City Guides Online Tours

City Guides is delighted to offer a selection of tours of people and places that shaped San Francisco as an online experiences. Our knowledgeable guides will lead you on an online tour of the people, places and events that make San Francisco a unique and cosmopolitan city.

Our online tours are live, interactive, narrations throughout the history of San Francisco. Using historical and contemporary images as well as documents and discussion, our guides will lead you through a live discussion. These presentations run around 60 to 90 minutes with the presentation and live Q&A. They are presented via Zoom and can be enjoyed from anywhere around the globe.

Once registered, you will receive an email with the secure Zoom link for the on-line tour. When it is time for the actual online tour, just click on the link to join. See below for our current online tour line up. Please follow the links for more specific tour information and to register.

These presentations, like our in-person tours are free, but donations are appreciated.

Please note these online tours are in the Pacific Time Zone.

Our current online tours schedule include:


Online Tour: Spreckels’ Sugar EmpireSunday, April 18 at 4:00 pm

Beginning in the late 1850s, Claus Spreckels arrived in San Francisco and set his sight on building his sugar empire that would later bring a tremendous amount of wealth to the Spreckels family.  The reach of the Spreckels’ sugar empire would reach from Hawaii to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.  We will be focusing on Claus Spreckels and Alma de Bretteville Spreckels contributions.

This online presentation is hosted by 1850’S Paris of the Pacific City Guide Bruce Bennett.

To register, please visit: Online Tour: Spreckels’ Sugar Empire


Online Tour: Pagan Tiki – April 22nd at 6pm

Come learn about a California phenomenon that took the country by storm. American tiki culture was first born in Los Angeles and Oakland, but as soldiers returned from their time in the Pacific during World War II, tiki idols, palm fronds, and tropical drinks spread across the country like a massive tidal wave. For over 20 years, tiki reigned supreme before a new generation dismissed it as tacky and outdated. But with the rise of the craft cocktail movement at the start of the 21st century, tiki bars are again welcoming guests with the promise of an escapist fantasy.

This online presentation is hosted by Billionaire’s Row Guide Eric Jost.

To register, please visit: Online Tour: Pagan Bay: SF’s Impact on American Tiki


Online Tour: The Odyssey of Big Brother and the Holding Company – April 25th 2:00pm

As Mick Jagger is to the Rolling Stones and Freddy Mercury is to Queen, Janis Joplin is to Big Brother and The Holding Company. Like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, Joplin is one of the giants of the 60’s music scene. But Big Brother and The Holding Company were far more than a Janis Joplin backup band. The iconic combination of Big Brother’s wailing guitars with Janis Joplin’s heart-wrenching vocals created a unique and mind blowing listening experience.

This online presentation is hosted by Haight-Ashbury City Guide Chip Isaac.

To register, please visit: Online Tour: The Odyssey of Big Brother and the Holding Company


NEW – Online – Mission Murals: Precita Park to Garfield Square – May 2nd 4:30pm

Get ready to be dazzled by the extraordinary murals of the Mission neighborhood, where the walls seemingly have voices.  Mission Murals, Precita Park to Garfield Square is the first of a two-part series to see some of San Francisco’s most storied murals and be wowed by their vibrancy.  You’ll see how the artists express local pride, come together in crises, heal, memorialize and celebrate the lives of those who have shaped the community.  The murals will speak, they will teach, they will inspire.  We look forward to sharing them with you.

This online presentation is hosted by Mission Mural City Guide Renee Berger.

To register, please visit: Online – Mission Murals: Precita Park to Garfield Square


Online Tour: Rockin’ the Fillmore with Bill Graham – Sunday, May 9 at 2:00 pm

Impresario Bill Graham was crucial to establishing San Francisco as the epicenter for the psychedelic rock music sounds of Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin and many others.

Graham was truly a self-made man, surviving the Holocaust and coming to the US as an orphan child. We’ll talk about his beginnings in the SF hippie scene and his emergence as a rock promoter using the Fillmore Auditorium, Winterland and other venues.

