Coming up this week, I’ll be posting some detailed recaps of my trip to San Francisco in 2019, as part of my On This Day series. For now, here’s a preview featuring one of the most iconic aspects of this west coast city.
San Francisco is defined by its hills, which give rise to the cityscape and act as landmarks, dividing it into its varied neighbourhoods. According to the city archivist, San Francisco has 43 hills, ranging in height from 200 to 938 feet. Many people make reference to “The Seven Hills of San Francisco”, which are the ones that were named at the time of the city’s founding: Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill, Rincon Hill, Twin Peaks, Mount Sutro, and Mount Davidson.
Interestingly, the celebrated Lombard Street is not in fact the tallest of San Francisco’s hills. Its numerous switchbacks accommodate the hill’s natural 27 percent grade, but this makes it only the “crookedest street in the world” rather than the steepest. That award goes to Filbert between Leavenworth and Hyde with a road grade of 31.5 percent, although this claim was recently contested by an intrepid local hill climber.
In any case, I can confirm based on my experience that this is indeed a very hilly city. Pack a pair of good walking shoes if you’ll be wandering around at length.