Secrets, Scandals, and Scoundrels Tour

Welcome to the Wild West! In the 1850s, San Francisco was a frontier land where gambling and prostitution were legal, and gunfights were commonplace. Hundreds of thousands of people made the difficult and dangerous journey to San Francisco to try to strike it rich in the Gold Rush. When most of them failed, many turned to “other” pursuits to make their fortune.

On the Secrets, Scandals and Scoundrels tour, you’ll learn about a war that was fought over breakfast food, you’ll meet the most powerful homeless man in the world, you’ll hear about one of the largest robberies ever committed in California, and more!

Stories we cover include:

  • How the most luxurious hotel in San Francisco was built with stolen money
  • The Great Diamond Hoax of 1872
  • The first Emperor of the United States (what, you didn’t know we had an emperor?)
  • The Egg War of 1863
  • A Gold Rush outlaw who left poems at the scene of his crimes

…and more!

Important Note: The starting point for this tour is a busy intersection, so be sure to consult this map to see which street corner is the proper meeting place!


Tour information

Reservations: REQUIRED. Click here to reserve. Groups of 6 or more must contact us before booking.

Where: We meet at the Palace Hotel, at the corner of Market Street & New Montgomery Street. Use our Google map for directions to the tour starting point. Look for your guide with the orange shirt in front of the Ghirardelli Chocolate store.


Meeting Point for Secrets and Scoundrals Tour

Duration: The tour lasts about 2 hours. The total walking is just over one mile (1.6km).

When: View our Calendar

Cost: This is a name-your-own-price tour. That means the tour is free to take, and at the end of the tour, you decide how much the tour was worth to you. Our guides are happy to take cash or credit card, whatever is most convenient to you!

Save even more money in San Francisco with a discount tourist pass!