Tour Descriptions: Which Tour to Take?

Welcome to Free Tours by Foot, San Francisco’s only name-your-own-price walking tour company. We offer walking tours listed below. These great San Francisco walking tours will take you through many of the city’s most famous neighborhoods. Part San Francisco food tours, part San Francisco sightseeing tours, they’re one of the best free things to do in the City by the Bay.

We provide a platform for awesome, local tour guides to lead tours at no upfront cost, so that you may enjoy an interesting sightseeing experience. We feel that every visitor should be able to experience this city in an affordable manner. You get to determine what a tour was worth after the tour, thus ensuring that your tour guide must strive to give his or her best on every single tour. It’s the best quality guarantee in the business!

Walking tours we offer:

San Francisco in One Day

If you only have one day in San Francisco, take this tour! On this five-hour tour (don’t worry, we’ll take a lunch break!) we will visit all the best neighborhoods of San Francisco. We start with Gold Rush-era neighborhoods, then we go on a famous Cable Car ride up to the palaces of Nob Hill, then to Chinatown and little Italy, finally ending up in the modern Financial District in Downtown SF. This tour is a big one, but we guarantee you’ll love it!

Secrets, Scandals and Scoundrels of San Francisco

Welcome to the Wild West! In the 1850s, San Francisco was a frontier land where gambling and prostitution were legal, and gunfights were common. 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 (usually illegal) pursuits to make their fortune.

On the Secrets, Scandals and Scoundrels tour, you’ll learn about famous outlaws, robber barons, great hoaxes and swindles, and even a war fought over eggs (yes, eggs!)


Join us as we explore the streets and hidden alleyways of one of the oldest, largest and most active Chinatown in the world. In this tour you will discover how this 24 square block area was transformed from unwelcoming sand dunes in the 1700s to the bustling center of activity that it is today.

Chinatown was the first step for millions of Chinese immigrants in what would become their (often difficult and painful) American adventure.

Downtown San Francisco

On this tour, you will see how the city developed from a tiny village on the far edge of the world to a center of our global economy. We’ll take you through the busiest areas in San Francisco and show you hidden locations that even the locals don’t know exist! And you’ll learn about the city plan that has created one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Gold Rush and the Birth of San Francisco

The 1849 Gold Rush attracted upwards of 300,000 people taking San Francisco by storm. This group of people (of which about 98% were men) created some fascinating stories that you will hear on this tour.

You’ll meet the famous outlaw who robbed stagecoaches for 8 years before finally getting caught. We’ll see a memorial to Mark Twain, who was living in San Francisco at the time. And you’ll get to hear about the man who was the first Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico! (yes, really!)

The Castro District

How did this once sleepy little village called Eureka Valley change into the predominant center in the world of the gay civil rights movement? Join us on a walk through history of one of the most exciting neighborhoods of San Francisco. We’ll discuss how San Francisco became the first place in the United States where gay men and women were not just tolerated, but celebrated. We’ll meet some of the heroes of the civil rights movement and the tragedy that befell many of them.

Fisherman’s Wharf

In earlier days, San Francisco was the West Coast hub of fishing and shipping. When the city was growing up, hundreds of fishermen would gather at Fisherman’s Wharf in the morning, earn their day’s catch, and meet back here in the evening. These days, the Wharf has turned into one of the most highly visited spots in San Francisco.

As we walk through the area we’ll see Ghirardelli Square, home of the legendary chocolate maker, the world famous San Francisco cable car, and we’ll get a behind-the-scenes look into how Fisherman’s Wharf really operates.

North Beach/Little Italy

Starting our tour at the tallest building in San Francisco and walking back through 150 years of history, you’ll get to experience a little piece of Italy in this city. From the earliest days of Italian fishermen bringing their catch back to Fisherman’s Wharf to the hub of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation in the 1950s, North Beach has been a cultural institution in San Francisco.

We’ll visit all of the important landmarks of North Beach, including the place to get the best Italian sandwich in San Francisco!