Many sources say it’s Filbert Street with a 31.5% grade, but it turns out Filbert doesn’t even make the top 5!
San Francisco is considered by many to be the hilliest city in the US, and perhaps the world. Some of the angles are downright comical, making for wild photos and somewhat sketchy parking, especially by tourists (TURN those tires, people!). But where exactly is the steepest street in the city?
According to software engineer, computer scientist, and artist Stephen Von Worley, the actual steepest street in San Francisco is Bradford Street in Bernal Heights. It clocks in at a whopping 41% grade at the steepest bit, which is a 15-foot section above Tompkins Avenue.
Many sources point to Filbert Street between Leavenworth and Hyde as SF’s steepest, which has a 31.5% grade and is just 2 blocks down from Lombard Street. In fact, it still shows up when you search “steepest street in SF” on Google. But it turns out that 3 other streets have the same grade, and neither is even in the top 5 of SF’s steepest!
Worley compiled data from the National Elevation Dataset and an Open Streets Map grid, according to 7×7. In doing so, he created a new list of the steepest streets in San Francisco, which are the following:
1. Bradford above Tompkins (41% grade)
2. Romolo between Vallejo and Fresno (37.5% grade)
3. Prentiss between Chapman and Powhattan (37% grade)
4. Nevada above Chapman (35% grade)
5. Baden above Mangels (34% grade)
6. Ripley between Peralta and Alabama (31.5% grade)
7. 24th between De Haro and Rhode Island (31.5% grade)
8. Filbert between Hyde and Leavenworth (31.5% grade)
9. 22nd between Vicksburg and Church (31.5% grade)
10. Broadway above Taylor (31% grade)
11. 23rd above Carolina (31% grade)
The second-place runner-up to Bradford is Romolo between Vallejo and Fresno, which has a wonky sideways angle that drops 20 inches from left to right! Worley’s team clocked it at 37.5%.
Local YouTuber Joey Yee put together a video in June 2020 exploring several of these streets, if you want a quick tour.
Every San Franciscan has experienced the characteristic drops down streets with even a “measly” 15 or 20% grade. But have you been to Bradford above Tompkins, or anywhere else on this list? If not, here’s a handy map to get you started!