San Francisco's Steiner Street
San Francisco's Steiner Street

8 Best San Francisco Streets

Check out these spots next time you're strolling around Golden Gate City.

1. Macondray LaneCited by Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin as the inspiration for “Barbary Lane,” this leafy pedestrian walkway, accessible via wooden staircases off Taylor Street, epitomizes the charm of the Russian Hill residential neighborhood. 

2. Lombard StreetThe famous one-block stretch between Leavenworth and Hyde streets, originally planned to smooth out a steep Russian Hill grade, is known for its eight hairpin turns that twist, improbably and whimsically, past the living room windows of homeowners. 

3. Castro StreetAnchoring the Castro neighborhood, one of the world’s most famous gay destinations, this street delights visitors of all persuasions with its one-of-a-kind shops, colorfully painted Victorians, and a nearly century-old movie house.                                    

4. Steiner Street. Lined with beautiful homes (including the turreted affair featured in the film Mrs. Doubtfire), Steiner Street owes its fame to its much-photographed “painted ladies”: a row of brightly hued Victorian houses on the edge of Alamo Square. 

5. Columbus AvenueThis broad street in North Beach—San Francisco’s Little Italy—is both iconic (for its incomparable view of the Transamerica Pyramid) and quaintly human-scale (replete with coffeehouses, Italian restaurants, and the landmark City Lights Bookstore).

6. Grant AvenueThe ornate green Dragon Gate (at Bush Street) marks the entrance to San Francisco’s Chinatown, and what is said to be the city’s oldest street is lined with red lanterns, dim sum joints, shop after shop of crafts, and storefronts offering traditional Chinese medicine. 

7. 24th StreetAttractive to both homeowners and visitors for its warm, sunny microclimate, the Noe Valley neighborhood is an upscale fantasy of San Francisco living, and its main drag is 24th Street, an enchanting stretch of fashionable boutiques, bakeries, cheese shops, and home d├ęcor.

8. California StreetDescending this long and commanding street’s mighty hills, which lead to the Bay Bridge, you’ll get a sense of the city’s architectural grandeur and topography.