This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Russian Hill, San Francisco" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Russian Hill
Russian Hill seen from the southeast
Russian Hill seen from the southeast
Russian Hill is located in San Francisco
Russian Hill
Russian Hill
Location within Central San Francisco
Coordinates: 37°48′06″N 122°25′11″W / 37.8018°N 122.4198°W / 37.8018; -122.4198
Country United States
State California
City and countySan Francisco
 • SupervisorCatherine Stefani
 • AssemblymemberMatt Haney (D)[1]
 • State SenatorScott Wiener (D)[1]
 • U. S. Rep.Nancy Pelosi (D)[2]
 • Total0.397 sq mi (1.03 km2)
 • Total13,146
 • Density33,000/sq mi (13,000/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
94109, 94133
Area codes415/628

Russian Hill is a neighborhood of San Francisco, California. It is named after one of San Francisco's 44 hills, and one of its original "Seven Hills".


Russian Hill is directly to the north (and slightly downhill) from Nob Hill, to the south (uphill) from Fisherman's Wharf, and to the west of the North Beach neighborhood. The Hill is bordered on its west side by parts of the neighborhoods of Cow Hollow and the Marina District.[4]

At the northern foot of the hill is Ghirardelli Square, which sits on the waterfront of the San Francisco Bay, Aquatic Park, and Fisherman's Wharf, a popular tourist area. A trip down the winding turns of Lombard Street and across Columbus Avenue to the east leads to the neighborhood of North Beach. Down the hill to the west, past Van Ness Avenue, are Cow Hollow and the Marina districts.


The Russian Hill Vallejo Street Crest, in April 1906 after the earthquake
The Russian Hill Vallejo Street Crest, in April 1906 after the earthquake; view of the Atkinson House

The neighborhood's name goes back to the Gold Rush-era, when settlers discovered a small Russian cemetery at the top of the hill. Russian naval and merchant ships frequently visited San Francisco throughout the 19th century beginning in 1806, and there are several mentions of burials of crew members in the Russian Hill cemetery in the first half of the century. The cemetery was eventually removed, but the name remained.[4]

In 1853 and 1854, a partnership was formed by William H. Ranlett (the architect), Charles Homer (the general contractor), and Joseph H. Atkinson (the mason/brick contractor), in order to build three houses in Russian Hill (at what is now known as the Vallejo Street Crest).[5] The Atkinson House (1853) is one of the oldest houses still standing in San Francisco, and possibly one of the first examples of Italianate-style architecture in the city.[6][5][7]

The switchbacks design of Lombard Street was first suggested by property owner Carl Henry[8] and was built in 1922,[9] intended to reduce the hill's natural 27 percent grade,[10] which was too steep for most vehicles to climb.[4][11]

About and attractions

View from Russian Hill (Larkin Street) towards east
A view of Lombard Street and Russian Hill from Telegraph Hill. The picture includes the famous "World's crookedest street" portion of Lombard Street.

Districts and views

Because of the steepness of the hill, many streets, portions of Vallejo and Green streets, for example, are staircases. Views from the top of the hill extend in several directions around the Bay Area, including the Bay Bridge, Marin County, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. The Macondray Lane District is notable for its historic architecture in a hilly and woodsy area, which features the pedestrian-only Macondray Lane.[12][13] The Paris Block Architectural District is a residential area known for its architecture, including the Feusier Octagon House.[14]

The Vallejo Street Crest Historic District is located in the southeast portion of the hill and is known for the cultural history and architecture, the district is surrounded by a retaining wall and natural bluff.[15] A small park at the top of the hill on Vallejo Street (or the Vallejo Street Crest) features a small plaque and memorial placed by the Russian Government, that is dedicated to the original Russian cemetery that once stood there. Another park on the hill on Vallejo Street is named after Ina Coolbrith.

Russian Hill is home to the former San Francisco Art Institute, located on Chestnut Street between Jones and Leavenworth Streets. The Academy of Art University also maintains a presence in this neighborhood with their Chestnut Street building hosting their fine art MFA studios, photo classrooms, and photo studios.[16]

Lombard Street

The neighborhood is most famous for Lombard Street, the one-way section on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, in which the roadway has eight sharp turns (or switchbacks) that have earned the street the distinction of being "the crookedest street in the world".[4] As it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city, this section of the neighborhood is frequently crowded with tourists. Tourists also frequent the cable car line along Hyde Street, which is lined with many restaurants and shops.


