Results 1-10of 10 Reviews
District of Columbia County, District of Columbia
September 18, 2004
Perched on the summit of Telegraph Hill is the Coit Tower, a landmark constructed using a bequest to the City and County of San Francisco by Lillie Hitchcock Coit. Coit, a widow without children, specified in her will that two-thirds of her estate go to the Universities of California and Maryland, and the remaining one-third go to the City and County of San Francisco to beautify her favorite city.
After Coit's death, a design competition was held to determine the form of the memorial. The winning design was a tower to be constructed in Pioneer Park at the top of Telegraph Hill. The tower was dedicated in October 1933.
At the time that the tower's physical structure was completed, the building was largely without adornment. The original plan for the tower had included a restaurant, but, during the construction of the tower, the restaurant idea was dropped in favor of using the space at the base of the tower for exhibitions depicting San Francisco's pioneer days. Two months after the tower's dedication, a New Deal program was launched to hire artists to adorn public buildings in the area and a plan was developed to paint the interior walls of the tower with murals. By January 1934, a team of 26 artists were at work covering the interior walls of the tower with frescoes. Several months later, controversy arose over the content of some of the murals, which celebrated industrial and agricultural working men and women, and including some symbols that were considered to embrace the ideals of communism. These symbols were eventually replaced by other subjects, and the completed murals were revealed to the public in October 1934.
Today tourists flock to the tower to see the artwork inside of it, and for a $3 elevator ride to the observation deck on top of the tower. The view from the tower is stunning. Already perched on top of a hill, the tower provides a great vantage point for seeing across the bay to the East Bay cities, Marin County to the north, the Golden Gate Bridge, Pacific Ocean to the west, and the city itself surrounding the tower.
Getting to the Coit Tower is easiest by taking the no. 39 Muni bus or walking. Parking at the top of the hill is very limited. The walk up Telegraph Hill is steep and can be exhausting, but on nice days the views are incredible and worth the effort. If you do take the bus to the top of the tower, I recommend walking back down, using one of several public stairways that descend the hill from the tower. My favorite is the Filbert Steps, which descends through the trees (watch for the wild parrot flock that lives here) past houses (some reachable only by the steps), flower gardens, and Napier Lane, the last of the city's wooden plank streets, to Levi's Plaza and the Embarcadero.
More information on the tower is available on the Coit Tower website.
From journal Labor Day Weekend in San Francisco
by Chad Bartlett
July 7, 2000
From journal San Francisco on a Bohemian Budget
July 18, 2000
From journal A Couple in the City by the Bay
February 18, 2006
From journal Valentine's Day 2006
October 1, 2002
From journal The City by the Bay
by Foxboro Marmot
January 14, 2005
Take a walk to the top of Telegraph Hill for the view and check out Coit Tower… but make sure you walk down the Filbert Street steps to see the wild parrots too.
There’s a statue of Christopher Columbus and nice views from the top of Telegraph Hill. The view’s even better from Coit Tower, but the fee keeps going up, and I don’t feel it’s worth the $5 to go to the top. If you’re around while the tower is open, wander in and inspect the interesting Depression-era murals on the ground-floor walls. There’s no charge to look around.
After getting your fill of scenery and art, head down the Filbert Street steps. It’s nice enough—a steep walkway down the hill with plantings on either side, and with any luck, you’ll run into the parrots. The parrots are famous and have been subjects of both a book, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, by Mark Bittner, and a documentary film of the same name. Yet many people in the city don’t know they exist! These cherry-headed conures, often called Christmas parrots, are about a foot long, with iridescent green bodies and red heads. The flock may have begun with a small number of escaped birds or birds released by their owners, but it’s now up to well over 100 birds. They survive year-round in San Francisco, ranging from the Presidio and Fort Mason to Washington Square and Telegraph Hill.
They squawk loudly, so you’re likely to hear them before you see them. Listen for them, then stop and wait. They’re hard to spot among the leaves, but with any luck, something will spook them, and the whole flock will fly off at once. When the sun’s right, it’s spectacular: a noisy explosion of shiny green confetti, blasted out of the trees into the blue sky.
The parrots do make their rounds about the city, so you may miss them. Keep listening, and you may find them in one of San Francisco’s other parks.
From journal Return to San Francisco
San Francisco, California
December 6, 2003
From journal Delicious Eats in San Francisco
August 6, 2003
Atop the hill, there were tons of people. San Francisco has provided coin-operated binoculars. From here, you could walk around the hilltop and see most of the city: Alcatraz, Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, the skyline.
It is free to enter the base of the tower and view the frescoes that depict life in San Francisco. There was a fee to climb to the top. No matter, I had climbed quite enough to reach the tower and the view from the base is stunning enough, thank you.
There was a snack bar and some ice cream stands at the top of the hill for refreshments.
From journal Business in San Fran
Santa Rosa, California
December 9, 2002
We drove up this time but not all the way to the top. There are some parking places about halfway up and it's a nice walk the rest of the way. Or if you aren't there in the thick of tourist season - June to October- you can find parking right in front.
The tower was built with a donation from Lillian Coit who supported the firefighters of San Francisco. You must pay to get to the top of the tower but the fee is less than $5 for adults and half that for kids. If it is a clear day, you've got a million dollar view of the entire city including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, the Embarcadero and any other sites that you can recognize. It is pretty amazing. In the lobby below there are fantastic painted murals depicting city scenes. Viewing these is free.
If the typical SF fog is in, skip going to the top as there won't be much view. The history of the building, the view and the tour through the neighborhood to get there make this a great destination.
From journal San Francisco Overnight
March 16, 2005
Daily 10am-5pmPhone: (415) 362-0808Muni 39
From journal SFO