Lyon Street Steps: Tips to Visit this Off-The-Beaten Path San Francisco Attraction
The Lyon Street Steps are a great off the beaten path San Francisco attraction. They cover two blocks on the side of a steep hill with gorgeous views from the top.
There are several things to love about these stairs. From the top, you will get amazing views of the Palace of Fine Arts, the blue waters of the SF Bay, and parts of Marin.
This staircase is popular with the locals since it will get your heart pounding. With more than 300 steps within the two blocks, you will quickly see why trainers bring their clients here for a workout.
Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
About the Lyon Street Steps
The Lyon Street Steps run north and south along Lyon Street in the Pacific Heights neighborhood. The street is too steep for a road, so instead they added stairs.
The top of the stairs start at Broadway and Lyon Streets. The bottom of the staircase is at Vallejo Street. This section of the stairs offers the best views. It's also gorgeously maintained with plants, flowers, and one of the hearts of San Francisco at the bottom.
This is a view looking up the stairs from Lyon and Vallejo.
This section has eight flights of stairs, so you will have some room for a little rest in between flights.
The top of the second section starts at Vallejo and runs about a half block south toward Green Street. This section offers greenery on both sides, but the stairs are smaller, not as wide and the garden is not as ornate as the first set at the top.
The second section is also quite a bit steeper than that first. This is a photo of me looking down at this set of stairs.
The bottom set of the Lyon Street Stairs has 2 flights of stairs. In total, you will find 332 steps.
When to Visit
The Lyon Street Steps are open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are free to visit and are a fun hidden gem in SF.The best time to visit if you plan to work out is early morning.
This should allow you to arrive before the trainers and their clients get here for their morning workout.
It's also less crowded in the mid-afternoon. This is when everyone is usually at work and not running up and down the stairs.
If you visit when it's crowded, make sure to walk down on the right and up on the left. If you are with a group, walk down single file to allow those running and jogging the stairs to easily get around you. Make sure you and your group are all either on the inside or the outside of the stairs. This will also allow those working out to easily get by your group.
What to Do Nearby
There are several cool places to check out near the Lyon Street Steps. These are just a few of my recommendations.
- Billionaire's Row: The section of Broadway between Lyon and Divisadero is called Billionaire's Row. This is where you will find some of the priciest real estate in San Francisco. Several well-known SF residents have homes on this stretch of Broadway. You can stroll this section on your own or join SF City Guides free walking tour of this area. It runs most Sunday mornings at 11am. Visit their site to check the schedule. Find some of their other free tours here.
- Famous Houses: You will also find some famous houses not too far away. If you are a fan of Princess Diaries, you might recognize the house at 2601 Lyon Street as the front of Anthony R Grove High School in the movie. You will find this at the bottom of the Lyon Street Steps. Others nearby include the house from Mrs. Doubtfire (2640 Steiner Street), the house used in Party of Five (2311 Broadway Street), and the outside of the house used in the TV show Full House (1709 Broderick Street). You can also check out the Movie Tour, which includes a cruise past many of these famous houses.
- Presidio: On the western side of the Lyon Street Steps is the Presidio. This former army base is a great place to go hiking, biking, or just hang out on the beach. It's where you will find the Disney Museum, the National Cemetery, and some pieces of art by Andy Goldsworthy. You can enter through the Lombard Street Gate which is four blocks south of the stairs right on Lyon Street.
- Palace of Fine Arts: You will see the magnificent dome of the Palace of Fine Arts at the top of the stairs and it's a fun, free place to visit. The original building was a temporary structure built for the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. It was such a popular building that they quickly worked on it to make it a permanent piece in SF history. Here you can admire the lovely decorations and have a picnic on the lake.
- Walt Disney Museum: You'll also find the Walt Disney Museum not too far away from the steps. Inside the Presidio, this interesting museum offers a look at Walt Disney's life from his early days up until his death. Find advanced tickets here.
Here are a few more fun activities around San Francisco.
How to Get Here
The top of the Lyon Street Steps is at the end of Broadway at Lyon Street. Once you see this sign, you know you are in the right place.
- From Fisherman's Wharf, the best way to get here is to take the 8 from Powell and North Point Streets and transfer to the 45 at Columbus Avenue & Union Streets. Take this to the stop at Union Street and Baker Street. From here, you will walk one block west along Union Street to Lyon, take a left and start to walk up the hill. You will arrive at the bottom of the Lyon Street Steps after about a block and a half.
- You can also easily get here from Union Square. You have two options. You can take the 45 and follow the instructions above to get there. You can also pick up the 2 at Sutter and Stockton Streets. Get off at the stop at California and Presidio Avenue. You will then walk up Lyon Street to Broadway (six blocks and the last couple of blocks have hills that are STEEP). You will then be at the top of the Lyon Street Steps.
Additional Staircases Around Town
Filbert Street Stairs: One of the most famous sets of staircases in SF is the Filbert Street Stairs. They take you from the flat area near the waterfront to the top of Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower. Find pictures and more about climbing these stairs.
Greenwich Stairs: One block away from the Filbert Street Stairs are the Greenwich Stairs. These aren't as popular or as busy, but I love exploring them. They also take you to the top of Telegraph Hill, so you can visit Coit Tower. See pictures and learn more about them here.
My 8 Favorite Staircases: In addition to these wonderful steps, you will find other great staircases all around town. These are just 8 of my favorites.
Comments? Questions? Suggestions?
I would love for you to join me in my private Facebook group!
It's a great place to interact with me and others who know the area well.
You can ask questions, get advice for your upcoming stay, and then share your photos and advice with others when you return home. It's a great community and the fastest way to get answers to those nagging questions about your visit!
Come join the fun here!