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by Jill Loeffler •
Updated: May 11, 2022
The Greenwich Steps in San Francisco are a lesser know set of stairs that bring you up to Coit Tower. They are one block north of the more famous Filbert Street Steps.
They take you about the same distance to the top but have a very different look. They also aren't as busy as the neighboring staircase and they are fun to explore.
Find tips on where they start and finish and what to expect as you climb or descend them.
Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
The Greenwich Steps in San Francisco start about a half a block in from the corner of Greenwich and Sansome Streets.
This is what you will see when you turn the corner onto Greenwich Street. The concrete steps are the start of the two block journey which will lead you to Coit Tower.
As you begin to climb the stairs, you will start to see some gorgeous flowers and other vegetation. Here is just one I saw during my last climb.
You will see lots of colorful flowers and plants as you climb up the steps.
I recommend stopping every few flights to turn around and look at the views behind you. The higher you climb, the more breathtaking the views. This is from a couple of flights up or about half way up the first block of stairs.
This is a look at the Bay Bridge and part of Yerba Buena Island. It's a small taste of the views you will get as you get higher and higher up the stairs.
These are more colorful flowers I found around this section of the climb.
Most of the stairs on this first block of the climb are concrete and they are steep. You will find about 200 steps in this first section. Here is another look at how steep the Greenwich Steps in San Francisco are at this point in the journey.
In addition to the colorful gardens all around, you will also see some colorful art. This piece is about two-thirds of the way to the top of the first block of stairs.
Local's Secret: As you climb, make sure to keep your eyes and ears open for a chance to see our famous Parrots of Telegraph Hill. They love this section of garden as there are some trees with little red berries that they feast on. You will usually hear them before you see them as they are quite loud when they fly around or when they are eating in the trees.
The photo below gives you a rough idea how many more stairs you need to climb. This is the view is right near the blue sphere.
After you climb these last few steps, you will take a left for a couple of steps which will bring you to Montgomery Street. You'll see this sign at the top of the staircase.
It's a key sign to look out for if you plan to walk down the stairs from Coit Tower. From the street above, it's a little difficult to see where these stairs start, so this will help you locate them.
You are now on Montgomery Street. This part of the street is so steep, you will see the east bound and west bound lanes are at different heights. You will find a few of these throughout San Francisco, where it is much easier to build the lanes at different heights than to dig out part of it.
The good thing is that you are about two-thirds of the way to the top even though you are only done with one block of the walk. The second half is much shorter, but the stairs are still steep.
To find the second set of the Greenwich Steps in San Francisco, you take a right at the top of the stairs and head toward the dead end on Montgomery Street. On your left, you will see a small parking area and this is where you will find the brick stairs that lead you to the top.
You can also spend a little time here where you will find clear views around parts of the San Francisco Bay.
This is the stairwell you are looking for to enter the next section.
I took this photo at the top of these stairs.
The road at the bottom of the photo is Montgomery Street. This is a clear view of part of Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island and the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
Behind it, you will see the white bridge. That is the Oakland side of the Bay Bridge. It's cut in half by the islands in the middle. The city on the other side of the bay is Oakland.
As you continue to climb, you will find all brick stairs. They are just as steep as the concrete stairs you just climbed, but I love the look of these.
You will also see some lovely flowers and plants on this section of the climb.
When you finally reach the top, you will be in the parking lot to Coit Tower. You are near the entrance and only have a small staircase to climb to enter.
If you are walking down the stairs from the top, head to the eastern side of the parking lot and look for this brick staircase. This is the entrance to take you down toward the Embarcadero.
Telegraph Hill Walking Tour: You can also set off on a free walking tour offered by SF City Guides (part of the Public Library). They will take you through the history of the area plus you will get a chance to slowly walk up and down some of these staircases. Visit their site to learn more and check for upcoming tour times. Here are a few other top San Francisco tours and activities.
North Beach: You will find the North Beach neighborhood to the west of Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower. This old Italian district has a lot of history, good food and fun activities. You can sample traditional Italian goodies, see the spot where Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio took a picture after their wedding, and learn more about the Beat Generation and their local haunts.
Fisherman's Wharf: This lively district is home to dozens of tourist attractions. Fisherman's Wharf is where most of the SF Bay Cruises leave from too. Top attractions in this district include Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, and the ferries to Alcatraz.
Exploratorium: Not too far away from the bottom of the Greenwich Steps in San Francisco, you will find the Exploratorium. This top SF museum is a treat for kids of all ages. Here you can learn all about the local climate including why we get fog most of the year, explore human perception exhibits, and see their famous indoor tornado. Learn more about some of our other top museums.
Filbert Street Steps: One block away from the Greenwich Steps in San Francisco are the famous Filbert Street Steps. They cover about the same distance and also take you to the top of Coit Tower. I typically walk up one and down the other for a little variety during my visits. Learn more here.
Lyon Street Stairs: The Lyon Street Stairs are a two-block long set of steps in the Pacific Heights District. They offer wonderful views, a lovely garden and are home to one of the colorful hearts of San Francisco. See pictures and learn more here.
16th and Moraga Mosaic Stairs: The 16th and Moraga Tiled Steps are a colorful set of stairs in the Sunset District. The mosaic images on the stairs look like a sun, a moon, and a large spiral. Most of the pieces of mosaic are blue, making them the picture perfect attraction.
Additional Favorites Around Town: In addition to those mentioned above, you will find some other colorful and interesting staircases all around town. Find a list of my 8 favorites here.
Comments? Questions? Suggestions?
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