Coit Tower – San Francisco
Coit Tower is one of San Francisco’s most popular tourist attractions. You can see this famous city landmark for miles – it sits atop Telegraph Hill in the heart of San Francisco. At night, the beacon of light is especially stunning as it lights up the beautiful San Francisco landscape. The 210-ft. high Art Deco tower was built in 1933 as a memorial with funds from Lillie Hitchcock Coit. She was an eccentric philanthropist who loved the city and supported its local firemen after the 1906 earthquake and fire, hence its unique shape of a fire hose nozzle.
Coit Tower Murals
Colorful murals, painted in 1934, can be viewed up close inside Coit Tower. They surround most of the first floor lobby, just inside the tower’s main entrance, and continue on up around the second floor. Protected as a historical treasure, the murals depict working life in California during the Great Depression.
Coit Tower Observation Deck
Coit Tower’s Observation Deck is a must-see when visiting San Francisco. Be prepared once inside the tower (after getting out of the elevator) to climb a steep spiral staircase (about 37 steps) to get to the Observation Deck. The viewing platform at the top of the tower offers panoramic views of the City by the Bay, including Alcatraz, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of the best views of Coit Tower can be seen from the top of Lombard Street and San Francisco Bay.
Walking to Coit Tower
The walk to Coit Tower is scenic, but steep, so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. During our last visit, we walked from North Beach, up two steep blocks of Filbert Street (just follow the signs). And then we climbed the stairway to the base of Coit Tower. Keep an eye out for the Wild Parrots while wondering around Telegraph Hill. It’s a favorite roost for the world-famous flock of parrots.
Docent-led tours are offered for a fee. Limited parking is available near the base of Coit Tower. It can get very crowded, especially during peak tourist season and weekends, so expect to wait.