Made famous by the opening credits of the late-’80s TV show Full House, San Francisco’s Painted Ladies are a prime example of the city’s candy-colored Victorian architecture. Also known as Postcard Row, the houses stretch uphill, boasting a view of the downtown skyline beyond.
The Painted Ladies sit directly across from Alamo Square, a centrally located park 11 blocks east of Golden Gate Park, making it easy to stop by on your way to Golden Gate Park if you’re coming from Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf. Because of certain bus restrictions, you’ll need to book a small-group tour by minivan or an alternative activity like a bike or walking tour if you wish to visit the Painted Ladies with a guide. Otherwise, put on your comfiest shoes and walk there from other popular neighborhoods like Haight-Ashbury, Hayes Valley, or Pacific Heights.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Painted Ladies are private homes where San Francisco residents live, so be respectful of their property by not posing for photos on the front steps or near the front doors.
- Street parking can be hard to find in this residential neighborhood, so give yourself time to circle the block if you’re driving; there are time limits, so check all signs carefully.
- Bring a jacket for the potential wind or fog that can roll across the city at any minute.
- Coaches and other large tour buses are not allowed to stop on the streets closest to the Painted Ladies, so be ready to do a little walking if you’re taking a big-bus tour.
How to Get There
The Painted Ladies are on Steiner Street between Grove and Hayes streets. City buses 5 (Pierce and McAllister stop), 21 (Hayes and Steiner stop), 22 (Hayes and Fillmore stop), and 24 (Divisadero and Hayes stop) will get you the closest, or take the N light rail line to Duboce Park, about a 7-block walk from Alamo Square.
When to Get There
The houses face west, so go just before sunset for a glowing photo op in the best light. Evening and early morning provide better chances for less crowds. If you want to do as the locals do, head to Alamo Square on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with a blanket, food, drinks, and a Bluetooth speaker for a relaxation session on the grass.
Exploring Alamo Square
After a multimillion dollar renovation that ended in 2017, Alamo Square features new paths, trees, landscaping, and an accessible restroom. The 12-acre park is home to a tennis court, playground, picnic tables, and plenty of green space. Dogs are allowed, making this a favorite place for locals to gather—the Tanner family included.