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coit tower and lombard street

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sheffield england
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coit tower and lombard street

we are visiting san francisco in october this year, will be driving from yosemite and staying in corte madera. we plan to get into the city on the ferry. the couple we are travelling with have never been before (we have several times as we used to have friends who lived in marin county). he really wants to drive down the windey bit of lombard street and we can make our route from yosemite go through the city, over the oakland bridge and then the golden gate bridge, which for me is the only way to approach marin county. looking at the map, it seems as though you can take a right turn from van ness onto lombard street, then continue along to the top of telegraph hill. this is a google map though and they are often inaccurate. we thought we could incorporate a trip to the coit tower as i dont think we shall be up for the walk to the top. my concern about being in the city in the car is parking, is there likely to be anywhere to park up there at that time of year. we shall probably be arriving mid afternoon if our journey goes well. i need someone who knows the streets around that area to tell me which route to take. we will hopefully have a satnav but dont always trust them either. we have never been up to coit tower actually despite the number of times we have visited the area. personally i would rather not be in the city with a car and would happily walk down lombard street but as it is their first, and probably their only trip, it is something he really wants to do. advice and assistance needed.

San Francisco
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1. Re: coit tower and lombard street

What day of the week is this?

Yes, you can make a right turn off Van Ness onto Lombard. The 2 blocks up Lombard from Van Ness to Larkin are quite steep. In summer this is such a popular thing to do that the smell of burning brakes is in the air. If this is a weekend you may run into traffic as well. A better option would be to turn off Van Ness one block before Lombard (Greenwich), go up to Hyde, turn left to Lombard and turn right down the curvy part. Just be careful driving on the tracks, they're slippery.

Parking can be an issue at Coit Tower as well. There are very few parking places up there and traffic backs up badly waiting for spaces. There is a bus that goes to Coit Tower (the 39-Coit) which you could catch at Washington Square (on Columbus at Union at the little triangle of green space) but it gets stuck in the same traffic. Good thing is it isn't your brakes burning out.

If this is a weekday I'd say you'll probably be OK.

Edited: 19 August 2013, 17:06
sheffield england
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2. Re: coit tower and lombard street

yes this is going to be a weekday, tuesday 22nd october to be exact. we will be driving from just outside yosemite but we are not stopping, just passing through. the last time we did this drive, it took us about 5 hours so all being well, we should be arriving in san francisco between 2 and 3 pm. i daresay when we come to drive over the golden gate to get into marin it will be rush hour, but hey ho, we have done rush hour before and no doubt we will be doing it again. there is no rush hour anywhere in the world that can compete with the paris peripherique and we battled that successfully this year so i guess we can take whatever san francisco has to throw at us. we have a suite hotel booked so it doesn't matter what time we arrive there. our plan for the day is to just get there and then chill for the evening so no real rush. what time is the sun likely to be setting this time of year, i imagine coit tower at sunset would be pretty spectacular.

sheffield england
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3. Re: coit tower and lombard street

as a followup to this question, we are also planning a full day/early evening in the city travelling on the ferry from larkspur and taking the last one back. we are unsure as to how to get about. we don't mind some walking but don't feel we can do the whole day, especially the hills on foot. we have considered a hop on hop off bus but, having used these in european cities find they have disadvantages such as stops not very well sign posted, infrequent buses sometimes which are full when they arrive, finish at 5pm. we have looked at taking a day pass for the cable cars which will take us reasonably close to where we want to go, with some walking. we want to do at least one trip on a cable car in any case and it seems quite expensive for just the one trip. having read some of the reviews on here we are a bit uncertain about this, evidently very long lines to get on the cable cars. i noticed that the bulk of the reviews complaining about long lines were in july and august and we are visiting late october. is this a busy time of year? we have never visited in october before, usually it has been in the summer.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: coit tower and lombard street

The day pass or the one day MUNI Passport is for ALL MUNI buses, streetcars and the cable car and not just for the cable car. While Summer brings more families to SF , October has its events that also brings visitors, and convention goes to our city and fewer families except of on weekends. so while crowds and lines at the cable cars may not be that long, there may be lines.

You can go around town using buses and street cars.

There are always pros and cons to tours v/s public transit. You do point out the issues wiht HOHO v/s transit. As a visitor to a new place we always try and do a combo. If we are in town for 3-4 days, we may do a guided tour of the main spots to get a hang of the place and then go see the places over the next few days. At times it may be the HOHO without getting off or just a 3-4 hour tour. That way we get the history and the commentary which one cannot get with just taking transit.

The weather in SF is pleasant in most of October -- in fact it may be warm as well and that brings more visitors outdoors to catch the sights.

So you could do the MUNI passport and see the sights or you could do a short city tour and then walk to places you want to spend more time in.

sheffield england
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5. Re: coit tower and lombard street

we only have two days in the area and one of the days we wanted to visit muir woods so that would only give us one full day in the city. possibly something we could consider is working out the must sees in the day and working out the walking involved if we get the muni day pass compared with the hop on hop off. as mentioned in the initial post we are hoping to drive lombard street and possibly visit coit tower in the car. we definitely want to at least have a stroll through china town, see ghiradelli square and fisherman's wharf and also take in a little shopping. we will arrive at the ferry building from the larkspur ferry. if the city were flat walking wouldn't be an issue, its hills that do for us these days!!!

San Francisco
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6. Re: coit tower and lombard street

Muir Woods is only an hour, perhaps two. While I don't usually recommend driving in the city you could cross the bridge after seeing Muir and take in attractions in the western section of the city: The Presidio, Golden Gate Park and Land's End to mention a few.

San Francisco...
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7. Re: coit tower and lombard street

i would just drive in both days as you won't have limitations based on the ferry timings and park in 1-2 spots depending on what you want to see and what you want to cover by car. As Sal points out Muir Woods is just about an hour for most and is best seen first thing when it opens at 8am when imho it is magical. You can easily be done by 9 and hit SF for the rest of the day.

Santa Clarita, CA
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8. Re: coit tower and lombard street

Parking can be tough on Lombard Street. Here is a video about it:

touring.com/video/…54.html

The site also has a video on Coit Tower as well. Just click the map.

San Francisco
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9. Re: coit tower and lombard street

I don't believe the OP was asking about parking on Lombard Street (there is no parking on the crooked section BTW).

sheffield england
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10. Re: coit tower and lombard street

we are actually staying in corte madera which is on the same side of the golden gate as muir woods. our plan is to probably take half a day to visit muir woods, and depending on our travelling partners we could maybe drive into the city for the other half day. we want to spend a full day in the city without the car as we actively want to take the ferry as we enjoy the trip. our main problem is how to get around without too much walking up and down hill. i could use a map which shows which roads are the hills and how steep they are if such a thing exists.