San Francisco is an incredibly wonderful walking city! You can book many different San Francisco tours to enjoy different perspectives of the city, but when walking you are able to observe the details of architecture, enjoy the aromas coming from restaurants, stop for a coffee at a neighborhood cafe, and experience the city in a more personal way. Here are a few ideas on how to conduct your own San Francisco tour on foot!

To add some history to your experience, joining one of the San Francisco City Guides walking tours is just the thing to do. They are “local volunteers who love the City, its history, lore and legends… and we’re ready to share it all with you.” Everyday there are several different guided San Francisco tours to choose from. These are free, although donations are accepted. Check out their web site for the latest schedules.

Another interesting option is to do a search on the Meetup web site. Search for walks in San Francisco and meet-up with some locals for a fun walk. Meetup describes the particular walk, where to meet and approximately how much time to allocate. What a great way to get to know some real San Franciscans and to see the city through the eyes of locals.

San Francisco tours of its public stairways is a unique way to get to know San Francisco neighborhoods and see views that are not accessible by car or tour bus. Adah Bakalinsky’s book, Stairway Walks in San Francisco published by Wilderness Press, is the premier resource for locals and visitors alike.

The publisher’s summary states:

Hundreds of public stairways traverse San Francisco’s 42 hills, exposing incredible vistas while connecting colorful, unique neighborhoods, and veteran guide Adah Bakalinsky loves them all. Her updated Stairway Walks in San Francisco explores well-known and clandestine corridors from Lands End to Bernal Heights while sharing captivating architectural, historical, pop culture, and horticultural notes along the way.

This revised and expanded edition has been thoroughly updated and includes two additional walks, new maps, and new color photographs. The two new walks presented are: “The Blue Greenway Walking, a new history,” which follows the Embarcadero and weaves along the present day contour of the Bay into the future parklands and new neighborhood of San Francisco; and “Jazz Takes A Walk” in the Sunnyside neighborhood where the undulating geology of San Francisco invites one to hear the dance in the walk.

A comprehensive appendix lists every one of the City’s 600-plus public stairways. Long-term residents and tourists alike have used the book for over 25 years to adventurously uncover San Francisco’s unexpected details.

You can get the book by clicking here: Stairway Walks in San Francisco.

So, put on your most comfortable walking shoes, be prepared for San Francisco’s micro climates by dressing in layers and prepare to be awed by the wonder of this beautiful city. Enjoy your own special San Francisco tour!


Coming to the San Francisco in the mid-70’s, Zee brought with her a keen interest in people, lifestyles, food, travel and culture. The Bay Area afforded her opportunities to explore the outdoors, the great culture of the City, and to develop deep relationships with people from a wide variety of lifestyles. Now retired from a career first in the hospitality industry and later as an administrator in public higher education, she is actively pursuing her love of food, people and places.