Lombard and Vermont Are World’s Most Twisted Streets

Petr Novák

The most expensive street in the world is Fifth Avenue in New York, the widest street in the world is 9 de Julio Avenue in Buenos Aires, and the longest street until recently was considered to be Canada’s Yonge Street at 1,178 mi. Just as New York City boasts its graffiti tunnel, San Francisco has its two unique streets. They are Lombard Street and Vermont Street, and they are the most winding in the world.

Lombard Street, San Francisco | © Unsplash.com

  1. Table of Contents
    1. Lombard Street in San Francisco: Eight Curves and a 40° Incline
    2. Vermont Street: Fewer Curves, but Sharper Ones

    Lombard Street in San Francisco: Eight Curves and a 40° Incline

    Lombard Street is located in the northeastern part of the city, where it forms one of its main thoroughfares. The most famous section, with up to a 40° gradient and a total of eight turns, is located between Leavenworth Street and Hyde Street in the Russian Hill neighborhood. You can reach Lombard Street by tram, getting off at the Hyde St & Lombard St stop.

    If you plan to drive down the street, it’s best to continue straight down Lombard Street. The speed limit is 5 mph. Right turns from Hyde Street are not permitted during the day due to passing cable cars. You may have to wait in line. A car rental could prove useful at the top.

    The best photographs can be taken from the top of the winding part of Lombard Street (with Coit Tower in the background) or from the lower end (with passing cars photographed through the foliage). As the entire street is shadowed from the afternoon onwards, it is recommended to take photos in the morning or early afternoon.

    Lombard Street can be seen well from an overhead view at Coit Tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood. It’s a little over a mile on foot, and you’ll experience the steepness of San Francisco’s streets firsthand during the walk.

    Lombard Street has appeared in several movies, most notably Vertigo from 1958. The protagonist of Alfred Hitchcock’s film lived in a house with the number 900. The street has also appeared in The Simpsons (in the 4th episode of season 12 of Lisa on the Branch), as well as in the TV series Monk, American Dad, and the reality show The Real World: San Francisco. Lombard Street was also featured in the computer game GTA: San Andreas.

  2. Lombard Street, San Francisco | © Unsplash.com

    Vermont Street: Fewer Curves, but Sharper Ones

    While Vermont Street only has seven turns, they are much sharper, leading to it being considered the world’s most winding street. This stretch is located between 20th and 22nd Streets next to McKinley Square. It is approximately 3.42 mi from Lombard Street and about 20 minutes by car.

    The twisted stretch is 492 ft long and is lined with trees along its entire length. In comparison to Lombard Street, it is less photogenic and therefore less popular.

    Vermont Street has had fewer film and television appearances. The most notable is the chase scene in the 1973 film Magnum Force, starring Clint Eastwood.

    An interesting event takes place on Vermont Street every Easter when racers ride down it on tricycles. If you’re brave enough, you can sign up for BYOBW (Bring Your Own Big Wheel).

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