A section of Lombard Street in Russian Hill in San Francisco has been dubbed, “The Crookedest street in the world”. Though that’s up for debate (Vermont Street, also in San Francisco, is supposedly even more crooked when measuring of sinuosity index for each street), Lombard street is still the famous tourist destination. Although I’ve been down the street before, and even brought out-of-town friends there, I recently realized I’d never actually driven down the street.
Our friend Wayne is in town from Australia this weekend and even though he’d seen Lombard Street before, he’d never gone down the world-renowned crooked street. What a perfect opportunity for me to drive it – and have a cameraman there as well!
After hiking the Filbert Street steps up to Coit Tower and enjoying the awesome views there, we hopped in the car and headed over to Lombard. There’s usually a lineup of cars waiting to drive down, so we were prepared – but we were lucky – there were only a few cars in front of us. We drove down. The turns are so much fun! We saw people walking up the sides of the street (there are stairs on each side of the roadway) and I wondered how the people who live on this block feel about all the tourists that frequent their street.
This was so cool (and the camera was having such a hard time focusing with the low light) that we decided we should make another pass. We hoped that we’d be lucky again and not hit too much traffic – and we were! There were two cars in front of us, but no one behind us … until we had started down the street. We saw a car coming and thought our plans were foiled – we were going to stop at some point while driving down to take a picture. But then we realized that that car was moving slower than we were and we had a pretty good sized gap between us, so I stopped the car for a second and Wayne jumped out. I thought he was going to just take a picture and hop back in, but he ended up running away from the car and to the side of the road to take pictures of me actually driving. Crazy Australian! Now I was driving down the street cracking up and yelling, “Get back in the car!”. I’m thinking the people who live on this block probably do hate the tourists frequenting it. At least the kind like me.
When we got to the bottom of the hill, we stopped to take the iconic shot showing all the turns, and we realized we had started the next wave. There were now seven cars on the block! Awesome.
This was super fun. I’d recommend going at night when it’s probably less crowded, and of course on a weekday. When driving down, remember that for the most part, everyone else is going for the same tourist experience, so I don’t think you need to worry about driving too slow. Everyone wants their drive down the “Crookedest Street” to last a little while. But be sure to have a quick camera with you!