Monika’s San Francisco Journeys

Monika’s philosophy for tours:
Touring a city such as San Francisco should not just be about recreation or taking photographs but also an opportunity to broaden one’s perspective about the city and its environs. Doing that results in an enjoyable and rewarding tour experience for all tour attendees, whether locals or visitors. It’s what Monika strives to accomplish as she communicates an extensive range of information while leading a tour group through the neighborhoods, sites and sights of San Francisco. She hopes that it will inspire tour attendees to further explore the city on future journeys.

Tour #1: The Grand Tour of San Francisco – Part 1

The Downtown/Mid-City Journey
Duration | 9:30 a.m. – approx. 4:45 p.m. (Check-in begins at 9:20 a.m.)
Cost | $65 per attendee
Offered | Varies; check tour dates on Home page.
Meet
| at Market and Montgomery Streets (Look for Monika holding a sign with her cable car logo (see upper left corner of this page). She will be standing in front of the Fidelity Investments building.)

Looking for a tour that goes beyond most sightseeing tours of the city? Then, this is it, your opportunity to experience the beauty and uniqueness of San Francisco, its stunning vistas and its subtle charms. Join Monika for an eclectic walking/riding* tour tracing San Francisco’s transition from an 18th century mission/pueblo to the booming Queen City of the West to the modern metropolis of the 21st century. Learn about the impact of the Gold Rush, the Comstock Lode discovery and the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Sites visited include San Francisco’s oldest building, its tallest, and its magnificent City Hall (weekdays only, includes security bag check). Other sites visited include a Gold Rush-era museum (weekdays only) and perhaps even one of its grandest hotels. Tour attendees will view and learn about an array of architectural styles, including the “Painted Ladies,” and enjoy the city’s public art, urban parks and picturesque cityscapes. Tour features Monika’s witty, but accurate, commentary plus her collection of vintage maps and photographs which make the past come alive.

*Public transit costs are included for full-priced tours only. The tour will stop for lunch at a neighborhood café (not included). Restroom stops along the way. Maximum of 10 attendees. Reservations required. Gratuities are much appreciated for a tour well done as are follow-up reviews on Trip Advisor and Yelp.

Optional advice: Before attending this tour, watch Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film, Vertigo which features James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes and, of course, the city of San Francisco. Tour references sites in the film.

Info/Recommendation: We will take a lunch break at approximately 1 p.m. It’s suggested that tour attendees eat a good quality breakfast in advance of attending the tour.

Neighborhoods/Sites visited:

Alamo Square Hayes Valley
Castro District Jackson Square
Chinatown North Mission District/Mission Dolores
Civic Center Nob Hill
Dolores Heights (Old Barbary Coast)
Financial District Portsmouth Square

Important Info | To enjoy this walking tour, you must be able to walk up/down short flights of stairs and up two separate moderate-size hills. For your comfort and safety, please wear comfortable, already-broken-in, closed-toe walking shoes (no flip-flops or loose sandals). San Francisco has many micro-climates, so please dress in layers. Wearing sunscreen and, perhaps, a hat or a visor is a good idea. Also, bring your camera plus some money for lunch and for one entry fee. Be ready to enjoy a fun day and laugh at Monika’s jokes.

Additional Info | Please note that Tour #1, when offered on weekend days and legal holidays, is slightly adjusted to accommodate the closure of particular sites.

Transportation

Public transport options include the underground Muni Metro (J,K,L,M,N,T lines) and BART trains running under Market Street. (The cost for Muni public transport is a flat fee of $2.25 for adults or 75¢ for 65+ (exact fare required/driver does not make change. Be sure to take the Muni transfer offered for cash fare payments. It confirms that you’ve paid. Clipper cards/Muni Passports are accepted on all Muni public transport.) Exit at the Montgomery Street station at the west end leading to Montgomery/Post Streets. Take the escalator up to the sidewalk level. Look for the Fidelity Investments building (green exterior) on the northeast corner. Monika will meet you there.

Several Muni bus lines stop on Market near Montgomery, including the 5-Fulton, 6-Parnassus, 9-San Bruno, 21-Hayes, 31-Balboa and 71-Haight along with the F-line historic streetcars.

Muni info | www.sfmta.com

Parking | Parking meters in San Francisco are currently enforced on most legal holidays but not on Sundays. Sunday meter enforcement was discontinued as of July 6, 2014 (except in the Fisherman’s Wharf area and around AT&T Park on event/ballgame days). Suggested paid parking: Stockton/Sutter garage or Mission/Yerba Buena garage at Mission & 4th Streets


 

Tour #2: The Grand Tour of San Francisco – Part 2

The Mid-19th Century Journey: Antebellum and Civil War Days in San Francisco
Duration | 10 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m. (Check-in begins at 9:50 a.m.)
Cost | $40 per attendee
Offered | Thursdays and Saturdays (See Tour Schedule on Home page for dates).
Meet | Civic Center at San Francisco’s City Hall, northwest corner of Polk and Grove Streets (Look for Monika holding a sign with her cable car logo (see upper left corner of this page).

Join Monika on a walking/riding tour* focusing on the Antebellum and Civil War eras in mid-19th century San Francisco. Learn about the daily dramas and colorful characters, both on and off local theater stages, that developed in San Francisco during the years leading up to the War.

Our journey will take us back to the San Francisco of the 1850s and 1860s when it was filled with transplanted Northerners and Southerners from the east coast, drawn by the potential of adventures and wealth, but shadowed by their ties to the political, economic and slavery-related tensions of the era that traveled west with them.

