Top 10 Fun Facts about Lombard Street the Crookedest Street
San Francisco boasts some of the steepest streets in the U.S. Lombard Street is one of the most unique, thanks to its vertically-endowed one-block section of 8 hair-pin turns located in the Russian Hill district. This coupled with the attractive landscaping makes it a great stop to add to any itinerary.
We’ve gathered the top 10 “fun facts” about this most famous of streets.
# 10 – It Has a Haunted House!
The Montandon House at 1000 Lombard used to be owned by well-known 1960s socialite Pat Montandon. She was famous for her parties and her local talk show. During one of her parties, she was cursed by a tarot reader. What ensued was a series of tragic deaths and numerous supernatural manifestations. Montandon became desperate and eventually arranged for an exorcism. Things have apparently calmed down ever since.
#9 – It Gets Lots of Love
As a major tourist attraction in the City By the Bay, Lombard St sees about 2 million visitors per year. While it’s free now, there is talk of having to reserve a time and pay a fee to visit Lombard street in the future.
#8 – Why It’s So Crooked
The hill that this section of Lombard Street is on has a natural 27% grade, which was too steep for vehicles back in 1922. So property owner Carl Henry suggested the hairpin turn design to make it easier for cars to drive down. Later, it became a one-way street paved with red bricks. The sign at the top suggests going only 5 mph.
#7 – Is It Worth the Wait?
During peak times of the day, cars may have to wait up to 20 minutes to enter the Crooked Street segment in a line that can back up to Van Ness Avenue.
Pro Tip: Take a San Francisco Jeep Tour and leave the driving to them.
#6 – You Can Walk It, Instead
San Francisco is a very walkable city, and public transportation can often get you to the best sights. The Powell-Hyde cable car stops at the top of the block on Hyde Street, which takes you right to the top of the famous part of Lombard Street, and you can walk down.
#5 – In the Movies
#4 – Lombard Street is named after a street in Philadelphia
The first surveyor in San Francisco, Jasper O’Farrell, named the street after its predecessor in Philadelphia, but we don’t really know why!
#3 – Getting That Perfect Shot
It may come as no surprise that since this is such a beautiful tourist attraction, people over the decades have been trying to get the best shot of the entire 600-foot stretch of crooked road. The answer? Shoot it from the foot of the hill on Leavenworth Street, looking up. The lighting is best in the early morning and again just before dusk.
#2 – You’ll Pay a Pretty Penny to Live Here
As one of the most aesthetically pleasing streets in existence, Lombard is lined with attractive townhouses with secluded walled-in gardens and wrought-iron gates. The real estate along this section of road is some of the city’s most expensive, and in San Francisco that is quite a lot!
#1 – It’s not actually the crookedest!
San Francisco’s Lombard Street is often referred to as the “crookedest street in the world.” In truth, it’s the second-crookedest (the crookedest is actually Vermont Street between 20th and 22nd street, also in San Francisco, or some reports even say it’s Snake Alley in Burlington Iowa) but that hasn’t dulled Lombard Street’s fame.
Do You Want To Ride Down Lombard Street?
San Francisco Jeep Tours has three fun-filled fully guided sightseeing tours that can include a ride down Lombard Street. You will get a great view and lots of pictures from aboard the convertible jeep.