Walking Tours in San Francisco
Getting to know a new city is a challenge. There are plenty of guidebooks and tourist maps to help you out, but they only amount to so much theory and only the smallest amount of practice. How much better it would be if there were people to show you around, if you could somehow manage to find a citizen of the city who loves San Francisco so much that they are willing to dedicate their time and energy to familiarizing you with her. Well, there are!
Walking tours are a fantastic way to begin familiarizing yourself with a new place from a locavore’s perspective, and we have a convenient list here of some of the best sightseeing tours San Francisco has to offer.
Wild SF Walking Tours: Wild Walking Tours features four unique and memorable tours to choose from, and each tour is only 90 minutes long so you won’t find yourself passed out on a sidewalk after too much exertion. With Wild Walking Tours, you can explore Chinatown (a 10:30 a.m. tour that meets beneath the Goddess Stature in Portsmouth Square), North Beach (meeting at 1:00 p.m. in Jack Kerouac Alley, right beside City Lights), The Castro (meeting at 10:30AM at the Castro Station, under the Rainbow Flag), and The Mission (meeting at 1:00 p.m. at the golden fire hydrant across from Dolores Park). Go to one, go to two, or go to all four on consecutive days, but definitely take advantage of this unique exploration of the Bay Area. Also, all the tours are FREE, but they appreciate any donation you would like to give (they suggest $10-20 for each tour).
San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour: If you are the kind of person who finds architecture the most fascinating and compelling of all the arts, then this walking tour might be just the thing for you. Jon Rick Evans (who Travel + Leisure recently ranked among the “World’s Greatest Tour Guides”) on a two-hour tour that covers everything from San Francisco’s most famous buildings, rooftop gardens, and historic landmarks. While this tour is not free, the $40 price tag is well worth the experience of seeing private libraries and the nation’s oldest chess club. The tour begins in lobby of the Galleria Park Hotel (191 Sutter St.), but you must make an online reservation before joining in the fun.
Emperor Norton’s Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine: The title of this tour alone tells you something about what to expect. The host, Emperor Norton I, claims to be the emperor of the United States as well as the Protector of Mexico, and the tour takes 2 hours and 45 minutes, meets every Thursday and Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Union Square, and costs $20. On the tour, you will learn the stories behind some of the San Francisco’s most notorious locations and be taken back to some of the seamier and steamier past events.