There are two types of people in the world: those who choose the stairs and those who opt to stand listless on the slow-moving escalator. Suffice it to say, San Francisco—with its bevy of breathtaking, beautiful, bold stairways—largely caters to those who are willing to go the extra step. Keen to explore the city’s more calf-straining attractions? Here are 10 of San Francisco’s most Instagram-worthy staircases.
A twisty, windy way to summit Telegraph Hill, the Filbert Street stairs offer charming views of the San Francisco waterfront. Be sure to keep your eyes (and ears) open; The staircase is famous for its colony of red conures that call the surrounding gardens home.
Lyon Street Steps
The Lyon Street steps are a wonderful piece of urban planning. The stairs start on Broadway Street and make their way from the Pacific Heights neighborhood all the way down to the Marina District.
Arelious Walker Stairway
The Arelious Walker Stairway, in the the Bayview District, is an opulent ode to Dr. Arelious Walker, a former pastor and advocate for the neighborhood. The intricate design features various cultural textiles and ceramics, including Adinkra cloth from Ghana, Native American painted pottery, and woven patterns from Central America and the Middle East.
At 16th and Moraga, you will find SF’s most famous mosaic stairway, the 16th Avenue Tiled Staircase. All 163 individually designed steps were completed in 2005.
One of the city's more recent art projects, the Lincoln Park Steps are situated off California Street where it dead ends into the Lincoln Park Golf Course. Although it's a smaller staircase, what the Lincoln Park Steps lack in size they more than makes up for in bright colors.
Starting at the bottom of Mason and Taylor Streets, the Vallejo Street Stairs cut through the charming Ina Coolbrith Park, offering sweeping views of the Bay Bridge and Coit Tower. Fun fact: the Vallejo Stairs are one of only a handful of large cobblestone staircases still intact in the city.
The Sand Ladder doubles as a vista point for San Francisco's gorgeous Pacific coast as well as a lower-body workout. One trek up the steep trail and you'll understand why it’s become famous as one of the toughest parts of the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.
San Francisco’s Hidden Garden Stairs are a hidden gem worth popularizing. Finished in 2013, the flora-and-fauna-inspired steps feature flowers, butterflies, leaves and other garden staples.
Located in Alta Plaza Park, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to enjoy a packed lunch or sip a coffee.