendly and inviting space. Like City Lights Bookstore on Columbus Ave, Russian Hill Bookstore is one of San Francisco’s last independent bookstores. Independent bookstores are the cornerstone of all things literary for creatives, writers and lovers of the written word. As noted, they sell used books which is great for someone looking to buy on a budget. They also buy books, so if your shelves are a bit also packaged, bring them to buy.
Address: 2162 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Take the cart!
When people think of San Francisco, one of the first sights and sounds that come to mind is the trolley and its famous ringing bell. Invented nearly 150 years ago and named a National Historic Landmark in 1964, the city’s cable cars are kept in pristine condition by the SFMTA. There are three cable car lines – two start at Powell and Market and continue to the Fisherman’s Wharf area. One starts at California and Market and continues to Van Ness Avenue. Look for the cable car sign and brown and white panel on the cart’s turntables.
Interested in renting in Russian Hill?
According to Redfin, if you are looking to buy a home in Russian Hill, the median price is around $2 million. As many know, the market is “somewhat competitive” where many people are forced to pay more than they ask. The average rent for a 1 bedroom is currently $3,032, an increase of 3% over the previous year. The architecture of the majority of the buildings sticks to historic San Francisco roots with styles ranging from Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, Mission/Spanish Revival. The majority of apartments at Russian Hill range from four to five bedrooms with two to three bedrooms.