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Vermont Street switchback.
Vermont Street switchback.

Real Crookedest Street in San Francisco

Field review by the editors.

San Francisco, California

Millions of tourists have zig-zagged down charming, flower-lined Lombard Street in San Francisco, thinking that they were on the crookedest street in the world. Wrong. They weren't even on the crookedest street in the city.

Bottom of the crookedest street.
Bottom of the crookedest street.

That's Vermont Street, which snakes its way down Potrero Hill between 20th and 22nd Streets. Seven switchbacks, far more disorienting (and far more steep) than Lombard's, wedged into a claustrophobic tree-canopied alley. And, unlike Lombard, there's never a queue to drive down -- unless it's during the annual Bring Your Own Big Wheel race every April.

We recommend starting at the top and proceeding slowly. It's one way, and there are private homes and driveways at the curves. The only car we saw on the road once we reached the bottom was heading up the wrong way, though the driver preemptively honked his horn in warning. Tourists: don't do this.

Park mural.
Park mural.

Unlike Lombard Street, there's no postcard-perfect view of the whole serpentine road. If you can find parking, there's an adjacent path and stairs that ends in a park with a colorful Unity mural.

Real Crookedest Street in San Francisco

Vermont St., San Francisco, CA
Vermont St. just south of 20th St. and just east of US Hwy 101. Approach via Kansas St., jog over at 20th St. to Vermont heading south.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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