Monika Trobits: A beginner’s guide

Monika Trobits is a street-wise, native New Yorker and has been a resident of San Francisco since the summer of 1982. Within a few years of arriving in Northern California, she began her on-going, formal and informal study of San Francisco’s and California’s history, architecture, politics, art, unique features and culturally-diverse neighborhoods. Doing all of that inspired her to seek opportunities to become a walking tour docent and tour guide so that she could lead tours of her adopted city for anyone who would show up and listen. She’s been successfully doing that since 1989. Her presentations are engaging, comprehensive, witty and as historically accurate as she knows how to make them. She leads visitors and residents alike on enjoyable and insightful journeys through San Francisco’s districts.

And, if you need to know more . . .

Monika has accumulated 30 years of experience as a historic-site docent and walking tour guide, beginning in 1989 when she trained with the California Historical Society to give tours of the then CHS-owned Whittier Mansion (at Gough and Laguna) for three years. When the mansion returned to private ownership, she began training with the Oakland Museum of California in 1992 and led tours of its history gallery through 2000. In 1998, Monika joined the fledgling docent program at San Francisco’s City Hall where she needed to research and route her own tour of the seismically upgraded, renovated building following its rededication and reopening in January 1999. For almost three years, she led weekend tours of its regal, cathedral-like interior and her presentation incorporated the drama that befitted its environment and history. In 2004, Monika took on a new challenge and began developing neighborhood walking tours for the San Francisco Historical Society. By 2012, she had developed seven such tours. She concurrently led many private, city-wide and neighborhood driving or walking tours of San Francisco for visitors and special groups.

In 2010, Monika expanded her visibility as a tour guide by leading day-long tours for a local tour operator. (She also did the verbal commentary for cable car coach tours for another local tour operator during 2013.) She proved to be a successful guide and established her own walking tour business in 2011 for visitors, residents and natives. In 2016, she began teaching walking history classes for OLLI based at SF State (OLLI = Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). Thus far, she’s taught six courses for OLLI with two more on the way for the balance of 2019.

A walking tour experience with Monika is unlike any other and truly is a San Francisco Journey.

And she learned how to do all of the above from where?

Monika’s on-site training and personal research was enhanced by:

Certification as a Tour Director
International Tour Management Institute, San Francisco, CA, 2002.

B.A., Political Science/History
San Francisco State University, 1995.

Adult extended education classes, variety of subjects
Stanford University, 1998 – Present.

History of California studies
Vista College, Berkeley, 1992.

History of San Francisco slide/lecture courses
City College of San Francisco – 1984 and 1989.
Stanford University – Summer 2017

Plus, for three decades, Monika has regularly attended programs, lectures and seminars which have served to increase her knowledge of San Francisco and California. She continues to attend special exhibits about local history, art, architecture, politics and economics. In addition, she has assembled a home library of books, articles, artifacts and other items, focusing on San Francisco, the Bay Area and California, much of which has been useful research material for her tours, talks and published works.

Monika is a member of the Institute for Historical Study, the Mechanics’ Institute, the Monterey Museum of Art, The Beat Museum, Victorian Alliance, San Francisco Heritage and the San Francisco Corral of Westerners International. She’s also a supporter of KQED, the Roxie Theatre, the Society of California Pioneers and the Friends of the Urban Forest.

Hmmm . . . is she doing anything else in connection with her tours???

Yes, Monika is also a non-fiction writer. For information about her published works, including her books Antebellum and Civil War San Francisco: A Western Theater for Northern & Southern Politics (2014) and Bay Area Coffee: A Stimulating History (2019) both published by The History Press, please visit the Publications page of this website.

Okay . . . what else might I want to know???

Here’s the inside scoop: Monika has a myriad of interests and they’re reflected in her walking tours. She’s an avid reader, a history, film and theater buff, and lover of the arts. She enjoys long walks (as in walking tours!) and hiking, visiting historic sites, art museums and galleries, and antique fairs and shops. She also engages in container gardening and enjoys quality coffee, good food (generally, lots of both) and an occasional cocktail. Another favorite pursuit of hers is engaging in stimulating conversation, often at high volumes, about current events, politics and whatever else is going on. She’s also the owner and manager of Sally, the opinionated, perpetually napping cat and Vivienne, who’s a ball of endless energy. (Both would appreciate your reserving one of Monika’s tours so that they can enjoy full possession of the couch – Sally and Vivienne thank you in advance.)

Here’s a link to an article Monika wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle several years ago about Chloe the cat, who sadly died at the end of September 2014 just short of 18 1/2 years old.

Monika and the Downtown Skyline

Monika and the Downtown Skyline

Monika at San Francisco History Days event March 2016

Monika at San Francisco History Days event
Old Mint building – March 2016

Hayes Valley artistry.

Hayes Valley artistry.


Top: Chloe napping in the round! 1996-2014
Center: Lucy, the Golden Girl. 1998-2012
Bottom: Sally, the ‘Tuxedo’ cat. 2002-present

2016-05-07 15.48.33

2015 addition: Vivienne, the little spitfire.

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