With its historic architecture, distinctive neighborhoods, and romantic scenery, San Francisco is known as a cultural getaway destination, but during the California Gold Rush, this area was named for Africa’s Barbary Coast, infamous the world over for its cutthroats and pirates at that time. Look past the quaint alleyways and picturesque views to the darker side of how the Golden West was won and hear how thousands of fortune hunters from every corner of the Earth flooded into the bay, bringing every kind of crime, violence, and vice in their wake.
“This is one of the most eye-opening tours I’ve ever been on. These stories are fascinating!”
Our San Francisco History Tour brings to life the city’s den of iniquity, an infamous red-light district characterized by lawlessness and danger. Discover the historic neighborhoods where saloons, gambling halls, opium dens, and brothels stood in place of today’s restaurants, clubs, and shops, and take in a history lesson with a spicy side on this walkable tour.
This fascinating tour will take you on an immersive mile of the most notorious areas of San Francisco’s historical wickedness, such as:
Professional guides will introduce you to the original city districts where greed and lawlessness combined to create an atmosphere of danger and iniquity among the residents of early San Francisco.
Join us to explore the darker elements of San Francisco’s gold rush legacy, where money and mayhem ruled the day amidst the formation of the Golden City.
“When gold was first discovered at Sutter’s Mill, back in 1848, San Francisco, still in its infancy, was barely settled. New arrivals lived in canvas tents – poor shelter from the rainy weather. The city’s first buildings were made from ships run aground in the harbor. In 1849, the population was estimated at two thousand men and almost no women.”
- Ruth Franklin
Meeting point address: Meet your tour guide in front of the Hilton Financial District, at the intersection of Merchant and Kearny Streets.
Duration: 2 Hours
Parking: There are paid parking lots and meters around the meeting area
Use parkme.com for more parking locations.
May 29th 2023
May 25th 2023
"Our tour guide Jinny was awesome. Thank you so much."
May 22nd 2023
"Jamie was amazing"
Please arrive to the designated meeting location before your tour’s start time, or they may leave without you! Your email confirmation will verify map and meeting location.
No need to print anything out. Just show up, and the tour guide will mark you present! Please save your email confirmation handy on your phone for reference.
Press “book now” to view current time and date availability.
Looking for a private or large group tour? Contact us for details
This tour is a walking tour.
San Francisco, CA
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