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March 17, 2020

The Right Way to Visit Lombard Street

It’s one of the most photographed blocks in the nation, and one of San Francisco’s most iconic locations.  But just like the Golden Gate Bridge and the cable cars, Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth streets is an active part of busy city life.  While we want all our visitors to marvel at one of the “crookedest” streets in San Francisco (but not the “crookedest”!), we do want to make sure you’re doing it in a way that’s safe and courteous.  

Avoid rush hour
Heavy traffic isn’t the reason we suggest avoiding Lombard St. during commuting hours.  Rather, it’s because Lombard St. is lined with homes that actual San Franciscans live in, and many of them drive to work every day.  If you and your fellow travelers are posing for selfies at the end of someone’s driveway at the start of the workday, you’re not being very considerate. Holidays and weekend afternoons are also times to avoid what can quickly become a very crowded block.

Respect the neighbors
Showing respect goes beyond letting Lombard St. residents fulfill their daily routines.  Walking up to their front doors or standing in their flowerbeds to capture the perfect photo is not appropriate.  Similarly, being too loud, littering, or looking through windows are all behaviors that we strongly discourage.  Put yourself in the residents’ place.  Would you want a few strangers using your lawn as their own private park?

Watch for cars
After seeing Lombard St. for themselves, a good number of visitors are eager to try navigating its twists and turns behind the wheel.  It’s not something we suggest for rookie drivers, and it’s the reason why we advise pedestrians to be extra cautious.  Stay on sidewalks, and be mindful as you’re taking in the scenery.  Drivers have been known to hop a curb on occasion.

Lombard St. is a beautiful sight and a wonder of urban engineering.  But like the rest of our great city, it’s somebody’s home.  We trust that you’re an excellent guest.  Follow these suggestions and you’ll be—pardon the pun—on the straight and narrow.


Photo by Karlis Dambans/CC BY-NC

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