Alice Marble tennis courts

Alice Marble Tennis Courts are four hardcourt tennis courts located at Lombard and Hyde Streets. The courts offer a view of the bay and North Beach and can be unsuitable for tennis on windy days. A basketball court is located adjacent to the tennis courts. The San Francisco Cable Cars serving the Powell-Hyde line stops nearby.[citation needed]

Government and infrastructure

San Francisco Police Department Central Station, Metro Division serves Russian Hill.[17]


It is in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and is within the Jean Parker Elementary School attendance area.[18][19] The school building was first built in 1911 and rebuilt in 1996.[20]

Notable residents

In fiction

Life in the neighborhood during the 1970s was used as the basis for the fictionalized series Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin.[23]

Much of the famous car chase sequence in the 1968 thriller Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen (whose character lived in Nob Hill on Taylor and Clay streets), were filmed on Russian Hill, notably the scenes on Taylor Street. The neighborhood was also featured in the early scenes of the 1982 action-comedy feature film, 48 Hrs.

The cast of The Real World: San Francisco, which aired in 1994, lived in the house at 949 Lombard Street on Russian Hill from February 12 to June 19, 1994.[24]

In Anne Rice's book The Wolf Gift, the main character, Reuben Golding, grew up in Russian Hill.

John "Scottie" Ferguson, a character played by James Stewart lives at 900 Lombard Street in Alfred Hitchcock's film Vertigo (1958).

Based on the view from the window, Admiral James T. Kirk's apartment seen in the films Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock was located in the Russian Hill area of San Francisco.

In the racing video game Blur, one of the courses is named after and closely resembles Russian Hill.

A parody of Russian Hill appears as a district in the 1997 video game Grand Theft Auto, named 'Soviet Hill'.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  2. ^ "California's 11th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  3. ^ a b "Russian Hill neighborhood in San Francisco, California (CA), 94109, 94133 subdivision profile - real estate, apartments, condos, homes, community, population, jobs, income, streets". Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Neighborhood spolight: Russian Hill". SFGate. 2021-01-18. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  5. ^ a b c Wiley, Peter Booth (2000-09-26). National Trust Guide / San Francisco: America's Guide for Architecture and History Travelers. John Wiley & Sons. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-471-19120-9.
  6. ^ "Atkinson-Escher House (1853)". 7x7 Bay Area. 2017-12-11. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  7. ^ "San Francisco Landmark #97: Atkinson-Escher House". Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  8. ^ Saperstein, Susan (February 2009). "Lombard Street". San Francisco City Guides. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  9. ^ Brown-Martin, Darcey (September–October 2001). "An Honestly Crooked Street". via Magazine.
  10. ^ Saperstein, Susan. "Lombard Street". San Francisco City Guides. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  11. ^ Bragman, Bob (2016-08-09). "San Francisco's Lombard Street: It's twisty, crooked, and it almost didn't happen". SFGate. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  12. ^ "National Register #87002286: Russian Hill Macondray Lane District in San Francisco". Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  13. ^ a b c d e Anne Bloomfield (May 1, 1987). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Russian Hill/Macondray Lane District". National Park Service. and accompanying 18 photos
  14. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Russian Hill--Paris Block Architectural District". National Park Service. Retrieved December 1, 2022. With accompanying pictures
  15. ^ a b c d e f "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Russian Hill--Vallejo Street Crest District". National Park Service. Retrieved November 30, 2022. With accompanying pictures
  16. ^ "Academy of Art University Campus Map" (PDF). Academy of Art University. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  17. ^ Central Station, San Francisco Police Department District Stations and Map. San Francisco Police Department. Retrieved on January 2, 2015.
  18. ^ "Jean Parker Elementary School." San Francisco Unified School District. retrieved on April 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "Final Recommendations for Elementary Attendance Areas Prepared for September 28, 2010 Board Meeting." San Francisco Unified School District. Retrieved on April 18, 2018.
  20. ^ "A Tour of Our School." Jean Parker Elementary School. Retrieved on April 19, 2018. Chinese version
  21. ^ Metz, Cade (March 31, 2023). "The ChatGPT King Isn't Worried, but He Knows You Might Be". The New York Times.
  22. ^ a b c Kostura, William (1997). Russian Hill: The Summit, 1853–1906. Aerie Publications.
  23. ^ "Scenes of the City: Russian Hill's Idyllic Macondray Lane". 7x7 Bay Area. 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2022-12-01.
  24. ^ Castmate Cory Murphy notes the address when first arriving in the season premiere. The dates in which the cast lived in the house are given by Judd Winick on pages 61 and 119 in his 2000 book, Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss and What I Learned.

Further reading

37°48′06″N 122°25′11″W / 37.8018°N 122.4198°W / 37.8018; -122.4198