San Francisco is a city of hills. Being a city of hills means it's also a city of staircases. Most staircases around the city are just a means to reach a destination (usually with an amazing view at the top), but every now and then the staircase itself is the destination.
Back in May the girls and I headed into the city to track down once such staircase.
The Hidden Garden Steps in the Sunset neighborhood is a gorgeous little staircase. Covered in mosaics depicting garden life, the staircase is located on 16th Avenue and Kirkham Street, just a few blocks away from the more well known 16th Avenue Tiled Steps. As the Hidden Garden Steps are relatively new (the mosaic project was finished in December 2013) and located in a residential area they are still somewhat "secret" and therefore, not as busy as their nearby counterpart. I think we saw two other people in the time that we spent at the staircase. In fact, we actually waited a while for a second person to appear so I could ask them to take our photo!
Ava and Lola enjoyed finding the details in the mosaic pattern as they climbed the staircase. They were happy to spot bees, flowers, ladybugs, dragonflies and butterflies. Lola was pretty impressed when she noticed that the shell of the snail at the start of the staircase is made up of rainbows. She loves rainbows.
The views from the top of the staircase are quite pretty. Looking straight ahead from the top of the staircase is a view over Golden Gate Park and the Bay beyond that. To the right are views of the surrounding neighborhood with the skyscrapers of the Financial District in the background. It was a grey day when we visited, but not foggy so we were in luck when it came to the views.
Mathilde was asleep in her baby carrier the whole time we were at the staircase so she missed out on seeing it. I'm sure she would have loved scaling the colorful steps. She's pretty obsessed with climbing stairs at the moment.
Mathilde will get her chance to climb on the colorful steps soon enough as I'm planning on taking the girls back there again before the end of the Summer break. I've got to admit that when we first visited the Hidden Garden Steps I didn't realize that there were two mosaic staircases in the neighborhood. We had been en route to Moraga Street to see the 16th Ave Tiled Steps when we came across this one and I presumed that it was one and the same and that I just had mixed up the address. So after we climbed up and back we headed back to Muni, not realizing that the more well known staircase was actually just two blocks away from the top of the Hidden Garden Steps. Oops!
I am really glad that we stumbled upon the "wrong" staircase though as it's so pretty, and being much quieter, it's a better place for the kids to explore the mosaic details. Had I gotten the directions right in the first place we would never have stumbled across this beautiful little spot.
I'm looking forward to heading back again very soon and hopefully Mathilde will be awake this time!