There are many things that make San Francisco a beautiful city. The combination of the calm waters of the bay against the rocky waves of the Pacific Ocean for example. The fantastic bridges that lead to the city, its breathtaking views ...
But what strikes people most is its splendid and unique architecture which offers unusual beauty at all times. From towering modern skyscrapers to tiny historic homes, San Francisco's buildings are gorgeous.
One of the most famous sets of beautiful buildings in the city is the row of houses known as The Painted Ladies or the “Seven Sisters”. This row of seven beautifully painted and lavishly decorated Victorian houses from 1890 flanks the east side of Alamo Square Park.
Victorian-style homes are among San Francisco's most recognizable architectural features. Not only are they perfectly beautiful, but these homes are steeped in the history and culture of the city, making them a must see for any visitor to San Francisco.
What are the Painted Ladies?
The term "Painted Ladies" refers to any set of Victorian or Edwardian homes that use more than 3 colors to show the architectural details of their design. There are numerous sections of the city where you can see these houses.
However, when they mention themselves as "The Painted Ladies" in San Francisco, most people immediately think of the row of Victorian houses located in Steiner Street in the Alamo Square neighborhood.
This particular row of colorful houses was built between 1892 and 1896. The date is particularly significant because it was before the famous 1906 earthquake and fire. There are not many buildings in the city that have withstood the earthquake and the fact that it is stunning and colorful Victorian homes makes them even more special!
These colorful houses have become famous as a symbol of San Francisco architecture. They have been featured in numerous television shows and films set in San Francisco.
One of the most common pop culture references for this set of houses is the old sitcom Full House, which featured this row of houses in its opening sequence. For those who have never heard of it, here is its acronym:
Full House isn't the only movie you may have seen these houses in! It is estimated that they have been used in over 70 movies and TV shows.
A great photo spot
This popular section of Painted Ladies is also sometimes known as Postcard Row. This is due to the fact that houses are often featured in photos and postcards showing the city. Their beautiful colors and their location in the city make them a really great photo spot. For many people, the best shot is when the sun sets in the west, casting a sunset glow over these homes and Alamo Square.
Alamo Square Park
The Painted Ladies are located within a neighborhood known as Alamo Square. The key thing to visit in this neighborhood, besides The Painted Ladies, is Alamo Square Park.
This city park is four blocks in size, but these four blocks sit on top of a hill, which means that you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city from here. If there is no fog from this park you can see both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge as well as the famous Transamerica Pyramid.
Other great architecture in the area
The Painted Ladies are the most famous houses in this area, but the neighborhood is full of other wonderful houses. It is worth taking a stroll around the neighborhood and having a look. If you head towards McAllister Street you will find a great area to explore some beautiful large villas.
They are not all as colorful as the Victorians, but their architecture is striking. You can also see the San Francisco City Hall (in Fulton Street, away from the park), which is a beautiful building in its own right!
How to get to the Painted Ladies
“The Painted Ladies” can be found on Steiner Street, just across the park on the east side, between Hayes Street and Grove Street (they are numbered 710-720). The easiest way to get here is by bus.
Depending on where you are in the city, you can take bus number 5, 21, 22 or 24 to get here. If you are near downtown San Francisco on Market Street then 21 is your best bet.Address: 712 Steiner St San Francisco , CA 94117
Excursions and tours to the Painted Ladies
Painted Ladies are included in several hop-on, hop-off tours. Choose your favorite tour and enjoy San Francisco's best attractions in peace and quiet.
Book tours, attractions and tourist activities online
A tip on the weather
Since you are at the top of a hill when you visit this part of San Francisco, there is a good chance that there is wind while you are there. It's always a good idea to dress in layers when visiting San Francisco and this is definitely a place you'll want to have a jacket with you!