Road Scholar : Home
San Francisco Neighborhood Discoveries on Foot

Program Number: 20588RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/24/2014 - 3/28/2014; 7/17/2016 - 7/22/2016; 10/16/2016 - 10/21/2016;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: San Francisco, California
Price starting at: $799.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 9; 4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

San Francisco, open your Golden Gate! Explore one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the nation through the eyes of the locals. Set out on foot into San Francisco neighborhoods known the world over and others frequented mainly by the natives. Hike through Union Square, Chinatown, North Beach, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman's Wharf, Haight-Ashbury, Pacific Heights, across the Golden Gate Bridge and more. Hop aboard antique trolley and cable cars along the way. Learn from experts native to San Francisco what it’s like to live in the City by the Bay.


• Take part in the quintessential San Franciscan’s pilgrimage — a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
• Explore on foot the Presidio, long a military fort under three different flags -- and now San Francisco's newest (as well as oldest!) neighborhood.
• In the nation's oldest public Japanese garden, walk the paths among the garden’s ponds, sculptures, bridges, teahouse and plants native to Japan.

Activity Particulars

Hikes of up to five miles, with climbs of several hundred feet, possible wind and fog

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

San Francisco

A stunning city with a colorful past and vibrant present, San Francisco offers legendary landmarks — the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, cable cars and elegant Victorian homes — along with spectacular cityscapes and views of bay and bridges.

Centrally located hotel in San Francisco with rooftop heated pool.
Meals and Lodgings
   Queen Anne Hotel
  San Francisco, CA 4 nights
 Queen Anne Hotel
Type: Boutique Hotel
  Description: Experience the true character of San Francisco in a charming residential neighborhood, away from the bustling business district but still close to all the action. Nestled in the prestigious Pacific Heights neighborhood, with its distinctive Victorian architecture, Queen Anne Hotel is a landmark boutique hotel in the heart of San Francisco - one of the world's great cities known for its art, culture, museums and sightseeing. Walk to fabulous restaurants, live music venues, cinemas, the shops of Fillmore Street, and Japantown. The hotel's convenient San Francisco location gives you easy access to the city's most enticing art performances in the world of Opera, Ballet and the Symphony as well as world class attractions, including Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz Island, Ghirardelli Square, the Ferry Building and the North Beach district, all less than 2 miles away.
  Contact info: 1590 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA 94109 USA
phone: 888-761-6211
  Room amenities: Each of the unique guest rooms is individually furnished with heirloom Victorian antiques and is flooded with light and air from floor-to-ceiling windows. The rooms feature luxurious bathrooms with toiletries, hair dryers, iron and ironing board, wireless internet access, large screen TV, and telephones with voicemail.
  Facility amenities: With an alluring blend of Victorian elegance and contemporary amenities, the Queen Anne Hotel is a delightful bed and breakfast boutique hotel in downtown San Francisco. Stunning Victorian architecture, authentic turn-of-the century details, and a charming ambience make this hotel a unique place to relax, meet friends, and celebrate special moments. Formal drapes and rich gold and burgundy wallpaper frame the Salon's floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the vibrant cityscape. After a day of exploring, guests meet in the lavish parlor with its baby grand piano for an afternoon tea and sherry service from 4 - 6pm. Guests will appreciate the attentive staff and personalized services, including a 24-hour concierge and Front Desk service, unlimited in/out parking, same-day valet laundry/dry cleaning, and room service from local eateries. (Guests may also ask the concierge for directions to the two nearby "wash and fold" laundries which charge by the pound for their service.) Other amenities include a discounted outbound shuttle van service to SFO, free newspapers in the Lobby, Limo & Town Car arrangements, microwave in the lobby, nearby self-parking, a safe-deposit box at the Front Desk, wake-up calls, and a computer in the Lobby. The hotel is entirely NON-SMOKING. WI-FI INTERNET ACCESS: The hotel provides guests with complimentary wireless internet access throughout the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Unknown Please contact the hotel directly. They do not guarantee Road Scholar rates pre or post-program, especially on weekend nights.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Unknown Please contact the hotel directly. They do not guarantee Road Scholar rates pre or post-program, especially on weekend nights.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program begins at 4:00PM with check-in and wine social from 5:30-6:00PM in hotel meeting room. Dinner at 6:00PM, followed by orientation/ introduction session from 7:00-8:00PM in hotel meeting room. You will be staying at Queen Anne Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Please make your travel arrangements to allow you to join us for the guided walk on the final morning. The program ends after lunch on Friday. See the Special Notes section. You will be staying at Queen Anne Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. On the enclosed Participant Information Form, please indicate to us the name of your roommate/traveling companion. Also let us know if you are traveling with other individuals and wish to be assigned a room near them. Photo ID
  Parking availability:
The hotel has a private parking lot across the street with a daily parking rate of $19.95/day and unlimited in/out privileges. Rates may change so please check before parking a vehicle.
To Start of Program
  Location:  San Francisco, CA
  Nearest city or town:  Oakland
  Nearest highway: US101
  Nearest airport:  SFO
  From End of Program
  Location: San Francisco, CA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

