Just in front of Grace Cathedral in Nob Hill stands Huntington Park. This was once the site of the mansion of Collis P. Huntington, who helped build the Central Pacific Railroad. The mansion was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. However, Mr. Huntington's widow donated the property to the city of San Francisco to set up a park in 1915.
The park has a replica of the fountain, Fontana Delle Tartarughe or Fountain of the Turtles. This was bought by William and Ethel Crocker for their estate at Hillsborough, California. Later this fountain was given to the city of San Francisco by the Crockers' four children. It was installed in Huntington Park in 1954. The original fountain is in the Piazza Mattei, Rome.
Also in Huntington Park there is a statue called Dancing Sprites by French sculptor, Henri Leon Greber. This statue was donated to the city by Mrs. James Flood in 1942. The Flood family amassed a fortune in the gold and silver fields.
spectacular views of the city that rivals my fave lounge in Mariott Marquis in SOMA
Top of the Mark is the place for spectacular brunches and they also serve light dinner besides being one of the best bars here in the city. The area becomes soo packed that they don't accept reservations for the evenings!
The Top of the Mark is the second most romantic cocktail lounge in San Francisco(hey i'm biased since I like the ambiance more in the View Lounge in Marriott Marquis in South Of Market ok). Legendary since its opening in 1939, It sits atop the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill. Always elegant, it has been a favorite with famous (& infamous), rich and beautiful people from all over the world who love this attractive area with its breathtaking 360 degree views of San Francisco and beyond. Their ambiance sports an elegant club-like decor, with stunning night lights and day views of the San Francisco skyline. This is the place to be on Valentines Day, or any day for romance. Even if you choose another San Francisco restaurant to dine in, this is where you go for after dinner cocktails and the pinao man at the bar is par excellance bar none!
Mon-Sat 6:30 am - 2:30 pm
Mon-Thu, Sun 5 pm - 12 am
Fri-Sat 4 pm - 1 am
Sun 10 am - 1 pm
See my general tips for much more on Nob Hill.
The Mark Hopkins Hotel was built in 1925 at the site of the mansion of Mark Hopkins, one of the 'Big Four' railroad tycoons. Like many other wooden mansions it was destroyed by fire in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake.
It's interesting to note that not all fires were caused by the earthquake directly. Many people, not covered by earthquake insurance, chose to set fire to their place so they could claim fire insurance, which they had. Which isn't to suggest that this was one of those situations.
This is another of those, "If you have to ask the price you can't afford it" hotels. Start thinking around $400 plus.
You may not have the wherewithall to stay in them but you can get a look at some of Nob Hill's famous posh hotels for free. A walk down California street from Grace Cathedral will take you by 3 gilded grande dames: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins and the Ritz-Carlton. Act like you know what you're doing and walk right in for a discrete gander at their plushy club lounges, foyers, gigantic floral arrangements and shops. You might even sneak peeks at some of the ballrooms and meeting areas. Brazen curiosity seeker that I am, I jumped the elevator up to the fabled Top of the Mark restaurant/bar one morning for some stealthy shots of SF the skyline.
I think they're used to tourists so unless you make a nuisance of yourself (don't point the camera at the guests!) no one will raise a salon-plucked eyebrow. Have a hankering for some swank but not the budget? Put on your Sunday best and go for just a drink or proper afternoon tea in one of the cushy lounges.
These are also good places to make a potty stop - the restrooms near public or meeting areas are always spic and span!
this is part two of my tips on SNOB Hill, again I am sort of biased since I find the Views in View Lounge Better than the Top of the Mark. Nob Hill, besides the home of San Francisco's Big Four (Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins and Charles Crocker) and Nice views of Car Chases in the movies, the Snob Hill is also the home of the Big four (the Fairmont Hotel, the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel, the Stanford Court, and the Huntington Hotel) Hotels and the Iconic Grace Cathedral and Masonic Center.
SNOB Hill ooops Nob Hill (sorry, since most people here are snooty rich types) due to it's reputation as a privileged only area in the gold rush and recent times. The area is home to Posh hotels like the fairmont, Intercontinental, top of the Mark and others and also offers the best view of the bay area when riding the cable car so when the cable car stops at this area, I suggest you let your digicams and videocams ready!
Nob Hill is an affluent district, home to many of the city's old money families. Sometimes it is sarcastically referred to as Snob Hill. Its also home to some of the most expensive hotels in the city like the Farimont Hotel, Mark Hopkins, and the Huntington Hotel to name just a few. The Farimont Hotel has been used in many different Hollywood films so its the most famous of all the hotels. Grace Cathedral also resides on the hill which is located at the intersection of California and Powell, Grace Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches in the city and was built in the same style as Notre Dame. There is also a small park with a beautiful water fountain if your looking for a place to relax and take in the rich folks that pass by!
If there was a downside to our otherwise spectacular trip to San Francisco, it was when my camera battery died just as we were ready to tour GRACE CATHEDRAL. I was so disappointed!!
Happily, located handily below the sanctuary, there was a gift shop which carried post cards of this magnificent cathedral, which was opportune!
picture #1 Grace Cathedral was constructed from 1927 to 1964 and is an Episcopal church. It sits atop Nob Hill, exuding good will, purity and righteousness--just like God's house should! The design was inspired by French Cathedrals.
picture #2 The central sanctuary is shown with the Connick choir windows. There are several services conducted each Sunday, among which is the 11 am service, placed on the web weekly.
picture #3 The east rose window (1964) depicts a famous poem of Saint Francis. Referred to as the Gabriel Loire window, it is 25 feet in diameter and has nearly 3800 pieces of faceted glass. As the sun shimmered through its multi-colored segments, it truly was a gorgeous sight!
These photo postcards are published by C. Harrison Conroy Co.
Nob Hill is one of the famous San Francisco hills, very close to the city centre and Union Square. The hill hosts a park surrounded by a bunch of top-class hotels with excellent views to the city and the bay and Grace cathedral -- once imposing and now dwarfed by the towers.
The best way to go the hill is walking, but it may not be option for everybody. Taxis and rental cars are good choices, too, but maybe the best non-walking transport method is to take a cable car running on California street.
Nob Hill - take in the temples of grandeur or sit on a bench in Huntington Park. Nob Hill is the old playground of railroad barons and high society, at the top of California Street, a short cable car trip from Union Square. Or climb the steep-grade on foot from Powell Street.
Gothic Grace Cathedral:
Grace Cathedral Website
Fairmont Hotel: Tea Time 2:30-6 p.m. daily. Meander through the lobby!
Mark Hopkins Hotel: Tea served in the Top of the Mark lounge.
Huntington's Nob Hill: Cozy Big Four restaurant, have a glass of port in a deep leather chairs by the fire.
The Ritz Carlton is a two-block walk down California Street.
On the interior of the church, there are a few interesting features. There is an interesting labyrinth near the rear of the church (and one outside) which symbolizes three stages of a holy life, Purgation (letting go), Illumination (receiving God) and Union (joining God).
I was also quite taken by the height of the central nave. It's enormous! The altar, on the other hand, was a bit disappointing in its simplicity.
On the other hand, the stained glass window were interesting. One set is done by an American artist Charles Connick and the other done by a French guy whose name I can't recall. There are also some great murals on the north side walls of the nave which are the work by Antonio Sotomayor and depict the founding of the church.
The church is actually the parish successor of Grace Church which dates to 1849, California's Gold Rush year.
Ok, if you feel not enthusiast going up walking Nob hill , then think how people living or working everyday do and..cheer up, this is waht i thought thinking of going back to the flat flat Netherlands.