San Francisco city deserves the title of a ‘vibrant’ location. While it harbors all the typical characteristics of a metropolitan city, there is much more to this place than just a busy downtown, tall skyscrapers, budding businesses and various headquarters. Beyond all the commercial aspects that decorate any developed city around the world, SF also has its heart at the right place. By focusing over arts, culture and personality development of its inhabitants, the city offers a conducive platform to all. From numerous art galleries featuring incredible work of budding artists to scope of adventurous activities for families, from parks and gardens all around the city to picturesque tourist attractions to soak its feel; it definitely has everything within its limits.

  Whether you are a neighbor to this city or a local inhabitant, whether you visit the city with an enthusiastic touristy lens or simply go there to catch up with your buddies, you can never ever possibly miss its exciting vibe. No matter what the occasion or what frame of mind you go with, this city will surely pull you within its happening spirit.

   There is so much worth exploring in this colorful SF that makes it more and more interesting along every passing visit. Though dear husband and I are immediate neighbors to this city for almost three years now and have explored many interesting spots along our frequent visits, there is still a lot to experience, enjoy, capture and feel.

     While we have covered all the famous tourist attractions- capturing the usual pictures for the travel album; it does not simply end with the famous ones. There are several other things in this city that deserve all our time and attention.  

   Every single visit follows a typical sequence of events. It starts with hunting for a unique spot over the internet followed by wide variety of choices to pick from. It then proceeds to exploring the spot only to be mesmerized, amazed, awe-stuck and surprised by its beauty. Though the destination differs along every visit, what remains same is the unlimited stock of pictures jamming the memory card and a happy state of mind. With clear blue waters of the Pacific and a bright blue sky, it is blessed with loads of natural beauty. A hilly landscape with sloping streets – everything from its architecture to bright color of houses, picturesque views to natural wonders are worth mentioning.

   During one such usual adventurous hunt over the weekend, we ended up visiting two hidden spots in the city. Both these spots revolved around steps or flight of stairs, taking us to memorable experiences at the end. While one destination involved staircase filled with beautiful designs and colors, the other spot lead us to some breathtaking views of the city. At an elevated height above the ground, this view extended to the entire city, downtown, coast and the Pacific Ocean.

    Admiring the beauty of this happening city from a 360 degree view above the ground was nothing less than sheer magic. Words fall short to present the entire picture from start to end, as the real pleasure weighs way above its description. Spots like these bring the thought ‘carpe diem’ to life, prompting the value of ‘here’ and ‘now’.  

   No kind of high quality resolution images can do justice to the actual sight captured by the real eyes. Everything stands still when the natural beauty, silence and purity leave one spell-bound. Hence, even though this article features some photographs, they do not represent even 1/4th of the entire feel.


1. Hidden Garden steps


   True to its name, these garden steps are hidden within the city. Located on the 16th Avenue, the hidden garden steps feature colorful designs on mosaic tiles. As one looks at the stairs while ascending, these designs form a full picture. From wonderful flowers to bees, butterflies to colorful snails, the pictures add amazing view to an otherwise usual stairs.


 Besides these stairs are various ornamental varieties and flowering plants. Making good use of the adjoining area, this community driven public initiative is truly incredible. While these tiles appear as beautiful images from far, there is more to this artistic adventure. Either dedicated to the memory of a person, family or an organization, these tiles feature their names in bright colors. It pays tribute to the efforts of the community and volunteers who created artistic beauty, right in the middle of the city. It stands for the fact that determination, hard work and trust is the key to achieve the impossible.


  Bringing arts, affection, novelty and communal sense in the city, these hidden garden steps are truly novel with a view. As I ascended one step at a time, it was impossible to stop myself from capturing it all. Every step demanded attention and deserved the affection, as the city succeeded in mesmerizing us, once again. As we walked back to our car, we were spell bound and speechless by yet another unique aspect of the city.

2. Grand view park

  After the colorful steps on 16th Avenue, we headed over to the next set of stairs between the 14th and 15th.  Another ‘true-to-its name’ spot, this Grand View Park is truly grand in every sense. With an elevated height and wooden stairway to a little hill, the Grand view Park offers wonderful views of the city.

   A short 0.2 mile trail leads one to a perfect spot over SF. Panoramic view of the city, ocean and coast is simply breathtaking. One can spot every element atop such a huge height – from downtown to Golden Gate State Park, Golden Gate Bridge to Coit tower, Lands-end to SF Zoo, the joy of watching these usual destinations from a zoomed –out view cannot get any better than this.

    While enjoying the beauty of SF from this bird-eye experience, we came one step closer to its magic, yet again. As we watched the setting sun on the west, we realized this city never fails our expectations. Every time we are here, the experience turns out to be several levels ahead from the previous one.


Call it a storehouse of wonder or a lucky destination blessed with everything, SF is different in its own stride. After every visit, as we return back home - we seem to have seen it all, only to be proved wrong along our next ride.



Published by Lavanya