San Francisco (SFO) to Queen Anne Hotel


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 800-258-3826
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Call SuperShuttle for current rates
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30-45 minutes (longer if picking up other passengers) 




14 miles


Oakland Airport to Queen Anne Hotel


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 800-258-3826
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Call SuperShuttle for current rates
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


45 minutes or more, depending on traffic 




13 miles


From Queen Anne Hotel to SFO


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
SFO Shuttle Service
phone: 415-441-2828
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Call Concierge for discount shuttle price
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30-45 minutes depending on traffic 




14 miles


Discounted OUTBOUND shuttle service from the Queen Anne Hotel to San Francisco Airport (SFO) can be arranged via the hotel's Concierge Desk. Call (415) 441-2828.

Driving Directions
  From 101 North to Queen Anne Hotel Go to End of Freeway. Exit straight onto Octavia. Turn right on Oak. Go two blocks and turn left on Franklin. Continue on Franklin 1/2 mile and turn left on Sutter. Go 2 blocks to 1590 Sutter & Octavia.
  From East to Queen Anne Hotel Follow signs for "San Francisco". Cross over I-80 Bay Bridge ($4.00 toll). Use first SF exit "Fremont" Street. Go five blocks and turn left on Pine. Go 15 blocks and turn left on Van Ness. Go two blocks and turn right on Sutter. Go three blocks to 1590 Sutter & Octavia.
  From North to Queen Anne Hotel From Golden Gate Bridge (Hwy.101) ($6.00 toll): Exit on Lombard and continue for 13 blocks. Turn right on Van Ness and go 15 blocks. Turn right on Sutter Street. Go three blocks to 1590 Sutter & Octavia.
  From South to Queen Anne Hotel From 280 North to San Francisco: Exit 6th Street (Taylor) to Sutter. Turn left on Sutter. Go nine blocks to 1590 Sutter & Octavia.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent Arrivals and Welcome
(Monday, March 24)

Note: The program is rated as Moderately Challenging and will include a lot of walking each day -- 4-5 miles typically. But most of the walks are relatively level, on paved paths or park trails. There are several places where we will be climbing or descending either stairs or inclined paths of 200-300 ft of elevation gain or loss.

 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Check into Queen Anne Hotel after 4:00PM.

PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and pick up your arrival packet which we'll review during our orientation session.

 Dinner: Dinner at hotel

FOR THIS PROGRAM--Menus are contracted for the program and are designed to offer balanced, healthy meals for the participants.

Since meals are served in a group setting, it is difficult to adjust to individual dietary requests. If you are unable to eat what is on the regular menu, a vegetarian alternative is available, if not already part of the menu. Since alternative meal arrangements have to be made in advance, please indicate your need for a vegetarian entree on the enclosed Participant Information Form. If you have other dietary concerns, you can order (at your own expense) from a different menu.

 Evening: ORIENTATION: We'll have an overview of the program ahead and review the up-to-date schedule, responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, any other administrative issues, and answer your questions. Please be aware that local circumstances may require adjusting program elements. In the event of changes, we will notify you as quickly as possible. We appreciate your understanding.

CROSSING POINTS: Participants introduce themselves to the rest of the group.

