Helpful Tips

The Urban Trek for San Francisco is done in a way to make it as easy as possible for anyone to complete the Urban Trek. Most walks are done at a normal pace for approximately no more than 15 minutes before a short rest period while the Urban Trek Leader does his commentaries. Uphill walks are made as infrequent as possible. However, most parks are atop a small hill to get the benefit of the best views of the City. Coffee break is about 20 minutes to give the group time to enjoy a relaxing break. Most stops at parks have public rest rooms available.

What to bring for the Urban Trek

 - Exact Muni cash fare. For the entire urban trek: $3.00 each for adults, $1.50 for each who are under 18 years old and seniors 65 years old and older.
 - Money for coffee/snacks.
 - Your mobile/cell phone, if you have one.
 - Snack or fruit in case you get hungry before the coffee break.
 - Sunscreen and a small bottle of water.

What to wear for the Urban Trek

 - Comfortable and sensible walking shoes because there will be a lot of walking.
 - Dress in layers. San Francisco weather can vary greatly from morning to afternoon and from neighborhood to neighborhood. You can remove or add a layer as needed. A hooded sweatshirt will be your best friend.

Other helpful tips

 - Have a good breakfast before the Urban Trek. Take into consideration the first public toilet available - around 10:15 am for urban trek 4. Having coffee/tea right before the urban trek might not be a good idea because they tend to make people want to use the toilet afterwards.
 - Anything you carry should not be too heavy that it will become a burden over the duration of the Urban Trek.

Physical requirements

To be able to complete the Urban Trek for San Francisco, you must be in good enough physical condition to do all of the following without assistance:
 - Walk at a normal pace for at least 20 minutes before resting.
 - Walk uphill (10-18% grade) for at least 1 city block.
 - Walk down stairs.
 - Must be at least 18 years old. Minors should be accompanied by an adult.

NotePlease note that reservations are not guaranteed until a confirmation number has been provided to you. Advance reservation is required.

Urban Trek 4 focuses on the historical aspect of San Francisco from its beginnings as a trading post in 1835 through the 1900s. Guests will learn where modern day San Francisco started, where the first cable car line was located, the early days of Chinatown and how it has resisted gentrification today, the sordid past of an alley near Union Square, what part of the financial district used to be part of the bay, the oldest commercial buildings that date back to the 1850s, how North Beach "Little Italy" still has the spirit of the Beat Generation & the oldest saloon still in the same building & the red light area today, how Levis jeans came about. See the view from Telegraph Hill/Coit Tower. End at the Ferry Building marketplace. The highlight for guests that love sweets will be a coffee/tea break at one of the best cafes that serves excellent Italian cakes and pastries still baked in the premises.


NoteCash in the only method of payment accepted at this time.

Historical San Francisco: Union Square, Chinatown, Jackson Square, North Beach, Telegraph Hill/Coit Tower, Levi's Plaza & Ferry Bldg Farmers Market

Meeting Place:
At the entrance to Union Square facing Powell & Post Streets. The Urban Trek Leader will be waiting near the heart sculpture (maybe sitting in the slab of stone in the photo if no one is sitting there).

NoteShopping or browsing at stores in not part of the urban trek.

NoteDogs are not allowed unless it is a valid service dog & must be disclosed at the time when reservations is made.

 Detailed Itinerary of Urban Trek 4:

We will meet at 9:00 am at the entrance to Union Square by the red heart at the corner of Post & Powell Streets where the Trek Leader will give guests historical information about Union Square.  

We will walk to Chinatown and on our way there we will pass an alley where the Trek Leader will tell guest about its notorious past.

As we walk through Chinatown, the Trek Leader will provide guests with historical information about Chinatown as it relates to the beginnings (i.e. trading port called Yerba Buena) of what would eventually become the area where modern-day San Francisco began. You will also see the "Alley of the Painted Balconies" and get some information about how this neighborhood evolved and tidbits about the current residents of Chinatown. Before we leave Chinatown, we stop at Portsmouth Square where guest will have some time to rest (approximately 10 minutes) while the Trek Leader explains why Portsmouth Square played an important role in the beginning of San Francisco (especially during the Gold Rush). Guests will also learn about the the history of the cable cars and see where the first cable car started.

