In This Guide
In this guide you’ll find everything you need to know for parking in Russian Hill. These pointers include:
- About Russian Hill
- Things To Know
- Best Places to Park
- Lots and Garages
- Top Tips
- Street Parking
About Russian Hill
The neighborhood of Russian Hill is one of the very first communities in San Francisco. It is one of the original Seven Hills, in which individual neighborhoods are named after specific hills. It’s located north of Nob Hill and south of Fisherman’s Wharf.
Like most of the original communities in San Francisco, Russian Hill first developed during the California Gold Rush. Russian immigrants called the hill home and placed a small Russian cemetery at the top of the hill so those who died looking for gold (or while serving in the Russian navy and on route to California) could have a beautiful view of the water. The cemetery has since been moved, but there are numerous call backs to the original Russian settlers throughout the community.
Unlike many of the communities in San Francisco named after a group of settlers (such as Chinatown, Japantown, Little Saigon and others) there is no real Russian presence within the community. Most of the city’s Russian population is located in the Richmond District instead of Russian Hill (although a Russian Orthodox Church is located within the community).
Things to Know
This is a popular and busy area of town, and is full of out-of-town drivers, especially around the famed crooked Lombard St. There are also great views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge from Russian Hill that can make driving and parking here fraught with distractions.
Find more on general parking information for all of San Francisco, like the details of the curb/meter colors, how to retrieve a towed car, and of course, how to park on a hill.
Best Places to Park
Bay St, between Polk and Van Ness is a great street parking spot. It’s the only part of Russian Hill not in Residential Zone A, nor is it metered. Beware of no parking time periods here on the north side between 4PM- 6 PM, presumably to clear the streets for students leaving Galileo High School.
The Vallejo Street Garage at 766 Vallejo St is a great garage for most people traveling to Russian Hill. The prices are competitive and it’s open until 12AM on weekdays and 2AM on weekend nights (though check for signs to confirm these hours as they’re known to change this).
Lots and Garages
View the map below or directly on Google for a list of off-street parking lots and garages in Russian Hill. Expand the map to find more options outside of the neighborhood.
1625 Powell St
North Beach Garage
770 Broadway St Lot
Vallejo Street Garage
Ghirardelli Square Garage
1636 Powell St Garage
626 Green St Lot
Top Russian Hill Parking Tips
- Double check operating hours for garages, some of the ones in Russian Hill are known to update their hours with a simply change of a sign that day. This could leave you thinking you have until 12AM, where you only have until 10PM. You’ll end up needing to get your car, and a big ticket, in the morning.
- If you’re set on parking in a garage, you’ll save money and avoid the tourist crowd by parking in the southeast section of the neighborhood as opposed to the north end near Fisherman’s Wharf.
Street Parking Overview
Just about every street in the neighborhood has on-street parking, so it is not difficult to find. Most of Hyde Street provides an excellent opportunity to park and is a good first place too look. It is a two lane road (one lane each way) and parking lanes on each side is marked off with a solid white line. If you are not much for parallel parking, no problem, there are plenty of stretches here with pull-in, 90 degree parking.
Best Bets for Street Parking
Filbert and Van Ness
Chestnut and Leavenworth
Russian Hill Parking Meter Locations and Rate Areas
Russian Hill is mostly parking meter free. All of Columbus Avenue is metered, along with east of Mason St and the south end of Polk St that runs through the neighborhood. The northern border with Fisherman’s Wharf is a blue metered zone, the most expensive in the city.
- Red: “Area 3” – meters enforced between 8/9AM-6PM Mon-Sat, $.25 – $2 per hour; limit 1 hour to unlimited
- Blue: “Area 5” – meters enforced between 7/9AM-6PM Mon-Sat, $.25-$6 per hour; limit 2 hours to unlimited
See meter locations and rate areas for all of San Francisco on the city’s website.
Paying for Metered Parking in Russian Hill
Like all parking meters in San Francisco, parking meters in Russian Hill accept coins, credit cards, PaybyPhone, and pre-paid SFMTA Parking Cards. Read more about the street meter payment options.
Smart Pricing Street Parking in Russian Hill
Prices at the meter can fluctuate with demand at the meters in Fisherman’s Wharf, at the border with Russian Hill, via San Francisco’s Smart Pricing Program. Be prepared for inconsistent meter rates between $.25 and $6 per hour, and limits between two hours and unlimited.
Learn more about how the program works, or use the live map to find availability, pricing, as well as street sweeping and other restrictions.
Russian Hill Residential Parking Zone
All but one block of Russian Hall is in Residential Permit Parking Zone A. The one block is on Bay St, between Van Ness Ave and Polk St in front of Galileo High School.
Parkers without this permit are permitted to park for the posted time limit (typically 2-hours) unless other restrictions apply. Permitted vehicles are exempt from the time limit, but are still subject to the 72-hour limit. You can view the full San Francisco residential permit map here.
Free Street Parking in Russian Hill
You can park for free anywhere in Russian Hill after meter enforcement hours (typically 9AM – 6PM Monday through Saturday. Parking is free on Sundays. Parking is limited to 72 hours. Of course, look out for street cleaning or other signs for other restrictions.
- The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) – The official transportation authority for all of San Francisco, making it the end all be all for all things transportation and parking. Whether you have more questions about specific parking laws or you just want to know when a certain line is running, you’ll have all your questions answered here.
- Parknav – Helps parkers find the best street parking with real-time predictive data.
- ParkMe – Helps parkers find off- and on-street parking using full-time researchers and a predictive algorithm.
- SFPark.org – City website with live parking availability and pricing.
- SpotHero – Find and reserve parking in advance in Russian Hill with this free on-demand parking app.
- Parkopedia – Browse street and off-street parking rates with an interactive map.
Lombard Street: When a street has full websites, blogs and history posts written about it you know it is a street of interest. Here, you can read up on the street, learn about the history, why it is designed as it is and discover some of the many historic buildings and homes found on the street. Now, if you are going to take pictures, it is a good idea to either have someone snapping the pics from the passenger side or to park first so you don’t block traffic.
Holy Trinity Cathedral: This is the oldest Russian Orthodox Church in San Francisco. Now, it is not the largest in the city, as the largest is found in the Richmond District, but it is a slice of the past due to its construction in 1909. It is actually dwarfed by many of the buildings around it and it seems a bit out of place, but that just adds to the charm. Many of the original Seven Hills has a church on the top, as different communities and immigrant groups constructed their own places of worship. Even if you are not religious, this is a beautiful piece of architecture to see.