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The Barbary Coast Trail is a project of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society. The Society preserves, interprets and presents the historical heritage of San Francisco from its variegated natural history to its lively human history.

 

 

 

San Francisco  Walking Tours

From the days of the Gold Rush and the Barbary Coast, to the 1906 earthquake and the Beat renaissance, San Francisco’s history is rich with dynamic events and storied characters. The Barbary Coast Trail® is a San Francisco walking tour that connects the City’s most important historic sites, drawing you into a world of gold seekers & railroad barons, writers & visionaries, shanghiers & silver kings.

A series of bronze medallions and arrows embedded in the sidewalk connect the Barbary Coast Trail’s historic sites. Along a 3.8-mile path (mostly flat or gently sloping), the trail weaves its way through Downtown, Union Square, Chinatown, Portsmouth Square, Jackson Square Historic District, Old Barbary Coast, Beat San Francisco, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco Martime Historical National Park, Ghirardelli Square and Nob Hill.

Our Barbary Coast Trail® walking tours of San Francisco feature historic sites that made the city famous.
• You’ll see the plaza where Sam Brannan kicked off the Gold Rush
• A graveyard of Gold Rush ships buried beneath the streets
• A shanghaiing den where sailors were once kidnapped
• The first Asian temple in North America
• A barstool where beat writer Jack Keroauc once sat
• The finest Italianate Victorian buildings in San Francisco
• The largest collection of historic ships in the United States
• Beautiful views of San Francisco Bay, and more . . .

Also along the Barbary Coast Trail® walking tour, you’ll find great restaurants offering a wide array of distinctive dishes, from dim sum to garlicky pasta to fresh crab to all American hamburgers.


Three Ways to Walk the Barbary Coast Trail

Audio Tours

Printed Guides

Guided Tours

1. Audio Tours — Download our digital audio tour onto your MP3 player or iPod and you’ll hear the rumbling of the 1906 earthquake, the hoofbeats of the Pony Express, and the unfurling of clipper ship sails. (click)

2. Printed Guides — Two printed guides are available at San Francisco bookstores or by mail order. (click)

3. Guided Tours — Trail creator Daniel Bacon is your personal guide. Guided tours are available by appointment only. (click)

This is what people are saying about the trail:
(from yelp.com)

The Barbary Coast Trail is just plain awesomeness wrapped in historic awesomeness.
Greg S. – Redwood City, CA

Every day I am more I more amazed by our great city & its incredible history. If you want to learn wonderful tidbits about places you pass every day, this is the tour for you! Or if you are a tourist who is looking for a somewhat non-touristy thing to do, this is the event for you!
Adreinne G. – San Francisco, CA

Take a day and walk the historic trail. You'll be glad you did.
John G. – San Jose, CA

It was really great because we've gone for nice walks before but this one took you through streets and alleyways that you don't usually walk through.
Stuart M. – San Francisco, CA

I seriously recommend this walk. Take the pocket guide so you don't get lost and you get all the historical information. Take a friend so you have someone to eat and drink with when you make spontaneous stops.
Brian M. – San Francisco

 

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