10 Most Famous Streets of San Francisco You Need to Visit

Last Updated on June 30, 2023 by Nikki Jain

Normally when we write this type of article, we look at things happening state and sometimes nationwide. Not this time. Instead, we want to focus on one of the most exciting cities in the world, San Francisco.

Head to San Francisco any time of the year, and you are guaranteed to find something insanely fun. This is truly a city that never sleeps.

On this page, we’ll look at 10 of the most famous streets of San Francisco. These are the places where you can guarantee yourself an epic adventure.

There is a little something for everybody too. The most popular streets in San Francisco are surprisingly varied, and whether you are a family, couple, or solo adventurer, you are sure to find somewhere that you’ll love.

Let’s jump in, shall we?

Famous Streets of San Francisco

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1: Lombard Street

Lombard Street
Dreamstime/Rramirez125

We'll be kicking this list off with Lombard Street, which, in our opinion, is one of the most beautiful streets in San Francisco.

This is just a short road, stretching for no more than a block. Although, this road boasts a whopping 8 hairpin turns. This has earned Lombard Street the title of the most crooked street in America.

Outside of those hairpin turns, we must admit that there isn't a whole lot that you really can do down Lombard Street. It is just an incredibly beautiful road.

However, it is still a major tourist destination, appearing in pretty much every single movie featuring San Francisco, from Magnum Force with Clint Eastwood all the way through to Disney's Inside Out.

Lombard Street also highlights just how well the city was planned. It probably won't take much walking around San Francisco to know that some roads are incredibly steep.

The Lombard Street area is perhaps one of the steepest places in San Francisco. The eight hairpin turns are there to slow cars down.

If you're going to take a trip to Lombard Street, and we reckon no trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to Lombard Street, then make sure you head here during off-peak.

This is an incredibly slow road to travel down due to all those twists and turns. As a result, it isn't uncommon for there to be a massive queue during peak hours. You don't want to be stuck in that.

Address: Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94133

2: Castro Street

Castro Street
Dreamstime/Edgar Hernandez

San Francisco is well known for being the ‘gay capital of the United States’. The entire city boasts a hefty LGBTQ population.

While this culture can be enjoyed throughout the entirety of the city, much of it is concentrated in the Castro Street area.

This is where the LGBTQ culture of San Francisco began to develop in the 1960s and 1970s. Because of this, it is one of the most popular streets in San Francisco.

Castro Street has developed to become a place where people can feel accepted no matter who they are.

As you walk through Castro Street, you'll encounter people from all walks of life, each knowing they are in a place where they can feel comfortable in their own skin.

As you can imagine, Castro Street is very LGBTQ-friendly, and the stores and restaurants in the area make this very clear. Because of this, it has become a top tourist destination for LGBTQ tourists from around the world.

There is plenty to do here. If you are heading to Castro Street, we suggest you come here when the Castro Street Fair is running; it usually happens on the first Sunday of October.

The area gets incredibly crowded then, but it is still fun. You'll feel like you are part of one of the most eclectic communities in the world.

If you can’t come during the fair, don’t fret. There is still plenty to do here. Plenty of shops and restaurants for you to explore, most with a heavy LGBTQ theme.

We recommend a trip to the world-famous Castro Theater, a movie theater in the heart of the street.

Address: Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Also Read: Top California Attractions & Things To Do

3: Market Street

Market Street
Dreamstime/Dragan Jovanovic

Market Street is easily one of the most famous roads in San Francisco. For over a century, it has been a major thoroughfare for San Francisco, with heavy transport traffic running through it at all times of the day. Market Street really is the beating heart of San Francisco.

If you take a trip to the city, you'll probably find yourself heading through Market Street at least once, even if you don't find yourself stopping off here. Most bus routes, taxi routes, etc., will take you through Market Street.

Because Market Street was developed to be the pulsating hub of San Francisco, it is much more than just a tourist route. This street is packed to the brim with beautiful architecture and plenty of things to do.

Market Street is lined with shops, art galleries, restaurants, and more. Many stores are cute boutique stores where you can discover a treasure trove of wonderful products.

If you feel like walking, you can probably find your way to any of the other prominent neighborhoods from Market Street, so if you're feeling a little bit bored of the area, hop onto some public transport, and you'll be well on your way.