Enjoy the remainder of the evening getting to know your fellow participants and discovering what you share beyond a love of lifelong learning.

Accommodations: Queen Anne Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Union Square, Chinatown, Portsmouth Square, North Beach, Coit Tower
(Tuesday, March 25)

Note: Expect to walk at least 3 miles during the day. On climb to the top of Telegraph Hill to visit Coit Tower, there is a gain of about 300 feet, some steps and some inclined paved walkway.

 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Take public transportation to Union Square. Learn the history of Union Square on a guided walk of a mile and a half through the Square and then through Chinatown to Portsmouth Square, the birthplace of San Francisco. Sample a variety of different teas at one of the many tea shops of Chinatown.
 Lunch: Dim Sum lunch at the Oriental Pearl
 Afternoon: LECTURE: Explore local alleys and walk among temples, Chinese herbal medicine shops, and unusual food markets during a guided walk through the oldest and largest Chinatown in the United States. Learn about the history and personal stories that have made this amazing place what it is today.

Continue on foot from Chinatown through North Beach, home to early Italian fishermen as well as the so-called Beatniks of the 1950s. Learn how the neighborhood has evolved over the last century as you scope out a great restaurant for dinner tonight in this mecca of fine Italian cuisine. Then take a quick run up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower from Washington Square to enjoy the approaching sunset before making your final selection of a restaurant for dinner. You will have earned your dinner after the three miles or so you will have covered this afternoon.

 Dinner: Dinner on your own in one of the many Italian restaurants in North Beach
 Evening: A free evening to enjoy the city
Accommodations: Queen Anne Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Pacific Heights, Presidio and Fisherman's Wharf
(Wednesday, March 26)

Note: Expect to walk up to 4 miles during the day. There will be several hills at the Presidio Park -- most of these will be forested trails, mostly going downhill. There are a couple of stairways as well. Ride on the Hyde Street cable car.

 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP AND LECTURE: Take public transportation to Pacific Heights for a guided walk through Billionaire's Row.

Continue walking to the Presidio, one of the oldest sections of San Francisco. For many years this wonderful urban park area was the center of military activity in the city.

 Lunch: Picnic lunch at El Polin Spring
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: After lunch, enjoy a presentation about current archeological efforts in the Presidio.

Afterwards walk with Don through the Marina District to Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman's Wharf. We'll be walking about 4 miles today.

 Dinner: We'll have dinner together at Fisherman's Wharf at a family-owned restaurant a little off the tourist track where the locals eat. Afterwards, it's back to the hotel via the famous Hyde Street cable car.
Accommodations: Queen Anne Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Haight Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, California Academy of Sciences
(Thursday, March 27)

Note: Expect to walk up to 5 miles during the day and several hundred feet change in elevation.

 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Take a walking tour of the Haight Ashbury neighborhood and get acquainted with the history of this colorful area. Explore streets, sidewalks, parks, and vistas that tell the story of a Victorian era resort site subsequently developed by comfortable merchants, whose gingerbread homes still grace its streets. If there's any area of San Francisco that evokes images of the long-gone '60s hippie culture, the Haight is it. Fragments of that flower-power, incense-burning, acid-dropping, tie-dye-wearing, peace-and-love-vibing era remain but, save for a few hippie relics, the Haight today is a whole new scene. Exclusive boutiques, high-end vintage-clothing shops, second-hand stores and hip restaurants have all settled in, making the Haight one of San Francisco's commercial centers.

Continue to Golden Gate Park. Larger than New York's Central Park, it once consisted of sand dunes, but is now covered with more than 75,000 trees and home to a small bison herd (in an enclosed field) since 1891. This ultimate haven away from urban chaos was deeded to the people in 1870 out of the prescient notion that San Franciscans would one day feel overcrowded.

LECTURE: As we stroll through the five acre Japanese Tea Garden, learn about the icons of the Garden and the family that lived there.

 Lunch: Lunch at the California Academy of Sciences on your own
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: After lunch, enjoy a self guided visit to the California Academy of Sciences - the only place on the planet with an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a 4-story rainforest all under one roof.

