Secret Staircase in San Francisco

Grampy and Grammie Benthin came into town for their first visit since we have moved to Berkeley.  Our first adventure was to find the hidden staircase in San Francisco. We started at the Ferry Marketplace and caught one of the famed trolleys.  It was the first time for me to ride the trolley but it wasn’t just any ride. It was like being a sardine crammed in an overloaded trolley, body next to body. It was hysterical.

My father-in-law documented the moment.  People seemed to be happy that they did not have to walk several blocks to their destination in spite of the evident space issues.

Isabella was beyond stoked because she got to ride up in the front next to the driver.  She had an unobstructed view.  She was thrilled. We hopped off at a  park to find the hidden staircase.

Amid the green foliage is a staircase that leads right up to the iconic Coit Tower. By the way, Red Tricycle is my go to source of discovering things to do in the Bay Area!   They always give great family ideas that aren’t always typical and touristy.  They had this great article on San Francisco’s Hidden Staircase.

Welcome to the  Filbert Steps which is a road that is only accessible by foot. It is quite lovely!


On our walk upward  we discovered this gorgeous  pile of petals that Isabella wandered into on one of the landings.


Isn’t this building beautiful?  It has such a great classic art deco feel along with a cut out of Humphrey Bogart in one of the windows.  San Francisco is not lacking in character that is for certain.

This is breathtaking in person.  I don’t think my camera does it justice.  As you peek over the rail of the staircase, you see a path of deep, rich purple petals over dark, green leaves.   I was entranced.     I have always wanted to have a secret garden thanks to reading the book at a young age.  I don’t have a green thumb, but I am great at watering.   Maybe someday!


Part of the steps are concrete, but as you ascend higher they change into a wooden staircase.  By the way, my four year old Isabella was a trooper.  She walked all 1,100 stairs by herself.  She was super excited to see the tower at the top of the hill.


The pathways are marked with street signs even though they are not roads.  Isn’t that fun? But there are no pedestrian stop signs.  It is nice that courtesy is still in fashion for this pedestrian street.

Each house has its own fun entrance that included a gate and a path leading to the front door.   We were marveling that people could not pull their cars up to their houses built into the cliff.   They carry everything up and down.  I am certain it is a great workout and it lends to living simply even though the houses along the path are incredible.

We finally made it to the top.  It gave great views of the city, bay and of course, the Golden Gate bridge.

What goes up must come down.  After the urban workout, we hit a  tasty cafe and refueled our energy spent.  It was a fantastic day off the beaten path.


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