Exploring Lombard Street in San Francisco: Essential Tips for Visiting the Iconic Crooked Street


San Francisco’s Lombard Street is one of the city’s most fascinating and alluring streets. The one-block section of this particular roadway between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, which is located in the Russian Hill neighborhood, is well known for its complicated and winding design, which includes eight tight twists that gracefully zigzag downhill. Let’s explore the causes of Lombard Street’s reputation and attractiveness, both among residents and visitors.

Why San Francisco’s Lombard Street Is So Well-Known:

Two distinctive features that distinguish Lombard Street apart from other streets are the main causes of its fame. First of all, it has unmatched tight twists that depart from the typical road structure, giving both drivers and pedestrians who travel down its path an exhilarating experience. The street’s unmistakable beauty is the second contributing aspect. Lombard Street is a picturesque site for capturing picture-perfect moments since it is decorated with a brilliant range of colourful plants and flowers and red brick pavement. These elements combine to charm tourists and capture their hearts.

San Francisco’s Lombard Street has historical significance.

History of Lombard Street San Francisco

Lombard Street’s unique architecture dates back to the 1920s, when many of the street’s occupants were in difficulty. The street’s steep incline, with a 27% slope, became increasingly difficult for drivers as the demand to possess vehicles developed. One creative local suggested a technique to get around this difficulty: adding curves and twists to lessen the slope.

Lombard Street supported two-way traffic when it was opened, which presented some challenges. It eventually changed into a one-way roadway, enabling traffic to move eastward and downward. Currently, this famous boulevard sees more than two million car trips per year. It’s interesting to note that the local government recently contemplated charging a toll during rush hours, but this idea was finally rejected. As a result, it is still possible to drive or walk down Lombard Street in San Francisco.

This is a view from the top of Lombard at Hyde Street

Lombard Street in San Francisco is not the “Crookedest Street in the World,” despite its well-known reputation as such. Surprisingly, it is not even the city’s most complicated street. The Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco’s Vermont Street deserves the distinction. Nevertheless, Lombard Street’s attractiveness endures due to its alluring brick streets and picturesque gardens, which continue to draw large crowds of admirers.

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Visitor Advice for Lombard Street

Lombard Street Visiting Tips

In San Francisco, exploring Lombard Street is a distinctive experience. It’s a must-see sight that is conveniently close to other well-liked locations in the city and is easily accessible, whether you decide to drive or stroll down this steep and crooked street.

As you manoeuvre through Lombard Street’s sharp twists, whether you’re driving or walking down it, you’ll feel exhilarated. I can attest that each option provides a different perspective because I have personally encountered both possibilities numerous times. Driving down can be fun if you already have a car, but it might not be worthwhile to rent a car only for this trip.

Most guests prefer to take public transport or walk when travelling. You can appreciate the talent needed to travel this particular road by watching the automobiles swerve through the bends and turns.

Within the city, Lombard Street is easy to locate. It’s a convenient place to stop while exploring because it’s close to Fisherman’s Wharf and North Beach.

Starting near the top of the hill, precisely at the intersection of Lombard and Hyde Streets in the Russian Hill neighborhood, is the best strategy for entering the crooked stretch of Lombard Street in San Francisco. In addition to providing access to the stairs descending to the bottom of this fascinating San Francisco attraction, this is where cars enter to drive down.

Advice for Driving in San Francisco’s Lombard Street

This twisty and zigzagging route offers a fascinating journey. It’s difficult to go faster than the posted limit of 5 miles per hour because to the low speed limit. You can get to the bottom quite quickly if you start down this twisting path.

It’s crucial to remember that if you decide to drive down, you cannot stop or get out of your automobile at the bottom. This rule ensures that traffic moves along the street continuously.

You should keep the following in mind before driving down Lombard Street:

  1. Cost: There isn’t now a charge to drive down Lombard Street.
  2. Lombard Street serves as a public street and is therefore open every day of the week, 24/7.
  3. Wait times: On occasion, you might have to wait 20 to 30 minutes during weekends and busy periods before you can drive down.

Be aware that the portion of the road you will be travelling on is nearly as steep as Lombard Street itself. Especially if your car has a manual gearbox, this can be difficult.
Rolling backward: If you have an automatic gearbox, you can notice a small amount of rolling backward as you drive up the street. Before starting the queue, become familiar with how your car handles incline.

Keep a safe distance from the automobile in front of you because they might also start to drift backward. Maintaining a wide enough space will help to keep you secure.
The best time to visit Lombard Street for drivers is early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or during the weekdays to avoid heavy traffic.
Getting there: Depending on the amount of traffic, online maps may not reliably take you to Lombard Street because you cannot turn right or left from Hyde Street onto Lombard Street. Instead, come down Polk Street or Van Ness Street to Lombard Street.

The location of the line’s formation is shown on the map below by the red line. Since most individuals are reluctant to permit others to cut in front of them, it also draws attention to the two primary entrances.

An Attraction for the Public
Nearly 20,000 people pay close attention to this famous location during busy days!

Instructions for Descending

This is from the bottom of the hill on Leavenworth Street.

A flight of stairs graces both sides of the hill, allowing people travelling down it to do so with ease on foot. I personally enjoy this option since it gives me plenty of time to take in the beauty of this charming, winding street.

