Walking Tours

Pacific Heights Tour
Know What Mobile App
Self-Guided Google Maps Tours

Heritage offers a docent-led walking tour of Pacific Heights every Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The tour covers approximately fifteen to twenty blocks and takes about two hours. The Pacific Heights tour starts at the Haas-Lilienthal House (2007 Franklin Street) and ends around Jackson and Gough streets. Tours are free for members, $8 for the general public, and $5 for seniors and children 12 and under. Reservations are not required; tickets are available for purchase at the Haas-Lilienthal House before each tour.

Layered clothing and comfortable walking shoes are recommended, but the tour was designed with limited uphill portions, and the pace is comfortable for most people. Water is available for purchase at the Haas-Lilienthal House.


Pacific Heights”

The Lilienthal-Pratt House (1876, architect unknown) at 1820 California Street.

On this illuminating two-hour tour of eastern Pacific Heights, walkers will see examples of San Francisco’s diverse architecture and hear stories of earthquakes, fortunes, and fame. Architectural styles include several lovely Victorian homes situated on the typical narrow lots of the 19th century, featuring such details as original wrought iron fences, round and hexagonal towers, and rinceau frieze bands of wreaths. Also included are palatial homes of the early 20th century. Walkers will see the stunning ‘sugar palace,” built for sugar magnate, Adolph Spreckles and his wife, Alma in 1915. Designed by architect George Applegarth in the French Baroque style, it features intricately wrought metal balconies and two-story Corinthian columns. Also on the tour is the grand 1915 Phelan Mansion. Millionaire and native son, James Phelan was the son of a Gold Rush merchant, real estate tycoon, U.S. senator, and turn of the century mayor. During his 1897-1901 mayoral term, Phelan was successful in putting a stop to the rampant corruption and boss rule that dominated San Francisco politics. His home was designed by architect Charles Weeks in the Renaissance Revival style. The home’s impeccable symmetry, broad eaves, driveway piers with spikey metal lamps, and second floor loggia distinguished the home as a showcase in which Phelan entertained visiting dignitaries.

For more information or to schedule a private group tour, contact Dorothy Boylan (dboylan@sfheritage.org).

Here is a Google Map of the Pacific Heights Tour with information on each site!

View Pacific Heights Walking Tour in a larger map

Download the Know What app

Heritage is thrilled to unveil its newest smart phone application for iPhone! “Essentially SF: The City’s Architectural Icons from SF Heritage” is an updated addition to the Know What network, an insider’s guide to the coolest places and trends the city has to offer. San Francisco’s architectural gems – both on and off the beaten path – are now at your fingertips! Visit the app store to download this fresh and unique tool that will help you navigate San Francisco’s endless hidden treasures.

Three tours are still available for download through the original Know What App: The Epicenter of Old San Francisco (Pacific Heights), The Building Blocks of Auto Row (Van Ness), and Essentially S.F.: Architectural Icons of San Francisco.

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Self-Guided Google Map Tours

Heritage’s other architectural walking tours are on hiatus. If you are interested in taking a self-guided tour, below are Google Maps of the tours with information on each site. Have Fun!

Broadway Walking Tour

This walk explores the area of Pacific Heights centered on Broadway. With the arrival of the California Street cable car line in the late 1870s, this section of the city became accessible to developers and has been one of the most expensive and desirable neighborhoods ever since.  The tour includes an architectural panorama of styles as grand single family homes gave way over time to multiple-family, multi-story dwellings, and apartment houses. The evolution of the neighborhood is reflected in the number of outstanding examples of San Francisco’s finest residential architecture, including buildings in the Victorian, Classical Revival, and Art Deco styles.

View Broadway Walking Tour in a larger map

Cow Hollow Walking Tour

Cow Hollow spent most of its life as sandy waste with fresh water springs, grassy meadows, and sand hills.  The walk primarily showcases residential and commercial architectural styles from the 1850s to the 1920s. One structure that defies classification is the Vedanta Temple, which was designed by architect Joseph A. Leonard in 1905, and combines Colonial, Queen Anne, Moorish, and Hindu architectural influences.

View Cow Hollow Walking Tour in a larger map

Van Ness Walking Tour

On this stroll down Van Ness Avenue, a route that approximates the 1906 fire line, tour-goers will experience the tremendous transformation of Van Ness from an upscale residential boulevard of mansions, to a retail district, and to San Francisco’s premiere auto row in just over a quarter of a century.

View Van Ness Walking Tour in a larger map

You may be looking for:
Heritage Hikes Tours (3rd grade education program)
Haas-Lilienthal House Tours