I knew that with its European look, its fog, cold and humidity, San Francisco was England instead of USA.
The disguise failed in Alamo square. Ah! Ah! Got you. Those Victorian houses don’t lie.
As mentioned in the tip about the dog park at Alamo Square Park, the eastern side, the one facing downtown is where the grassy knoll and view of the Painted Ladies Victorian homes is the best. This is a popular place close to sunset on a summer day. It's worth noting that elsewhere in the park are a tennis court and children's play equipment. These images were taken with my iPhone, so they represent how easy photography can be with this landscape subject.
Actually, this neighborhood is rich in 10,000+ sq ft homes, and so the four famous Victorians are really just a few of many. Further down Steiner, there's an empty lot that will be built upon. Because it will affect the view of downtown, no doubt great local political leverage will required of the contractor to get the architectural plans approved.
One of the most famous views of Victorian Homes in the foreground, with skyscrapers in the background is found at Alamo Square Park. This is a neighborhood park within the historic Alamo Square district, a sub-district of the Western Addition. It's only 4 blocks east of the Golden Gate Panhandle, bounded by Steiner, Fulton, Scott, and Hayes Streets. If you take the Central Freeway off US101, follow Octavia until you find the first left (you'll go past several no left turn signs), then double back along Steiner.
In any case, the park itself is mostly given over to open play for dogs and their owners, so if you bring your dog, you will have a fun time, especially on the western side where dogs are allowed to run off leash. This is well away from the view of the Victorian "Painted Ladies", which are opposite a popular grassy area along Steiner where visitors like to lounge and pose for photos.
Along Fulton, one can see the dome of city hall.
Located in the Western Addition, Alamo Square is served by several of the city's bus services.
Alamo Square consists of four blocks (in a square around a small park) at the top of a hill which overlooks much of downtown San Francisco. Along these four blocks are a number of distinctive mansions known as the 'Painted Ladies', the term was first used for San Fancisco Victorian houses by authors Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in 1978 in a book of the same name; the best of these can be viewed on Steiner Street (to the east of the square). The 'Painted Ladies' here are Victorian and Edwardian houses painted in three or more colours which enhance the architectural features of the buildings.
Another of those most-phototgraphed places.
We'd missed this one on previous trips so it was time to get 'er done. Alamo Square is a nice little neighborhood park, bordered by Steiner, Fulton, Hayes and Scott streets, in an area full of beautifully renovated Victorian homes. Along Steiner Street is the row of "Painted Ladies" that have become one of the iconic images of the city as millions of shutterbugs have pointed a lens in their direction. For me, it's not so much the houses themselves but the interesting juxtaposition of bygone era and contemporary city that makes it so visually captivating.
The best time to shoot is in late afternoon/early evening/sunset with enough sunlight to illuminate the hues. It was overcast the day I was up here and it took an hour for that tiny break in the clouds - just long enough to squeeze off a few snaps.
The square is just 4 blocks north of the Lower Haight - nice area for a browse and also has some terrific architecture.
Alamo square is a nice park is located at a great spot, atop a hill with a great view of the city (pic 1). There are some picnic tables to relax for a while, we enjoyed it very much while the sun was shining above us. The park was full of locals laying around and reading books, tourists holding their cameras like we did and many many dogs so don’t forget to check where you step, I know the mansions are beautiful but check the ground :)
Of course the main reason we came here was to see with our own eyes one of the most photographed places in SF, the view of the Painted Ladies, a row of six beautiful Victorian houses that have the city’s modern skyline at the background (pic2), a great constrast. Their pastel colors are beautiful but you can have them before sunset and not in the morning when we visited Alamo square. Anyway, it was nice and we enjoyed looking at the background trying to recognize some of the city’s landmarks.
Ahh, Alamo Square and Hayes Street, diffult to find parking space here hehehe. A tight, escalating formation of Victorian houses is back-dropped by downtown skyscrapers, providing a stunning contrast. The grassy square itself is an ideal midday break. Alamo Square is truly one of the most photographed locations in San Francisco and Alamo Square's famous "postcard row" at Hayes and Steiner Streets is indeed a visual treat.
Alamo Square Park consists of six city blocks at the top of a hill overlooking much of San Francisco, with a number of large and architecturally distinctive mansions along the perimeter. It is bordered by Hayes Street to the south, Fulton Street to the north, Scott Street to the west, and Steiner Street to the east. A row of Victorian houses facing the park on Steiner Street, known as the painted ladies, are often shown in the foreground of panoramic pictures of the city's downtown area. On a clear day, the Transamerica Pyramid building and the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge can be seen from the park’s center.
Alamo Square is actually a relatively small park but it has become famous thanks to the row of beautiful Victorian houses standing at Nos. 712-720 Steiner St. These "painted ladies", often referred to as the "Six Sisters", were built between 1892 and 1896. They have become a symbol of San Francisco's unique architecture and are often featured on postcards and promotional material for the city. The term "painted ladies" was coined in 1978 and it refers to Victorian and Edwardian houses that have been painted in several colors to bring out their architectural details. Apart from the famous Six Sisters, there are several other "painted ladies" in the Alamo Square area, so it's worth walking around with your camera close at hand!
One of the more upscale sights in The Haight is a steep trek uphill on Steiner Street to Alamo Square. This small park is unremarkable in itself but its hilltop affords an unobstructed view of a row of postcard perfect painted Victorians with San Francisco’s modern skyline as its backdrop. Timing the photo is not easy with the best light coming late in the afternoon when red hues should bask the pastel painted beauties. But it’s also when the late afternoon fog rolls in like clockwork. Our first day there, the ladies were on display but there was nothing but a white mist as their frame. On a second visit, the city’s famous skyline was on display but the setting sun was behind some incoming fog. I guess I’ll have to go back again to capture it at its best. Not a chore when the Toronado is five blocks back downhill.
Got back again in 2008 and the sun was shinning though the city was not in view. A better show perhaps but not quite the one I want. When will I get back again? Hopefully soon!
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