San Francisco’s Best Steps

Getting Your Steps In San Francisco Style

Are you someone who loves the outdoors or is always seeking inventive ways to achieve your daily 10,000-step goal?

Well, if you reside in (or are visiting) San Francisco, we have good news for you! San Francisco provides numerous opportunities to embrace the outdoors and stay active. Did you know that the city boasts nearly 200 public staircases? These staircases not only connect different neighborhoods but also act as entrances to breathtaking views, showcasing art displays, and fostering community collaborations.

And for those in search of a challenging workout, take my word for it – nothing adds excitement to a routine neighborhood walk like a robust journey up and down one of these iconic staircases.

Today we’re going to take you around the city, so we can explore the best spots to get your steps in! 


Lyon Street Steps 

We’re going to begin our stairway adventure at the Lyon Street Steps in the picturesque Pacific Heights neighborhood—one of our favorites. 

The Lyon Street steps carry a storied history dating back to the early 1900s, serving as a pedestrian link between the Lyon Street neighborhood and the Presidio. What distinguishes these steps is the breathtaking panorama that unfolds at the summit. While ascending, you’ll marvel at sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the city skyline.

Yet, it’s more than just the view. The steps themselves are a masterpiece, featuring meticulously designed gardens, vibrant flowers, and refined architectural details. Enveloped by majestic Victorian mansions and the lush greenery synonymous with Pacific Heights, this neighborhood radiates sophistication and allure.

Whether you seek a scenic workout or a tranquil spot to pause, unwind, and soak in the scenery, make sure the Lyon Street Steps are a priority on your must-visit list. 


Filbert Street Steps

Next, let’s explore the Filbert Street steps nestled in the enchanting Telegraph Hill neighborhood. Here, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush greenery and blooming flowers, with charming homes and artworks lining the staircases.

As you ascend, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay, Coit Tower, and the city below. It’s an ideal spot to pause, take in the view, and, most importantly, catch your breath (these stairs are no joke).

The neighboring houses and quaint streets exude an old-world charm, paying homage to the architectural heritage of San Francisco and the unique character of the Telegraph Hill neighborhood. The homes bordering these steps, like those on Napier Lane, add to the charm.

Fun fact: Napier Lane is the only boardwalk in San Francisco. Residents here face the unique requirement of walking up to 200 steps just to reach their front doors – quite a feat! However, once inside the homes, the views are truly unbeatable.


Baker Beach

Baker Beach holds a special place in our heart, combining the allure of the Golden Gate Bridge (views here are fantastic!) with the serenity of the beach.

Consider this unique staircase as a hidden gem. The Baker Beach Sand Ladder consists of two hundred sand stairs, providing breathtaking coastal views during your walk or workout.

These stairs form a segment of the Pacific Coast Trail, consisting of a 210-foot pole tied together to create the stairs leading down to North Baker Beach from Lincoln Boulevard.

While in this area, keep in mind that this section of Baker Beach occasionally attracts the occasional nudist. Simply divert your eyes and soak in the surroundings. Don’t let this deter you from exploring this fantastic location, offering a beautiful setting, a unique setup, and easy access.

Make sure to add this spot to your list of staircases to visit. 


16th Avenue (Golden Gate Heights)

Our next staircase stop brings us to the Mosaic Tile steps in the Golden Gate Heights neighborhood.

Comprising thousands of mosaic tiles arranged to form intricate patterns and designs, these steps incorporate motifs inspired by nature, history, and the spirit of the city.

What makes these steps truly remarkable is the community effort behind their creation. Residents and volunteers joined forces, dedicating their time and creativity to transform these ordinary stairs into a stunning public artwork. It stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and the love that people have for their neighborhood.


Lincoln Park (32nd Ave)

Sitting at the edge of Lincoln Park, the Lincoln Park steps at 32nd Avenue serve as an entry point to the Lincoln Park Golf Course and Lincoln Park Playground, acting as a gateway to the Legion of Honor and Land’s End, dating back to the early 1900s.

Recently undergoing a complete design and structural renovation, including a stunning mosaic tile treatment, these (52) steps showcase vibrant colors. Although not as tall as the other three mosaic tile staircases in San Francisco, they boast a wide and fantastic design.

Don’t miss out on the Lincoln Park steps – they are colorful and captivating, primarily adorned in green, yellow, red, and orange tiles, creating gorgeous patterns inspired by historic photos of the Sutro baths and the buildings of the San Francisco World’s Fair.


Hidden Garden Steps

Another mosaic staircase, set in the inner Sunset neighborhood, is the Hidden Garden Steps. Completed in 2013, this staircase is also divided into several sets of steps. Each section features a design with flowers, butterflies, leaves, and other garden-inspired elements.

Within the unique design, you’ll discover almost a dozen different sections, making the Hidden Garden Steps a captivating addition to San Francisco’s mosaic staircase collection.


Athens Avalon Greenspace

Last but certainly not least, we have the Athens Avalon Greenspace. What sets this location apart is a sense of community, stewardship, and pride in San Francisco. You’ll love the story of how these steps came together.

In the late summer of 2008, a group of neighbors living near the intersection of Athens and Avalon streets began to talk about turning the hillside at the intersection into a garden. Volunteers drew up the first plans, including the steps. Neighbors met on the first Saturday of every month for year after year to clean it up.

Funding came by way of pretty much anything from public improvement money to garage sales, if you can believe it. The community group spent a decade turning a scrubby hill into a green space that does not disappoint.


Beauty in Unexpected Places 

As you can see, San Francisco is a city that embraces creativity and diversity. Honestly, it’s unlike any other city. We love being reminded that beauty can be found in unexpected places and that art has the power to elevate our everyday experiences. If you’d like to see more public art, you’ll definitely enjoy our murals video and exploring Golden Gate Park with us.

For more information about San Francisco, check out our other videos. If you’re enjoying our content, please make sure to like, subscribe, and comment so that we continue making content you like.

And if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, we’d love to be your go-to real estate resource. Please contact us if you need help.

January 10, 2024
Living In San Francisco
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