Best Walking Tours - 2004
It seems too good to be true, but in the case of City Guides it isn't. The group offers free walking tours of San Francisco -- interesting ones, every single day of the year, with a wide range of themes, neighborhoods, and levels of steepness -- and as a result draws a surprising audience: locals. (On a recent "Gold Rush City" walk, for example, four of the six participants were Bay Area residents.) Other tours include the "City Hall Ghost Walk," "Noe Valley: Traditions and Transformations," and three for Russian Hill. The tours' high quality is maintained by rigorous, regular briefings the all-volunteer guides are required to attend, in addition to a long initial orientation -- these folks really know (and love) their stuff. And because City Guides is affiliated with the library system, each tour includes extras like handouts, archival images, and a suggested reading list. Get some comfy shoes: It's rumored these strolls are habit-forming.