If someone asked you to name the “Crookedest Street in the world”, chances are that your answer would involve Lombard Street in San Francisco. Why wouldn’t you? It’s is a world famous tourist destination, except when you’re trying to find it, since there is no address to type into your GPS. (FYI, the address to type into your GPS : 1018 Lombard Street, San Francisco CA 94109)
Finding the crooked section of Lombard isn’t that hard, once you know where to go, so you can either take the Powell – Hyde Cable car up and just ask the driver to stop at the crooked section (follow the crowd off the cable car)
Or you can drive from your hotel (or take a cab down) to the top of the street and then drive down the 8 switchbacks.
You have no idea how steep the street is, unless you head over to Filbert Street and peer over the slope, which leads to why the street is crooked. The naturally steep grade of the street posed a severe safety hazard, so in 1920’s, property owners in the area started adding the scenic switchbacks to add aesthetic appeal while increasing safety for pedestrians.
Everyone loves this street – even the residents – people peep out from beautiful homes and apartment windows. Magenta-flowered bushes climb up the front of houses for a better view.
How to Get to Lombard Street (I’ve taken this section – directly from SFTravel.com – no need to reinvent the wheel 🙂
The crooked famous portion of Lombard Street is located between Jones St. and Hyde St. The most common methods of getting here are:
- City bus.
- You can take several city buses through North Beach to get here, the most popular of which is the 30, which runs from Union Square. You should get off on Columbus near Lombard. From here you will walk west (uphill) a few blocks to get to Jones, the bottom of the hill where the curvy part of the street begins.
- Cable car.
- The Powell-Mason cable car line stops at Lombard and Columbus, too, so that’s an option for getting to the bottom of the curvy street. Alternatively, the Hyde Street cable car will drop you off at the top of the curvy street.
- Note that the curvy portion of the street only runs one way, towards the East. To drive you’ll want to come to this street from Van Ness, turning east on Lombard and taking the road this way.
- Tour bus.
- Many of the city’s tourist buses pass by the crooked street either via Hyde or via Columbus. They aren’t able to go down the crooked street (it’s too crooked for a bus!) Some of them stop to let visitors walk around the area and others pause briefly for a photo-op and some information about the street.
Now here is the surprise …
Most people don’t know that Lombard isn’t truly the “crookedest” street in the world? In fact, it’s not even the crookedest street in San Francisco. That honor belongs to Vermont Street between 20th and 22nd streets in the Portrero Hill neighborhood. Though technically slightly curvier than Lombard, and an interesting sight in its own right, this street doesn’t have the fame or the visual beauty that Lombard Street has, which is why people flock to Lombard Street to take photos during their visit.
Vermont St. (below 20th St.) has 7 turns, and Lombard St. (below Hyde St.) has 8 turns. Vermont is steeper, however, and is less well-trafficked.
Vermont is located right next to a beautiful little park that many locals use for a good time and also in the same little area is a world class brewery.
So yeah, If you really want to take a step above the Rest of the Tourist and Go Down the Real Crookedest Street then please head over to Vermont Street, its beautiful and very exciting!
From Wikipedia … A section of the street between 20th and 22nd Street, near McKinley Square, features a series of seven sharp turns. This has led the street to be dubbed the crookedest in the world in competition with the better-known Lombard Street (Vermont, while steeper than Lombard, has fewer turns). In an episode of Fact or Fiction on the Travel Channel, Jayms Ramirez measured the sinuosity of both Lombard and Vermont streets, and proved that Vermont is indeed more crooked (with a sinuosity of 1.56 versus 1.2 for Lombard Street).