Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco: Fun Things to Do, Top Hotels, Best Restaurants and More Visiting Tips

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: January 29, 2024

The Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco is full of fun things to do including concerts, theater shows, highly-rated restaurants, and several nightlife options. This district is just south of Nob Hill, north of the Tenderloin, and nearby Union Square.

Some of my top picks in this district include the Masonic Auditorium, the SF Playhouse, and the Top of the Mark. 

Lower Nob Hill Main Image

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10 Top Things to Do & See

1. Masonic Auditorium

The Masonic Auditorium is home to some of the top concerts, comedians, and other shows all year long. It sits high on the hill on the very edge of the Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco district.

You will find dozens of shows here a year with performers such as Trevor Noah, Tove Lo, and Last Podcast on the Left.

1111 California St

2. Custom Made Theater

The Custom Made Theater opened in 1998 and focuses on plays about social issues.

They offer about five or six shows a season.

414 Mason Street.

3. 620 Jones

This is one of my favorite bars in the Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco neighborhood. It's set on a hill, so you enter at street level, but the main bar is set a couple of stories above the street.

This place offers a large heated outdoor area with a small indoor area where you will you order your drinks. There are also just a few seats in the indoor area.

It's a wonderful place to hang out most nights in San Francisco.

In addition to their cocktail bar, they also serve some great happy hour food items, dinner, and a wonderful brunch on the weekends.

620 Jones St.

4. Alcazar Theater

Alcazar Theater in Lower Nob Hill

The Alcazar Theater features a variety of shows. Their movies range from the classics to current releases. It's also home to live theater performances, comedy specials, and other community events.

You will also find the Alcazar Improv Players on stage each season. 

Visit their site for a full list of upcoming events.

5. Blazing Saddles Bike Rental (Temporarily Closed as of 1/29/2024)

Hop on a bike and explore all that San Francisco has to offer. Blazing Saddles offers both guided and self-guided tours. Their most popular tour is over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito

Their self-guided tours are also great. This will allow you to go at your own speed. You can either set off on your own path or follow one of their suggested routes.

These include a tour around Angel Island (you'll take the ferry to get there), up the Marin Headlands, and over to Mount Tamalpais. You can also select from their standard bikes or an e-bike if you are feeling more chill and just want to enjoy yourself.

You'll find Blazing Saddles at 433 Mason Street.

6. Art Galleries

You will find a variety of art galleries in Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco. My absolute favorite is the San Francisco Art Exchange. They have rare photographs from well known artists depicting top stars such as the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, JFK, and so many others.

The owner and others that work there are super friendly and will tell you all about each piece. It's a dream for those that love this type of art.

You'll also love the Soft Times Gallery (905 Sutter Street). They feature rotating exhibits and there is always something new to see here.

Other art galleries in the district include Glass Rice, and Dennis Rae Fine Art.

7. SF Playhouse

SF Playhouse Outside

One of the best places to catch a theater performance in this neighborhood is at the San Francisco Playhouse. Set inside a gorgeous historic theater, the SF Playhouse features both plays and musicals.

They also offer some shows you may be familiar with as well as some that are brand new.

The stage is on the second floor inside the Kensington Park Hotel. It's an intimate space with a great view from almost every seat. They usually offer shows throughout the year with brief intermissions as they change from one show to the next.

450 Post St.

8. Top of the Mark

If you want gorgeous views and tasty cocktails, head to the Top of the Mark on the top floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins. They offer 360 degree views of San Francisco including views of the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and beyond.

Their cocktails are pricey with most starting at around $21 each. You can get a glass of bubbly or wine starting at around $15 a glass.

They also feature small bites and a wonderful Sunday brunch.

999 California St.

9. Marines Memorial Theater

This is another theater in the district that features comedy, musical acts, and other events throughout the year. This historic space is also intimate, so you won't find a bad seat in the house.

It's set inside the Marines' Memorial Club & Hotel. You can also grab a nice meal at their high-end Chesty's Bar & Grill (open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner). It's located on the 12th Floor, so has some nice views around SF. 

609 Sutter St.

10. Shows and Parties at the Regency Ballroom

The Regency Ballroom offers shows and parties throughout the year. You will find everything from annual Halloween parties to a rotating schedule of concerts. 

These venue offers about a dozen shows, performances, and parties every year.

>> Visit their site for a calendar of upcoming events

Top Restaurants in Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco

Here are just a few of my favorite restaurants in the Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco.

Osso Steakhouse

The Osso Steakhouse is a high-end spot right on California Street. They feature dry-aged beef, hot Dungeness crab, and other entrees such as pork chops, salmon, and mushroom ravioli.

Their prices are on the higher end with their steaks ranging from around $55 to $150 each.

Their sides are separate and are usually in the range of $10 to $15 each.

