Out and About: Coit Tower


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In northeast San Francisco, Coit Tower stands 210 feet tall. The significance of this iconic tower is that it overlooks the piers, downtown San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. This tower captures the beauty of San Francisco that no other hill or tower in town can.

Accessing the tower may be done by car, but because of its limited parking availability and its association with tourism, hiking up Telegraph Hill is the way to go.

Get your comfy sneakers on because these stairs are going to get your heart rate up. Having a water bottle at hand is highly recommended.

The stairways to reach the top of Telegraph Hill, where the entrance to Coit Tower is, are known as the Filbert Steps and Greenwich Steps. These begins at the bottom of Telegraph Hill Boulevard, which connects to the Embarcadero. These stairs contain roughly 600 concrete and wooden steps each.

As you ascend to the top, you can enjoy the notorious squawking of the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill. While climbing the paths, respectfully witness the enchanting gardens and homes. These Spanish-inspired abodes are possibly the closest thing to European living; some may even question how they manage to stand on the hill without collapsing.

Climbing to the top of Telegraph Hill is only the half of the fun. There in the center of the hill top is stationed a statue of Columbus. Inside the tower, the walls of the first floor are painted with murals by numerous artists who lived during the Great Depression.

Once done circulating the tower and admiring the murals, you can purchase a ticket to the top of the tower within the gift shop. The gift shop sells tickets for $7, cash only. After the purchase, you return to the front entrance and wait for the elevator to take you to the top. This seems to be the only path up, as the stairwell was shut off and closed.

The elevator takes you to the top floor, where you must climb a short set of stairs to the very peak of Coit Tower. From the peak, you can see a panoramic view of the city. The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, downtown, the piers, Treasure Island, the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park all contribute to the spectacular view that can be see from this iconic tower.

The tower is about a 25-minute drive from Skyline College without traffic. Hiking to Coit Tower not only keeps you healthy, but will give you a sense of accomplishment when you reach the top and witness that breathtaking sight of the city.