Because Market Street never really sleeps, you’ll always find people wandering around the area. In our opinion, you should be fine traveling through Market Street at any time of the day.

However, some people will recommend that you don’t bring families down here on a Friday or Saturday evening, particularly around the major clubs. It can get a bit rowdy.

Address: Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in San Francisco

4: Haight Street

Haight Street
Dreamstime/TasFoto

Haight Street in San Francisco is primarily a residential street. However, it is one of the most iconic San Francisco streets.

The architecture of Haight Street is tremendous, and a trip to the residential and commercial areas will give you a feel for what San Francisco is all about.

While walking through the residential blocks of Haight Street is fun, the real excitement of Haight Street is in the commercial areas. There is barely a big brand store in sight here.

Instead, Haight Street is packed to the brim with great boutique stores, vintage stores, quaint bars, and a lot more. Many of these places are brightly decorated, which really lets San Francisco's personality shine right on through.

You can easily spend hours exploring the fabulous stores here. Even if they are small, they are packed with treasures.

Although, one of our favorite things to do in Haight Street is just people-watch. You get a lot of people passing through this area, and it is just wonderful to see the type of people that Haight Street attracts.

Address: Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

5: Embarcadero Street

Embarcadero Street
Dreamstime/Vitalyedush

Running along the San Francisco waterfront, you have Embarcadero Street. Because a trip to San Francisco isn't complete without a trip to the waterfront, it is easily one of the most popular streets in San Francisco.

Although, apparently, if you have your car in tow, it is surprisingly easy to find parking here. You can't say that for many other places in the city!

Because this is on the waterfront, the main highlight will be watching the ships pass through the bay. Head to Pier 14, and it is just wonderful to watch them pass under the Bay Bridge.

In fact, almost every single one of the many piers along Embarcadero Street offers something different from fine eats to boutique shops and even a science museum.

If you are taking a trip to one of the most famous locations near San Francisco, Alcatraz, you'll want to make a beeline for Pier 33.

In our opinion, the most exciting place to be on Embarcadero Street is the old Ferry Terminal. You can't miss it!

It has a prominent clock tower. Inside, you'll find some of the best food in all of San Francisco. There is something to suit every budget too.

Address: Embarcadero St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Also Read: 15 Tallest Buildings in San Francisco

6: Valencia Street

Valencia Street
Flickr/Mark Hogan

We've always loved Valencia Street, plus the nearby Mission Street. While bustling, Valencia Street feels less crowded than some of the other major parts of San Francisco, so it can provide a nice, welcome break from the hustle and bustle of everyday San Francisco city life.

Valencia Street was originally developed around the Latinx culture, and you can still feel a lot of that influence in the area.

Although, nowadays, it is much more closely aligned with hipster culture. The place is packed to the brim with amazing bakeries, art galleries, and thrift stores.

In fact, it is probably the thrift stores that manage to garner the most attention on Valencia Street. The most popular of them being several floors of good, thrifting fun. You can find electronics, clothes, and a whole lot more.

The place is always packed, but we are sure that if you have a good rummage around, you’ll be able to find a great souvenir of your trip to San Francisco.

We know this is nowhere near one of the most famous streets of San Francisco, but we genuinely believe that no trip to the city would be complete if you don’t take a trip to Valencia Street.

Address: Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

7: Grant Avenue

Grant Avenue
Dreamstime/Ronniechua

Grant Avenue is one of the oldest streets in San Francisco. It is the main street found in the Chinatown part of the city as; as you can imagine, Grant Avenue is packed to the brim with Asian supermarkets, Chinese food, and a lot more.

The culture on Grant Avenue is terrific. When you are not exploring the shops and restaurants, it is a great place just to watch people.

It feels a world away from the rest of San Francisco. For example, take a trip down to Portsmouth Square, and you'll see people regularly playing Chess, doing yoga, or even dabbling in some Tai Chi.

Elsewhere, you'll meet fortune tellers or just get to feast your eyes upon some stunning architecture. Honestly, if you take a camera to San Francisco, you need to bring it to Grant Avenue.

There are picture opportunities galore. Snapping the bright colors of the oldest Chinatown district in the United States is just incredible.

Address: Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108

8: Divisadero Street

Divisadero Street
Dreamstime/Maciej Bledowski

Divisadero Street has long held the title of being the ‘coolest’ street in San Francisco. It is tough to argue with that too.

