City Walks: Exploring San Francisco’s Neighborhoods

Hike and learn about the vibrant and diverse neighborhoods of San Francisco with experts who live here, discovering lesser known sites, history, monuments and cuisine.
Rating (4.86)
Program No. 20588RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

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.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Hikes of up to five miles/seven hours per day on varied, sometimes slippery terrain. Some areas have elevation gains/losses of several hundred feet. To explore San Francisco on a less challenging program, check out program #21052.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • 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.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Kari Jones
Kari Jones is an archaeologist at the Presidio of San Francisco. She oversees both research excavations and the preservation of the over 30 archaeological areas in the 1500-acre park. She received her bachelor’s in anthropology from the University of Illinois, her master’s in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and is currently a PhD candidate at Cal. Before joining the Presidio Trust, Kari worked for an archaeological consulting firm conducting archaeological studies in California, Nevada and Hawaii.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image
Kari Jones
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Ernest Ng
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Brett Stevenson
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Travelers' Tales San Francisco
by James O'Reilly (Editor), Larry Habegger (Editor), Sean O'Reilly (Editor)
Experience San Francisco from the inside out with this engaging, insightful and entertaining selection of mostly contemporary eyewitness reports -- a terrific literary profile of a dynamic city.
Fifth Chinese Daughter
by Jade Snow Wong
First published in 1945, Jade Snow Wong's memoir is a simply told, moving story of family life in pre-WWII San Francisco Chinatown.
111 Places in San Francisco That You Must Not Miss
by Floriana Peterson
This "111 Places" guide to San Francisco profiles so many strange and original places that it will surprise even loyal residents. Each hidden gem reveals the history and unique flavor of the Californian city.
The Maltese Falcon
by Dashiell Hammett
Set in San Francisco, this is Dashiell Hammett's classic story of Sam Spade, the archetypal hard-boiled detective.
Eyewitness Guide San Francisco and Northern California
by Eyewitness Guides
Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry. With excellent maps.
The Lucky Ones, One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America
by Mae Ngai
Ngai, a professor of history at Columbia University, uncovers the story of the Tape family in post-Gold Rush, racially explosive San Francisco.
San Francisco: A Food Biography
by Erica J. Peters
At the ideal intersection of rich farmlands and the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco is a reputable food destination. Peters delves into the city’s culinary history, from early Spanish missions and ongoing immigrant influences to current fixation on local ingredients.
San Francisco Map
by Berndtson & Berndtson
A laminated, folded map of the city center of San Francisco at a nice scale of 1:13,000.
Golden Gate, The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge
by Kevin Starr
Starr covers the history and meaning of this beloved icon and great American feats of engineering in this slim portrait.
Wildsam Field Guide to San Francisco
by Wildsam Field Guides
This beautifully produced pocket guide to San Francisco is designed for the soulful traveler with a bygone sense of place. Contributors include local artists, musicians and writers who compiled recommendations, essays, illustrations and interviews intended to move the traveler beyond their itinerary.
San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury
by Katherine Powell Cohen
Through black-and-white photos, this history of San Francisco’s infamous neighborhood covers the area’s growth from a dairy farm into the countercultural 1960s to the modern day. An installment in the reliable Images of America series.
Tales of the City
by Armistead Maupin
What began as a newspaper serial then transformed into a classic novel, this is the first of nine novels about the citizens of an apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco.
Cool Gray City of Love, 49 Views of San Francisco
by Gary Kamiya
A kaleidoscopic love letter to one of the world's great cities, San Francisco, by a lifelong Bay Area resident and co-founder of Salon.
California, A History
by Kevin Starr
A lively short history in the excellent Modern Library Chronicles series, written by a renowned historian.
California Missions
by East View Press
This gorgeously tinted hand-drawn map displays California Missions in excellent detail.
Infinite City, A San Francisco Atlas
by Rebecca Solnit
Solnit's quirky collection of maps documents the cultural riches and diversity of San Francisco.
San Francisco, A Cultural History
by Mick Sinclair
Organized more thematically than chronologically, this easy-to-read introduction to the city and its neighborhoods will appeal both to first time visitors and those who know and love the city.
A Crack in the Edge of the World, America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906
by Simon Winchester
Geologist, master storyteller, traveler and journalist, Simon Winchester succeeds again in this fast-paced, utterly fascinating account of the great 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco.
Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love
by David Talbot
A cultural history of San Francisco that covers the years from 1967 to 1982 and tells the gripping story of how the city by the bay overcame tragedy and strife to become the beloved city it is today. Starring a cast of notable figures, including Harvey Milk, Janis Joplin and Jim Jones.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
by Joan Didion
A classic collection of essays on the1960s cultural climate, first published in 1968. In the acclaimed title essay, Didion vividly describes the landscape, mood and culture of '60s San Francisco.

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback