Meeting Place and Time: At the entrance to Union Square facing Powell & Post Streets. The Urban Trek Leader will be waiting at the sidewalk. Meeting time will be 9:00 am.
Included with price of the Urban Trek
An Urban Trek Leader with informative commentaries about the sites you will visit.
Not included with price for the Urban Trek
Cost of fare for Muni. Estimated cost for entire Urban Trek is $2.25 ($1 for seniors, 65 years old, and minors, under 18 years old).
Cost of snacks and beverage during the Urban Trek. Trekkers are free to choose where to have coffee/snack break within the boundaries of the trek vicinity. Coffee and snack can cost from $5 to $15 depending on the place the trekker chooses. There will be a variety of places to choose from.
Urban Trek 4 - Historical San Francisco
(Offered Saturdays & Sundays only & temporarily on Wednesdays, starts at 9:00 am and ends around 1:30 pm. At this time, all urban treks are in English only.)
Urban Trek 4 focuses on the history of San Francisco from its beginnings as a trading post in 1835 through the 1900s. Guests will learn about where the "modern day" San Francisco started, where the first cable car line was located, the early days of Chinatown, 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, North Beach's sites (Washington Square, oldest saloon, beatnik hang outs, red light district), Telegraph Hill/Coit Tower (probably the best hilltop view of San Francisco), how blue jeans came about, and the Ferry Building's role before the bridges were built. The highlight for guests that love sweets will be a coffee/tea break at a cafe that serves a cake that has been described as "likely a gift to San Franciscans from the Archangel Gabriel himself."
**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 when there will be a line to enter the tower. If we are not able to enter via the back door, you will not be able to see the Depression Era murals inside the tower.
Estimated end time will be 1:30 pm
Please note that reservations are not guaranteed until a confirmation number has been provided to you.
Dogs are not allowed unless the dog is a service dog for the blind and must be disclosed at the time of making a reservation.
Shopping or browsing
at stores is NOT part of the urban trek except for certain designated
areas when a specific amount of time is set aside for you to be on your
own. Please send an e-mail to email@example.com if you have any questions.
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 20 minutes before a rest period. 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. Most stops have public rest rooms available.
What to bring for the Urban Trek
Exact Muni fare. The Muni fare will be $2.25 for adults ($1.00 for those under 18 years old and seniors 65 years old and older). Dollar bills are accepted.
Money for snacks and/or a meal.
Your mobile/cell phone, if you have one.
Snack or fruit in case you get hungry before lunch.
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
Anything you carry should not be too heavy that it will become a burden over the duration of the Urban Trek.
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.
Detail of Urban Trek – San Francisco #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. (Click here for link to photos)(Click here for link to videos)
Before we leave Chinatown, we stop at Portsmouth Square where guest will have some time to rest while the Trek Leader explains why Portsmouth Square played an important role in the beginning of San Francisco. 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 landfilled.
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 as to the current demographics of this neighborhood and the best block for a pub crawl. (Click here for link to photos)(Click here for link to videos)
At North Beach, we will have about a 20-minute coffee/tea break at one of North Beach's cafes.
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 have the option to go up Coit Tower if there is no line. There is an admission fee to go up Coit Tower. Note: There are times during the busy summer season when there is a line to go inside the tower. If we cannot enter through the back door, you will not be able to enter the tower and seethe Depression Era murals. (Click here for link to photos)(Click here for link to videos)
After our stop at Coit Tower, we will descend the Filbert Steps, a stairway that goes all the way down to Levi's Plaza. (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.)
Along the way, you will see a couple of cottages built in the early 1850s and learn how some of the cottages on Telegraph Hill survived the great fire of 1906. It is said that Telegraph Hill has the largest collection of cottages built between the 1850s to the 1880s.
Also, you will see some nice gardens along the Filbert steps and nice views.
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 F-Line vintage streetcar to the Ferry Building.