What if you could get a tour of San Francisco – from a real resident – and (mostly) free? It sounds too good to be true but that is exactly what San Francisco’s City Guides provide. City Guides shares detailed walking tours of San Francisco neighborhoods and the only cost is a totally voluntary donation. Tours are scheduled almost every day, throughout the day. Some of the most popular tour locations (there are over 30 walks to choose from) include Coit Tower, Ferry Building, the Japanese Tea Garden, North Beach, Chinatown, and the historic Palace Hotel. With an emphasis on San Francisco’s rich history back to the Gold Rush days, these tours are a step above the relatively generic tours offered by most bus companies.
You don’t even need to reserve these tours – just show up at the meeting spot, unless you have a group of 8 people or more. Larger groups (8 or more people) require an advance reservation to maximize the quality of the tour. Tours are a combination of the popular San Francisco landmarks and off-the-beaten-path “secrets” of San Francisco. The typical tour lasts 1.5 hours to 2 hours. These are walking tours, so be ready for healthy exercise – rain or shine. The one thing not allowed on the tour is your dog, cat, or gecko lizard! Pets are not a part of the City Guides tours, please leave them at home during the tour. City Guides is a non-profit part of the San Francisco Parks volunteers, and there are over 200 active guides that can show you the best of San Francisco.
Past visitors to City Guides tours RAVE about the passionate tours, the tour guides who truly LOVE San Francisco, and the high level of detail in the tours. SF Travel is a huge fan of City Guides and a strong supporter of their mission to inform visitors and locals on the history, beauty, and unique sights in San Francisco.
Interested in other San Francisco tours? Check out the complete SF Travel guide to tours here.