Cool Gray City of Love walking tours by appointment

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I offer Cool Gray City of Love Walking Tours by appointment. My tour is a unique two-hour-plus journey on foot into the historic heart of San Francisco, including the Jackson Square Historic District, Chinatown's Portsmouth Square, North Beach and Telegraph Hill. No other walking tour will take you as deep into the bewitching past and turbulent present of this city as this one. You will learn about everything from the great Colombian mammoths and giant sloths that roamed North Beach 25,000 years ago, to the native Yelamu people who lived here for millennia, the strange era when this was the last, end-of-the-world outpost of the dying Spanish empire, the charmed, moth-eaten Yerba Buena village years under Mexican rule, the psychotic eruption of the Gold Rush, the days when bibulous businessmen would make their daily pilgrimage down the Cocktail Route, the ingrown, more-Italian-than Italy community of 19th century North Beach, the horror and devastation wrought by the great 1906 earthquake and fire, the WPA era of the 1930s with its majestic Coit Tower murals, the 1950s heyday of the neighborhood's transgressive gay bars, the strange delirium of the Beats and hippies and the money mania and culture wars wrought by today's tech incursion. I draw on an unsurpassed wealth of knowledge gleaned from the voluminous research I did for my bestselling book Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco, and the more than 200 "Portals of the Past" history columns I have written for the San Francisco Chronicle. Along the way, I'll throw in a wealth of personal anecdotes from my 45 years in the city, covering almost every building and every corner we'll pass. Whether you're a longtime resident or a visitor, you'll never see the city the same way after this tour. The cost is $500 per tour, with a maximum of ten people per tour. To make a reservation or for more information, contact me at

I am also an experienced public speaker; I have given dozens of entertaining, informative and funny talks to all sizes of groups, including the Commonwealth Club, the City Club, the Pacific-Union Club, the Bohemian Club, the Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation, many convention groups, libraries, schools and private parties. Please contact me at to book me as a speaker.