After climbing the Filbert Steps uphill, touring Coit Tower, and riding the elevator to the top observation deck, we made our way back downhill on the Greenwich Steps.
The Greenwich Steps, also called the Greenwich Street Stairs, run parallel to the Filbert Steps up Telegraph Hill to Pioneer Park and Coit Tower. Surrounded by lush greenery and gardens, the steps offer spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Treasure Island, and the Bay Bridge.
The Greenwich Steps aren’t as steep as the Filbert Steps and there aren’t as many steps, so it’s an easier climb. In fact, a couple sections between flights of stairs are gentle inclines without any steps.
From bottom to top, here’s what you can expect when climbing the Greenwich Steps:
- From Sansome Street to Montgomery Street, steel and concrete stairs pass through a quiet residential neighborhood with beautiful, lush gardens and flowers lining both sides of the steps.
- Just before Montgomery Street, the stairs make a sharp turn to pass underneath several houses as you climb to the street level. Once on the street, there is a fabulous scenic viewpoint of the San Francisco Bay that is far less obstructed than the view from the Filbert Steps.
- From Montgomery Street to Pioneer Park and Coit Tower, the Greenwich Steps become a red brick staircase.
Many people visiting Coit Tower follow the Greenwich Steps up Telegraph Hill and the Filbert Steps down the hill because the Greenwich Steps are easier. But we did the opposite because over time, we’ve found that stairs are actually harder on the knees when traveling downward!
One of the nice things about the Greenwich Steps was that they weren’t very crowded. Even though they’re only one block away from the Filbert Steps, this secret staircase isn’t as popular, so it’s quieter and more peaceful. We also didn’t have to worry about moving out of the way for fitness buffs lapping the stairs like we did when climbing the Filbert Street Steps.
Once at the bottom of the steps, we took a quick water break and began our walk over to Chinatown to visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.
Know Before You Go
- The Greenwich Street Steps are located in the Telegraph Hill/North Beach District of San Francisco, California 94133.
- The Greenwich Steps traverse the eastern slope of Telegraph Hill from Sansome Street to Coit Tower at the top of the hill, crossing Montgomery Street and Telegraph Hill Boulevard.
- Parking is available for a fee at Levi’s Plaza Garage, near the steps. There are also a few public parking lots along the Embarcadero and metered street parking can also be found if you arrive early enough.
- As you climb the stairs, stop periodically to rest and check out the view of the San Francisco Bay and the Bay Bridge behind you.
- Making the round trip up and down Telegraph Hill to visit Coit Tower? Consider making it a loop and take the Greenwich Steps one way and the Filbert Steps the other. The two sets of stairs parallel each other, one block apart, but the Greenwich Steps aren’t as steep.
- Remember that you’re using a staircase that travels through a neighborhood. Be respectful of residents’ homes and gates, stay out of their yards, be quiet, don’t pick their flowers, and pick up your trash.
- At the bottom of the Greenwich Steps at Sansome Street, you can head straight and to the right to reach the Embarcadero, trolley line, and Ferry Building, or left to reach Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, and Ghiradelli Square.
- As you climb, listen for the cries of the wild parrots. Years ago parrots were released in this area and now a flock of wild parrots call Telegraph Hill their home.