Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly The Artsy Step Climber
It is an absolute truth that we, people who live in San Francisco, detest tourists attractions with a passion. We avoid Fisherman's Wharf and Golden Gate Bridge unless we are obligated to go because of pestering friends and relatives who want to see the "real" San Francisco.
We groan at the thought of seeing and participating in an activity that is so plastic and commercial and always mutter in hushed whispers, "that's not my San Francisco" or something along those lines.
So in an effort to curtail those dreaded visits to Pier 39, Alcatraz, and everything else we don't already hate, SF Weekly will present weekly posts for the next couple months of local attractions that are easy on our patience and wallets with the added benefit of displaying the City by the Bay in a more colorful and diverse manner.
Sick of Lombard and the traffic that snarls the roadways of Russian Hill? We recommend checking out the mosaic stairway in the Golden Gate Heights neighborhood. Officially known as "The Tiled Steps", the project was commissioned San Francisco Parks Trust in 2003 as an effort to beautify the neighborhood and was completed August 27, 2005 with the help of more than 300 community volunteers.
Located at the intersection of 16th Avenue and Moraga, the staircase features a set of 163 steps with thousands upon thousands intricate mosaic tiles detailing flora, fauna, and the colorful richness of nature and art.
This work of art is not only a great view in and of itself but once you complete the hike, you will be greeted with a breathtaking view of the entire Sunset neighborhoods and Ocean Beach.
Think of this location as a cross breed of Lombard and Twin Peaks. What makes this better? No tour buses or vans are permitted in the area, so you won't have to deal with pushy people or crowds. Score!
Buses 28 and 66 leave you close to this community masterpiece but we advise riding the N-Judah line out to 16th and Judah, then walking south on 16th Avenue. This way, you will walk through a hidden staircase that is entrenched in a community garden area. After making your way up the first staircase, you'll be about a block away from the tiled stairway to San Francisco heaven -- then you can truly feel like you left your heart in San Francisco.