Dolores Heights

One of the charms of San Francisco is the city’s numerous stairways. Given how hilly the city is, they are not in short supply. You might chance on them while walking through a neighborhood, though a few of them are so hidden amidst houses on a sidewalk that they are easy to miss. A convenient alternative is Adah Bakalinsky’s excellent guide: Stairway Walks in San Francisco. On sunny weekends, choosing a walk from the book and spending a few hours walking it offers the perfect excuse to be outdoors and explore both a new neighborhood and the wonderful vistas the stairways in it have to offer. This weekend, we chose the walk in the Dolores Heights neighborhood, described by Adah as A Mondrian Walk

The walk begins at the base of the Sanchez stairway. The top offers a wonderful view of the city. We could see the fog begin to set in at the far distance.

View from the top of Sanchez Stairway

One is kept company by San Francisco’s distinctive architecture – Victorians that share space with Shingled homes and modern construction


Sanchez at Hill resides on the top of what used to be the ‘nanny goat hill’ from where you have a wonderful view of the surroundings.

View from nanny goat hill

From this hill, you can see the bay to the East and to the South, the smooth sweep of Sanchez St. making its way through the clusters of homes. It was bright and sunny on the hill. The fog was slowly beginning to set in at the foothills.

View from nanny goat hill

A bit of history – Sanchez St. is named after Francisco Sanchez (1805-1862) who served as the 8th alcalde (mayor) of San Francisco when under Mexican Rule. He is buried at Mission Dolores

The walk takes you to the top of the Liberty stairway, another excellent viewpoint that stays with you as you descend the stairs.

View from atop the Liberty Stairway

A resplendent classic yellow truck parked by the sidewalk at the bottom of the Liberty stairway added to its character

Liberty Stairway

A stretch of Liberty between Noe and Castro is lined with Victorians – both Queen Annes and Italianate. They instantly transport you to a bygone era, to a city as it were at the turn of the 20th century.

The Mt.Sutro TV tower reminds me of Mordor from Lord of the Rings, and Karl (the fog, who has a twitter account) helped emphasize that notion.


The last notable stairway  on this walk was the winding Cumberland stairway and we finally made our way to the starting point.


As has become a tradition on these outings, we stop by a place to eat in the neighborhood we are at. We walked along the restaurant-filled streets of Castro and then along Market, finally deciding on The Castro Republic at the corner of Market and 16th.


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