Embarcadero South: A Turbulent Port

Neighborhood: Embarcadero


A double decker freeway used to run right through the middle of this tour!

In 1959 the Embarcadero freeway was built, severing the waterfront from the rest of San Francisco. Despite immediate calls for its demolition, it took thirty years and an earthquake to bring it down and restore the views of the Bay.

Transformation of San Francisco’s downtown waterfront has been continuous since time of the Gold Rush. The city’s most exclusive neighborhood once occupied space here. The original bustling seaport was facilitated by the construction of the seawall we rely on today. Considered an engineering marvel at the time, we now know that the seawall won’t survive a major earthquake or rising sea levels.

Explore the land that enabled San Francisco’s past, and see the work being done to catalyze its future. And the exclusive neighborhood? It disappeared completely…. until recently!

Next Tours

  • Wednesday, April 15 at 10:00 am (No Tour Today)
  • Saturday, April 25 at 11:00 am (No Tour Today)
  • Wednesday, May 20 at 10:00 am given by Benjamin Parks
  • Saturday, May 23 at 11:00 am given by Barbara Davis
View Calendar


Tour Length: Approximately 2 hours

Formerly called Embarcadero South/Ruth Miller Ramble


Meet at Mission & Steuart Streets, by Rincon Center. Public transportation: Muni lines 12, 14-Mission, all Market Street lines (to Ferries), and Embarcadero BART/Muni Station.

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Please note: Private groups tours required for groups of 8 or more.