Fodor's Expert Review Coit Tower

North Beach Free

Among San Francisco's most distinctive skyline sights, this 210-foot tower is often considered a tribute to firefighters because of the donor's special attachment to the local fire company. As the story goes, a young gold rush–era girl, Lillie Hitchcock Coit (known as Miss Lil), was a fervent admirer of her local fire company—so much so that she once deserted a wedding party and chased down the street after her favorite engine, Knickerbocker No. 5, while clad in her bridesmaid finery. When Lillie died in 1929, she left the city $125,000 to "expend in an appropriate manner . . . to the beauty of San Francisco." You can ride the elevator to the top of the tower to enjoy the 360° view of the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge; due north is Alcatraz Island. Most visitors saunter past the 27 fabulous Depression-era murals inside the tower that depict California's economic and political life, but take the time to appreciate the first New Deal art project, supported by taxpayer money.... READ MORE

Among San Francisco's most distinctive skyline sights, this 210-foot tower is often considered a tribute to firefighters because of the donor's special attachment to the local fire company. As the story goes, a young gold rush–era girl, Lillie Hitchcock Coit (known as Miss Lil), was a fervent admirer of her local fire company—so much so that she once deserted a wedding party and chased down the street after her favorite engine, Knickerbocker No. 5, while clad in her bridesmaid finery. When Lillie died in 1929, she left the city $125,000 to "expend in an appropriate manner . . . to the beauty of San Francisco." You can ride the elevator to the top of the tower to enjoy the 360° view of the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge; due north is Alcatraz Island. Most visitors saunter past the 27 fabulous Depression-era murals inside the tower that depict California's economic and political life, but take the time to appreciate the first New Deal art project, supported by taxpayer money. It's also possible to walk up and down (if you're in shape): a highlight is the descent toward the Embarcadero via the Filbert Steps, a series of stairways that are a shaded green oasis in the middle of the city.

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Quick Facts

San Francisco, California  94133, USA

415-362–0808

sfrecpark.org

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Free; elevator to top $9

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