What distinguishes San Francisco Journeys’ tours from any other?
The depth and range of Monika’s knowledge and her style of presenting the information. Her tours reflect her many years of experience leading tours and are multi-dimensional in scope. Monika’s tours are not audio recordings or memorized scripts composed by someone else, they are the real deal and reflect her own research and daily life experience in San Francisco.
Natives and long-term residents gain a new perspective about San Francisco. New residents and visitors enjoy a tasting menu of ten city neighborhoods.
BTW: In addition to the walking tours featured on this website, Monika is also very experienced with leading specific neighborhood walking tours of the Union Square area, Civic Center and a walk/hike of the city’s northwestern waterfront. Those tours can be arranged by request. Private car city-wide tours can also be arranged.
Who should come on Monika’s tours?
Visitors, who want to get a sense of what San Francisco is all about, residents, who want to learn more about their city and, natives, who think they already know all about “the city by the bay.”
What’s the weather like in San Francisco during the summer months? I’ve heard your summers are cold.
Our summers are certainly untypical, versus the rest of the U.S. Often foggy in the early mornings and late afternoons/evenings. During most summer days the fog burns off, but sometimes it doesn’t. Be prepared for cool summer days and no humidity. Dress in layers; this is a “pick your weather” city with many micro-climates. It’s a good idea to bring long pants, long-sleeved tops and a light jacket for June, July and August days in San Francisco. Otherwise, local clothing shops would be delighted to sell you those items (and make a very nice living doing so).
What about the rest of the year?
San Francisco’s warmest months generally occur in the autumn and the spring. The winter months are a mixed bag, some pleasant days and some rainy days. Chilly at times, but generally not really cold. Snow or ice are rarities. But no matter what the time of year, San Francisco has a lot of microclimates and the weather can change as we go along.
Advice on attire?
Dress in layers, wear comfortable, already-broken-in walking shoes and sunscreen. Don’t weight yourself down with heavy backpacks, large purses or lots of shopping bags (unless they contain gifts for your tour guide). Give yourself a break from technology during the tour and turn off or silence your electronic devices. Don’t forget your camera!
Are tours ever cancelled due to weather?
Because Monika is aware that most visitors have a limited amount of time when visiting San Francisco, she avoids cancelling tours. However, one needs to be intelligent about this sort of thing and if the rains are projected to be heavy, the tour won’t be much fun for any of the participants and it makes sense to cancel with full refunds issued.
Do any of the tours go up hills?
Yes, tour #1 does go up two moderate hills and there are stairways here and there. That’s part of the San Francisco experience. Tour #2 is a mixture of small hills and stairs here and there. Tour #3 is not currently offered.
What about restrooms?
When you drink as much coffee and water as Monika does, you need to know where they are and she does. At the same time, it makes sense for everyone to use a restroom before meeting for the tour. Restrooms will be available along the way during tours #1 and #2.
Why do we need to have reservations?
So that Monika will show up! And, so that tour attendees will show up! Reservations indicate a commitment to attending the tour. If Monika doesn’t have reservations for a particular tour on a particular day, she often falls back on engaging in questionable activities. Reservations will guarantee your space or spaces on a tour and allows Monika to manage the size of the group.
What if someone were to come upon one of your starting points by chance and was interested in going on the tour? Would you invite them to join the tour?
If there’s room on the tour and they’re sincerely interested in joining, yes, chances are Monika would allow them to join the tour group. Regular rates would apply and it would be on a cash basis.
Are group tours available? Do you offer group discounts?
Oh yes, very definitely. Tours for a group must be arranged in advance and require a non-refundable deposit to hold a particular date for the group. A discount would apply for groups of 6 or more. Contact Monika for more information or to make arrangements for a private tour.
Do you offer gift certificates?
Yes, and to arrange for one, please send Monika a message using the Contact page. Be sure to include the pertinent information (i.e., the name of the recipient, the name of the tour/s and for which date/s) as well as your own contact information.
How will we be able to find our tour guide?
Monika will be at the meeting point about 15 minutes prior to the start of a tour holding a San Francisco Journeys sign which features her cable car logo (see left-hand, upper corner of this page).
What’s the maximum amount of tour attendees?
Generally, up to 10 on any given tour. Monika likes to keep the groups small as that way, the tour will be a more personal experience for attendees. She can be more flexible for a local or private group with respect to size as well as cost per attendee.
Is there a recommended age limit or requirement for the tours?
Well, it’s not so much age as it is an interest about San Francisco. Monika recommends that you read the tour descriptions carefully to determine the interest level of all members of your party. The information presented during the tours is both diverse and sophisticated and not suitable or of interest to children. The official age requirement is 16 and up but if you have a mature, attentive 14 year old that you think will enjoy and appreciate the tour, they are welcome. This is a judgment call and on behalf of the other tour attendees, Monika requests that good judgment be applied in these cases. A teenager who really doesn’t want to be on the tour and sighs repeatedly during the course of the day is not a good addition to a tour group.
What if I’m running late?
Then, we’ll need to begin without you. The tours begin promptly at the times listed unless other arrangements have been made. Please note that Monika does not answer her phone while leading a tour. Arriving about 10-15 minutes before a tour is due to begin (to check in) is the way to go and courteous to the other attendees.
Can I take notes?
Sure, if you’d like.
What about gratuities? Are they appropriate?
Of course, how do you think Monika finances all of her questionable activities? If you’re pleased with the quality of the tour and enjoyed the experience, letting Monika know that and offering a tip is very inspirational!
Do you have a cancellation policy?
Cancellations require 48 hours notice prior to the start time of a tour communicated by e-mail or by phone.
What if I have other questions or concerns?
Contact Monika at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will get back to you ASAP.
Anything else I need to know?
Yes, arrive ready to enjoy the tour, be open-minded and be prepared to learn at least one fascinating thing you didn’t already know. Be courteous to other tour attendees. Be used to walking. Wear proper footwear. Laugh at Monika’s jokes.
Important: Monika reserves the right to refuse service to any tour attendee who does not conduct themselves appropriately either during the reservation process or on the day of the tour itself.
Here’s some unsolicited advice if you’re thinking of visiting Alcatraz: Buy your tickets well in advance as they tend to sell out quickly (this is because there are some tour operators who purchase large blocks of tickets and tie them into their bus/van tours, charging a hefty price for the package). Monika’s suggestion is that visits to Alcatraz be made in the morning as it will be less crowded. Dress warmly; it can be very windy and cold out there on the island and none of the buildings are heated.