Dec 14, 2023
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Lombard Street, the San Francisco Flower Road

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Lombard Street (also known as “The Flower Street of San Francisco“) is one of the most popular, touristy and busy streets in the city of San Francisco, California. Year after year, hundreds of thousands of people walk, drive or ride their bikes down its 8 hairpin turns. Surrounded by the mansions of the Russian Hill neighborhood and perfectly manicured flower gardens, it is one of the most picturesque streets in the city. The flowers that adorn this street have become one of the icons of the city.

LocationSan Francisco, California, United States
Coordinates37°48′07″N 122°25′08″O
Number of curves8
Year of construction1920s
Maximum speed8 km/h (5 mph)

Additional information:

  • Lombard Street is the steepest street in San Francisco, with a maximum grade of 27%.
  • The street was named after Charles Henry Lombard, who owned a large estate on the hill.
  • Lombard Street was built in 1922.
  • The street is a one-way street, with traffic flowing downhill.
  • The speed limit on Lombard Street is 5 miles per hour (8 kilometers per hour).

Lombard Street: Location

The street is located in the Russian Hill neighborhood, which is known for its steep hills and Victorian-style houses. Lombard Street is the steepest street in San Francisco, with a maximum grade of 27%. The street is 800 feet (244 meters) long and has eight hairpin turns, designed to reduce the grade of the street and make it safer for drivers.

The street is lined with flowers all year round, but it is especially beautiful in the spring and summer when the flowers are in bloom. The flowers are a variety of colors, including red, yellow, pink, and purple. They are planted by volunteers and by the city of San Francisco. Lombard Street is a popular tourist destination, and it is often featured in movies and television shows. It is a must-see for any visitor to San Francisco.

In addition to all the attractions and tourist attractions of San Francisco, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, or Pier 39, there are many streets that are famous in the city for one reason or another. Of all of them, if we had to choose one street, it would undoubtedly be Lombard Street, known as the crookedest street in the world. Lombard Street is not a dangerous road, by any means, but we could not resist talking about it, as it is one of the most popular, curious, and picturesque streets that can be traveled by a motorized vehicle.

Lombard Street: A bit of history

Lombard Street is located between Leavenworth and Hyde Streets. At the beginning of the last century, it was a straight cobbled street with a 27% slope. In the 1920s, during the heyday of the automobile, the residents of Lombard wanted cars, but the street was too steep for the vehicles of the time, which were not capable of climbing such steep slopes. It is worth mentioning that the houses in this part of Lombard were much cheaper than those in other nearby areas, as it was not possible to reach the doors of the houses by car.

Then, Carl Henry, a businessman who owned more than one property on this steep stretch of Lombard Street, proposed zigzagging the street so that motor vehicle traffic would be possible. The idea appealed to the neighbors, who hired local architect Clyde Healy to design the work. In 1922, after the curvature of the street, the slope of the street dropped from 27% to 16%. Until 1936, the street was two-way, so it could be driven both up and down, but given the difficulties of maneuvering in the limited space, it was decided to make it one-way.

The 8 hairpin turns of Lombard Street

The eight hairpin turns of Lombard Street are designed to reduce the slope of the street and make it safer for drivers. The turns are spaced approximately 50 feet (15 meters) apart, and each turn has a radius of approximately 20 feet (6 meters). The turns are paved with red brick, and the street is lined with flowers and trees.

How to get to Lombard Street

You can reach Lombard Street on foot, by public bus, or by cable car (a must-ride at least once if you are visiting San Francisco). But if you have made it this far into this blog, we assume that you want to drive through the street in your rental car. We will show you how to do it (keep in mind that the street is one-way and travels from west to east): the easiest way to get there is from Van Ness Avenue, one of the city’s main arteries, which leads to the Maritime Museum and the Aquatic Park, in the city’s bay. Once you are driving on Van Ness (northbound), you will reach Lombard Street, where you should turn right. Once on Lombard, about 400 meters to the east, you will reach the famous part of the street. Remember that in this section you cannot exceed 8 kilometers per hour and that you will likely find queues of cars doing the same as you.

Tips for driving on Lombard Street

  • Be prepared for slow traffic. The street is narrow and winding, and there are often crowds of people walking and taking pictures.
  • Go slowly. The speed limit is 8 kilometers per hour (5 miles per hour).
  • Be careful of pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right of way, so be prepared to stop if someone steps in front of you.
  • Have fun! Lombard Street is a unique and fun experience.

What to visit in the area

Visiting Lombard Street will not take you long, but there are many tourist attractions to visit near this place. Lombard is located a short distance from North Beach, a neighborhood with an Italian aroma and a wide range of nightlife, it is also close to Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in the United States and where the largest Chinese community in the country is located. Finally, you can visit Fisherman’s Wharf, which houses, in addition to the famous Pier 39, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the Cannery Shopping Center and several museums.

Lombard Street Video

Lombard Street in Google Maps

Versión en español: Calle Lombard, la calle de las flores, San Francisco

Archived in:
California · North America · USA

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