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Zig Zag Street San Francisco: 10 Must-See Sights Revealed

Welcome to San Francisco, home to one of the world’s most iconic streets – Zig Zag Street, famously known as Lombard Street. This winding wonder has captured the hearts of visitors from around the globe with its mesmerizing curves and breathtaking views.

Lombard Street: A Brief Overview

Nestled in the heart of San Francisco, Lombard Street stands as a testament to the city’s unique charm and allure. With its steep incline and serpentine design, this street has earned the title of the “Crookedest Street in the World,” captivating the imagination of all who encounter it.

An Iconic Landmark

Lombard Street’s fame extends far beyond its architectural marvels; it has become a symbol of San Francisco itself. From postcards to Hollywood films, its image is synonymous with the city’s vibrant culture and rich history.

A Tourist Magnet

Every year, throngs of tourists flock to Lombard Street, eager to experience its winding beauty firsthand. Whether by foot, car, or cable car, visitors are drawn to its twists and turns, eager to capture the perfect snapshot of this San Francisco icon.

Discovering Lombard Street

In this article, we embark on a journey to uncover the hidden gems along Lombard Street. From historic landmarks to scenic overlooks, we’ll explore the top 10 must-see sights that make this winding road a must-visit destination. So buckle up and get ready to experience the magic of Lombard Street like never before.

History of Zig Zag Street

Zig Zag Street, more famously known as Lombard Street, holds a rich history deeply rooted in the fabric of San Francisco. Let’s delve into the intriguing backstory of this iconic landmark.

The Birth of Lombard Street

In the late 19th century, San Francisco faced the challenge of connecting its hilly neighborhoods. Lombard Street emerged as a solution, offering a winding path down Russian Hill that could accommodate the city’s steep terrain.

Key Historical Events

Throughout its history, Lombard Street has witnessed significant events that shaped its identity. From the Great Earthquake of 1906, which spared its unique design, to its inclusion in numerous Hollywood films, Lombard Street has stood the test of time as a symbol of resilience and charm.

The “Crookedest Street in the World”

Lombard Street’s claim to fame lies in its meandering path, earning it the title of the “Crookedest Street in the World.” This designation stemmed from its eight hairpin turns, designed to reduce the steep gradient and make the street navigable for vehicles.

Overview of Lombard Street’s Layout

Now that we’ve explored the history behind Zig Zag Street, let’s take a closer look at its layout and design, which continue to captivate visitors from near and far.

A Serpentine Journey

Lombard Street’s layout is characterized by its unique zigzag pattern, reminiscent of a snake winding its way down the hillside. This design not only adds to the street’s aesthetic appeal but also serves a practical purpose in managing the steep descent.

Engineering Marvel

The construction of Lombard Street’s zigzag design was no small feat. Civil engineers employed innovative techniques to create a road that seamlessly integrates with the natural landscape while providing a safe and scenic route for travelers.

Architectural Intricacies

Beyond its zigzagging path, Lombard Street boasts architectural details that add to its allure. From meticulously manicured gardens to picturesque Victorian homes lining its route, every aspect of Lombard Street’s design contributes to its status as a beloved San Francisco landmark.

Must-See Sight: Lombard Street’s Crooked Stretch

Lombard Street’s crooked stretch is a captivating marvel that draws visitors from all corners of the globe.

Description of the Crooked Section

The crooked section of Lombard Street features eight hairpin turns, creating a mesmerizing zigzag pattern as it descends the hillside. This unique design has earned Lombard Street the title of the “Crookedest Street in the World.”

Popularity Among Visitors

Tourists flock to Lombard Street to witness its crooked stretch in person, marveling at the engineering ingenuity and stunning views it offers. Whether by foot, car, or cable car, visitors can’t resist experiencing the thrill of navigating its winding path.

Best Vantage Points for Viewing

For the best views of Lombard Street’s crooked stretch, visitors can head to the top of the hill and look down from above. Several viewing platforms along the street also provide excellent vantage points for capturing photos of this iconic San Francisco landmark.

Nearby Attractions

In addition to Lombard Street’s crooked stretch, visitors can explore a variety of nearby attractions and points of interest. From historic landmarks to scenic overlooks, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this vibrant neighborhood.

