High on 1100 California Street, this church has panoramic views and, once you step inside, superb murals on the early history of the city. You’ll find a meditative and lovely labyrinth to walk, a moving AIDS chapel with sections of the AIDS quilt and an altarpiece by the late Keith Haring. If you’re there on a Tuesday night, you can also get yoga classes with live music. Across the road from Grace Cathedral is the Nob Hill Masonic Center. Check out the striking glass mosaic in the foyer. If you’re up for a walk over San Francisco’s hills, taking in many of the city’s views and some significant murals on the way, head down Leavenworth Street, past the steep, zig-zagging Lombard Street to the San Francisco Art Institute, home to a wonderful Diego Rivera mural from 1931. Then walk up to Coit Tower to look at the murals painted in 1934 by artists employed by the Public Works of Art Project, before taking in the view. You don’t need to pay to see the murals but you do to catch the elevator to the top of the tower. Finish by heading down Telegraph Hill via the Filbert Stairs. There are hundreds of stairways in San Francisco – there is even a book, Stairway Walks in San Francisco – but this staircase through the tiny suburb and gardens down the side of Telegraph Hill is one of the best.
Nob Hill got its name because it was one of the hills of San Francisco where the wealthy lived, leaving the poorer people down on the flats. Not much has changed except that now, rich people live on the flats as well. It’s a very pretty neighborhood with quite extraordinary views. If you’re a walker, be prepared to take on the hills.
Image: Mike Peel