Everywhere You Look: A Full House Fan Explores San Francisco Landmarks from the ShowHeader photo: Netflix TV Features Fuller House
Full House was more than a beloved family sitcom. The sugary series provided a fun escape from reality as the Tanner family hugged out their problems on ABC every Friday night. It’s not hyperbole to say that it became something of a symbol for my generation. Mostly, though, I believe what made Full House one of the defining shows of its era is that it had so much heart. At 11, I was still mourning the loss of my dad when I discovered Full House in its third (and I think its best) season. The fact that the Tanner girls could be so jovial after the loss of a parent was puzzling to me, but I wanted to be happy again, too. I watched the show in wonder, and I know I wasn’t alone as many kids did the same.
My own love of Full House (and Fuller House, its equally fabulous sequel) set me on a quest to explore the real-life locations on my recent trip to San Francisco. The fact that the show itself was primarily filmed on a soundstage in Los Angeles didn’t stop me. After all, a lot of the opening and closing credit sequences were filmed in and around San Francisco.
The Golden Gate Bridge
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
In the first shot of the opening credits, the endearing, initial glimpse we got of the Tanners was on the Golden Gate Bridge, so it seemed fitting that the first stop on my Full House adventure was the bridge. I didn’t think I’d be so awestruck by it, but it wowed me in a big way. “Whoa, baby!” as DJ and Stephanie might say in unison.
“Everywhere You Look,” the Full House theme song performed by Jesse Frederick, was the soundtrack to my visit to the Golden Gate Bridge. At least, it played on repeat in my head. Like you probably have, I’d seen countless photos of the bridge, but in person it is majestic in a way that makes you want to just gape at it. (I’d recommend not being in the driver’s seat.) The tall towers (which are 746 feet high), bold International Orange color, and distinct style of the Golden Gate Bridge are all part of the “wow” factor.
The Painted Ladies
Location: 710 to 720 Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square Park
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
The Painted Ladies are a row of Victorian homes that can be seen from Alamo Square Park on the opening credits of Full House. They are all over San Francisco merchandise. In fact, this line of homes is often referred to as “Postcard Row,” perhaps because you can find their image on many postcards as well as everything from Christmas ornaments to pens.
Like many who love the Tanners, I first discovered them on the opening credits of Full House, and you can see them in Fuller House, too—in a cutaway in the first episode, for instance, among other times in both series. As I walked by the homes, the detail and beauty of the architecture made it clear why they’re are so popular among visitors from around the world.
According to The Bold Italic, the residents of the Painted Ladies are plagued with drunk people calling for the Tanners in the middle of the night. As I visited during the afternoon, I got no such show. Sure, maybe I would have shouted for Uncle Jesse, but as any real Tanner fan knows, the house from the show is elsewhere in the city.
The ‘Full’ House Itself
Location: 1709 Broderick Street
Photo: Robin Raven
Wake up, San Francisco! Here’s a fun fact. The real townhome that’s featured as the cozy residence of the Tanner clan was purchased by Full House creator Jeff Franklin in 2016. At the time, he told The Hollywood Reporter that he planned to have it ready by September 2017, and he hoped to bring the cast up for a party to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the show’s premiere.
I didn’t see any cast members during my visit, but I did see a house that looked so familiar to me that it gave me the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when going back to a place of great memories. It’s a testament to how beloved the show is that it’s typical for hundreds of fans stop by the house in the course of a day.
I only saw the outside. If you’re curious about what the “real” inside of the house looks like, Zillow has a listing. Considering that Franklin has since bought the home, though, I like to imagine that he’s redone the whole thing in true Tanner style, complete with pink bunnies on the wallpaper and Mr. Bear on display. He did mention that he had plans to make it look like the beloved family really lived there.
Unfortunately, it seems that Full House fans were a little too overzealous for some neighbor’s tastes. (I swear it wasn’t me causing a ruckus. I’m saving that for when I someday see John Stamos in person.) There’s now a sign out front that asks the show’s fans to not make the neighbors say, “How Rude!” At least they know how to get us fans to calm down. Catchphrases make us pliable. Cut. It. Out.
Alamo Square Park
Location: Steiner Street & Hayes Street
Next, I enjoyed a picnic in Alamo Square Park. It’s the quintessential Tanner thing to do. With my veggie burger from VeganBurg and my dream of recreating another part of the show in my heart, I set out a blanket and savored the cool wind in my hair. I sat in full view of the Painted Ladies, of course. I wasn’t the only one to have this idea. It’s a popular spot for picnics and relaxing in the middle of the day.
Earlier this year, Alamo Square Park underwent a $5.3 million renovation, but you know, I was hunting nostalgia, so I wasn’t seeking big changes. Whatever happened to predictability? Luckily, the old magic of the park is still very much the same as it was on television. There are simply more trees and an overall more polished look to the park.
As I savored my lunch, I smiled. When I watched Full House as a little girl, I dreamed of growing up to be a writer. That’s exactly what I did, and writing was what led me to San Francisco for my Full House adventure. No matter what loss you face, joy and laughter can go on, and dreams can still come true. That was always the biggest lesson of Full House to me, and I felt joyful as I explored the park and other sites from the show.
Other Locations of Interest
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Although those are the four major Full House spots to hit during a trip to San Francisco, you may also want to go to some of the key locations featured in the show or opening credits over the years. Other spots include Fisherman’s Wharf, the Aquatic Park beach, Coit Tower, and Lombard Street. You’ll probably also want to ride the cable cars like the Tanners do in the opening of the show.
Ready for More of the Tanners?
You don’t have to come all the way to San Francisco to get your Tanner fix. The third season of Fuller House is set to debut on Netflix on September 22. Yes, that’s the 30-year anniversary of the series debut of Full House. It’s coming full circle like the Tanner family when they tried learning how to square dance for Jesse and Rebecca’s wedding.
There’s more good news. While the first two seasons of Fuller House had only 13 episodes, Season Three will have 18 episodes. Let me just say, “Have Mercy”!