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San Francisco Highs at Coit Tower


Spiking the San Francisco skyline and perched on top of Telegraph Hill is an odd-looking concrete tower. The Coit Tower. Shaped like the nozzle of a fire hose, the column stands at 210 ft and can be seen from many parts of the city.

Head up to the top of the tower in its Art Deco elevator and you’ll get to take in the 360 degree views. Famous San Francisco landmarks like Alcatraz, Lombard Street and the Golden Gate Bridge can be spotted from its windows.

On the ground floor are a series of colourful 1930s murals depicting detailed aspects of San Francisco working life at the time.

From Lombard Street to Coit Tower

A trundling tram ride took me from Powell Street to the top of wiggly winding Lombard Street, one of the crookedest and steepest streets in San Francisco.

I could see Coit Tower in the distance as I made my way down Lombard’s eight hairpin bends. It took around half an hour to walk to the tower up and down some pretty steep hills and passing some lovely town houses and gorgeously twisted trees.

If you’re heading there from The Embarcadero and you fancy a workout you could take the Filbert Street route and climb its 400 butt-crunching steps to the base of the tower.



Lillian Hitchcock Coit

The quirky Coit Tower was built with funds bequeathed to the city by Lillian Hitchcock Coit. She left the money to be used ‘for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city which I have always loved’.

‘Firebelle Lil’ Coit was an eccentric woman who smoked cigars, gambled and wore trousers long before it was the norm for women to do so.

She also had a fascination with fire fighters (don’t we all). Her bequest was also used to build a statue of three fire-fighters in Washington Square Park.


Coit Tower Murals

When you get to the tower you don’t have to climb any more steps as there’s an old-fashioned elevator to take you to the top for the views.  But before you do this check out the murals on the ground floor.

The paintings were completed in 1933 and are full of detail of the every-day working lives of San Franciscans of the time inspired by the style of Diego Rivera. The murals cover the walls of the tower cleverly incorporating doors, windows and alcoves.


Cafe Mural


Fruit Picking

360 Degree Views from the Coit Tower

From the top you can see right across the city to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, downtown San Francisco and across its grid of streets. I was lucky as it was a clear day with a vibrant blue sky – the very top of the tower is open to the elements so you could get wet.


The windows at floor level around the top are covered in perspex with just one or two open but you can till get some good photos.


Downtown San Francisco


Golden Gate Bridge in the distance


Coit Tower Hours and Admission Fees

When: 10am – 6pm (May – October), 10am – 5pm (November – April)

How Much: Entry to the ground floor of the tower is free but there are charges to use the elevator:

Adult – $5 residents, $7 non-residents

Senior (65+) – $3 residents, $5 non-residents

Youth (12-17) – $3 residents, $5 non-residents

Child (5-11) – $1.50 residents, $2 non-residents

Child (4 and under) – Free

Where: 1 Telegraph Hill Boulevard, San Francisco

Have you been to San Francisco? What’s your favourite view?


Discover the views from San Francisco's quirky Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill

Read more – the best things to do in San Francisco,


Sunday 18th of October 2015

Great views – I remember that climb well (though you had a bit better day for it than I did!). Had forgotten all about the story behind it though, Lillian Hitchcock Coit was quite a lady!

Suzanne Jones

Monday 19th of October 2015

I visited the tower in January when it was gloriously sunny - last month when we were in San Francisco it was fabulously foggy so we wouldn't have seen a thing from the top!

Erin Bender

Saturday 17th of October 2015

Hey that's a pretty nice tower for the US. I don't recall even seeing that in San Fran. Grant opportunity for me to go back now ;)

Suzanne Jones

Saturday 17th of October 2015

Always good to look over a city from up high :)

Paula McInerney

Friday 16th of October 2015

This is very much like an art deco tower I recently wrote about that is located in Innisfail, in Tropical North Queensland. I think I like ‘Firebelle Lil’ Coit and like the murals and the views are magnificent

Suzanne Jones

Friday 16th of October 2015

There was so much detail in the murals and so much colour which must have been a very drab time in the city.

Suze - Luxury Columnist

Friday 16th of October 2015

I love all things 1930s so those murals are right up my street - love the views from the top of the tower too

Suzanne Jones

Friday 16th of October 2015

The murals were fascinating - there were so many little details which really gave an insight into SF at the time. The views were fab :)

anna parker

Friday 16th of October 2015

I have never heart of the Coit Tower, but it has to be one of the best views of the city from there, well worth a visit and a fascinating place too

Suzanne Jones

Friday 16th of October 2015

It was well worth the climb!

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