Making good on my promise to myself to go be a tourist in my own city and check out Coit Tower today!

Started off in Russian Hill, whose views of the bay and the Bay Bridge down most streets I will never grow tired of…

06-23-15-CoitTower01

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Cable car tracks and Transamerica Pyramid…

street scene in Russian Hill

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I realize Grace Cathedral is the opposite direction from my Coit Tower destination, but I was feeling a little out-of-sorts today, so I wanted to swing by and catch the noon bells, and sit with the fountain in Huntington Park for a moment…

Grace Cathedral

Amazing Grace. (no one has ever made that reference before. 😉 )

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Blue skies and sitting with the Flood Fountain in the park are definitely a good prescription for a wonky mood…

Huntington Hotel and Huntington Park fountain

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The park is literally surrounded by large, beautiful, historic buildings… The Flood Mansion/Pacific Union Club …

decorative fence in Nob Hill

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And the Fairmont Hotel and Mark-Hopkins…hotels in Nob Hill

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Through Chinatown…

Spotted in a shop window: I’m not sure when I’d ever need a giant beaded strawberry to carry around my keys and my eyebrow pencil (or a three-dimensional frog on his lily pads!), but these make for some fun eye-candy…handbags in Chinatown window

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Continuing up Grant Street towards Coit Tower, and discovered a whole shopping street I had no idea was there (see, this is why I go for walks now!)… Vintage shops, a record shop, all kinds of shops… And a really amazing map shop, Schien & Schien, which I HAD to stop and browse through (my apartment walls are covered in old maps)… my bank account is safe (for now); it was impossible to pick just one or two when surrounded with such a bounty. Amazing variety of maps, though, and the owner was super friendly.

Music 101 and Old Vogue…
Old Vogue shop window on Upper Grant

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And now we HIKE! Up the Filbert Street hill… Coit Tower

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Not gonna to lie, I always say “Wowwwww…..” when I reach the top of one of these suckers and turn around to see views like this…06-23-15-CoitTower10

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Nifty vintage binoculars are stationed all around the Coit Tower grounds…binoculars at Coit Tower

Coit Tower

Coit Tower

Cost Tower sign

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Obviously, there are some really lovely views from all around the base of the Tower. There are also a few quiet benches tucked away, which I wouldn’t have expected. Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge…at Coit Tower

the Bay Bridge from Coit Tower

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You used to be able to climb stairs to the top, along which there are more murals, but people vandalizing the space ruined it for the rest of us. Really people?? Drawing on almost-100-year-old murals?! Go find some wet cement to write your name in or something, pffft. There is a fee to ride the elevator to the top, but it’s only a few dollars. As I am on a tourist-in-my-own-city mission, I felt it was my duty to spring for the elevator ride…

I couldn’t help but look straight down once I got to the top—there is something sort of gleeful and thrilling about seeing people soooooo far down they’ve turned into tiny ants…
from the top of Coit Tower

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Wowwww! Totally worth the 6 bucks! There is an attendant who meters out how many people can ride the elevator at one time, but once you are at the top, you can stay as long as you like, and see 360-degree city views like a bird.

The Bay Bridge and downtown…view of San Francisco from the top of Coit Tower

view of San Francisco from the top of Coit Tower

(click me to expand and zoom and scroll)

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Yep. Amazing.

view of San Francisco from the top of Coit Tower

(click me to expand and zoom and scroll)

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Also for your $6, you get this sweet stamp, which seemed to serve as an appropriate caption:

view of San Francisco from the top of Coit Tower

(do not drop phone off the tower, do not drop phone off the tower…)

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From the other side—Pacific Heights, the Presidio, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz:

view of San Francisco from the top of Coit Tower

(click me to expand and zoom and scroll)

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Touristing accomplished.

Back home through Chinatown…

Amazing old neon, and lanterns…

old neon signs in Chinatown

lanterns in Chinatown


Where should I go tomorrow?


  • MILES WALKED: 9.45
  • ELEVATION INFO: ascent 1008 ft., descent 856 ft.
  • NEIGHBORHOODS: Russian Hill, Nob Hill, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Chinatown, Financial District, Mission District
  • DESIGNATED LANDMARKS: Coit Tower (no. 165), Grace Cathedral (no. 170), Mark Hopkins Hotel (no. 184), Fairmont Hotel (no. 185), Flood Mansion (no. 64)

June 23, 2015 route map