Saturday, January 26, 2019

Amazing tiled steps of San Francisco

Even if you’ve been to San Francisco before, you might not know about the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps. I had not heard of this project until Larry and I were planning a spring trip to San Francisco. A little Internet research turned up this destination that we decided to check out on our last visit to the  California coast.
We learned that when neighbors decide to work together, beautiful things can happen. That’s how the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps came into being.

Two residents of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood envisioned the artistic project in 2003 as a means of connecting neighbors. The result is a colorful mosaic of sea-and star-themed designs flowing up 163 steps.
To fund the project, neighbors sponsored and then commissioned decorative handmade tiles created by artists in the shapes of animals, fish, and shells. These were incorporated into the mosaic, which is visible as you ascend the steps but not when you come down.  In 2005 the beautiul tile steps were opened in a city-wide celebration.

Our interest was piqued, so we set the GPS and drove there. As you park near Morango Street between 15th and 16th Avenues, be sure to heed warnings about possible car burglers (we didn’t have any problems). Also, if you plan to climb the steps and perhaps linger awhile, bring your own water as this is a residential neighbord without tourist services.

The amazing display is really unique with the overarching theme broken into sections that feature different colors and designs. Additionally, gardens on the south side of the mosaic stairway were privately donated, while a grant from the city funded gardens on the north side to further beautify the area.

At the top of the steps there is an uphill path across the street that will take you to a lookout spot. It’s worth the short walk to see excellent views of the city below.  We enjoyed discovering this unusual treat before heading to a picnic in Golden Gate Park.
Photos by Beverly Burmeier


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