Road in San Francisco

Lombard Street

Explore Lombard Street's famous winding turns and scenic views, surrounded by distinctive architecture and lush gardens in San Francisco.

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Lombard Street in San Francisco is renowned for its distinctively winding section on Russian Hill, with eight sharp turns arranged in switchback fashion. Often referred to as "the crookedest street in the world," this one-block stretch, flanked by picturesque landscaping and elegant homes, creates a photogenic urban landscape. The street also provides views of the city and bay, making it a popular spot for visitors to witness the unique blend of urban design and scenic beauty.

The History of Lombard Street's Design

The design of Lombard Street's renowned winding section was conceived in 1922 by property owner Carl Henry to reduce the hill's natural 27 percent grade, which was too steep for most vehicles to climb. This solution not only made the street more navigable but also transformed it into an attraction itself. Visitors interested in this unique engineering feat can observe the traffic navigating the turns from the bottom of the hill or walk down the steps on either side for a closer look at the ingenious design.

Driving or Walking Down Lombard Street

For those wanting to experience Lombard Street firsthand, you can either drive down the sharp turns - a thrilling navigational challenge - or take a leisurely walk to appreciate the details up close. Walking allows you to enjoy the beautifully landscaped gardens, consisting of lush greenery and vibrant flowers, which add to the charm of the street. The best times to visit for fewer crowds are early morning or late afternoon during weekdays. Driving the one-way stretch is often limited to certain hours, so check ahead for any time restrictions.

Photography Opportunities and Viewpoints

Photographers will find Lombard Street a delightful subject with its ornate houses, brick road, and floral displays serving as a backdrop to the famous zigzagging street. For a perfect shot of the full curvy stretch, position yourself at the bottom looking up. While at the top, you have an expansive view of the city that includes the San Francisco Bay, making for a stunning panoramic picture. Be respectful of residents when taking photos, as Lombard Street is also a residential area.

Nearby Attractions in Russian Hill

For visitors looking to explore beyond Lombard Street, the Russian Hill neighborhood abounds with additional attractions. Just a short walk away is Ghirardelli Square, a landmark public square featuring shops, restaurants, and the famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. The San Francisco Art Institute is also nearby, home to impressive architecture and free public art galleries.

The Architecture of Homes on Lombard Street

The architecture on Lombard Street showcases a mix of styles from Queen Anne to modernist homes. As you walk or drive through, pay attention to the unique designs and well-kept facades that line this residential road. Despite being an icon for tourists, this street remains a home for many San Franciscans.

Tips for Visitors

When planning your visit to Lombard Street, remember that parking in the area is limited. Utilize public parking garages in nearby areas or public transportation; the Powell-Hyde cable car line stops at the top of Lombard Street for easy access. Consider wearing comfortable shoes as the area's steep inclines can be quite a workout on foot. Additionally, to preserve the quality of life for residents, keep noise to a minimum during your visit.

How to Get Around

To navigate around Lombard Street and its steep surroundings with ease, consider taking one of San Francisco's classic cable cars. They provide both a unique travel experience and practical transportation within the city. For those who enjoy walking, bring comfortable footwear and be prepared for inclines throughout the Russian Hill neighborhood.

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