When gold was discovered in California’s hills in 1849, the port of San Francisco turned from a sleepy bayside settlement to a rollicking boomtown almost overnight. At the center of the delirious treasure hunt was the Barbary Coast — San Francisco’s historic waterfront that quickly became the rowdy domain of fortune-hungry sailors, pirates, and slave traders.
Meet your historian guide in San Francisco’s financial district near Montgomery Street, which formed the original shoreline of the San Francisco Bay before the city expanded with infill. Walk through the historic quarters of Jackson Square, on the border of Chinatown, as your guide shares tales of abandoned ships, Shanghaied sailors, and raucous bar brawls.
Hear about the ships that ran aground or were abandoned in the bay and remain buried beneath the city’s bustling streets. Stroll along a historic block of Pacific Avenue that was once the heart of the Barbary Coast’s red-light district and home to a rollicking row of dance halls, brothels, and bars.
Stop in at three historic saloons for a taste of vintage-inspired cocktails crafted by San Francisco’s master mixologists. Sip on the inspired concoctions while soaking up the old-time atmosphere and hearing stories from the taverns’ seedy pasts. Your 3-hour tour concludes near the original departure point.