San Francisco Walking Tours

A view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Glenn Moore / EyeEm / Getty Images

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.

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    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. The walks lead you through the haunted corridors of City Hall, into the Marina, or teach you a bit of North Beach history.

     

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    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.

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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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."

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    Cruisin' the Castro

    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.

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    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.

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    San Francisco Ghost Hunt

    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.

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    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.

     

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    San Francisco Architectural Heritage Tour

    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.

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    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