San Francisco Photo Tour

Nob Hill and

California Street Cable Car

Not wheelchair accessible The best way to get to Nob Hill is to ride the California Street Cable Car there. The cable car runs on California Street from Van Ness Avenue to Market Street. The price to ride is $2.00 for a one-way ticket, if you was smart and bought a MUNI Passport, you can use it to ride as many times as you want, otherwise you would have to pay every time you get on.
I am sorry it is not wheelchhair accesible.
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California Street Cable Car

San Francisco has three cable car lines, two of them originate from Powell and Market Street, and this one, which originates from Market and California Street. You can easily find it, it is one block west of the Ferry Building and on the corner next to the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Looking out the rear of cable car. This cable car line is different than the other two lines because this cable car can travel in both directions, and does not have to be turned around. This cable car has a set of control grips on each end of the car. The grip is what grabs the cable under the street and pulls it along. The photo above was taken from inside the cable car and looking out the rear window, you can also see the cable grip handle for return trips.

Looking down California Street.

We are now at the top of Nob Hill, looking back down the hill on California Street. For this photo I got off at Mason Street, or you could get off at Taylor Street. The top of Nob Hill only covers one square block, and if you head in any direction from it, you will be going down hill.

The Mark Hopkins Hotel. Next we look to our right and see the Mark Hopkins Inter-Continental Hotel, it is one of the historic Landmarks on Nob Hill. Inside you will find the Nob Hill Restaurant and the Top of Mark Sky Lounge.

The only level block on Nob Hill.

Now we turn around and walk to the west, off to our right we see a large brown building that is surrounded by a iron fence, it covers half of the only square block on Nob Hill that is level. The other half of the block is covered by Huntington Park.

I looked up at the brown building to see if it had a name on it, and I did not see one. I then walked up on the porch and saw a small brass plaque that said "The Pacific-Union Club Members Only".

Looking to the south on Taylor Street.

Now we continue walking west to the end of the block. We are now at California and Taylor Street, looking to our left and down Taylor, is another view of the city from the top of Nob Hill. By looking at this photo, you can not really tell how steep the hill is until you try to walk up it.

Grace Cathedral Church

Looking to the north on Taylor Street is the Grace Cathedral Church. You may have seen this church before, it has been in several movies that have been filmed here. The day I took this photo, they had a scaffold set up on the right side of the church, to do restoration work.

Huntington Park

From the top of the steps, in front of the church, if you look across Taylor Street you can see Huntington Park. Now let's head across the street and into the park.

James L. Flood Fountain

When you sit down in Huntington Park, which I am sure you will, you will be sitting at the very top of Nob Hill. You can not see the city below, because the entire block is surrounded by very tall buildings.

On one side of the park I noticed a fountain dedicated to James L. Flood. I recognized the name because there is a building downtown by the Powell Street Cable Car Turn-a-round. The name of the building is The Flood Building.

Now we will walk to the other end of the block, back to Mason Street.

Fairmont Hotel

On the east side of Mason Street, between California and Sacramento Street, is the Fairmont Hotel. This is where the President usually stays when he comes to san Francisco. You can also stay here if you have lot's of money, and that is what Nob Hill is all about, money.

Year's ago, I don't know if they still do it, when you gave them change they would clean and polish the coins. Then anytime you received change, it would be bright and shiny. The reason they did this was because year's ago ladies wore white gloves, and they did not want to get their gloves dirty.

Now let's walk over to the corner on the left side of the Fairmont Hotel.

Looking to the North

Looking to the North on Mason at Sacramento Street, you can see the hills on the other side of the bay. Just below the hill, and on this side of the bay, is Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39. On this side of Nob Hill there are fewer tall buildings, because this is more of a residential area than downtown San Francisco.

Now make a 90 degree turn to the right and look down Sacramento Street.

Looking down Sacramento Street On Sacramento Street the view is quite different, because we are looking back downtown again.

Now let's walk back to California Street and walk down the hill one block to Powell Street.

Looking Downtown from Nob Hill.

The photo above was taken looking down California Street, from the intersection at Powell and California Street. The view of downtown was much better from here, you can also see the Transamerica Pyramid Building on the left, it is San Francisco's tallest building.

From this intersection you have your choice of five different destinations.

1. You could catch the California Street Cable Car going up hill and go to Van Ness Avenue.

2. Or you could take the California Street Cable Car going down hill to Market Street, near the Ferry Building.

3. If you want to go south to Powell and Market Street, you have your choice of two cable car lines, get on either of them.

4. If you you want to go north to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, I prefer to take the Powell and Hyde Street Line. It takes you to the top of Lombard Street, where you can get off the cable car to look around. It also takes you close to Ghirardelli Square, and Hyde Street Pier.

5. Your last choice is the Powell and Mason Street Line, it does not go over as many hills, with scenic views, but it will get you to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39.

The next stop on my Photo Tour is "The Embarcadero", to go there Click Continue Tour below.

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Photographed and created by David T. Smith

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