1. The North Beach Stroll
North Beach is the former shoreline of the bay as well as the disembarking spot for most of the immigrants, eccentric characters, and fortune hunters of the Gold Rush.
2. Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park constitutes the heart of North Beach. It has functioned as a garden, a cemetery, a cow pasture, and then a morgue and refugee camp after the 1906 earthquake.
3. Coit Tower and Lillie Hitchcock Coit
Does this thing look like a fire hose nozzle to you? Well, the reason that it does, or does not, lies in the story of Lillie Hitchcock-Coit.
4. Condor Club & Carol Doda
There was a time when the sign on the Condor Club boasted a very tall woman, wearing little except for red light bulbs for nipples. This is the birthplace of topless and bottomless dancing in America.
5. Chris Pray and The History of North Beach
An extemporaneous performance by longtime North Beach resident and improvisational poet, Chris Pray.
6. The Golden Dragon Massacre
Certainly the most infamous incident in the history of Chinatown is the Golden Dragon Restaurant Massacre. In 1977, the long-standing rivalry between two Chinese-American youth gangs erupted in a flurry of murderous violence.
7. Philo Farnsworth & the Invention of Television
The television was actually invented in San Francisco by a most interesting and eccentric character, Philo T. Farnsworth.
8. The Barbary Coast Stroll
During the Gold Rush, most miners had to pass through San Francisco. Awaiting the innocent goldseeker were the hordes of gamblers, thieves, vagabonds and harlots of the Barbary Coast.
9. Emperor Norton
San Francisco has had its share of characters. And the most noteworthy of them all was Emperor Norton, the self-proclaimed Emperor of the United States.
10. The Embarcadero Stroll
The Embarcadero was where the tall ships from around the world docked – carrying gold seekers, future tycoons, gamblers, hustlers, ladies of easy virtue and the inventor of the dry martini. Some got rich, some got shanghaied, and just about everybody got drunk.
11. Lotta's Fountain
Lotta's Fountain once provided water to the thirsty city dwellers of San Francisco. Today, it's a reminder of one of the brightest parts of an often depressing gold rush era, the beautiful and talented Lotta Crabtree.
12. San Francisco's Cable Cars
Take a ride on the only moving monuments in the United States, the famous cable cars of San Francisco.
13. Maiden Lane
In the 1800's, Maiden Lane was known as Morton Lane, the most notorious and debauched street of prostitution, murder, and depravity in all of San Francisco.
14. The Union Square & 1906 Earthquake Stroll
Once a massive sand dune, Union Square eventually grew into the shimmering center of the city. But on April 18, 1906, 5:13 in the morning, the earth began to shake, escalating into a great, bellowing roar.
15. The Chinatown Stroll
The history of Chinatown is the history of San Francisco. Like other American immigrant groups, the Chinese came to the United States searching for a better life. Eventually, that better life was theirs but it was a very long road.
16. Old St. Mary's Cathedral
Old Saint Mary's Church was the first Roman Catholic Cathedral built on the West Coast. But soon after, the prostitution and gambling of the Barbary Coast overtook the surrounding neighborhood, an irony not lost on the church.
17. The Nob Hill Stroll
Before the 1906 earthquake, Nob Hill was covered in palaces, each more ostentatious than the next. And living inside were the wealthiest men in the United States, having made their fortunes in railroads and silver mines.
18. Wells Fargo Museum & the Infamous Black Bart
Never harming a passenger, always leaving a poem, Black Bart was Wells Fargo's most exasperating, albeit charming, stagecoach robber.
19. The Haight-Ashbury Stroll
In 1967, the corner of Haight and Ashbury became ground zero for the countercultural movement of the time.
20. Janis Joplin's House
Janis Joplin once said, “On stage I make love to twenty five thousand people; and then I go home alone.” During the height of her fame, 122 Lyon Street, apartment #1 was that home to Janis Joplin.
21. Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic
A powerful and potentially dangerous stew was brewing in the Haight-Ashbury in the sixties. Mix rebellious spirits with mind-altering drugs and a hundred thousand young people with no access to medical care and you're going to need a free clinic.
22. Castro Stroll
They're queer. They're here. And they're as big a part of San Francisco and its history as the Golden Gate Bridge or sourdough bread. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Castro.
23. The Golden Gate Park Stroll
The year was 1865 and the city of San Francisco, tired of being considered a backwater town, was eager to take its place among America's preeminent cities. As was the style of the day, they chose to do so by building a grand city park.
24. The Conservatory of Flowers
Back in 1866, after James Lick passed away, they discovered amongst his possessions crates full of materials to build an immense greenhouse, the very first structure ever built in Golden Gate Park.
25. Stow Lake
This entirely manmade lake was created for the 1894 Midwinter Fair. It also filled the park's need for a reservoir to irrigate the park's meadows and gardens. But other mysteries remain.
26. Midwinter Fair
The California Midwinter International Exposition, otherwise known as the Midwinter Fair, opened to the public on January 27, 1894. Before it closed, over two million visitors would stroll through the fairgrounds at Golden Gate Park.
27. Japanese Tea Garden
The Japanese Tea Garden is the setting for a tale of one family's loyalty and, later their years of hardship. The garden opened in 1894 as part of the Midwinter Fair's Japanese Village, under the design supervision of Makoto Hagiwara.
28. De Young Museum
Ever wonder how a museum gets started? This is the story of the de Young Museum and an eccentric and wealthy newspaper publisher by the name of Michael H. de Young.
29. San Francisco Botanical Garden
Helene Strybing's death on Christmas Eve, 1926 and her gift to the park ensured the success of a project long dear to the heart of park superintendent John McLaren: the construction of a grand botanical garden.
30. The Crissy Field Stroll
After the First World War, the United States military had a branch that flew airplanes. They weren't called the Air Force yet, or the Air Corps. They went by the unglamorous moniker, the Air Service. And their airstrip was Crissy Field.
31. The Presidio Stroll
There are few other places in the world that are so defensible, so easily fortified, and so, well, peaceful. But because of its proximity to the opening of San Francisco bay, the Presidio has been a military base of operations for over 200 years.
32. The Buffalo Soldiers and Black Jack Pershing
After the civil war in which 180,000 African-Americans served, Congress elected to form four regiments composed almost entirely of black veterans. And many were assigned to the huge arena of outlawry, the Wild West.
33. The Golden Gate Bridge Stroll
Yes, it's a bridge that's been painted orange. (International Orange, to be precise.) But it's not called the Orange Gate Bridge. The body of water that the bridge spans is called the Golden Gate. No one knows exactly why. But only in San Francisco would you have an orange bridge called the Golden Gate.