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#8. Filbert Steps

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San Francisco is a city of stairways. Some are stone or brick steps built into hillsides, and others are built wooden steps with decked landings. The Filbert Steps is the one I know best, and it’s a combo.

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The steps begin a point not far from the Embarcadero and rise to the top of Telegraph Hill, where sits the tubular edifice of Coit Tower, another of my favorite SF landmarks.

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A public garden nips along with them, along with antique wooden houses and decks built into the hillside, especially around picturesque Napier Lane. Who lives here? Good grief, they’re lucky. I think some of this is private garden, but it all jumbles together, and I’m sure the same people care for some of both.

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My first impression of San Francisco was the Tales of the City series, which I read the summer of 1998, many years after they’d been published. I didn’t see the city in the flesh until almost 10 years later, but the Filbert Steps fit exactly within the mental parameters I’d painted from having read those books.

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(I know the site used in the miniseries was in Russian Hill, but still.)

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Oh, and the views are great too, if the fog lifts. These pictures are from two different times of year, and two different years.

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I think you need to go there, is all I’m saying.

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And every city could use some magical botanical steps at its heart. Why not?

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