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Step back in time to the streets of San Francisco during the city’s days as a Gold Rush boomtown! Walk along the historic trail of the Barbary Coast, which was once a notorious red-light district swarming with sailors and saloons in the mid-19th century. See the storefronts where infamous brothels and bars once stood, and hear tell of the city’s salacious past from your knowledgeable guide. Stop in at three historic taverns to sample vintage-inspired craft cocktails served up by some of San Francisco’s best mixologists. 


  • Gold Rush and Barbary Coast walking tour of San Francisco
  • Explore an area of San Francisco once considered one of the most dangerous parts of the country
  • Hear about brothels, treasure-hunting ships and infamous bars from your knowledgeable guide
  • Savor three cocktail tastings at historic city saloons where San Francisco bartenders reinvent old drinks

What You Can Expect

San Francisco Gold Rush Era Walking Tour with Cocktails

Learn about the buried history beneath San Francisco's streets

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 knowledgeable 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.

Customer Reviews

richard b

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

We had the time of our lives last Sunday on this tour. Our guide was so knowledgeable about SF History . We have lived here 25 years and learned so much more than we ever knew. He opened up the life of the City from The Native Americans, through the settlement of the Pueblo area and naturally the 19 th Century. Bravo. We would recommend this tour to anyone. 5 Stars all the way around.

Sarah B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

Super knowledgable guide took us on an incredibly well-researched tour of Chinatown, Jackson Square, and North Beach sites related to San Francisco's early history. I lived in San Francisco for 10 years and didn't know about half what he showed us. Plus the cocktails were excellent!

Rachael J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Outstanding. Informative, fun, highly knowledgeable guide and really great bars. DO IT!!!

Lauren J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Eric was great! So personable and ready to answer all of our questions. Perfect tour for any history buff, who wants to learn more about San Francisco and #39;s rise.

Isis L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

This was a great tour, the cocktails were awesome, the commentary was fun- it really put you back in time during the gold rush era and the struggles San Francisco experienced. San Francisco is a beautiful city -Wear comfortable walking shoes and enjoy.

Heidi L USA

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

We had a great time on this tour. We visited three pubs/bars and even went back for dinner at the first one the next night. The tour was filled with interesting history and the guides were very nice.

Kim s

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

We had a great time. Eric was a great guide for us, telling all of the stories of the Gold Rush times, talking about the history of SF and pointing out great architecture as we enjoyed the city on a great warm night. I would and have already recommended this tour to friends. It was a great way to spend an evening getting to know more about the beginnings of our great city

Catherine D

4 star rating: Recommended January 2015

The tour was great. Our guide was interesting and entertaining, learnt a lot and the cocktails were delicious

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