We then have a short walk to the spot where the shoreline of the bay used to be. The Trek Leader will show guest a rendering of how the place looked like before it was filled with land.

After, we head on to Jackson Square Historic District where the oldest commercial buildings can be seen. The Trek Leader will explain why the buildings in this area were spared by the 1906 fire.
As we walk though Jackson Square Historic District, the Trek Leader will point out the buildings with historic importance.

When we reach North Beach, guests will see and learn why this neighborhood is part red light and part Italian and why the Beats (beatniks) frequented this area in the mid 1950s. You will also get information about North Beach's current demographics and the best block for a pub crawl.

At North Beach, we will have about a 20-minute coffee/tea break at one of North Beach's cafes.
After our break, we take a short walk to Washington Square where the Trek Leader will explain its beginnings as well as the various interesting tidbits about the things that are in this area.

We then take a Muni bus to the top of Telegraph Hill where Coit Tower is located. The Trek Leader will give guests information about Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower.

When we reach the top of Telegraph Hill, guest will NOT have the option to go up to the top of Coit Tower because there usually is a long line. There is also an admission fee to go up Coit Tower.
Note: There are times during the busy summer season and holiday weekends when there is a long line to go inside the tower. If the line is too long, you will not be able to enter the tower and see the Depression Era murals.

After our stop at Coit Tower, we will descend the Filbert Steps, a stairway that goes all the way down to Levi's Plaza. Along the way, you will see a couple of houses built in the early 1850s and learn how some of the houses on Telegraph Hill survived the great fire of 1906. Also, you will see some nice gardens along the Filbert steps and nice views.
Note: If you have a fear of heights, you should make sure to contact Urban Trek USA to make sure you can go down the steep part of the Filbert stairs. If you cannot do this, you should not participate because this is the only way down.

At Levi's Plaza, guests will learn how Levi's blue jeans started. When the Levi's building is open, guests will have a chance to go visit the museum that shows jeans from the past.

We will walk or take the vintage streetcar to the Ferry Building.

We will end at the Ferry Building at approximately 1:30 - 2:00 pm.

Urban Trek 4 - Small group San Francisco historical walking & city tour

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Offered Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday only. Advance reservation required. Starts at 9:00 am & ends between 1:30 - 2:00 pm.  At this time, all urban treks are in English only.

NoteAll urban treks are smoke-free.

Included with price of the Urban Trek:

- An Urban Trek Leader with informative commentaries about the sites you will visit.

- Written self-guided directions for exploring more "secret spot" of San Francisco.

Not included with price for the Urban Trek:

- Cost of Muni bus fare.  Est. cost for cash fare for entire urban trek is $3.00 ($1.50  for seniors, 65 years old, and minors, under 18 years old).

- Cost of coffee/snack during the Urban Trek. There will be a stop for coffee/snack break at a cafe in North Beach to soak up that Italian neighborhood atmosphere. Snack can cost from $5 and up.

Summary of points of interest included with San Francisco, Urban Trek 4:

 - Union Square
 - Chinatown: Portsmouth Square, "Alley of the Painted Balconies," site of where the first house & street were built
 - Jackson Square Historic District: Oldest commercial buildings
 - North Beach: Washington Square, City Lights Bookstore, oldest bar and other legacy businesses, coffee break at one of the best cafes who still bakes everything in-house
 - Telegraph Hill: Coit Tower, homes from 1850s that survived the great earthquake & fire, Filbert Steps
 - Levi's Plaza
 - Ferry Building: Marketplace where you can have lunch after the urban trek

**Warning: For those that have a fear of going down a stairway over 200 feet high, please call us before signing up for this urban trek.

Note: There are times during the busy summer season and holiday weekends when there will be a line to enter the tower. If the line is too long, you will not be able to see the Depression Era murals inside the tower.