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Big Bus San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Tour
"San Francisco packs a lot of fun into just 47 square miles: eclectic architecture renowned museums top-notch restaurants and pier-side attractions. One of the best ways to see these sights and more is on an open-top Big Bus that allows you to discover the City by the Bay at your own pace.Start at the San Francisco Visitor Center or hop on at any stop along the route to redeem your voucher (see Itinerary for full list of stops). Set out on b double-decker bus to soak up panoramic views of San Francisco including Union Square
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San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Tour
"Ride on a double-decker bus as you listen to facts about San Francisco's most popular neighborhoods and attractions. You can hop on and off the double-decker bus as many times as you like departing from any stop at 15- to 20-minute intervals throughout the day. In the summer the top deck is open and during winter clear screens shelter you from the cold and offer unobstructed views of the city.The duration of the San Francisco loop is approximately 2 hours across 17 stops where you can automatically redeem your voucher. With 1- or 2-day City Loop passes av you have plenty of time to explore San Francisco at your leisure. If you miss something on your first loop of the city simply re-board the bus and go around again.The Sausalito Loop pass gives you the option of simply taking a trolley tour
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5 Hour Self-Guided Tour of San Francisco in a Classic VW Bug
"Hop in a classic Volkswagen convertible Bug at Fisherman's Wharf and embark on your GPS-guided tour of beautiful San Francisco! You’ll drive a stick shift in a car that fits up to four people.As you explore the city at your own pace select destinations from the GPS by touch or voice. Your state-of-the-art GPS is pre-loaded with 40 of San Francisco's top locations and has text and voice commands available in more than 20 languages. If you have any other specific sites you want to visit you can program them into the GPS as well.Explore Chinatown wind down Lombard Street stop by the Presidio and spend time at the San Francisco Zoo. Take a movie location tour and see sites from films such as Bullitt
From $75.00

Alamo Square Tips (70)

wish hadn't been a grey rainy day

it was cold rainy and foggy that day so the pics weren't the best. Driving around the city .. well like all big cities the traffic is a pain in the butt. We mostly did public transportation and only drove to get to the hotel and to get out of town to the airport but hit some of the tourist spots on our way out of town.

chattygirl7491's Profile Photo
chattygirl7491
Apr 10, 2016

Other beautiful Victorians.

The painted ladies on Steiner Street are worth seeing but there are plenty of other beautiful old Victorians around Alamo Square and in other parts of the city. We saw plenty in Haight Ashbury, too. I would not mind living in one of these lovely houses.

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IreneMcKay
Feb 21, 2016

Alamo Square

We got to Alamo Square by taking the number 21 bus from Market and Powell Streets.

Alamo Square is a large grassy hill surrounded by beautiful old painted wooden houses known as Victorians. The most famous of these are a row of wooden houses on Steiner Street known as the painted ladies.

We looked at these then took a walk round to see more Victorians.

At the top of the park there was a doggy play area brimming over with our faithful four legged friends.

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IreneMcKay
Feb 21, 2016

Alamo Square

Wonderful homes & beautiful views of San Francisco from Alamo Square. Parking is not available on Alamo Square. We spoke with men refurbishing a Victorian who shared that the prices have gone sky high in the past few years, selling for millions of dollars. On a clear day we can see the Transamerica Pyramid building and the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge from Alamo Square Park. The neighborhood is characterized by Victorian architecture that was left largely untouched by the urban renewal projects in other parts of the Western Addition. The Alamo Square area contains the second largest concentration of homes over 10,000 square feet in San Francisco, after the Pacific Heights neighborhood.

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. A number of movies, television shows and commercials have been filmed in or around Alamo Square. The park features heavily in the 1978 horror film The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and the romantic comedy The Five-Year Engagement.The opening sequence of the American sitcom Full House features a romp in Alamo Square Park with the famous row of Victorians in the background.

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apbeaches
Jan 08, 2016
 
 
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If you want to save $ on postcards

Though you may have never been here before, you've seen Alamo Square a million times. A favorite postcard view - pictured on such TV shows as "Full House" and that horrible show with Brooke Shields (what was that called?) - no view is as quintessentially San Francisco as the famous row of 6 Victorians with the city skyline looming in the background.

Alamo Square is a 4-square block patch on the top of a hill just north of Haight Street in the Lower Haight neighborhood. The famous view is looking east, towards downtown. Surrounding Alamo Square on all sides are many beautiful houses, mostly of the "stick style," which was the 1880-1890 period, immediately preceding the Victorians. There aren't any cafes or anything on the square, but if you walk downhill to Haight St, or go downhill on Fillmore heading north, you'll find coffee and food.

The Zen Center is pretty close to here (I'll try putting a tip on it soon), and the Lower Haight is just down the hill.

Alamo Square is pretty safe at night, though it is close to an unsafe area a couple blocks downhill and to the East. This would be Buchanan Street - the designated crack dealing area. The corner of Page & Buchanan in particular should be avoided. There used to be some gnarly housing projects in this neighborhood, but the replacement housing has cleaned up the area considerably.

VERY IMPORTANT PHOTO NOTE - if you want to take some serious pictures here, come in the afternoon! The morning light is no good; the Victorian house-fronts will be in shadow.

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Karnubawax
Dec 02, 2014

Alamo square

I knew.

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.

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solopes
Oct 29, 2014

Alamo Square Painted Ladies

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.

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atufft
Aug 07, 2012

Other Alamo Square Homes Less Photographed

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.

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atufft
Aug 06, 2012

Top 5 San Francisco Writers

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Painted Ladies Dog Park

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.

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atufft
Aug 06, 2012

Painted Ladies

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.

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Gillybob
Jul 29, 2010

Photo Op

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.

goodfish's Profile Photo
goodfish
Jun 04, 2010

great view!

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.

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mindcrime
Jan 20, 2010

Things to Do Near Alamo Square

Things to Do

Buena Vista Park

Buena Vista park was commissioned at the same time as Golden Gate Park, so its forest of ornamental trees have virtually overgrown the opportunity for great views of the city, except at the very top....
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Japan Center

Peace Pagoda at the Japan Center designed in post modern style by the architect Yoshiro Taniguchi (1904-1979). As others have noted before us, it is indeed striking for its symmetry and sparkling...
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Japantown

Japantown is filled with many Japanese shops, cafe's, restaurants, small chain hotels, salons, Japanese American Schools and Buddhist Temples. A Japanese American Library opened in 1969, as the only...
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Old St. Mary's Cathedral

The first building erected as a cathedral in California, Old St. Mary's served the archdiocese of San Francisco in that capacity from 1854 to 1891. Once the city's most prominent building, much of its...
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49 Mile Drive

In 1938, The San Francisco Downtown Association created the 49 Mile Scenic Drive to highlight the city's beauty and to promote it as a business and tourist destination, so the route began at City...
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Market Street

What Street has given both history and Modernity in San Francisco than Market Street? Market Street is the back bone of San Francisco. To walk the length of the street is to travel throughout time and...
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Getting to Alamo Square

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Steiner St. & Hayes St., San Francisco, CA 94115

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