Must-See Sight: The Hyde Street Pier

The Hyde Street Pier is a hidden gem nestled near Lombard Street, offering a glimpse into San Francisco’s maritime history.

Introducing the Hyde Street Pier

Situated along the city’s picturesque waterfront, the Hyde Street Pier is a must-visit destination for history buffs and maritime enthusiasts alike. This historic pier serves as a living museum, preserving and showcasing a collection of historic ships from different eras.

Historic Ships Docked at the Pier

Visitors to the Hyde Street Pier can explore a variety of historic vessels, including tall ships, schooners, and steam-powered boats. Each ship offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience life on the high seas.

Activities and Attractions

In addition to touring the historic ships, visitors can enjoy a range of activities and attractions at the Hyde Street Pier. From guided tours and educational programs to special events and exhibits, there’s always something new to discover at this maritime treasure.

Must-See Sight: Coit Tower

Coit Tower stands tall as a prominent landmark visible from Zig Zag Street, offering a blend of history, architecture, and panoramic views.

Background of Coit Tower

Built in 1933, Coit Tower was erected in honor of San Francisco’s volunteer firefighters. Its distinctive art deco design and commanding presence make it a beloved symbol of the city’s skyline.

History and Architecture

The tower’s unique architecture, designed by Arthur Brown Jr., features intricate murals inside that depict scenes of California life during the Great Depression. Visitors can explore these stunning artworks while learning about the tower’s rich history.

Panoramic Views

One of the highlights of visiting Coit Tower is the breathtaking panoramic views it offers from its observation deck. From here, visitors can gaze out over the cityscape, taking in iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the Transamerica Pyramid.

Must-See Sight: Washington Square Park

Nestled in the heart of North Beach, Washington Square Park is a verdant oasis that offers respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Introducing Washington Square Park

Surrounded by charming cafes and historic buildings, Washington Square Park serves as a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. Its lush greenery and serene atmosphere make it the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic.

Features of the Park

At the center of the park stands the iconic Saints Peter and Paul Church, a beloved landmark that adds to the park’s picturesque beauty. Visitors can admire the church’s stunning architecture while enjoying views of the surrounding parkland.

Events and Activities

Throughout the year, Washington Square Park plays host to a variety of events and activities, ranging from outdoor concerts and art exhibits to cultural festivals and community gatherings. Whether you’re looking to soak up some sun or immerse yourself in local culture, there’s always something happening at this vibrant park.

Must-See Sight: Telegraph Hill

Telegraph Hill, a historic neighborhood adjacent to Zig Zag Street, offers a blend of natural beauty and urban charm that’s not to be missed.

Historic Neighborhood

Telegraph Hill is steeped in history, dating back to the early days of San Francisco. Its narrow streets and Victorian homes harken back to a bygone era, providing visitors with a glimpse into the city’s past.

Famous Filbert Steps

One of the highlights of Telegraph Hill is the famous Filbert Steps, a scenic stairway that winds its way up the hillside. Lined with lush gardens and colorful flowers, the Filbert Steps offer a picturesque ascent with stunning views of the city below.

Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Telegraph Hill is also home to a unique population of wild parrots, which have become a beloved symbol of the neighborhood. Visitors can often spot these colorful birds flying overhead or perched in the trees, adding to the area’s charm and character.

Scenic Views

At the top of Telegraph Hill, visitors are treated to panoramic views of the city and the bay. From here, you can see iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the Transamerica Pyramid, making it the perfect spot for photography enthusiasts and sightseers alike.

Must-See Sight: Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square, located near Zig Zag Street, is a must-visit destination for chocolate lovers and food enthusiasts alike.

Historic Chocolate Factory

Once home to the renowned Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, Ghirardelli Square has been transformed into a vibrant retail and dining complex. Visitors can still see remnants of the factory’s storied past while enjoying the shops, restaurants, and attractions that now occupy the space.

Retail and Dining Complex

Ghirardelli Square boasts a diverse array of shops and boutiques, offering everything from gourmet chocolates to unique souvenirs. Meanwhile, the square’s restaurants and cafes serve up delicious cuisine ranging from classic American fare to international specialties.

Must-Try Treats

No visit to Ghirardelli Square would be complete without indulging in some of its famous treats. Whether you’re craving a decadent hot fudge sundae or a creamy chocolate milkshake, Ghirardelli Square has something to satisfy every sweet tooth.


