Women’s History Across San Francisco

Women are a part of San Francisco’s history every month of the year and for Women’s History Month, we are excited to highlight some tours that bring a special focus to the women who helped shape our city.

You’ll encounter philanthropic visionaries, architectural innovators and urbanists, political icons, cultural influencers, scientists, social visionaries, and champions of civil rights.

Available any time of year

Alamo Square and its Painted Ladies

Alamo Square is famous for its Painted Ladies, but on Elizabeth O’s version of this tour, you’ll also discover some of the women who helped develop, restore and maintain this historic neighborhood. You’ll hear the stories of the impact of over a dozen area women, including how artist Maija Peeples- Bright created the very first San Francisco Painted Lady. Elizabeth O’s next Alamo Square and its Painted Ladies  tour is on Saturday, March 16.

Applause! SF’s Performing Arts Hub

Meet women who helped make San Francisco a performing arts center. Marian Anderson, renowned for her transcendent voice, faced racial barriers yet welcomed by the San Francisco Symphony selling out the opera house in 1938.  Antonia Brico grew up in the East Bay, shattered gender norms leading the Berlin Philharmonic in 1930 and the SF Symphony that same year. Architect Beverly Willis designed the iconic San Francisco Ballet School in 1984 which continues to be a prototype for ballet schools. And meet the unsung heroes Maureen Broderick and Damara Bennett, whose bold campaign rescued the SF Ballet from closure in 1974.


Learn about some of the female heroes of the Summer of Love! In addition to rock stars like Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, we’ll talk about the impact of other women like Lenore Kandel, Peggy Caserta and Mountain Girl.


Meet Mary Ellen Pleasant, the mother of civil rights in California and one of America’s first Black female millionaires.  You’ll also hear about how the unique political constraints on Japanese immigration affected the women in this neighborhood and their families. 

Murals and the Multi-Ethnic Mission

We begin at the Womens’ Building, so we’re off to a good start!  The side of that building features one of San Francisco’s largest and best-known murals: painted by a Who’s Who of Bay Area muralists, it’s a showcase of prominent women from myth, legend, and local and world history.  Don’t miss this one!

Palace of Fine Arts

Meet Audrey Munson who was “America’s First Supermodel” and a star of the PPIE. Later in her career she had a classic “Me Too” moment with the head of the premier silent film production company (she rebuffed him and it cost her dearly). She was then accused of having an affair with a married man (not true) and the tabloids had a field day. She ultimately was the victim of “Cancel Culture” and had an unbelievably sad ending to her amazing life.

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