Filbert Steps: An Enchanting Stairway Journey through San Francisco’s Hidden Gem

The Filbert steps in San Francisco is one of those hidden gems in the city with stairs worth climbing for the fun, views and the finale attraction at the end. This famous Telegraph Hill steps is fun to explore, colorful and fantastic peak a boo views of the bay area views below. Climbing up the steep Filbert Steps at the Base of the Embarcadero area is quite an immersive experience.

Nothing more than the iconic Coit Tower which the Filbert steps climb to at the end, well actually you have to climb up the steps to get those amazing views of the city.

Where do the Filbert Steps begin?
Filbert Steps on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco (cool, lush with colorful gardens)

Where do the Filbert Steps on Telegraph Hill begin?

The bottom of the Filbert steps is located on Sansome street at the Embarcadero with an uphill staircase to climb that seems endless. You can catch a bus through Sansome street (one way) coming from the Embarcadero or walk there directly from the downtown area or even catch and Uber to the base of the Filbert steps.

How to get to the Filbert Steps in San Francisco

To get to the Filbert Steps in San Francisco using public transportation, follow these steps:

Arriving in San Francisco: If you’re arriving in San Francisco from another location, you can do so by flying into San Francisco International Airport (SFO) or arriving by other means like train, bus, or car. Once you’re in the city, proceed with the following directions.

Use Public Transportation: San Francisco has an extensive public transportation system operated by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), known as Muni. You have several options:

Exit the Bus: Get off the 39-Coit bus at the stop closest to the Filbert Steps. The bus route will take you to the base of Telegraph Hill.

Walk to the Filbert Steps: From the bus stop, you will need to walk a short distance to reach the Filbert Steps. Follow the signs or ask locals for directions. The Filbert Steps are well-known in the area and should be easy to locate.

Climb the Filbert Steps: The Filbert Steps are a steep stairway leading up Telegraph Hill. Be prepared for a workout as you climb the steps. Along the way, you’ll encounter beautiful gardens, historic homes, and breathtaking views.

A little history and visit to the Filbert steps below

Climb the Filbert Steps on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco

What will you see climbing the Filbert Steps?

The Filbert street steps are a unique part of San Francisco when the main way of a short cut to Coit tower was to climb the steps and along with locals in the area that had no choice but to use this as their access road.

When you pass through the steep stairs section you finally get to more level areas to walk through with hidden gardens and homes that are fun to explore and peek into. There are a lot of small Victorian homes with little front yards and a nice little community garden dubbed the Grace Marchant Garden that the neighbors help to maintain and grow some colorful perennials and annuals for everyone to enjoy including visitors that make the trek to his hidden world in San Francisco. Grace Marchant lovingly created the garden originally from a dump site and with the help of neighbors and the business community converted the open space into this little public garden for all to enjoy.

Here’s a view climbing up the stairs from the bottom up approach

Reaching the top at Telegraph hill

Reaching the top at Telegraph hill

Once you get to the top of Filbert street steps, you will be right on the base of Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. Keep climbing to the top to get some spectacular 360-degree views around San Francisco Bay and looking up to the impressive Coit tower. You can enter the tower to take a tour and elevator to the top observation area of the tower.

Coit Tower is a historic tower built around 1932 with funds granted by Lilly Hitchcock Coit to help beautify this area with impressive views around the bay and city. The Coit Tower is supposed to be in the shape of a fire hose nozzle and is dedicated to the volunteer firemen who died in the line of duty during the five major fires of San Francisco.

Here’s a fun tour of Coit Tower and the murals inside

Things to know before you go on the Filbert Steps

Things to know before you go on the Filbert Steps at Telegraph Hill.

This is an actual neighborhood with people living around the staircase area so please be respectful of others private homes and gardens.

The Filbert steps is supposed to be around 600 steps to the top, but nobody really seems to confirm whether or not this statement is actually true.

Surprising there are green parrots that live in the area and were released awhile ago and are now wild in the city and squawking like crazy around Telegraph hill and the staircase.

While you accent the stairs, take a break and enjoy the views back to the city downtown area and San Francisco for a different view of the bay.

If you want to take a different return trip, consider going down the Greenwich Steps which is parallel to the Filbert street steps and also fun to explore on the way down.

What else to see in the area of the Filbert Steps?

What else to see in the area of the Filbert Stairs?

Not too far in along the Embarcadero is The Exploratorium, a fun family friendly center to explore kid friendly exhibits, science and nature inspired exhibits and fantastic views of the bay from the water.

There’s also the Ferry Building and foodie vendors and restaurants to enjoy inside the ornate building that is still a working ferry terminal. There is a weekly market that is fun to shop on the weekend for fresh local produce and artisanal foods from the area.

On the Other side of Coit Tower going down is Little Italy and Grant street which is fun to explore this quirky little neighborhood or grab some delicious pastries from some of the many Italian bakeries in the area.

If you enjoyed the stair case experience, check out my visit to the Mosaic Stairs on 16th Avenue in San Francisco, they are absolutely gorgeous to explore.

Weather and best time to visit San Francisco

San Francisco, known for its microclimates and ever-changing weather patterns, offers a unique experience for visitors throughout the year. The city’s weather is heavily influenced by the cool marine layer that often rolls in from the Pacific Ocean, creating a pleasant, mild climate. However, it’s important to note that San Francisco can also experience sudden shifts in temperature and foggy conditions.

The best time to visit San Francisco largely depends on personal preferences and interests. If you enjoy milder temperatures and fewer crowds, the spring months of April and May are generally considered ideal. During this time, the city experiences mild temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to mid-60s Fahrenheit (12-18°C), with relatively less fog.

Alternatively, the fall season, from September to November, is also a great time to visit. The weather remains pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (18-24°C), making it comfortable for outdoor activities.

Summer in San Francisco, from June to August, can bring a mix of cooler temperatures, fog, and occasional sunny days. The average temperatures during this period range from the mid-60s to low 70s Fahrenheit (18-23°C). While it’s a popular time for tourists, it’s important to be prepared for potential fluctuations in weather and pack layers to accommodate varying conditions.

Winter in San Francisco, from December to February, tends to be the coldest and wettest season. Temperatures range from the mid-50s to mid-60s Fahrenheit (12-18°C). While rain showers are more frequent during this time, there are still plenty of indoor attractions and events to enjoy.

Ultimately, San Francisco’s diverse weather means that there is no perfect time to visit in terms of weather conditions. It’s always advisable to check the forecast and pack accordingly, with layers and a light jacket or sweater regardless of the season.

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Filbert Steps on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco
Filbert Steps on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco
Filbert Steps on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco

Have you climbed the Filbert Steps in San Francisco?

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Have you climbed the San Francisco Filbert Steps ?

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Conclusion on Exploring the Filbert Steps in San Francisco

For a different and off the beaten path discovery of the city, we hope this gives you a different part of the city to enjoy and experience other than the typical tourist attractions.

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