Ryan Curtis loves local history, sunshine, and exercise, and he just happened to be clever enough to combine all three into a career. As the owner of Roam Local, he offers—and leads—private and semiprivate walking tours that explore the hidden stairways, alleyways, and gardens of San Francisco. As groups walk, hidden terraces with stunning views as well as famous sights come into view, usually from unexpected angles. That perspective often creates stunning photo opportunities that can’t be found on postcards, such as the Golden Gate Bridge before it’s infused with its morning coffee. As your guide walks and talks, they supplement their information with an interactive iPad presentation and San Francisco’s other standout: its balmy weather.
The cable car is an important piece of San Franciscan history, but you don't have to go to a museum to see one. Instead, you can ride one yourself thanks to the California Street Cable Car Line. Used for private charters and holiday tours, the company was started in 1958 by Arnold Gridley and now has a fleet of over 20 vintage-inspired vehicles. Each one was built using the original cable car blueprint, which means solid oak benches, brass rails, and a sepia conductor at the helm. These iconic features have led to numerous appearances in numerous TV shows, movies and commercials, from Nash Bridges to The Hulk and ads for Pepsi.
Since 2004, Super Jet Limo's smartly dressed chauffeurs have transported clients in a fleet of stylish town cars. They drive travelers to and from San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. In addition, they facilitate sightseeing tours and provide transportation for special events, such as proms and weddings. In the case of the latter, they'll even outfit limos with customized Just Married signs.
If centripetal rhythm is the key to a shot-put, then open understanding and civil competence are the key to obtaining an equitable society. Today’s Groupon gets you a ticket to a cultural walking tour with Cruisin’ the Castro Tours for $18. Choose either the two-hour Historical Walking Tour (a $35 value) or the 2.5-hour Harvey Milk Tour (a $45 value, only on Wednesday at 10 a.m.). You'll meet at the rainbow flagpole at the corner of Castro and Market Street for both tours.
The Historical Walking Tour teaches you about the rich legacy of the gay rights movement. The informative saunter is led by Kathy Amendola, who has vast knowledge of one of the most culturally diverse communities in the country. You’ll learn about cultural repression going back to the days of the 19th-century Gold Rush through the age of Harvey Milk, all within a modern context. The tour offers such fun facts as the origination of the rainbow flag as it works its way through The Harvey Milk Plaza, the progressive politician’s former home, the nation’s only Pink Triangle Memorial Park, legendary Twin Peaks Tavern, the Castro Theatre, and other significant landmarks.
The Harvey Milk Tour explores the Castro neighborhood and City Hall while discussing Harvey's presences in the community and his rise to become the first openly gay politician in California. You'll also check out the Harvey Milk Plaza timeline photos, the Civil Rights Academy, Milk's former home, his resting place, and the sight of his murder.
Historical Walking Tours run from 10 a.m. until noon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The Harvey Milk Tour is Wednesday only from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
About.com is a big fan of Cruisin’ the Castro Tours:
- The best walking tours teach you something, entertain you, give you an opportunity to meet new people and see new sights. Cruisin' the Castro tour is one of the best. – Besty Malloy, About.com
Seven TripAdvisors give Cruisin’ the Castro Tours and tour guide Kathy Amendola 4.5 out of 5:
- What an absolutely amazing tour! Kathy's insight into into Gay Culture and her knowledge of The Castro and surrounds areas provided us with the most enlightening and entertaining 2 hours of our vacation. – Beck_and_Jai
- The tour is amazing and you really learn so much about the history of San Francisco, the Gay community and the Castro area, and yourself. Apart from being wonderfully educational Kathy made it such a fun day. If you only do one thing in San Francisco, treat yourself to this really amazing tour. – nowvoyager9
San Francisco Fire Engine Tours & Adventures’ sparkling 1950's Mack Fire Engine carries passengers on themed adventures that combine the excitement of racing toward a fire with the fun of outwitting time. From the vantage point of the "Big Red Shiny Mack Fire Engine," guests catch views of the Bay Area while pretending to be important pieces of firefighting equipment. Tours run year round, and the crew outfits patrons with authentic fire gear to keep them warm while they explore the city on one of the themed tours. Winery tours cruise to Treasure Island, where guests enjoy tastes of signature varietals, while the Golden Gate bridge tour begins in Fisherman's Wharf before heading across the iconic bridge, through the village of Sausalito. Holiday-lights tours capture some of the city's most festive and decorated locations, and Halloween tours creep through Historic Presidio where ghosts are rumored to vacation.