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In 2005 the 16th Ave Tiled Steps organization completed an intricate tile mural work that spanned all of the 163 steps that comprises the Moraga Steps. Since then many locals and news sources have called the Moraga Steps a “hidden gem” of San Francisco and lauded it’s unique and visually interesting design. A recent trip to the stairs was made to confirm such affirmations.
As the setting sun hued the sky in tones of orange and red we arrived at the base of the stairs and first noticed how the riser portion of each of the steps is covered in an intricate array of individually sized and colored pieces of tile. Some of these pieces represent smaller portions of bigger themes such as ocean waves, moons and suns. Others represent individual animals and objects such as fish, shells, frogs and turtles. Some are branded with the names of people and associations while others display messages such as inspirational quotes and calls to lost loved ones. The mural makes for an artistic, diverse and colorful expression of the earthly themes of the land, oceans and sky.
At the top of the stairs, spectators behold the view of the relatively flat outer sunset district and the sea just beyond. To the East is a view of the tree topped little summit of the Grand View Park. If one decides to traverse up Moraga Road and up the wooden steps towards the top of the park they are greeted with larger views of the Sunset district while Golden Gate Park and the Richmond district come into view. The park’s summit is best visited during dusk as the buildings in the Outer Sunset district blush in crimson from the final flaming rays of the setting sun.
There were a moderate amount of people during our visit but that may of been due to a combination of nice weather, time of day and the Christmas holiday. The beautiful visuals of the setting sun combined with a walk up the tile steps deems a trip worthy enough for a drive into the Sunset District.
For more information visit 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project.