San Francisco’s Lombard Street spans the northern end of the city, extending three miles from The Presidio all the way east to the Embarcadero waterfront. But there’s one tiny section, just a block long, that gives this curvy street the moniker, “The Crookedest Street in the World.”
Designed in the 1920s in an effort to make a downhill portion of the steep street safer for vehicles and pedestrians, the 600-foot-long block of Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth features eight hairpin-tight turns. Perfectly manicured shrubs and pastel-colored hydrangeas line the red-brick road, adding to the fantastical feel. Every day, well over a thousand visitors test their mettle (and their brake pads) with a drive down the block.
How to Visit Lombard Street
You can enjoy the snaking section of this iconic road a few different ways. Get the full experience by heading there with your own set of wheels—just be prepared for a wait as other vehicles slither down the switchbacks. Set your navigation to 1099 Lombard Street, which will take you to the top of the hill. The street runs only one way (east to west).
If you’re on foot, you can walk the street, carefully hugging the bushes (cars have been known to jump the curb); or climb up and down the public stairways on either side of the street. Access the hill by way of public bus or the Powell/Hyde Cable Car line.
The best time to visit Lombard Street is during relatively low-traffic times, so avoid rush hour and weekend afternoons. Remember that the stunning mansions lining the road are actual homes and residents still need to access their driveways and doors. Read more about the respectful ways to visit here.
While the top of the hill delivers on cityscape views, the block’s eastern terminus is the most famous photo location. Pull over to park and make sure to snap a photo of the whimsical road from below. You’ll be right next to the fictional home of Scottie from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, located at 900 Lombard Street.
Make the most of your visit to the Russian Hill area by browsing the boutiques on Polk Street, enjoying views of Coit Tower from Ina Coolbrith Park, and stopping in City Lights Bookstore, a San Francisco institution since 1955. If you’re hungry for another hair-raising drive, head to Vermont Street. Despite Lombard’s reputation, this stretch of road on Potrero Hill is even more crooked and you’ll feel your stomach drop with every sharp turn.