The tour begins in the Civic Center area, followed by an exploration of Black Point, its 1850s architecture, its former occupants and the changes that occurred there with the onset of the Civil War. Antebellum-era ghosts still haunt the area! We will then move on to explore more of old, mid-19th century San Francisco, now hidden amidst Chinatown, the Jackson Square district and within the Financial District. Along the way, you will learn about the origins of various sites and street names in the city stemming from the Antebellum and Civil War eras. You will also hear stories about theaters, ships, old wharves and the Pony Express. Stops include the site of San Francisco’s first newspaper; an 1854 building built by a local banker and future Union Army general; an 1851-era saloon; and the 1851 burial site of the General Harrison. We will visit San Francisco’s original, gold-inspired U.S. branch mint, dating to 1854, where Monika will discuss the perils of potential Confederate raids on the city. Weekday tours will also visit a small museum, housed in a bank founded in 1864 and fueled by silver, which exhibits various artifacts from the second half of the 19th century, including pistols from an infamous 1859 duel.

Tour features Monika’s witty, but accurate, commentary plus her collection of vintage maps and photographs which make the past come alive.

*Public transit costs are included for full-priced tours.

Optional advice: Before attending this tour, read Monika’s new book: Antebellum and Civil War San Francisco: A Western Theater for Northern and Southern Politics. Don’t have a copy? She will have copies with her for sale ($22 per copy, cash only please) and will be happy to sign all copies of her book.

Important Info | The tour will stop for a break/snack at a bakery/café. Restroom stops will be available along the way. Maximum of 10 attendees per tour; reservations are required.

To enjoy this walking tour, you must be able to walk up/down stairs. For your comfort and safety, please wear comfortable, already-broken-in, closed-toe walking shoes (no flip-flops or loose sandals). San Francisco has many micro-climates, so please dress in layers. Wearing sunscreen and, perhaps, a hat or a visor is a good idea. Also, bring your camera plus some money for a snack. Be ready to enjoy a fun day and laugh at Monika’s jokes.

Restroom options prior to start of the tour | Weekdays: City Hall opens at 8 a.m., Monday – Friday (bag check required upon entry to building). Restrooms are on the main level, on the far end of the North and South Light Courts. Weekends: Starbucks at Fox Plaza (1390 Market Street), purchase likely required.

Transportation

Public transport options to get to the meeting point: City Hall

Underground Muni Metro (J,K,L,M,N,T lines) and BART trains run under Market Street. (The cost for Muni public transport is a flat fee of $2.25 for adults or 75¢ for 65+ (exact fare required/driver does not make change. Be sure to take the Muni transfer offered for cash fare payments. It confirms that you’ve paid. Clipper cards/Muni Passports are accepted on all Muni public transport.) Exit at the Civic Center station (or at Van Ness for Muni Metro only/not a BART stop).

Muni bus line options: the 5-Fulton, 9-San Bruno, 19-Polk, 21-Hayes, 47-Van Ness, 49-Van Ness-Mission along with the F-line historic streetcars on Market Street.

Muni info | www.sfmta.com

Parking | Parking meters in San Francisco are currently enforced on most legal holidays but not on Sundays. Sunday meter enforcement was discontinued as of July 6, 2014 (except in the Fisherman’s Wharf area and around AT&T Park on event/ballgame days).

Telegraph Hill to the Ferry BuildingTour #3: The Grand Tour of San Francisco – Part 3

The Northern Waterfront Journey: Telegraph Hill to the Ferry Building
Duration | 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Cost | N/A.
Offered | Not currently offered.
Meet | In front of the Christopher Columbus statue in the center of the Pioneer Park parking lot at Coit Tower.

Explore Loma Alta, the “high hill,” and discover its origins and transitions with Monika, your guide for this memorable journey. (Beginning again in April 2014: Visit the landmark structure that crowns Telegraph Hill. View and learn about the magnificent murals in Coit Tower, which depict views of California in 1934, and then ride up to the Tower’s observation deck for 360-degree panoramic views of the City and the Bay Area.) Walk around the “Hill” and down the Greenwich and Filbert Steps, stopping at significant points. Enjoy the picturesque vistas along with the 19th century- and art deco- architecture that survives in one of the City’s oldest neighborhoods. Monika will discuss the films made on the Hill and the origins of the Grace Marchant gardens. Visit a museum that features one of San Francisco’s oldest still-operating businesses. Take a break and experience lunch at a unique California diner (not included in tour price) or bring your own and enjoy it in a nearby park. Continue walking along the City’s northern waterfront while hearing the stories and history connected with it, including the Pony Express, the freeway revolt of the 1950s, the City’s original shoreline and the old cove. Then, it’s on to an exploration of the landmark Ferry Building, located at the foot of Market Street.

Important Info | To enjoy this walking tour, you must be able to walk up short flights of stairs and down long ones, wear comfortable, closed-toe walking shoes (no flip-flops or loose sandals) and dress in layers. Please note that Coit Tower interiors can be small in spots. To avoid potentially damaging the murals, please do not bring large purses, shopping bags or large backpacks on this tour. Do bring your cameras and lunch money, wear sunscreen and plan to have an enjoyable day.

Transportation

9:14 a.m. #39-Coit Muni bus from Washington Square in North Beach (don’t miss it, it runs every 20 minutes, tour begins at 9:30). Bus stop for the 39-Coit is on the southwest corner of Union Street and Columbus Avenue. Its last stop is Pioneer Park/Coit Tower. The cost for Muni public transport is a flat fee of $2.25/adult or 75 cents for 65+ (exact fare required/driver does not make change or you may use a Clipper card). Be sure to take the transfer offered. It confirms that you’ve paid.

The 30-Stockton, the 41-Union or the 45-Union/Stockton will get you to Washington Square. (You can opt to walk up, and we do mean up, to Pioneer Park/Coit Tower from Washington Square going eastbound along Union/Montgomery, Filbert, Greenwich or Lombard Streets.)

Muni info | www.sfmta.com

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