So I’m currently on my maiden trip to the USA, and gallivanting around San Francisco before I head off to San Diego and the San Diego Comic Convention on Tuesday. Of course, we all know the City by the Bay for the Golden Gate Bridge, impossibly steep hills and cable cars. In my case, I mainly know it from The Rock (1996), the Michael Bay movie with Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage. But one of my first stops here was a most happy discovery: a little known community art installation known as the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project.


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Constructed between 2003 and 2005, it consists of 163 separate mosaic panels running up the risers of the staircase located at 16th and Moraga, with images of birds, frogs, fish, squirrels and more. The project was the brainchild of artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher, and more than 300 residents from the surrounding neighbourhood. Climbing up the steps requires more than a bit of huffing and puffing, but as you can see, the results are fairly breathtaking.

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There is a personal, and cute, touch as well, with images dedicated to individuals who contributed to the project. Though I’m not sure if the contributors realised that this meant people would be constantly stepping all over them.

We all like to plan out a definite itinerary for our holidays, but as far as I’m concerned, this is the best part of a vacation: discovering things along the way that you didn’t know about before. Truthfully, we would not even have ventured to the Tiled Steps if not for the girlfriend’s family friends, Suzie and Laura, who kindly took us to lunch and then drove us to the Steps. And best of all, exploring the Steps did not cost us a single cent.

 

The Steps were calling out to me to strike this contemplative pose.

Have you been to San Francisco? What’s your favourite part of the city?

 

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project is located at Moraga and 15th. From Metro Powell Station, take the Light Rail towards Ocean Beach via Downtown. Get off at Judah Street and 28th Ave, then walk the rest of the way.