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Coit Tower, San Francisco

4.0
Built to beautify the city with the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, Coit Tower was completed in 1933. The murals that wrap the tower's rotunda were commissioned by the Public Works of Art Project as part of the New Deal that same year. Murals in the rotunda are open to the public, but those in the stairway are only accessible on Saturday mornings via tours arranged with San Francisco City Guides. The inside was originally intended as a restaurant; however, it was converted into an exhibition space before the tower's opening. Take the elevator to the top for views over the city and bay. To visit Coit Tower and other attractions in San Francisco, use our San Francisco trip planner.
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Coit Tower Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
3,778 reviews
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4.1
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  • San francisco at 360°, the views and the breeze are incredible, I made the journey on foot from the pier 39 and they must really have good condition to go, clear that can be reached without problem by motorbike or car also, worth.
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  • The staff/volunteers are very nice and the experience at the tower was worth it. The 360 degree views of the city are impressive.  more »
  • Don't miss Coits Tower its fun and its free lovely views across San Francisco ,good parking available and I tink you can get there by public transport  more »
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  • I had no idea about Coit Tower before I got to San Fran and I'm so glad I stumbled across it by just spotting it whilst walking about and then doing a little google search to find out what it was. You really do get the best views of the City from up there. If you walk to the tower, be prepared to walk some steep hills to get there but it's worth the effort. Once you are there you get a ticket for the elevator to the top which I believe was $8 per person, queue up (for us it was about a 20min wait but I hear it can be much longer) and then have access to the 360 views.
  • Been here numerous times and I cannot get tired of it. The walk up to Coit tower from Montgomery or union street is just beautiful. Walking through the neighborhoods of SF and getting sneak peek views of Bay Bridge as you go up. It's just beautiful. Once up there (oh, and there will be steps to get up there!!!) the views are so rewarding. Breathtaking glimpses of Golden Gate, Alcatraz, Bay Bridge and everything in between. I recommend to visit this spot during the day, sunset and post sunset time for three different experiences. Have not yet visited the tower from within though. Maybe one day when it's not super crowded. Make sure to enter the tower from different point of entries and exit through the secret gardens that are all over. This makes the experience even more rewarding :)
  • Very friendly staff and great views. We didn't know how to access the 2nd floor murals that they mentioned, but we still had an enjoyable time. Elevator operator was very funny! We walked a good 20 minutes (mostly uphill) to get there and it was worth it!
  • For the best views of San Francisco, this is the place to be.  I've taken some great pictures here over the years, both at night (not in the tower because it shuts down at night) and during the day.  There have also been those days where I skipped coming here altogether because the "fog" was so thick but that never stopped the tourists from coming.   There is only one road into this place, which is Telegraph Hill Boulevard via Lombard Street.  Cars can be backed up waiting for spots to open during peak times.  I usually find a spot down the street and walk up. Coming here during the weekends is filled with nothing but tourists and it can be a challenge just to try and find a parking spot, "anywhere."  I usually make it a habit visit this place during the weekdays where it's still crowded, but nowhere near the weekend crowds, especially on a nice days. Inside this tower are murals created by 26 artists during the depression era's of the 1930's.  The murals depict the struggles of the working class during that period in time. Artists paintings from the first floor who were "Communist Party Members" painted murals of striking workers of the Depression era.  Paintings from the second floor were artists not affiliated with the Communist Party and their murals reflected scenes of leisure life during that time period. My favorite mural is that from Victor Arnautoff's "City Life" which shows a crowd scene in downtown San Francisco.  It shows an accident in the background with someone being robbed and a Postman picking up mail.  It shows a diverse mixture of people that include, blue collar workers, navy sailors, and longshoremen as they seem to be in a hurry in getting to somewhere. Coit Tower has an observation tower and for a fee, your packed into a small old time elevator "like sardines" until you reach the top floor.  I also remembered climbing the stairs years ago before it was closed and admired the murals on the way up, but make no mistake, by the time you reach the top, you're winded, or maybe that's just me!  A friend of mine told me that the stairwell access has been closed.   Anyway, the elevator ride is worth it because when you exit you're treated to this spectacular view of the city in all its glory.  I usually bring my binoculars with me to take in all the views.  Of course this isn't possible on those "foggy days."  You can admire the Bay Bridge, downtown San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz, Angel Island, Treasure Island, and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.   Anytime I come into San Francisco, I "always carry a jacket or sweater" and coming here is a perfect example of that because at the top of Coit Tower it's downright cold!
  • Incredible views of the city. The murals on the bottom floor are free to view, but it does cost to go to the top. It's worth doing if you've never been to San Francisco. The whole city is visible in 360.

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Where to stay in San Francisco

From inexpensive hostels in quiet residential areas to high-end hotels near the city center, San Francisco has accommodations for every budget. Key consideration is what kind of neighborhood you want to stay in. You'll find luxury hotels in Union Square, which has prime shopping, is near theaters, and is on the cable car line. Many hotels are in the northeastern portion of the city, near the tourist-driven neighborhoods of Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf, both easily explored on foot. To get away from the tourist crowds, consider the smaller inns and family-run bed and breakfasts in some of the city's more charming neighborhoods, such as Noe Valley or Pacific Heights. There are also boutique hotels scattered around town. Avoid staying in the Tenderloin. If you plan to have a car with you, ask about parking availability and fees. Parking is often difficult and expensive.
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