Welcome to the Tompkins Stairway Garden


Once a trash-covered hillside, San Francisco’s Tompkins Stairway Garden is now a safe and welcoming street park, featuring a drought-tolerant garden in year-round bloom and a colorful tiled stairway. Dedicated attention from surrounding neighbors has transformed the site into a community greenspace and pedestrian corridor serving the Alemany Farmers’ Market and nearby schools and shopping districts.

We finished our garden implementation in spring 2019 and celebrated with a ribbon cutting on June 8 (see our news page). The San Francisco Chronicle calls our new garden “stunning,” “gorgeous,” and a “cheerful splash of public art that will probably become a photo hot spot.”

The stairs link Tompkins Avenue between Nevada and Putnam Streets in southeast Bernal Heights. The next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop by!



We’re a group of neighbors in Bernal Heights who enjoy and care for the Tompkins Stairway Garden. Join us on the first Saturday of each month, 9 a.m. to noon, as we weed, trim, and clean up the garden. Tools, work gloves, and refreshments provided! Our next garden day is Saturday, July 6. If you want to help out or simply learn more, contact us.

Check out the tile design for our stairs

We are grateful to Andre Rothblatt, Tompkins Stairway Garden founding member and practicing architect, for our multicolored, zigzag tile design, inspired by the Steps to Peace painted by youth in the Syrian town of Deir Atiyah.

a garden DESIGned to flourish year-round

Our friends at Arterra Landscape Architects provided us with a beautiful landscape design featuring California natives and other drought-tolerant plants. Here’s a conceptual overview of their garden plan.


Here are some examples of beautiful stairs in the San Francisco area that we have drawn on for inspiration: