Lisa Marie Cannon on the Best Way to Explore SF: Walking Tours
For Lisa Marie Cannon, there is only one way to truly get to know San Francisco on a more intimate level, and that is through a walking tour. She particularly recommends it for first-time guests. You only need to spare about an hour or two of your day to go on one of SF’s popular walking tours.
San Francisco is a diverse city with lots to offer local and foreign tourists, which is why it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. But visiting the city can be quite expensive, especially if you follow the crowd. Don’t be disheartened however, as there are still lots to be enjoyed here without spending more than what you can afford. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few free attractions and activities that you can take advantage of and one of these, in my opinion, are the city’s free walking tours.
San Francisco City Guides
City Guides offers free walking tours in key areas around San Francisco, so if you’re traveling on a budget or recently relocated to the city, I highly recommend that you go on one of their tours—more, if you have the time.
The tours usually take only about 1 ½ hours, 2 hours at most. Although the walks are relatively easy and well-paced, you should prepare for walks that often involve going up hills. You also don’t have to make advanced reservations; simply show up at the designated starting point and you’re good to go. The only time that you will need to make a reservation is if you have eight or more people in your group, in which case, you would have to book a private tour. Private tours only cost about $12 per person so it’s still a good bargain, if you ask me.
The tours may vary from one day to the next which means you can go on a walking tour for two consecutive days and still get to visit new locations. To give you an idea of some of these tours, they are the following:
- Pacific Heights Mansions
- Castro: Tales of the Village
- Golden Gate Bridge (a must for first-time guests)
- Japanese Tea Garden
- Potrero Hill
- Tastes and Tales Of North Beach
- Nob Hill
- Alfred Hitchcock’s San Francisco
- City Scapes and Public Places
As you can see, the tours are as diverse as you can get. While the tours are free, guests are encouraged to tip and/or give a donation to City Guides.