Free afternoon to spend at the CAS, visit the deYoung Museum, check out the Conservatory of Flowers or Arboretum nearby, or just return to the hotel early. In total, you could be walking 4-5 miles today, including several hundred feet of elevation gain.

 Dinner: This evening provides you with the chance to have dinner on your own and enjoy more of the city's great dining options. In the area of Golden Gate Park, try one of the excellent restaurants in the Inner Sunset neighborhood -- Japanese/sushi, Cuban, Thai, Mexican, seafood, vegetarian, and even American!
 Evening: Enjoy a free evening. Possible adventures might include the San Francisco Symphony, the Orpheum Theater, or Beach Blanket Babylon, the longest running musical revue in the U.S.
Accommodations: Queen Anne Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5: Final walk takes us across one of the world's most famous bridges-the Golden Gate, farewell lunch and program wrap-up
(Friday, March 28)

Note: Expect to walk up to 4 miles on level terrain

 Depart From: Program ends after lunch at hotel. Check out by 1:00PM.
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: For our final walk we make the quintessential San Franciscan pilgrimage -- a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and back!
 Lunch: We return to the hotel for our final meal together and a wrap-up program before departing. (See the Notes section of this packet for advice about planning your departure time.)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas

Author: Rebecca Solnit

Description: What makes a place? Infinite City, Rebecca Solnit's brilliant reinvention of the traditional atlas, searches out the answer by examining the many layers of meaning in one place, the San Francisco Bay Area. Aided by artists, writers, cartographers, and twenty-two gorgeous color maps, each of which illuminates the city and its surroundings as experienced by different inhabitants, Solnit takes us on a tour that will forever change the way we think about place. Across an urban grid of just seven by seven miles, she finds seemingly unlimited landmarks and treasures--butterfly habitats, queer sites, murders, World War II shipyards, blues clubs, Zen Buddhist centers. She roams the political terrain, both progressive and conservative, and details the cultural geographies of the Mission District, the culture wars of the Fillmore, the South of Market world being devoured by redevelopment, and much, much more.

Historic San Francisco: A Concise History and Guide

Author: Rand Richards

Description: This combination history/guidebook is divided into ten chapters, each of which provides background information on San Francisco's historic buildings, museums, and artifacts. Profiles of sites or attractions include hours of operation, costs, and a quick biographical sketch of a key figure. Four walking tours, a brief review of the sites, a chronology of events beginning with 1542, a discussion of San Francisco's Victorian architecture, and a review of the earthquake of 1989 are also included.

San Francisco: The City's Sights and Secrets

Author: Leah Garchik

Description: Discover the beauty of San Francisco, its hidden charms, and its well-loved sights in this unforgettable photographic tour. Some of San Francisco's most renowned photographers, including Bill Hanapple, Don Kellogg, and Tom Tracy, have captured new perspectives of the City with spectacular images of its most celebrated landmarks, from Coit Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid to lesser-known but equally beautiful features, such as the flower-lined Filbert Street steps and the charming alleys of Russian Hill.

San Francisco: A Photographic Portrait

Author: Brad Perks

Description: San Francisco: A Photographic Portrait is a coffee-table keepsake of high-quality, full and half-page, color images of the city and surrounding Bay Area. Its photographs depict the diverse personality of this "City-by-the-Bay". The citys commitment to its historical roots as well as the future is captured in images of both turn-of-the century and contemporary architecture; parks comprised of hillside trails and wildflowers as well as elegant theme gardens, and the cultivated vineyards of the Napa Valley are represented throughout the book.

Making San Francisco American: Cultural Frontiers in the Urban West, 1846-1906

Author: Barbara Berglund

Description: The San Francisco that rose from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and fire was a city of rigid social stratification--a city determined to contain its diverse and disorderly rough-and-tumble past some sixty years after its acquisition by the United States. Barbara Berglund vividly describes San Francisco's rapid evolution from Mexican outpost to crown jewel of America's western empire, taking readers back to an earlier and more chaotic time when class definitions and social conventions were much more fluid. Berglund argues that the city's rapid rise from a multicultural boomtown to a racially and socially stratified metropolis reflected the careful efforts of a nascent elite to order its inhabitants through political and cultural means.

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2016 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768