San Francisco Lombard Street

Driving Down Lombard Street in San Francisco, the Most Crooked Street in America

October 21, 2021 /

Warning: Due to COVID 19 some information in this article (e.g. operating hours) may not be up-to-date.

Lombard Street is a unique street and, thanks to its famous hairpin bends, it is perhaps one of the most photographed streets in the world. Together with the Golden Gate Bridge and the famous cable cars, Lombard Street is one of the iconic attractions of the city of San Francisco.

It is visited every day by hundreds of tourists who choose to reach it on foot or by car. Whichever way you choose to get there, it is definitely one of the best must-see destinations in San Francisco.

Location and Directions

The stretch of road indicated on the map is only the best-known portion of Lombard Street; it is the section with the famous hairpin bends on Russian Hill. Lombard Street is almost 3 miles long and extends from Pioneer Park to Lincoln Blvd in the Presidio of San Francisco. The part that we want to focus on is between Hyde St and Leavenworth St and it is easily accessible by both public and private transportation.

How to Get to Lombard Street by Cable Car

how to get to lombard streetIf you want to combine a visit to Lombard Street with a fun ride on a cable car, it is possible to do so (in my opinion, it’s the best way to get to the area). If you’re using the Powell-Hide line, get on at Market Street, and then you’ll have to get off at Hyde St & Lombard St, which is at the top of Lombard Street. From there, you’ll have a beautiful view of part of San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay.

If you prefer to walk the short uphill stretch and meanwhile enjoy watching cars that slowly climb up the hairpin bends, you can use the Powell-Mason line. If you are coming from Market Street, get off at Columbus Ave & Lombard St. Then you can reach your destination with a short 5-minute walk (uphill).

driving down lombard streetIf you decide to buy a single ticket for the cable car, you must remember (you can read more about this in our San Francisco cable car guide) that the ticket ceases to be valid from the moment you get off of the cable car. If you want to ride the cable car again, you will have to buy a new ticket. To avoid this issue, I recommend purchasing a pass with unlimited rides on the historic cable cars.

Discover tourist passes for San Francisco

Lombard Street by other public transport

If you prefer to use the other MUNI public transportation, the recommended stops closest to Lombard Street are Columbus Ave & Lombard St (via lines 30 and 91) and Union St & Leavenworth St (via lines 41 and 45). When choosing the second option, you will walk north on Leavenworth St for just over 5 minutes to get to the base of Lombard Street.

Visit Lombard Street

You can decide to visit Lombard Street on foot, by car, or by taking advantage of the many tours that include it in their itinerary. If you prefer to walk, simply follow the directions in the previous section and take as many pictures as you want.

Driving down Lombard Street

Can you drive on Lombard StreetIf you have decided to visit San Francisco with your car (or if you have chosen a rental car), here are some things to keep in mind. The road is one-way and you can only drive it downhill i.e. from Hyde St and exit on Leavenworth St. The maximum permitted speed is 5 mph. However, be patient because many people will have had the same idea as you and it is likely that you will find a line, especially during the high season. Personally, I do not recommend visiting the city by car, as we have well explained in our article on how to get around San Francisco.

Lombard Street Tours

lombard street tourAnother alternative is to rent or rely on a tour with some alternative means of transportation, such as Segways or the yellow GoCars that you will often see whizzing through the streets of the city. Otherwise, you can stop at Lombard Street while visiting San Francisco by bike.

Tours that include Lombard Street

History of Lombard Street and Fun Facts

lombard Street historyOriginally, the famous stretch of Lombard Street did not look like it does today. It was simply a normal street. Only in 1922 did the street take the shape we see today. The design was devised to try to reduce the steep slope of the street, which at the time made it very dangerous to travel by car. The hairpin bends that were created have turned Lombard Street into the most crooked street in the world!

Despite its fame, the name has no bearing on the city. Instead, it was chosen by San Francisco’s first land surveyor, Jasper O’Farrell, who decided to name it after an existing street in Philadelphia.

Lombard Street has appeared in many successful films including Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Photos of Lombard Street

Pictures illustrate Lombard Street better than words. For this reason, I thought I’d conclude the article with a gallery of, in my opinion, the most beautiful pictures of this street.

Our Tip:
Looking for accommodations for your trip from California to other parts of the Southwest? Read our guide that contains reviews of hotels and strategic tips for finding accommodations near major attractions: Where to Stay: Our Tips for the SouthWest Area

Warning: Operating hours can change and closures for extraordinary events can occur, so we strongly suggest to check the venues official websites.

filippo nardelli
Filippo Nardelli

I have a degree in History of North America and have always been fascinated by the United States.

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