How It Works

How our current Walks work! 

As of April 15, 2021 we are requiring all walkers to sign up on line for each tour. We are following the latest social distancing guidelines from the San Francisco Department of Public Health. We practice safe touring!

  • Each Walk is around 90 to 120 minutes. 
  • You must sign up in advance here on our website. Links are on each tour page.
  • There is a $15 suggested donation (per person) when you sign up.
  • Walks are limited to 15 walkers or fewer.
  • Masks are required. No mask, no walk. 
  • You must practice social distancing on our walks.
  • It’s OK to walk aside with people within your social bubble.

How our traditional walks work when those may reopen later this year

For almost all of our tours, you don’t need to sign up in advance!*

  1. Come to the starting location (listed with each tour) a few minutes before the listed starting time.
  2. Look for the person wearing a City Guides ID badge (who also may be wearing a red jacket with our logo)
  3. Sign in on the sheet that the Guide will pass around prior to the start of the tour.
  4. Enjoy your walk for the next 1 to 2 hours!
  5. Our Guides don’t accept tips…BUT at the end of the tour, the Guide will pass around a yellow envelope where you can make a donation to City Guides if you wish.
  6. If you liked your walk and your Guide – share your experience on social media so other walkers can hear about us!

*Advance sign up is required for a few tours on private property where the owners limit the size of our groups. If a walk is identified on the web site as “Reservation Only”,  you will need to sign up online before arriving. These tours often fill up quickly so plan to sign up early. The guide will check your name on the list when you arrive.


Are your tours really free?

Absolutely!! San Francisco City Guides is a non-profit organization with roots in the San Francisco Public Library. We welcome all walkers, free of charge. All our tours are led by volunteers who love to share their knowledge and passion for our city with walkers like you, and who do not accept tips. At the same time, we depend on the generosity of our walkers to keep City Guides running — more than 80% of our budget comes from your donations! So if you like your walk with us, please consider supporting us with a donation of $15 (or whatever amount you choose). Every donation will help keep our tours going for another 40 years!

How good are your volunteers?

We think they’re the best walking tour guides in town. Not only are they all passionate about their city, but they’ve also gone through a comprehensive training program. It takes months of work with our instructors and mentors to become a City Guide, and we are constantly evaluating the quality of our tours as well as offering an extensive continuing education program. Many of our guides have been leading tours for a decade or more, and have researched (and even created) the tours that they that lead; they can answer your in depth questions about the tour, San Francisco history, and even great places to have lunch. A lot of our guides are lifetime residents who have lived and contributed to the tapestry that is San Francisco.  Where else can you:

  • Learn about the 1906 earthquake from a professional geologist?
  • Hear tales of the 1880’s murder of a newspaper editor from a working newspaper editor?
  • Explore San Francisco’s architecture with an architect?
  • Visit the sights of early San Francisco with a descendant of a 49er and early mayor?

What happens if it rains?

Come anyway! We walk rain or shine. Just check our website the day of the tour for any last-minute cancellations.

More Questions?

Please visit our FAQ page for answers to our common questions or give the office a call at 415-557-4266.   We look forward to seeing you on a tour soon.