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San Francisco Walking Tours

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One of the best ways to rejuvenate passion for your home town is to see it through another person's perspective. San Francisco walking tours are an exceptional way to introduce your visitors to SF and, at the same time, add some historical and cultural facts to your own knowledge bank. City Guides offers free guided walking tours of San Francisco. The rest of the guided walks charge varying fees.

NOTE: Prices and times of walking tours are subject to change. Please check the official website for any updates information before your tour.

1. San Francisco City Guides

Throughout the city – check website for specific tours

SF City Guides walking tours are an amazing resource for us in San Francisco. Not only do they offer a large range of themed walks, the tours are free. Tour guides are volunteers but they do accept donations for the non-profit SF City Guides. (About's California Guide, Besty Malloy, is a former City Guides tour leader.) The walks lead you through the haunted corridors of City Hall, into the Marina, or teach you a bit of North Beach history.

  • No reservations required
  • Price: Free - Donations accepted
  • Time: Daily tours (check schedule)
  • Telephone: (415) 557-4266

2. Free Guided Nature Walks

We're fortunate to have a swatches of green breaking up the cement grid in San Francisco. Within the city and in the greater Bay Area, the park systems are a fantastic resources for free guided walks and hikes, as well as other nature and history-oriented tours and talks.

This guide lists some resources where you'll find free park activity calendars and events:

3. The San Francisco Gourmet Chocolate Tour

Chocolate connoisseur Andrea Nadel started the San Francisco Gourmet Chocolate Tour in 2007. For anyone who loves chocolate, the tour will let you indulge the cravings while learning about both chocolate and San Francisco history. Along the way, sample confections from boutique chocolate vendors and enjoy a three-hour stroll from the Ferry Building to Union Square.

  • Advance tickets required - available online
  • Price: $45/person (through 2007) - includes two samples at each boutique plus a hot chocolate beverage
  • Time: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:00s | Fridays and Saturdays at 2:00p
    (Additional tours may be added if regular tours sell out)

4. Wok Wiz - Chinatown Walking Tours

Chinatown

Wok Wiz gets press as one of the best touring experiences in San Francisco. The daily tours take you through Chinatown -- with a guide who speaks Cantonese – as you experience Chinatown from the perspective of a local. Wok Wiz stops include herb vendors, restaurants, hidden alleys, and favorite shops.

Wok Wiz also hosts an I Can't Believe I Ate My Way Through Chinatown tour for $80 (3 hours).

  • Reservations required
  • Price: $28 for walk only / $40 includes hosted seven-course dim sum lunch
    Children under 11: $23 for walk only / $35 for walk w/lunch
  • Time: 10:00a (3 hours)
  • Telephone: (212) 209-3370

5. Vampire Tour of San Francisco

About's Guide to California, Betsy Malloy, reviews the Vampire Tour of San Francisco:

"San Francisco's Nob Hill has been the home of the rich and famous for over a century. Railroad barons built their mansions here. Some of the city's most upscale hotels and restaurants perch atop the hill today. But beneath all this wealth and opulence lies a secret: vampires live in tunnels below here."

Mina Harker (the vampire, aka Kitty Burns) leads the tour through Nob Hill, interspersing vampire lore with tales of the area's rich -- as in colorful and affluent -- history. This tour won Best of the Bay accolades from the Bay Guardian in 2003 and 2007.

6. Foot! Comedy Walking Tours

Throughout the city – check website for specific tours

Foot! guided tours are led by comedians whose mission it is to inform and entertain in the context of an interactive walk. Sample tour themes: "Hobnobbing With Gobs of Snobs" (Nob Hill) and "Nude, Lewd and Crude."

Foot! offers package deals like the "Favorite Five" -- five tours of your choice for $100.

  • Reservations required
  • Price: $30 Adults / $20 Seniors & Students (2 hours)
    "The Whole Shebang" (flagship three-hour tour): $45 Adults / $35 Seniors & Students
  • Time: Daily - check schedule
  • Telephone: (415) 793-JEST (5378)

7. Cruisin' the Castro

Castro – Meet at Castro & Market

On the Cruisin' the Castro walk you'll tour the neighborhood and learn about gay and lesbian history, Harvey Milk's famous legacy and the Castro Theatre. Cruisin' the Castro was founded in 1989 and is an easy stroll for all ages.

  • Reservations required – with credit card or online with Paypal
  • Price: $35 Adults / $25 Children (ages 3-12)
  • Time: 10am to Noon / Tue through Sat
  • Telephone: (415) 255-1821
  • Tour Website & Information

8. Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour

Haight Ashbury – Start at Stanyan & Waller

This walk covers twelve blocks in the Haight Ashbury District, giving a look at the present and a glimpse into the past. The Flower Power Tour covers the hippy history of the area but also delves into the general history and architecture of the Haight Ashbury area. Tours happen on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

  • Advance purchase recommended to ensure a place on the tour
  • Price: $20 Adults / Free (children under age 9)
  • Time: Tue & Sat – 9:30a / Fri – 10:00a
  • For large groups call: (415) 863-1621

9. San Francisco Ghost Hunt

Pacific Heights – Starts at Queen Anne Hotel (Sutter & Octavia)

The San Francisco Ghost Hunt is an evening amble through the lovely streets of Pacific Heights, learning about the city's most notorious, haunted places. Walks take place every evening except Tuesday, rain or shine. Halloween is a popular time to take San Francisco Ghost Hunt, so if you prefer a smaller clan, choose a different week.

  • No reservations required
  • Price: $20 Adults / $10 (kids under 16)
    Groups of six or more get a 25% discount (phone ahead)
  • Time: 7:00p (3 hours)
  • Telephone: (415) 922-5590

10. Victorian Home Walk

Pacific Heights & Cow Hollow – Meet at Union Square (Powell & Post)

The Victorian Home Walk includes transportation to Pacific Heights where you'll learn more about the neighborhood's Victorian architecture and how to distinguish the different styles. The tour includes more than 200 homes and a look at the interior of a Queen Anne Victorian. Walks are easy. They take place daily, rain or shine.

  • No reservations required
  • Price: $20 (no credit cards) – collected after the tour
  • Time: Tour begins at 11:00a (2.5 hours) / Guide arrives at Union Square at 10:45a
  • Telephone: (415) 252-9485

11. San Francisco Architectural Heritage Tour

Various locations in the city

Tours take place on Saturdays, and the topic rotates by week. Week 1: "City Beautiful to Civic Center." Week 2: "A Walk Along Broadway." Week 3: "A Walk Through Cow Hollow." Week 4: "Walk the Fire Line: Van Ness Avenue." Tours cover distinctive architecture in each area.

  • Reservations for Civic Center tour only
  • Price: $8 Adults / $5 Senior Citizens & Children (under 12)
  • Time: 1:30p Sat (2 hours)
  • Telephone: (415) 441-3000 x24 (for Civic Center reservations)

12. Hobnob Tours

Nob Hill – Meet at Fairmont Hotel (California & Mason)

Get an inside perspective on the history of railroad barons, silver kings, and the gold rush wealth that created Nob Hill. The tour takes you to some of the beautiful and elegant structures of the area, including Grace Cathedral. The walks are easy – no hills -- and include some sitting and resting as well. Hobnob Tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays, with provisions made for private tours.

  • Reservations required
  • Price: $30 (optional breakfast, lunch or high tea added at cost)
  • Time: 10:00a & 1:30p on Saturdays & Sundays
  • Telephone: (650) 814-6303

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