Hidden Garden Steps begin at Kirkham St. and 16th Ave. and climb up to Lawton St. Unveiled at the end of 2013, the undertaking was a community labor of love, transforming this 16th Avenue staircase from a site blemished by graffiti and litter to a beautiful public art space and a showcase for the neighborhood.
The artistic vision takes into account native flora and fauna and the steep hillside topography. Each of the 148 step risers is decorated with tiles that collectively form designs ranging from flowers to a salamander that extends up 26 steps. Native plants that include cuttings from neighborhood gardens beautify the stairway and provide a habitat for the endangered green hairstreak butterfly.
The steps look completely different depending on where you're standing. At the base looking up, the vibrantly colorful designs are on full display. At the top of the steps looking down, you can't see the mosaic tiles on the risers, only the top of each step—but the panoramic view of the Outer Sunset looking out toward the ocean is impressive.