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Streets of San Francisco

Nob Hill overlooking San Francisco Bay copyright 2011 Andy Richards

When I hear this phrase, I think of Carl Malden and car chases. San Francisco, with its steep hills, may have the most famous “streets” in the U.S. Sure, there are other cities with steep hills, but none that have the cache of San Francisco.

Those hills are real. I know; I walked some of them. During the first 4 days of my stay in San Francisco, I estimated that I walked about 35 miles. Some of those miles were uphill, up some of those streets, including the “summit” of the famed “Nob Hill.” On the way up, I was reminded of my age. But once at the top, it was exhilarating to look downhill in all 4 directions and see San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge and the city skyline.

Cable Car copyright 2011 Andy Richards

It is easy to see why the cable cars made living on these hills possible. Because of the hills, most of the streets do not continue all the way from one side of the city to the other. They end. They jog. The most famous of them all is Lombard Street, which zig-zags with tight switch-backs. Unfortunately, I did not get to Lombard Street this trip (but it is on the “bucket list” for the next trip).

Only one street continues in a straight line throughout the city: Market Street, which can be plainly seen from the view up on Twin Peaks.

Market Street from Twin Peaks copyright 2011 Andy Richards

And of course, the Embarcadero, which skirts San Francisco Bay from near the Bay Bridge all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf, may be one of the city’s most famous streets and perhaps most interesting.

The Embarcadero copyright 2011 Andy Richards

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4 Responses

  1. Oh, I wish my parents were alive to see these images. My father was stationed in S.F. during WWII and was a warrant officer who helped with the military post office there. My mom took a train from Dallas to the west coast to marry the guy she had met at a bus stop in downtown Dallas.

    They spent four years in San Francisco and spoke often about how much they loved this beautiful city.

  2. Andy: the last time I was in San Francisco (10 years ago) I walked all over the city (including up Nob Hill to Coit Tower and, yes, to Lombard Street), down to Fisherman’s Wharf. One day I walked from Cliff House all the way to Fort Point…and back. Definitely a great place to meander about.

    • Tim: Thanks, as always, for the nice comments. Great town for photographers and sightseers. Not so great for folks on a frugal budget :-(.

      Kerry: Worth every step, wasn’t it?

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