Coit Tower: A San Francisco Gem on Telegraph Hill

If you’ve ever been to San Francisco, you may have seen a slender white concrete tower on top of a hill in the middle of the city. We’re talking about the 210-foot tall Coit Tower. It’s on top of Telegraph Hill and it’s been a welcoming beacon for visitors and residents since 1933.

If you appreciate San Francisco homes and their architecture, you will love the drive up to Coit Tower. As you drive up Telegraph Hill, you will appreciate some of the finest, and most expensive, homes that San Francisco has to offer.

At the tower, you can go up to the top of the observation deck, reached by elevator, where you will enjoy a 360-degree view of the city and bay. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge and beyond.

The history of Coit Tower is quite interesting. It’s named for Lillie Hitchcock Coit, an eccentric, wealthy patron of the city’s firefighters. When she died in 1929, she left a substantial amount “for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city I have always loved.” Using these funds, the tower was built as well as a monument for her beloved volunteer firefighters which sits in nearby Washington Square. Many believe that Coit Tower was designed to resemble a firehouse nozzle, but that was not the intent of the architect.

When you step inside the tower, you’ll be welcomed with amazing murals that were painted in 1934 by a group of artists employed by the Public Works of Art Project. They depict life in California during the Depression. In fact, some of the radical content became quite controversial during the longshoremen’s violent strike of 1934 and some of them were painted over and the tower padlocked for several months.

Outside the tower is just as fascinating as the inside with its trails that wind around the tower and down the hill. If you listen carefully, you will be able to hear chatter from some of the neighborhood’s most famous guests, the flock of parrots that live on Telegraph Hill. They even were featured in the 2005 film, “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.”

If you’re in the City sightseeing for the day, make sure to take the time to drive up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower. Day or night it’s worth the trip. Although the inside of the tower is closed at night, the views from the parking lot and trails are amazing with all the lights of the city.

There’s advance elevator ride tickets and reservations for guided docent led tours of the Tower murals available ahead of time to make your sightseeing day easier.

When in San Francisco, get calm and “at peace” with yourself at the Japanese Tea Gardens.

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