Posted in North America, Travels, United States

Hiking Steiner Street: From the Ladies to the Water

Apparently the “Urban Hike” is a thing. I Googled it just now. With school out for a month and a break in my shifts at work, I decided I didn’t want to sit at home all day, so I spent a few hours walking around famous San Francisco, CA. I grew up not far from here, but I’ve never taken advantage of it. Before I continue, I know I didn’t see that many sights, but when you only have a few hours and decide, “Hey, I can totally walk across this city, no problem,” it doesn’t leave you with many options.

I brought up the “Urban Hike” thing because, if you’ve ever tried to walk the city, it can be quite a hike. The terrain can go flat to almost vertical in a block. I don’t consider myself to be in any kind of athletic shape, and I probably wouldn’t complain as much if I was.

Your legs burn as you walk up, and there’s always a possibility that you could roll down.

Anyways, I digress. If I’m not fighting traffic, I really like San Francisco. I took this day to spend a few hours walking to find two iconic city landmarks that I saw on TV as a kid, but never in real life.

The first of the two (only because it was closest to a BART station) were the Painted Ladies. And when I say “closest to a BART station,” I’m really talking about a 20-30 minute walk from the Civic Center station. The Painted Ladies are a set of houses you have undoubtedly seen on various San Franciscan postcards or, like me, during the opening credits of Full House. I don’t know why they’re called the “Painted Ladies,” because they’re obviously houses and don’t really resemble any women that I’ve met in my lifetime.

Painted Ladies
Front view after cropping out most of the cars and tourists.
Side view. I’m no photographer, and there was a lot of construction in the surrounding area. Plus, I haven’t got the skills to Photoshop this well.

There were quite a few tourists on this Monday morning, all of them self-guided. The adjacent Alamo Square Park is currently being remodeled, so there’s a lovely chain-linked fence advertising this change and patches of dirt and sand where, I’m assuming, Danny Tanner and his family sat to enjoy their picnic at one time.

There’s really not much to do here except look at these houses. If you like architecture, you’ll probably find it more interesting than I did. After some time chatting with random tourists and unintentionally walking through various photographs and selfies, I decided to head to landmark #2: 2640 Steiner Street. Even though both of these locations are geographically on the same street, they are FAR from each other. I had the whole morning to walk around, but if you’re not keen on walking that much, get a ride (it’s a 30 minute walk versus at 10 minute drive).

If you don’t recognize that address, none of my family did, and we’ve watched this movie hundreds of times throughout my childhood, so don’t feel bad.

2640 Steiner Street

It’s the house from Mrs. Doubtfire!

I LOVE this movie so much that I bought it from the $5 bin at Target. It never quite occurred to me that I could visit the house in real life. I just looked up the address on a whim and saw it marked as the “Mrs. Doubtfire House” online. How did I know the address? They say it in the movie. I have LITERALLY watched this movie hundreds of times. As have other people, as a Google search with inform you. Side note: I found this online post where the author actually was able to meet and speak with the owner of the home (it’s an old post, so I don’t know if it’s the current owner). The post also has some great information about other Mrs. Doubtfire locations around the city.

This area is in the city’s quiet Pacific Heights residential neighborhood, and there was only one other group of tourists besides myself this morning (I had to wait for a while to get a picture without one of them standing in front of it). I did feel like an über-creepster taking pictures of someone’s house, so I didn’t stay long. BeeTeeDubs — there are two trees growing in front of the house now that weren’t in the movie (or were cut down for the movie), so it’s hard to get good pictures of the front of the house like were shown in the movie. I settled for two side views.

Also, this landmark is a Pokemon gym (yes, I am that person). It was held by Team Mystic during my visit. Not that I had anything to do with it. I may be that person, but I’m not that person.

No one eating begonias here.

With my day’s mission accomplished, I decided it was time to head home. I am not familiar with anything away from Fisherman’s Wharf or Union Square, but I could see the water from where I was, so I came up with the genius idea to walk towards the water, and then, once at the water, walk towards more familiar areas. I decided to find myself a way to get to Marina, which I know is geographically about a straight shot from this address, but whether Steiner Street actually took me to the water, I did not know.


SPOILER ALERT: It doesn’t. It ends at Chestnut Street, where I refueled at a Starbucks (well-kept restroom, yay!), and worked my way through more residential streets.

All in all, a nice day, a great “hike,” and I got out of the city in time to beat rush hour (another plus). I learned that this city has landmarks everywhere, not just in their famous downtown area. Definitely worth exploring more.

Oh, and if you’re wondering …


… I did make it to the water.




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