San Francisco – Crookedest Street in the World

Lombard Street in San Francisco is the “crookedest street in the world”, at least in any major city. Wikipedia says some street called Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa is “now” the crookedest street. I’ll read more about that, but I’ll always regard Lombard Street as The Champ.

One block of it was re-organized in 1922 because residents, pedestrians and drivers found the 27% incline ‘just too much to deal with’. Normally, a steep hill for pedestrians is 16% grade, and I can attest that Lombard is really too steep to walk in its original, paved form.

Having lived in San Francisco for decades, earlier in my life, I have gone down this street many times, and everyone I’ve brought here has thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The switchbacks require that your car travel at no more than 5 miles an hour and new ordinances have been institutes for parking in the area for those who want to climb on the footpath. The Hyde Street cable car also goes on the cross-street at the top of the “crooked section” to facilitate arriving that way.

For the 50+ years I’ve been visiting, the homes are interesting and immaculately maintained, as are the garden spaces planted outside the switchback curves.

I wouldn’t go on a tour bus, if they are allowed, but in a car, you will be in normal scale and perspective.

There are several other things to do once you come off of Russian Hill. The historic San Francisco Presidio and the Exploratorium is at the western end of Lombard and the Embarcadero (Fisherman’s Wharf area) is at the other end. Read yesterday’s article on the Exploratorium. Link is below. Coit Tower as another stop would be a possibility in the general neighborhood.

Lombard’s “crookedest street” is one block long, 1/4 mile. It heads downhill and is only one-way. You will be traveling East, down toward the Embarcadero.

So “follow the red brick road” into a little piece of ingenuity and outrageous audacity. Conquering San Francisco’s hills means you’d better be in good shape, unless you ride.


The Exploratorium San Francisco

San Francisco Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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