Pause whenever you want to utilise your camera to record special moments. Alternately, you might just stand by and watch as cars deftly negotiate the curves.

Furthermore, it is essential to stay on the sidewalk. Due to the inherent dangers of the street, entering there is strictly forbidden.

It is best to arrive in the early to mid-morning if you plan to cross the street on foot. Typically, there is less foot traffic during this period. The street also faces east, which offers the best lighting for photography.

Your reward will be the famous scene shown above when you reach the bottom of your descent.

Use cautious and avoid standing on the bottom street for too long. It is essential to stay alert and aware of your surroundings while driving on these routes. Unexpectedly, some people choose to stand in the centre of the road and block the way of oncoming cars.

Notably, pedestrians have unrestricted access to the stairs on Lombard Street in San Francisco.

Tours of Lombard Street in San Francisco

Numerous excursions offer itineraries that include a stop at Lombard Street for those looking for a deeper understanding of this renowned attraction. Here are a few standout choices.

Using the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour, explore San Francisco.

The Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour is one of the easiest and most entertaining methods to go between the city’s key attractions. This thorough tour visits a number of locations in San Francisco, including well-known sites like Alamo Square, Lombard Street, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Golden Gate Park.

The bus will drop you off close to this well-known sight when it reaches 1599 Lombard St in San Francisco. Take your time navigating the last two blocks going to Lombard and Hyde because they are extremely steep.

The 2-day Hop On Hop Off trip, which grants you 48 hours of unrestricted use of these buses, is strongly advised. The buses run everyday from 9 am to 5 pm, stopping at each location every 15 to 20 minutes, allowing you plenty of time to see the city’s main sites and discover more about San Francisco as you casually travel the streets.

Discover the Exciting Urban Hike in San Francisco:

Coit Tower, Lombard Street, and North Beach
The Urban Hike is an experience you just must have if you’re looking for an amazing adventure. Start your 3-hour tour in Levi’s Plaza and travel to the top of Coit Tower, through the quaint neighborhood.

of North Beach, and up to the highest point of Lombard Street in San Francisco.

This route requires ascending high hills and steps, so be prepared for a difficult walk. Your skilled guide will reveal the hidden gems nearby and offer fascinating insights into these well-known attractions as you progress through the walk.

You may experience the grandeur of San Francisco on most days of the week by taking this enthralling walk, which is open to the public.

The Love Tour will show you the charm of San Francisco.

On the Love Tour, sit back, unwind, and take in San Francisco’s stunning sights. You’ll tour the city’s greatest sights and delve into its fascinating history during this enjoyable two-hour trip. This tour is special since it travels in a classic VW bus from the 1970s, which gives your experience a throwback flair.

On this tour, you’ll get to go along Lombard Street in a cool van and capture cool pictures while the driver handles the driving.

The Love Tour will also take you to other well-known locations, such as the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, the lively Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, the busy Union Square, the colorful Chinatown, and more. You will benefit from entering streets that larger tour buses are unable to travel on because the tour is conducted in a smaller van, thus improving your discovery of San Francisco’s different neighborhoods.

Cable Car Excursion from Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf

Embark on an enjoyable journey to the famous zigzag Lombard Street by boarding a cable car. Opting for the Powell/Hyde line will transport you to the top of Hyde Street. Explore this charming area and effortlessly hop back on to continue your exciting adventure.

Note that transfers are not available on cable cars, so if you decide to disembark here and plan to return to the same route, you will need to pay the fare again.

Additional Choices from Fisherman’s Wharf: Proximity to Lombard Street The western side of Fisherman’s Wharf is just a short distance from Lombard Street in San Francisco. Besides utilizing the cable car service, you have the option to travel by foot.

  • On Foot: Should you choose to walk, your best route would be to take either North Point or Bay Street towards Leavenworth Street. This will lead you to the foot of Lombard Street. Walking this way is easier than navigating the steep hill on Hyde Street from the bay. Upon arrival, ascend the steps of Lombard Street to relish the magnificent views from its summit.

Departing from Union Square: Multiple Transportation Alternatives If your accommodation is located in Union Square, several transportation options are available, including the cable car, taxi/Uber/Lyft, or bus.

  • Bus: Several bus routes can take you within a couple of blocks of Lombard Street. Your first choice is the 30 Stockton bus. Ride through North Beach until you reach the Columbus and Lombard stop. Alternatively, you can take the 45 Union bus. Alight at the Union and Leavenworth stop, then proceed on foot up Leavenworth Street towards Lombard Street. The travel time for both bus routes is approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Taxi/Uber/Lyft: Another convenient method is to hail a taxi or use ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft from Union Square to Lombard Street. The journey typically takes around 10 minutes and costs approximately $15 to $20. Upon reaching Lombard Street, you can find another taxi in North Beach for your return trip.

When you get to Lombard Street, there are lots of sights and things to do around, including:

  • Coit Tower: From its perch atop Telegraph Hill, San Francisco can be seen in all directions. The tower’s top level offers a 360-degree panorama of the city, while the first floor is home to murals that represent life in the 1930s and are in good condition. First-floor admission is free, but there is a charge to enter the top floor.
  • Buena Vista Cafe:A few blocks away in Fisherman’s Wharf is the highly praised restaurant known as Buena Vista Café, which is famous for its Irish coffees. Along with their well-known drink, they also provide a mouthwatering array of scrumptious foods.

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