Whether you’re only in the city for a short trip or a more extended stay, The Coit Tower is a must-visit in San Francisco. Keep reading for the rich history of this artifact and for the best ways to get up to Coit Tower!
What does the Coit Tower represent?
The Coit Tower, also known as the Coit Memorial Tower, has been a symbol of San Francisco’s skyline since its completion in 1933. It’s the legacy of San Francisco resident Lillie Hitchcock Coit. When she died, she said, “I left funds for the purpose of adding beauty to the city which I have always loved.” So the city decided to build the Coit Tower, which was designed by Arthur Brown Jr. and Henry Howard.
A fun fact about the Coit Tower, local tour guides say the tower looks like a fire hose nozzle. According to the guides, this is because of Lillie’s well-known love of firefighters. But by using your imagination, you can make up all kinds of fun things to say about it…
The reason that Coit Tower is so popular is because of its views. The tower rises from the top of Telegraph Hill, and from the observation deck you have a great view of San Francisco. This makes the tower a must-see during your stay in San Francisco!
Coit Tower Tickets And Costs
Is the Coit Tower Free?
The vista point of Coit Tower is open anytime, the elevator to the observation deck depends on the season. If you are planning on going to the Coit Tower make sure to check the schedule on the website of Coit Tower in advance.
Check the schedule on the website of the Coit Tower.
Only want to discover the lobby murals of the Coit Tower and the outside areas? Good news! You can do this for free!
If you want to see the incredible view of San Francisco from the observation deck of the Coit Tower, you will have to pay the elevator entrance fee.
The elevator entrance fees depends on age, see the schedule below for the entrance fees per age:
|Age category||SF residents||Non-resident|
|Child (4 & under)||Free||Free|
* A service fee will be added for pre-purchased online ticket sales
6 Tips You Need to Know Before Visiting Coit Tower
Planning a trip to Coit Tower? We’ve got you covered! We have done all of the research so you can make the most out of your visit. Here are some tips you can use before heading to Telegraph Hill
The views from the top of the tower are not necessarily better than the views from the parking lot. So if you are only there for the views, you can better save your money and not go up the Coit Tower.
Coit Tower has an elevator to go up to the top, but unfortunately, it is not wheelchair accessible. Even getting to the tower requires you to climb several flights of stairs.
Going to the Coit Tower by car?
The parking lot outside of the Tower is for area residents only. On weekdays you are allowed to park in the lot for 30 minutes, but the waits to get into the lot can be pretty long. We suggest going by foot, this way you avoid the traffic jam and you don’t have to worry about parking.
Once you get to the top of the hill and the Tower, don’t go down the way you came. From the top of Telegraph Hill, you can easily hike down to the waterfront of San Francisco. Just follow Filbert Street to walk through a charming neighborhood where the only streets are stairways.
Allow yourself half an hour to walk around the Coit Tower and enjoy the incredible scenery. Going up the Coit Tower? We will suggest schedule one to two hours to give yourself the time to see everything this tower has to offer.
Make sure to get something to eat and drink before heading to the Coit Tower. The walk is pretty intense because of the steep heels. We recommend going to The Travel Mug Cafe, the cafe is located close to the Coit Tower and serves fantastic breakfast and lunch!
How to Get to the Coit Tower
Can you walk up to Coit Tower?
We think walking is the best way to get up to Coit Tower. You do have to walk up a pretty steep hill to get to Coit Tower, but if you’re feeling good and you like some exercise, this is the best way. A good start for your hike is cafe The Travel Mug. You can get some breakfast or lunch here before heading to the Coit Tower. They serve amazing sandwiches and bagels, and after the hike, reward yourself with their excellent local beers and wines!
After getting some breakfast or lunch in North Beach, you follow Lombard street until you reach The Telegraph Hill and get ready for the trip up the hill to Coit Tower.
Biking to Coit Tower
If you are planning on biking to Coit Tower we really recommend renting an electric bike. There are a few very steep hills on the way to Coit Tower and they are really hard to bike. An electric bike will help you speed up the hill and you will still have enough breath to enjoy the magnificent view when you reach Coit Tower. Looking for a convenient bike rental? Dylan’s Tours is located in North Beach and is only a ten minute bike ride away from Coit Tower! Just step by the shop in the morning to rent your electric bike and start your ride to Coit Tower.
From the waterfront
If the waterfront is your starting point, you can walk up the Filbert Street Steps. You can easily reach them from the Embarcadero. From the steps, it is a beautiful walk to the Coit Tower. It does take some energy, but it will be worth it. Residents of the area have planted beautiful gardens around their homes and cottages, which you can find along the steps.
By a minibus tour
If you can’t find the energy or time to climb up the hill to Coit Tower, you can see the tower’s iconic shape from many parts of North Beach. On our San Francisco Minibus Tour, we will drive by Coit Tower, and our local tour guide will share some interesting facts about it! Click on the button below to learn more about our Dylan’s Famous Tour.
By car (not recommended)
Still thinking of going to Coit Tower with a car? Follow the signs uphill from Stockton Street in North Beach. Make sure you leave on time because there can be a lot of traffic when you are trying to get to the parking lot for the Coit Tower. Also, keep in mind you can’t park in the lot on the weekends.
By public bus
Our last option is to take the bus to Coit Tower. The MUNI 39 goes to Coit Tower from Pier 39 and Washington Square. The bus will bring you all the way to Greenwich Street which is in front of Coit Tower!
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