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The thing about Russian Hill and Nob Hill is that they're both especially steep hills. If you're not up for the hike, a cable car is certainly the most exciting way to reach the top. Take the California line for Nob Hill and the Powell-Hyde line for Russian Hill. Buses serve the area as well, such as the 1-California bus for Nob Hill, but the routes only run east-west. Only the cable cars tackle the steeper north-south streets. Driving yourself is a hassle, since parking is a challenge on these crowded, precipitous streets.
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