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Self Guided Tours of San Francisco

Updated: November 8, 2022
 By Britt

This post provides a list of free self-guided tours of San Francisco that you can enjoy anytime, day or night, every day of the week.

We include a few details about each tour to give you an idea of what to expect on each outing.

Be sure to also check out our free, guided walking tours of San Francisco.

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Chinatown Self-Guided Tour

This tour covers some of the most interesting sites in the historic Chinatown district of San Francisco.

There are a total of 19 stops to visit, and they are all in the same general location, so it shouldn’t take longer than 1 ½ - 2 hours to complete.

Our self-guided tour of Chinatown includes a map that you can use to pinpoint the location of each individual stop, making it easy to explore at your own leisure without getting lost.

This tour is also available as a PDF that you can download onto your smartphone, allowing you to save some money on data or even avoid using data at all!

Chinatown is pretty close to Fisherman’s Wharf and North Beach, so you may want to consider taking multiple self-guided tours on the same day if you’ve got enough time and energy.

Alternatively, you may also want to consider taking our free, fully guided Chinatown walking tour.

North Beach Self-Guided Tour

Discover several notable landmarks and attractions on this free self-guided tour of the North Beach neighborhood in San Francisco.

This tour covers 14 stops in total, and almost all of them can be seen along Columbus Avenue as you walk North toward Fisherman’s Wharf.

The tour shouldn’t take longer than 1 - 1 ½ hours to finish.

We provide a map with each stop listed on our self-guided tour of North Beach to ensure that you won’t get lost and it’ll be easy to spot each attraction.

Our North Beach tour is close to stops in both Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf, so it might make sense to enjoy more than one outing at the same time.

Fisherman’s Wharf Self-Guided Tour

This is one of the most popular neighborhoods in San Francisco, and it’s not difficult to see why with all of its family-friendly attractions and activities.

Our tour of Fisherman’s Wharf covers 13 stops and includes 8 great restaurants or foods you may want to enjoy while you’re in the area.

Since most of the locations on our self-guided tour of Fisherman’s Wharf are located alongside the water, you can expect this outing to take around 1 - 1 ½ hours.

Alternatively, we also offer a fully guided free walking tour of Fisherman’s Wharf.

So, if you’d rather have some help seeing the best sites in the area, this is an excellent option.

Golden Gate Bridge Self-Guided Tour

While a lot of people are happy just to see this beautiful bridge or even cross the historic structure, there is a lot more to see in the area which we cover on our self-guided tour.

There are only really 7 stops on this self-guided tour of the Golden Gate Bridge, and you can expect the whole tour to take around 1 - 1 ½ hours.

If you’re planning to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, this could be an interesting addition to that activity.

Our post on walking the Golden Gate Bridge also includes several additional details about where to enjoy the best views of this landmark and things to do in the area.

You may also want to consider our GPS-enabled audio tour of the Golden Gate Bridge, which includes GPS guidance to help you find each stop.

We also offer a free walking tour of the Golden Gate Bridge which is fully guided, ensuring you won’t get lost as you walk around the attraction.

Financial District Self-Guided Tour

There’s a lot of history behind this area of San Francisco, and many notable buildings and sites to experience.

Currently, we only offer a GPS-enabled audio tour of the Financial District, and as the name implies, it includes a map which uses GPS to help you find each stop.

We also cover this part of the city in a fully guided free walking tour of Downtown San Francisco.

And our professional guides will help you find each of the most notable landmarks in the neighborhood.

Self-Guided Tours of The Castro District

This district is widely considered the home of the gay rights movement in the United States.

And as you can imagine, there are a lot of interesting sites to see in the neighborhood.

Although we don’t have a self-guided tour yet, we do provide a GPS-enabled audio tour of the Castro District.

As the name suggests, the tour uses GPS to provide directions to each stop.

In addition to this outing, you can also take our free guided walking tour of The Castro.

This is an excellent alternative if you prefer to interact with a professional guide rather than an app on your phone.

About The Author


Britt is a San Francisco Bay Area native, and has spent 25 years in this magical city. He has traveled to over 30 countries, and has never found a place he loves as much as this one! If you come to San Francisco, you might join one of Britt's tours of the city. A graduate of the University of Maryland and University of Southern California, he has been leading tours for Free Tours by Foot since 2015.
Updated: November 8th, 2022
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