In addition to its shops and restaurants, Ghirardelli Square is home to a variety of attractions and entertainment options. Visitors can take a stroll along the waterfront promenade, enjoy live music and street performances, or simply relax and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this iconic San Francisco landmark.

Must-See Sight: Aquatic Park Cove

Aquatic Park Cove, located near Zig Zag Street, is a picturesque waterfront area that offers a blend of history, recreation, and natural beauty.

Scenic Waterfront Area

Aquatic Park Cove boasts stunning views of San Francisco Bay and the surrounding city skyline, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Its sandy beach and calm waters provide the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing day by the water.

Maritime Museum and Historic Ships

At the heart of Aquatic Park Cove lies the Maritime Museum, home to a fascinating collection of exhibits that celebrate San Francisco’s maritime heritage. Visitors can explore historic ships such as the Balclutha and the Eureka, which are docked at the cove and open for tours.

Recreational Activities

In addition to its maritime attractions, Aquatic Park Cove offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. From swimming and sunbathing to kayaking and paddleboarding, there’s something for everyone to experience at this scenic waterfront oasis.

Must-See Sight: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is a must-visit attraction near Zig Zag Street, offering a glimpse into the city’s seafaring past.

Introducing the Park

Located adjacent to Aquatic Park Cove, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is home to a wealth of maritime history and culture. Its historic ships, museum exhibits, and waterfront setting make it a unique destination for history buffs and maritime enthusiasts alike.

Museum and Historic Ships

The park’s museum features a diverse collection of exhibits that explore the rich history of San Francisco’s maritime industry. Visitors can learn about the city’s role as a major port and the lives of the sailors who worked on its ships. Additionally, the park is home to several historic vessels, including the Balclutha, a fully restored 19th-century sailing ship.

Guided Tours and Special Events

The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park offers a variety of guided tours and special events throughout the year. From walking tours of the historic waterfront to sailing excursions aboard the park’s ships, there are plenty of opportunities to delve deeper into the city’s maritime heritage. Visitors can also attend special events such as maritime festivals and living history demonstrations, which bring the park’s history to life in engaging and interactive ways.

Must-See Sight: Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf, a vibrant waterfront district near Zig Zag Street, is a bustling hub of activity and excitement.

Bustling Waterfront District

Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-visit destination for tourists and locals alike, offering a wide range of attractions, shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Attractions and Landmarks

From the historic Pier 39 to the lively Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf is home to a variety of iconic landmarks and attractions. Visitors can explore the Aquarium of the Bay, catch a glimpse of the famous sea lions, or hop on a boat tour of the bay.

Shops and Restaurants

Fisherman’s Wharf boasts an array of shops and boutiques selling everything from souvenirs to fresh seafood. Meanwhile, the area’s restaurants serve up delicious cuisine ranging from clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls to gourmet seafood platters.

Entertainment Options

In addition to its attractions and dining options, Fisherman’s Wharf offers a range of entertainment options for visitors to enjoy. From street performers and live music to museums and galleries, there’s always something happening in this lively waterfront district.

Must-See Sight: Exploratorium

The Exploratorium, located near Zig Zag Street, is a hands-on science museum that offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Hands-On Science Museum

The Exploratorium is renowned for its interactive exhibits and immersive experiences, allowing visitors to explore scientific concepts in a hands-on and engaging way. From exhibits on light and sound to experiments with electricity and magnetism, there’s something for everyone to discover at this unique museum.

Educational Programs

In addition to its exhibits, the Exploratorium offers a variety of educational programs and workshops for visitors of all ages. From science demonstrations and lectures to maker workshops and art classes, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and explore at the museum.

Special Events and Exhibitions

Throughout the year, the Exploratorium hosts a variety of special events and exhibitions that showcase the latest in science and technology. From themed nights for adults to family-friendly festivals, there’s always something new and exciting happening at the museum.


In conclusion, Zig Zag Street, also known as Lombard Street, is home to a wealth of must-see sights and attractions in San Francisco. From the famous crooked stretch to the historic landmarks of Fisherman’s Wharf, there’s something for everyone to explore along this iconic thoroughfare. So whether you’re a first-time visitor or a longtime resident, be sure to take the time to discover the rich history and vibrant culture of Lombard Street and its surrounding neighborhoods.

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