It's the perfect spot for a special occasion or if you plan to head next door to see a show at the Masonic Center.

1177 California Street

Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery

If you are looking for a fantastic place for breakfast, check out Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery. 

I love grabbing a tasty breakfast here. They also serve lunch until 3 pm.

Some of the items on their menu I love are their pesto or chicken crepes. The chorizo scramble is also pretty good. It's a little spicy, but not too bad. 

For lunch, you will find burgers, sandwiches, pasta, salads and soups.

599 Post Street

Sutter Pub & Restaurant

This cute spot offers class English dishes. It's a great place to sample dishes such as bangers and mash, beer battered fish and chips, and shepherds pie.

You'll also find American dishes on the menu such as burgers, mac and cheese, and grilled salmon. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.

700 Sutter Street.

More Nightlife Ideas

These are just a few of my favorite local bars in this district.

Rye Cocktail Bar: Upscale cocktail bar, 688 Geary St.

Liquid Gold: A bottle shop and tap room with mostly local beers, 1040 Hyde Street

Owl Tree: Low key with an amazing dark wood bar, red carpets and black leather booths, cocktails and beers, 601 Post Street

Pacific Cocktail Haven: Cocktails, punch bowls, wine and beer in a lively setting, 580 Sutter Street

>> Find additional top bars around SF

Where to Stay in Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco

You will find a great selection of hotels here. These are a few of my top recommendations.

JW Marriott

Westin St. Francis: Located right on Union Square, the Westin St. Francis is a 4-star historic hotel with the perfect location for your stay. Inside the rooms, you will find modern amenities. On site services include a fitness center, a couple of bars, restaurants, and a business center. 335 Powell Street. Visit here for recent guest reviews and booking details.

JW Marriott Union Square: The JW Marriott is a centrally located 4-star hotel. They have paid parking on site, luxurious rooms, and a breakfast buffet. You can easily walk to Chinatown and public transit from here. 515 Mason Street. Learn more about JW Marriott and book rooms

Here are a few additional places to look for hotels nearby.

How to Get Here

The Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco district is easy to access by public transit, on foot or by car.

Cable Cars: All three cable cars are near this district. The California Line will take you to the top of the hill for places such as the Top of the Mark, the Masonic, and the Huntington Hotel. The Mason/Powell and the Hyde/Powell lines run on the eastern end of the district, so you can easily get to and from Fisherman's Wharf.

Market Street Transit: You will find several transit routes along Market Street. This is where you will find the light rail trains (underground), the F Streetcar, and several buses. Most transit is about four or five blocks away.

Driving: This area has high traffic and I don't recommend driving unless you need to have your car. You will find plenty of car rental places nearby too, so you can easily rent one for the day. However, if you do need to drive, you will find parking at Hotel G, under Union Square, and right next to the Masonic Center.

>> Learn more about getting around SF

Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco in the Movies

Here are just a few movies that were filmed in Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco.

The Game (1997): Several scenes were filmed in and around this district.

The Rock (1996): Several scenes were filmed nearby including at the Fairmont Hotel

Vertigo (1958): One of Hitchcock's famous filmed was shot on location in and around this district. As I mentioned above, the most famous location is Hotel Vertigo. You will find a great free walking tour with some of the movie's locations in and around this area as well as other Alfred Hitchcock film locations offered by SF City Guides (part of the public library). Here is their current schedule.

Doctor Doolittle (1998): Part of this film was shot on both Larkin and Hyde Streets.

Remington Steele: One of the shows from this popular series was shot here. The show is called Steele Trying (aired on May 7, 1985). Most of the show was shot in San Francisco with part of it filmed at the InterC

Fun Things to Do Nearby

Curran Theater

Lower Nob Hill in San Francisco is also where you will find part of the theater district. Just across the street from this district is the Curran Theater.

This historic venue has changed hands over time and now features long running shows from Broadway and London including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Find out more about the Curran.

Cityscape Bar & Lounge

For one of the best views of San Francisco, head up to the top of the Hilton Union Square to the Cityscape Bar and Lounge. It's set on the top of the building on the 46th Floor and offers 360 degree views of the city.

Union Square

Right nearby, you will also find one of our most popular districts, Union Square. This is the heart of the city with dozens of restaurants, shops, and a large concentration of hotels.

Nob Hill

The Nob Hill District sits just to the north of Lower Nob Hill. Here you will find Grace Cathedral, the Fairmont Hotel, and great views of the SF Bay. Learn more about visiting.

Lower Nob Hill San Francisco

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

I would love for you to join me in my private Facebook group

It's a great place to interact with me and others who know the area well.

You can ask questions, get advice for your upcoming stay, and then share your photos and advice with others when you return home. It's a great community and the fastest way to get answers to those nagging questions about your visit!

Come join the fun here!

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