A one-block section of Lombard Street shows the steepness of San Francisco’s hills in a unique way. The redbrick road makes eight hairpin turns as it goes downhill from Hyde Street to Leavenworth Street. See this famous spot, one of the beloved quirks of the City by the Bay.
As you’re driving down Lombard you’ll need to pay attention to the switchback curves and cars in front of you. Your passengers, however, can view the well-kept homes and gardens on both sides of the street. Walk up or down the sidewalks, actually steps, if you want to enjoy a leisurely look. These are private homes so you can’t see the interiors, but the exteriors are very well kept. Stop and smell the roses and other flowers of the small but nicely planted yards.
Note that car traffic is allowed in only one direction on Lombard Street: downhill. Because of the potential danger, the maximum speed limit is 5 miles per hour (8 kilometers per hour). If you have a passion for crookedness, look for the lesser-known but somewhat steeper and curvier section of Vermont Street in the Potrero Hill neighborhood too.
Find the most famous curving section of Lombard Street in the Russian Hill area. Drive or take the cable car to the upper Hyde Street intersection to look or ride down. Arrive at the Leavenworth Street intersection if you want to photograph or video cars coming down. For an interesting effect use your camera’s time-lapse function from the bottom at night to capture an endless stream of light from headlights of cars driving down.
Lombard Street actually extends much farther, with interesting points along its length. On the eastern end, pass Coit Tower to reach the Embarcadero wharf area. To the west, visit the Presidio area with its massive park, golf course, historic fort buildings and modern theaters. Lombard Street is a public road open at all times without any fee. However, be respectful of the residents along the road who suffer an endless stream of tourists driving past their homes for this crookedly unique experience.