The presentation will include videos of Graham describing the scene and some of the top bands he hosted.

This online presentation is hosted by Haight-Ashbury City Guide Rodney Paul.

To register, please visit: Rockin’ the Fillmore with Bill Graham.


Online Tour: Paris of the Pacific: 1850’s San Francisco Sunday, May 9 at 5:30 pm

For one hour, City Guide Bruce Bennett tells you about the San Francisco French origins from City Planning, SF Infrastructure, Retail Industry and Restaurants. You will learn how the first French community managed to survive in San Francisco, a boomtown straight out of the mud of Yerba Buena Cove growing to well over 50,000 in a few years.

As early as 1851, the Alta California – California’s first daily newspaper – wrote that in San Francisco, “Commercial Street is French, truly French. There is a miniature replica of the splendid city of “La Grande République”. A miniature Paris in San Francisco. “San Francisco has since been nicknamed the “PARIS OF THE PACIFIC”.

This online presentation is hosted by 1850’S Paris of the Pacific City Guide Bruce Bennett.

To register, please visit: Online Tour: Paris of the Pacific: 1850’s San Francisco


Online Tour: San Francisco’s Tenderloin District Through Time – May 12th 7:30pm

San Francisco’s Tenderloin District Through Time, traces the neighborhood’s history from its beginnings as St. Ann’s Valley, an isolated hamlet in the sand dunes, and its development into a middle- and upper-class residential neighborhood of single family homes dotted with schools, churches, and mansions. We’ll see how it became San Francisco’s upscale hotel, entertainment, and vice district, and how it transitioned into the post-war central city it remains today.

This online presentation is hosted by Tenderloin and Sunset District City Guide Peter Field.

To register, please visit: Online Tour: San Francisco’s Tenderloin District Through Time


Online Tour: Land’s End: Sutro Heights – May 15th 10:00am

Across the West Coast, there are a few ocean vistas more arresting than Land’s End — a fact millionaire Adolph Sutro was well aware of when he built the first passenger steam train to the park in 1880. The act made him a local hero, allowing the rich and poor alike to experience the dramatic, wind-swept scenery available just outside the city. He wasn’t done there: Sutro transformed the land, adding an elaborate public garden, renovating the quaint Cliff House and constructing the Sutro Baths, a massive swimming facility on the oceanfront.

This online presentation is hosted by Land’s End: Sutro Heights City Guide Breck Hitz.

To register, please visit: Online Tour: Land’s End: Sutro Heights


NEW – Online – Mission Murals: Balmy Alley – May 16th 11:00am

This is the second part of the Mission Murals tour and focuses on Balmy Alley, the most famous mural street in San Francisco. Colorful murals began to appear here in the 1970s and today the alley is blanketed with brilliant paintings. These images connect to the local community and beyond, and tell stories about Latino pride, war in Central America, gentrification, immigration, memorials and female activism. Join us to see one of the nation’s most impressive outdoor galleries. Steeped in meaning and creativity, the murals will inspire you!

This online presentation is hosted by Mission Mural Guide Siobhan Fleming

To register, please visit: Online – Mission Murals: Balmy Alley


Online Tour: Ferry Building Future dates coming soon…

For much of the early 20th century, nobody traversed the Bay without going through the Ferry Building. At its peak in the 1930s, it was the second-busiest travel hub in the world, shuttling more than 50,000 people both to and from San Francisco each day.

When the city built its famous Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, ferry travel dropped dramatically and the building suffered for decades. City officials took notice and renovated the Embarcadero over the ‘90s, helping transform the Ferry Building into a world-class food market focusing on local artisan creations. Today, it remains an iconic landmark of the waterfront (and a popular establishing shot for movies set in San Francisco).

This online presentation is hosted by Ferry Building Guide Anne Hitz.

To register, please visit: Online Tour: Ferry Building


For a complete list of our online tours, click here.