We’re cool ourselves, but everything about Divisadero Street just feels so much cooler. This is the heart of San Francisco culture right here.

Divisadero Street is lined with independent businesses. You have yoga classes (some of the best yoga classes in the city, we hasten to add), bakeries, and plenty of art galleries.

The nightlife along Divisadero Street isn't too shabby, either. Many of the nightclubs around here have live music going on until the early hours, and the places are always packed to the brim.

If you want the most city fun, you must take a trip to The Independent. Many of the world's biggest bands played some of their first sets in this club.

Once you’re done exploring the shops and restaurants (which will take a while), why not have a stroll down to the marina at the end of the street? You can watch some amazingly beautiful boats just floating about.

We reckon that Divisadero Street is going to be an excellent place for both families and partygoers alike. There is something to do for everybody.

Address: Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

9: Union Square

Union Square
Dreamstime/Pikappa

Union Square is less a street and more of a plaza, although we are sure you won't judge us too much for that. It is still one of the most famous streets of San Francisco.

Union Square is a designated historical landmark. This famous San Francisco street was used to rally Union soldiers during the Civil War, hence the name.

Union Square is one of the most frequented destinations in San Francisco. If you are looking for big department stores (including Saks Fifth Avenue), boutiques, art galleries, and food, there is no better place to be in the city.

In fact, Union Square has the most concentrated collections of stores in the whole of the United States.

Because Union Square is centrally located, it is a top gathering spot for San Francisco residents, and you’ll find a ton of events happening in the area. In fact, the place is a hub of activity 24/7.

If you're looking to stay at some of the more unique hotels in the city, Union Square is where it is at. There is a lot to do here and a wealth of small inns (and massive hotels) in the area.

If you love your theater, then you're especially going to love Union Square. This is where all the off-Broadway shows head. Plenty of theaters to explore. We won't lie. Not everything you will see will blow your mind, but it is still fun. It is a cultural hub.

Address: Union Square, San Francisco, CA 94108

Looking to visit other amazing places in California? Check out our lists of things to do in San Diego & things to do in Los Angeles!

10: Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square
Dreamstime/F11photo

Back in the late 1800s, Ghirardelli Square was purchased by the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company to serve as their base of operations. Because of this, Ghirardelli Square remains one of the best places in the city for chocolate lovers.

There are plenty of stores offering these sweet bites. You’ll probably want to try out a sundae or two too (or like us, you’ll probably want to try 5 or 6, they are that delicious!).

We find Ghirardelli Square beautiful. It is claimed that this place is one of the largest reuse projects in the world. As you can imagine, the main building of Ghirardelli Square used to be the factory for producing chocolate.

All of this, and the surrounding buildings, have been converted into shops and housing now. They have kept the original 1900s façade, though. So, it is a unique look.

From Ghirardelli Square, you'll have tremendous views over Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz. If you feel like looking inland a bit, then there are plenty of boutique stores in the square.

We've already mentioned the chocolate, but you also have handcrafted beers, wine tasting, restaurants dedicated to cheese, mini golf, cooking classes for kids, and more.

San Francisco is one of the most exciting cities in the world, and a stroll through the winding streets will show you why.

Address: Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

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Also Read: Most Unusual Things To Do in San Francisco

FAQs about San Francisco Iconic Streets

What is the most famous street in San Francisco?

Lombard Street is the most famous street in San Francisco. It is just one block long, but the eight hairpin turns are instantly recognizable. If you watch a movie about San Francisco, chances are that Lombard Street will make an appearance.

What is the prettiest street in San Francisco?

All of the streets in San Francisco are very beautiful. However, if we had to pick, the honor of the prettiest street would go to either Lombard Street or Haight Street.

Why is Lombard Street so famous?

Lombard Street is famous for its 8 hairpin turns. These hairpin turns are very important because if they weren’t there, cars would be traveling far too fast down the road.

Final Thoughts on the Famous San Francisco Streets

Unfortunately, unless you have months to spare, you probably won't be able to see everything that San Francisco has to offer. That's the problem with a place filled with tremendous boutique stores that you can get lost in for hours. So, if you are taking a trip to San Francisco, start with our list of the most popular streets in San Francisco. This will show you most of what the city is about, and you’ll have a ton of fun, too.

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