16th Ave. Tiled Steps Project (photo: Rashimi G)
Head to San Francisco’s Sunset District where you’ll find an eye-catching staircase known as the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project. Situated in a quiet residential neighborhood about 15 minutes from Golden Gate Park, the stairway is decorated with 163 separate mosaic panels, one for each riser. Over 2,000 handmade tiles and 75,000 fragments of tile, stained glass and mirror were used on the project. Look closely, and you’ll notice a sea-to-sky theme, with fish and sea shells near the base of the steps and birds, leaves and stars rising to the top.
A portion of the 16th Ave. Tiled Steps Project in San Francisco
The mosaic stairway was conceived in 2003 and the project was completed two years later. More than 300 neighborhood residents participated in the creation of the panels and over 220 community members sponsored the handmade tiles imbedded in the colorful mosaic. With a sharp eye, you’ll see the names of the sponsors interlaced into the design.
View of San Francisco from Grandview Park (photo: Yusaku K)
Once you’ve admired the artistic steps from afar, go ahead and climb them to the top, pausing occasionally to gaze at the magnificent Pacific Ocean view behind you. Want more views? For a spectacular 360-degree panorama of San Francisco and beyond, continue on to Grandview Park. To reach the park from the top of the mosaic steps, take the stairs on your right leading to the upper level of 15th Avenue. From here, continue on the old wooden steps on your right to Grandview Park. Tip: Wear comfy walking shoes (many, many stairs!) and a sweater or jacket for the breeze that welcomes you at the top of the park.
BE SMART: Prowlers know that tourists frequent this neighborhood and car break-ins can occur, even in daylight. Don’t tempt them! Remove valuables and belongings from your car and lock your car doors before exploring the mosaic steps. Also, pay notice to the parking and street cleaning signs to avoid being ticketed or towed.
The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project is located on Moraga St. between 15th & 16th Ave. in San Francisco.