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Northern California

Snap those painted ladies at San Francisco's Alamo Square

 (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Why: When you close your eyes and picture a tidy row of Victorian houses in San Francisco, these are the ones you see. That's not only because of a zillion postcards and screen-savers but also because this immaculate block on Alamo Square was in the opening sequence for the family sitcom "Full House” (1987-1995). Like those everyday '70s Americans who were eerily compelled to visit Wyoming's Devils Tower in  "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," many a millennial traveler is drawn here to snap a selfie, ironic or not. 

What: These seven Victorian and Edwardian houses aren't quite mansions, but they sit handsomely at the foot of Alamo Square Park's grassy slopes. That means, most of the time, it's easy to get a photo of the houses with the city skyline lined up behind them. (If you've got a long lens to compress the distance, that's even better.) 

But here's the hitch. The city has closed most of the park for renovation and fenced most of it off. As consolation to photo-chasing tourists -- and I probably saw two dozen of them in less than an hour at the site -- the city has set aside an observation point so some shots (like the ones I've posted here) are still possible. City officials say the renovation should be done this spring, but you know how these things can go.

Anyway, if you're making the Alamo Square pilgrimage, you might want to reward yourself with a bite at the nearby Alamo Square Seafood Grill (as I did) or one of the eateries on Divisadero Street, such as the Mill, a pioneer on the hipster toast scene.

Where: The 700 block of Steiner Street, between Grove and Hayes streets, San Francisco, 389 miles northwest of downtown L.A.

How much: Free. Main dishes at Alamo Square Seafood Grill run $15-$23.

Info: San Francisco Parks Alliance and Alamo Square Neighborhood Assn.

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