Being one of the countless attractions in San Francisco and maintaining a reputation that exceeds expectations is something in itself. Especially when the site in question is a small street up against world’s recognized historic sites. San Francisco, apart from being the financial hub of California is also the spearhead of its culture. With internationally acclaimed tourist destinations like the Yosemite Park –one of the largest natural habitats in the region, the Bay Bridge –a bridge that counts for having one of the world’s largest spans and the largest LED lighting display, and who doesn’t know about the Golden Gate Bridge –the romantic landmark. This is just to name a few that the Lombard Street is up against in the race of tourists.
The Lombard Street is simply put, the “most crooked street”. The road begins at The Presidio through Cow Hollow, Russian Hill, and Telegraph Hill going south to Ciot Tower before going straight at Winthrop Street before finally ending at The Embarcadero. Was that too complex to remember? Scrap all that and head straight to the Russian Hill part of Lombard Street where you will not have to memorize its tracks. For it has so crooked sharp turns leading downhill that it’s tough to ignore.
It’s a steep hill street which would have had a gradient of nearly 27º if the sharp switchback track design was not implemented onto it back in the 1922. Spanning for a mere 400 meters, this switchback section has been so popular that it is referred to among the best known locations all over California. It’s picture perfect spot where tourists stop by for short intervals taking pictures with a curvy road in the backdrop lined with a spectacular collection of flowers –especially in the summers.
The road has a total of eight switchbacks or sharp turns in the small length of less than half a kilometer but surprisingly its fame is not that it is the world’s most steep street –yes it is not. The scenic beauty and picturesque image it leaves are the real reason for its popularity –try gazing up at it from the bottom. From atop the Lombard Street you can gaze over the city presenting a marvelous view with the Bay Bridge in the background –a treat in itself. Passing through Victorian styled buildings and some of San Francisco’s most expensive blocks of land; it is as good as a neighborhood gets!
Once there, you could drive by in your car, granted that you don’t turn up on the busiest of days because then you might have to endure a different type of experience; long never ending lines of cars. In which case you could take a romantic route on foot through the flowery passageways and savor the beauty of some of the popular mansion at the street. The most preferable one would be The Real World House at 949 or The Montandon House at 1000 that is if you’re a “Supernatural” for its allegedly one of the most haunted houses in the Bay Area!
It’s a quixotic sight that deserves a few hours slack from your principal travel plans and it is easily approachable; they City Bus, Cable Car or Tour Buses –the choice will be yours.