Over looking San Francisco as if keeping a watchful eye and visible from almost any point along Fisherman’s Wharf and San Francisco Bay is a concrete cylinder shaped high rise structure on a hill called Coit Tower. Coit Tower is located near North Beach and on the edge of a clff that rises up from the embaradero (known as Telegraph Hill) along the water front near the wharf. On a clear day visitors to Coit Tower can enjoy 360 views of San Francisco, the bay and beyond. Those seeking an awesome photo opportunity should definetly check out this attraction.
The Coit Tower experience is an interesting one from many perspectives. If you enjoy a piece of history, spectacular views and don’t mind tight spaces, this is a good adventure. Upon arrival at Coit Tower tickets must be bought at the entrance for $5.00. Depending on the day visitors then form a line in the lobby around a central elevator bank. Wait times on busy days can be up to an hour. Once reaching the top the views are breath taking, especially on a clear day. San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge all make obvious sights. Looking south visitors can see the high rises of San Francisco’s financial district and make a clear distinction of the many steep hills the city is famous for. Unfortunately the parking lot is full of over grown trees that obstruct views of the city from this point forcing visitors up into the tower for the perfect views.
Those interested in art should be sure to check out the murals in the lobby (you can view for free) that were painted in 1934 by 25 artists. The murals depict the working class communities of depression era California. Most of the murals are done in fresco.
Getting to Coit Tower can be fun, hard or easy depending on your patience and or fitness level.
If you are arriving by car, the parking lot is very small and wait times for cars lining on the drive going up the hill from Lombard Street can be up to an hour. The drive up the hill begins where Lombard Street terminates after passing through North Beach.
By foot there are two ways to gain access to Coit Tower-both will test physical endurance. If coming from the central area of San Francisco (Union Square, Chinatown or North Beach) follow Stockton Street or Grant Avenue to Greenwhich Street. Make a right and walk up the hill. Greenwhich Street terminates into a drive that begins a climb up into a forest of pine trees. Just follow the walk and it will take you up into the Coit Tower parking lot. If coming from fisherman’s wharf or the emabarcadero proceed to Sansome and Greenwhich Streets. Proceed to where Greenwhich ends at the hill and you will see a stairwell ascending up into the hill towads the tower. Use caution as these stairs are steep and the hand rails don’t come up to waist height but more upper leg. Be careful if stopping to take a photo not to lean on these as you will fall over and down the hill!.