Now: Nob Hill is a neighborhood of many hotels, big, old, famous, ritzy, looming over the streets. The California Street Cable Car line crosses the top of Nob Hill, past the hotels and Grace Cathedral. It travels east-west from Embarcadero and ends up at Van Ness Avenue. The Cable Car Museum, at Mason and Washington, lets you look into the operating barn and powerhouse, and see the giant gears pulling the underground cables that drive the Cable Cars.
Then: Before the 1906 earthquake, Nob Hill was the neighborhood club for those with mansion-worthy wealth. After the earthquake, it became the site for hotels bearing the mansion-owners' names (Hopkins, Huntington, Stanford). The Flood Mansion, housing the Pacific-Union Club, was built in 1886, and (along with the Fairmont Hotel, across the street), survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. Grace Cathedral was completed in 1964.
How To Get There: An easy walk from Union Square up to California Street, the Cable Car also comes directly through. The 1-California Muni bus also travels through Sacramento Street.
California Street at Powell
Cable Car on California Street
The Fairmont Hotel, on Mason Street at California Street
The Mark Hopkins Hotel, behind the Fairmont
The Pacific-Union Club, at Huntington Park, built by James Flood in 1886
Gate at the Pacific-Union Club
Bush Street, in Nob Hill
Fountain in Huntington Park, between the Pacific-Union Club and Grace Cathedral
Grace Cathedral, completed in 1964
Intersection of Washington and Jones
California Street Cable Car in Front of the Mark Hopkins Hotel in Nob Hill
Inside the Cable Car on the California Street line
Houses on Pine Street in Nob Hill
Exterior of the Cable Car Museum, at Washington and Mason Streets
Inside the Cable Car Museum