Hidden Garden Steps, San Francisco: Discover A Stairway To Happiness

Hidden Garden Steps, San Francisco: Discover A Stairway To Happiness
| 2 min read

If you are an art lover and find yourself in San Francisco, do not miss the Hidden Garden Steps. This amazing art project is a tiled stairway with beautiful artwork portraying butterflies, plants and flowers in a psychedelic design.

Located at 16th Avenue in the outskirts of the city, the stairway is rather tricky to track. There is nothing else in the area, so this requires you to make the journey particularly to see those steps. Nevertheless, it is a very nice way to spend an afternoon in this populous city.

What exactly is the Hidden Garden Steps?

hidden garden steps, san francisco: discover a stairway to happiness | what exactly is the hidden garden steps?

Located off the beaten track, the Hidden Garden Steps promises you a stairway to happiness. The steep flight of colorful 163 steps that unfold in front of you was transformed from plain concrete into a work of art. Each step consists of embossed tiles, which form psychedelic patterns such as butterflies and flowers.

The project was a private initiative taken by people who live in the neighborhood in collaboration with local artists. It is an excellent example of community cohesion that transformed the dull and grey environment into a splash of colour and beauty. The campaign was communicated through the platform of Kickstarter asking for funds.

As an hommage to the people who financially supported this initiative, each step has names of the artists and the citizens who helped towards the realization of the project.

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The creation of the project

hidden garden steps, san francisco: discover a stairway to happiness | the creation of the project

The project was realized on December 2013 after a local initiative by a group of artists with the encouragement and cooperation of the neighborhood.

They created a crowdfunding campaign with the motto: “Will you help us turn San Francisco’s dark, damp, and slightly scary 16th Avenue steps into a vibrantly colorful Hidden Garden tile mosaic?”. Their goal was to collect 5,000 USD, which they finally achieved. Over 600 donors gave to the steps, mostly from the local community and California, but also from fifteen other states and the District of Columbia, and internationally.

The basement gardens feature California plants and wildlife. Most of the plants are donated by San Francisco County and neighborhood gardens.

Once you find the Stairway, you will need at least twenty minutes to explore, photograph and walk up the steps. This place presents great photo opportunities. Once you go up, more images will be revealed and the more amazing photos you can shoot. Do not miss the giant flowers that are revealed as you go up.

Note that apart from the Stairway, the neighborhood does not offer any other things around. It is an urban area with houses.

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Get rewarded when you ascend to the top

Source: Photo by user David Spencer used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Try to ascend the Steps to the top and see new patterns revealed the further you go, plus you will end up at Grand View Park where you will have a stunning view of the city that reaches up until the ocean!

The Park will reward you with a breathtaking panorama of the city. Once you get up there your sight can reach till the ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge and up to Twin Peaks. Try to get there for the sunset and admire the beautiful colours of light over San Francisco. Due to its hard location, usually it isn’t too crowded. Do not expect to find any cafes or restaurants. The Park is simply for sightseeing and uphill exercise. You may consider packing lunch or some light snacks here for a picnic.

To get to the Hidden Steps, take the bus N-Owl from Haight St & Clayton St towards La Playa & Judah and get off at 16th Avenue. As you descend from the bus, you will notice the colorful steps on the south.

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When a local initiative transforms a neighborhood into a masterpiece

While in San Francisco, there are tons of things that you can do. However, don’t miss the chance to visit San Francisco’s Hidden Garden Steps situated at 16th Avenue. This public art community project is unique, fascinating and reflects the local sense of community.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Travelling since 1999, I created my blog so my memories won't fade as time goes by. Passionate about travelling and music festivals, I try to combine them both. My motto is "I travel to live, I...Read more

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