The Mysteries of Telegraph Hill: Coit Tower, Wild Parrots & Secret Gardens

San Francisco, CA

  • Coit Tower, icon of San Francisco.
  • We're heading up the Filbert Street Steps.
  • Filbert Street ends abruptly at the steep base of Filbert Street.
  • A street sign signifies the turnoff for Napier Lane.
  • House cats patrol the wooden stairs on Telegraph Hill.
  • Lillian Hitchcock Coit, honorary firefighter.
  • Coit Tower sits atop Telegraph Hill.
  • Disillusioned workers captured on the Coit Tower murals
  • "City Life" mural by Victor Arnautoff.
  • View of the Financial District skyline from the top of Coit Tower.
  • The top of Coit Tower is open-air.

1 hour
0.3 mi
Guided by Dennis
Dennis Franklin


From almost anywhere in San Francisco, you can see Coit Tower looming above the city from its perch on Telegraph Hill. Yet despite it's presence, Coit Tower's history, benefactor and design features are mysteries to visitors and locals alike. Join me at the base of the hill as we climb the stairs past the wild parrots, hidden gardens and antique homes to reach the tower. Along the way, we'll explore the people and stories behind San Francisco's oldest art deco icon.

About Your Guide

A young traveler exploring the world one destination at a time. Fan of college hockey, blueberry pancakes and architecture.

Go on this Sidewalk

Guide Points

  1. Filbert Street Steps

    Hopefully you didn't get on the Stair Master today. We've got 400 steps to the top of Telegraph Hill and it is completely worth it.

  2. Napier Lane

    Let's take a quick little break from the steps and walk on level ground.

  3. Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

    Yes, you read this right...There are parrots in the Telegraph Hill forest.

  4. 1360 Montgomery St

    We pause here on Montgomery St to see one of the most beautiful Art Deco apartment buildings in the city. You will immediately note the thr…

  5. Coit Tower - Exterior

    The 210-foot Art Deco masterpiece has served as an icon of San Francisco since 1933. Its construction was funded by Lillian Hitchcock Coit,…

  6. Coit Tower - Ground Floor Murals

    Let's head inside Coit Tower. You will immediately notice that the interior walls are painted with figures at work. Walk around the interio…

  7. Coit Tower - Observation Deck

    You cannot beat the views at the top of the observation deck. Find the end of the line winding around the interior wall of the ground floor…

Sidewalk Reviews

  1. 6 Reviews

    1. Anonymous

    Should be more on the views from the top, as that’s why most go up.

    Oct 13, 2020

    1. Lisa Townley Everingham

    Feb 3, 2020

    1. Rosalyn Tan

    Jul 4, 2019

    1. Anonymous

    Sep 28, 2018

    1. Anonymous

    Aug 12, 2018

    1. Jason

    I’m a native San Franciscan and pass Coit Tower everyday. I have to admit I learned a bunch of new things today. Thanks for sharing this walk of telegraph hill and coit tower. It was a treat to see the parrots up close too. 5 stars.

    Jul 3, 2018

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