While the term “painted ladies” has become a broader characterization of repainted Edwardian and Victorian houses & buildings, there is one particular group of these houses that stands out from rest. The San Francisco Painted Ladies are a group of brightly colored Victorian Homes located at 710-720 Steiner Street across from Alamo Square Park.
The term was coined, or at least first used in published literature, by Michael Larsen & Elizabeth Pomada to describe the brightly painted Victorian houses in San Francisco. This was detailed in their book, published in 1978, titled “Painted Ladies: San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians” Historically, San Francisco architects and developers were fond of the style, with an estimated 48,000 houses built in the Victorian or Edwardian style between 1849 and 1915. Although earthquake and fires destroyed a lot of these homes in parts of the city, many are still standing today.
There are many “painted ladies” type houses all around San Francisco, however the row on Steiner Street are definitely the most well know, particularly due to the extreme care and artwork done to the facades as well as the incredible backdrop of downtown San Francisco behind them. You can get a great shot of the San Francisco Painted Ladies, also know as The Seven Sisters or Postcard Row, from Alamo Square Park that will certainly attract a lot of likes on your next Instagram post. If you want to see what the inside of these iconic houses look like, check out this post from The Bold Italic.
Fun Fact: The Painted Ladies were featured in the opening credits of the hit sitcom “Full House”, as well as being featured in over 70 different movies.
The Painted Ladies are a popular San Francisco attraction and one that should definitely be on your list if you are visiting the city. However, keep in mind that these homes, similar to the Grateful Dead House and Janice Joplin House in Haight-Ashbury, are private residences, so please be respectful when you visit.
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