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The Crookedest Street in the World

Lombard’s crooked street is a postcard-perfect image that conjures up images of San Francisco around the world.

First, why is Lombard so crooked? Safety. Actually, that’s not a large enough word, but it’s the bottom line. The grade is naturally steep, and after more than one tumble, a property owner suggested the switchbacks in 1920. He argued that they’d create visual appeal and increase safety for pedestrians. He was right on both counts.

Today you can drive down the one-way hill past beautiful Victorian mansions that grace Lombard Street. Situated between Hyde and Jones, some of San Francisco’s most expensive real estate sits on Lombard. It’s true. The prices in this Russian Hill neighborhood are even steeper than the street.  One block, eight switchbacks.

During the spring and throughout the summer, Lombard Street is alive with color.  Gardeners knock themselves out to create a wonderland of plants and flowers of every describable color and kind.  It’s a memorable ride and one of those you’ve-got-to-do-it San Francisco experiences.

Want an idea of how steep Lombard is? After you drive down it, go up two blocks to Filbert Street.  Peer over the edge and look down. Yipes is right. And Lombard is even steeper.