About Us

City Guides Mission Statement

City Guides volunteers are serious about sharing the fun of discovering San Francisco and its neighborhoods. Our purpose is to preserve and perpetuate the history and folklore of San Francisco and to celebrate its rich history of cultural diversity. In the spirit of our primary sponsor, the San Francisco Public Library, we provide this service free of charge.


In 1976, San Francisco librarian Gladys Hansen, was contacted by officials seeking someone to give tours of City Hall.  She began training volunteers, and two years later in 1978, San Francisco City Guides was officially established. As the group grew, it became a program of the San Francisco Public Library.  Tours moved beyond City Hall, and the organization was recognized as the official docent of San Francisco. 

Over forty years later, we proudly continue our work as “volunteer ambassadors”, conducting free walking tours of the City’s richly diverse neighborhoods.  We help to expand visitors’ and residents’ understanding of local history, art and culture through our tours and publications, and by creating a “sense of place”. We have grown to over 275 volunteer guides, and over 70 different tours.  We have a formal training program, continuing education and evaluation. Our two paid staff are busy! We remain a program of the San Francisco Public library. San Francisco City Guides is an independent nonprofit 501c3 organization.

City Guides Management Board and Staff


Ben Parks, Chair

Barrie Simpson, Vice Chair

Anne Hitz, Treasurer

Jason Bucher, Secretary

Barbara Davis

Ethel Konopka

Robert Mills

David Reed

David Stubbs

Demetri Rizos, Executive Director
Jef Friedel, Program Manager