Lombard Street – San Francisco’s switchback centre
Hop off at Stop 16 and take a stroll down Lombard Street, said to be the crookedest in the world. When the road was constructed in 1922, 8 hairpin turns were introduced to relieve the steep incline of Russian Hill, which would otherwise be practically impassable for vehicles and pedestrians. While you might get dizzy strolling down the infamous zigzags of this world famous landmark, you’ll still enjoy the pretty red brick paving, manicured flower beds and panoramic view of the bay and city beyond.
Head 2 blocks up to super-steep Filbert Street and orient yourself with its strange angles. Then remember that neighboring Lombard Street is at even more of an incline. Slowly wend your way down Lombard’s bends, taking in the colorful flowers that fill the beds, and check out some of San Francisco’s most expensive real estate.
A not-so-straight story
The switchbacks were built in the 1920s when a property owner suggested it would make the street safer for vehicles and pedestrians, and increase its visual appeal. It certainly worked on both counts.
Our San Francisco Bus Tour passes right past the end of the Russian Hill section. Hop off and take a selfie with the elegant curves in the background. Or just enjoy the views.
Other interesting facts about the Lombard Street
- The ‘crookedest’ part of Lombard Street is the Russian Hill section, found between Hyde and Jones
- There is a total of 8 tight curves or switchbacks in the 180 meter (600 foot) long street
- The natural gradient of the Russian Hill section is a massive 27%, which is too steep for most vehicles
- The street was named after Lombard Street in Philadelphia yet has no historical ties to the city
- The curvy part of Lombard Street is one way only, running towards the eastern side of the city