San Francisco is a very popular setting for movies. The city’s unique geography and iconic architecture make it an interesting place to set a story. The most famous landmarks appear in the usual roundup of San Francisco movies (Coit Tower in Dirty Harry, the Golden Gate Bridge and Mission Dolores in Vertigo, the Palace of Fine Arts and Alcatraz in So I Married an Axe Murderer and The Rock) and you would have visited them anyway, movies or no movies. However, there are a few places, however, that are worth a visit just because they were made famous by a movie or TV show.
The first stop is the “Full House” house near Alamo Square. It’s not far from the Asian Art Museum, so consider this detour if you are headed there. Follow the path up the hill on the southeast corner of the park and voila – there is the shot from the opening credits. The row of Victorian houses in the foreground and downtown behind it. Snap a picture and think of Uncle Jesse.
From there, head six blocks east and five blocks north (you brought your compass with you, right?) to Gough Street between Eddy and Ellis Streets. Here is one of the streets where the famous car chase scene from Bullitt was filmed. In case you haven’t seen the movie yet, Steve McQueen’s 1968 Ford Mustang pursues a 1968 Dodge Charger through San Francisco’s steep streets in one of the most exciting car chase scenes of all time. Kind of makes pushing your Subaru to work seem a little tame, doesn’t it?
Further north in the city’s Russian Hill neighborhood is Jimmy Stewart’s apartment in perhaps the most famous San Francisco movie, Vertigo. His house is at 900 Lombard Street on the northwest corner of Lombard and Jones. Many tourists pass this on their way up to the Crookedest Street in the World, but few stop for pictures.
Do you have a favorite San Francisco movie? If so, consider making your own itinerary and retrace the steps of the characters with a camera and your imagination and keep us posted in the comments.
Visiting these places at when it is dark will make for a poor photograph. Also, Russian Hill is tall and steep so wear good walking shoes.
These are all near or on the way to something you were already going to see, so why not stop, snap a photo and text it to the movie buff in your life.