Russian Hill, San Francisco.
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Named for a Russian cemetery discovered on its namesake peak during the 1800s, Russian Hill is an affluent neighborhood set directly above the always-bustling Fisherman’s Wharf.

Mostly residential, the neighborhood offers spectacular hilltop views of the city and, save for a few choice spots, avoids the crushing weekend crowds.

Tourists slowly drive down the eight famous flower-rimmed switchbacks of Lombard Street throughout the day, but for those less interested in experiencing the self-proclaimed “world’s crookedest street,” a number of pedestrian-only thoroughfares like Macondray Lane lead up to grassy parks and sweeping 360-degree vistas.

Cable car riders amble along Hyde Street, the main drag of the neighborhood, where boutique shoppers enjoy myriad specialty shops. Even a mini French Quarter has sprung up around Polk and Green Streets, full of great bistros, antique stores, and several French-influenced gift and home décor shops.

The nightlife scene tends toward refined on the northern side of Russian Hill, with quiet wine bars and dimly lit restaurants catering to moneyed residents, but a rowdier atmosphere prevails to the south along Polk, where a host of sports bars and eclectic cocktail lounges cater to hip young partiers during the week and a frat-splosion of preppy Marina types come Friday.

The Russians are long gone from Russian Hill, and the vibe is rarely rushin’ either, making it a great spot for an ambling scenic stroll or an amped-up weekend.

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Where to Go in Russian Hill

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