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MUNI Visitor Pass and Lombard Street

by Andi
(Calgary, Alberta, Canada)


I am visiting San Francisco from Canada for the first time this coming July, and I've been finding your website incredibly helpful in planning my trip! I am especially excited to try out a few of the "perfect day" itineraries that you put together, so thank you!

My question is regarding the MUNI Visitor Passports. I won't have a car, so I'm planning to use public transit to get around, and the 7-day pass seems like a good option. I see that you can purchase the passport right at the airport, but I don't want to activate it until my third day in SF, as the first two days I am attending a conference for work. Does the visitor passport become activated as soon as you purchase it, or only when you first use it to take public transit?

One more question - on one of my days in SF, I'm going to end up at the bottom of Lombard Street around dinner time (if my itinerary goes to plan!). Are there places to eat dinner near there that you would recommend? I'm not looking for anything fancy, just good local food would be great, and an interesting/cute atmosphere is a bonus.

Much thanks!

Hi Andi! Thank you for visiting my site.

You are right. Using the Muni passport your best option for getting around the city during your stay. It is activated with your first use, so you can buy it in advance. You can then use it up until 11:59pm on the 7th day of usage.

You can get this at the airport. However, you can also buy it at several places throughout the city. The most convenient place (for most people) is the Muni Transit Kiosk at the end of the cable car line at Market and Powell Streets. The cost is the same at all locations, so if you are tight on time at the airport or want to just head to your hotel, you can also pick it up in the city.

You can click this link for all locations to buy this passport in the city, as one of these might be closer to your hotel than the Market and Powell Kiosk.

You have two options for restaurants near Lombard Street. You can either continue down the hill toward North Beach or catch a cab (should only be around $10) to head back up the hill toward Russian Hill.

North Beach Options

Indian Curry House: If you head down to Columbus Avenue (walk down the hill to Taylor, take a left and then take another left on Columbus Avenue), you will find a fun Indian restaurant. It is a strange mix with both Indian cuisine and the makings of an Irish pub. However, the food is great, affordable and you can usually get a table quickly. It is at 1040 Columbus Avenue.

La Trappe Cafe: This cafe is also just a few blocks away from the end of Lombard Street. It offers gastropub food and a great beer selection. You can grab a burger, some steamed mussels or some of their amazing fries. It’s a little pricey, but if you stick to the small plates, you can create a decent meal at a decent price. Head down Lombard Street and take a right at Taylor. Walk to Greenwich Street and take a left until you reach the cafe at 800 Greenwich Street.

Other Italian Restaurants: You will also find a number of small, expensive and inexpensive, Italian restaurants all along Columbus Avenue. From Lombard Street, head down the hill and take a right on Columbus. About two blocks down, you will find rows of cafes and Italian Restaurants. Some of my favorites are Piazza Pellegrini (one of the first you will see on your walk) and Rose Pistola.

You can also click this link to find some other great options in North Beach.

Russian Hill

You should be able to easily find a cab up to Polk Street in Russian Hill. This is where I typically go when I’m in this area. Here are some of my favorites.

Street: This is my favorite place to go in Russian Hill. They offer American food with a twist. I love their Burgers as well as their Steak Salad. (Note: They change the menu daily to rotate their items, so these might or might not be on the menu the night you are there.) They don’t take reservations, but you can usually get a table quickly if you arrive before 7pm. It’s at 2141 Polk Street.

Aux Delices Vietnamese Restaurant: A great inexpensive, Vietnamese place is also right on Polk Street. They are often busy, but you can usually find a table quickly. The staff is friendly and it’s one of the best places to get Vietnamese in the city. It’s at 2327 Polk St.

Have an amazing time in San Francisco and let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you plan your visit!

Enjoy ~ Jill

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