Likely the most famous street within the city of San Francisco: The Golden City., and one of the worlds most well-known streets, Lombard Street is well worth a visit. Whether or not it’s truly the “crookedest street in the world” is debatable, as some argue that title truly belongs to Vermont Street, within the same city. Nonetheless, it’s certainly one of the more curvy streets out there. While Lombard stretches much longer than it’s famed portion, it’s this one, single block with 8 hairpin turns that most associate with Lombard Street. It’s one of San Francisco’s most popular tourist locations, annually seeing upwards of 2 million visitors per year, and as many as 17,000 visitors per weekend during the tourist-laden summer months.
Located within the Russian Hill neighborhood, the famed one-way section is between Hyde Street and Leavenworth Street. It’s approximately 600 feet (180 m) long when curved and 412.5 feet (125.7 m) if stretched out into a straight line. There are 253 steps on the left side and 249 steps on the right side. Built in 1922, it was intended to compensate for the hills natural 27% downgrade, which was believed to be too steep for most vehicles at the time. Even today, one must go only 5 mph while descending the steep, curvy, red-brick street.
Due to its overwhelming popularity during peak tourist season, Lombard Street can easily see 250 cars per hour, with cars lined up waiting to descend for upwards of 20 minutes. The line often reaches Van Ness Street, 3 blocks away. There has been a proposal to require future visitors to reserve a time and actually pay to drive down the 600 foot street. We were lucky enough to visit in December, and while there were other visitors, it was nothing compared to summertime peak levels (overall, I highly recommend visiting San Francisco, period, during fall/wintertime, as wait times and visitor levels are greatly reduced everywhere – like the ferry to Alcatraz: Welcome to The Rock.).
Even with the never-ending onslaught of tourism and becoming a hotspot for car break-ins, you’d still need to plop down a pretty penny to own a home on Lombard Street. One of the “cheaper” homes is worth $1.3 million, and one of the most expensive is worth $4.05 million – and neither is a stand-alone house 🙃. The former is a condo and the latter a duplex. The average price for a home on the worlds crookedest street is around $2 million.
Overall, no visit to the iconic city of San Francisco would ever be complete without a visit to the equally iconic Lombard Street. You will regularly find it on many (if not all) “must-see” or “must-do” lists regarding San Fran. If you do not, I recommend not following that list, as it’s not a very good one. It’s an incredibly unique-looking street, one that you’ll likely not find elsewhere within the United States. While it has it’s downsides – never-ending tourism and a magnetic attraction for car thieves – it does offer incredible views of the city and is one of the most iconic locations within San Francisco, California, and possibly even the United States. Just don’t leave your car there overnight. 😉🙃