Mosaic Steps on 16th Avenue in San Francisco

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, located in the Southern end of San Francisco, about 15 minutes from Golden Gate Park is a neighborhood wide project where people got together and donated to change 163 steps into a work of art.

When I visited San Francisco this was high on my list to experience and you can see why in the photos, as the area draws a crowd all day long and is a good picture of the artistic community that San Francisco creates.


  • Free
  • 163 steps
  • Near 1700 16th Ave (between Noriega St & Moraga St)


Inspired by the famous stairs in Rio De Janero, these steps were meticulously created over a summer to build a beautiful walkway for the whole city to enjoy. According to the website over 220 neighbors sponsored handmade animal, bird and fish name tiles embedded within the mosaic and over 300 people helped to put them in.

The Mosaic Steps

To get to the Mosaic Steps you would take the bus from Golden Gate Park and then get off around 16th avenue. Approaching from 16th avenue you can immediately see the Mosaic Steps as they ascend to Grand View Park.

After walking up the two blocks of steep streets (like everything in San Francisco) you will reach the base of the steps.

You are free to explore this area to your heart’s content. I spent a lot of time waiting for the perfect moment to snap a photo when no one was on the stairs (due to the popularity this took a while). From there I just proceeded up the steps, taking in the different patterns and trying to guess as to what story they were trying to create with this art. Here are a couple of pictures of the different sections.

I thought it was interesting to take a photo and turn it black and white, even though it takes away the beautiful color, it does pull out the design a little more.

Once you reach the top of the steps you will be pretty far above where you got off the bus. I would highly suggest continuing the climb up to Grand View Park as the view is massive, but even if you don’t this is a pretty good view as well. That white part in the distance is the ocean, the brightness just over exposed my camera.

Like the wave organ, I really enjoyed checking out the beautiful and unique Mosaic Steps. I really cannot recommend more a trip to see them if you are into artistic endeavors like this. Make sure you walk to the top of the Grand View Park as well (the view is Grand! haha), but I will write about that in another post. Get directions below and leave a comment if you feel so inclined.

Get Directions

Center map

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  • buzzgirl

    16th Avenue and 16th Street are two different places in San Francisco. Your title and url are both wrong.

    • Thanks for the update I fixed it!

  • Nice article Josh.

    Actually having someone on the steps doesn’t make for such a bad photo. This photo has been shared, sadly without credit, in several round ups of painted stairs around the world. I wanted to post it on my G+ after seeing it on Facebook recently. But since I don’t like to post photos without being able to credit the photographer, I found yours and used your article.

    I’m glad that your commenting platform allows photos to be posted.

    • Thanks for the comment and for giving credit to photographers, we appreciate that! I agree that picture is awesome and it does add a lot to the photo to have the person walking the stairs.

  • Kip Kelly

    Hi Josh – I gotta tell you; your photo made my week!! I found one of your tiled steps pictures on Jigsaw Planet and was so taken with your photo, I just had to share it with my step-daughter. She (Kathryn) has been a San Francisco lover for at least 30 years, has been there more times than I can count, is a fantastic photographer and knows every square inch of that wonderful city! EXCEPT THOSE TILED STEPS!! Imagine my astonishment when she told me she’d never heard of or seen them!! Now she’s probably chomping at the bit to get back there to make some new photo’s. Thank you, for giving my stepdaughter something new to look forward to and for making me giddy with the knowledge that I finally found something San Francisco related that she didn’t know about and can’t wait to see. LOVE your blog and your wonderful photo’s. KIp

    • Thank you for the comment! I love hearing stories of how the blog inspires others and their travels so I truly appreciate it!

  • May

    Oh my gosh!! What a timely post on this amazing art work! We will be in the area two Saturdays from now on our way to Fort Bragg to check the Glass Beach! I will definitely go and check on this! I’m a big fan of mosaic art!