San Francisco is a haven for those with any interest in architecture. On this San Francisco Architecture Tour, we’ll embark on an in-depth architectural examination of the city, discovering why San Francisco has such an ardent architectural following through visits to a number of significant spaces. In the company of an architect or urban planner, we will discuss historical buildings from the Gold Rush era, Art Deco and Nouveau archetypes, and visit some lesser-known public spaces atop buildings and within skyscrapers. This is the perfect tour for those wanted a deeper look into SF’s architectural diversity.
San Francisco Architecture Tour
We’ll begin in the heart of downtown San Francisco, amongst the dense architectural space in which we will spend the next 3 hours exploring. Market Street divides this district neatly into two: we'll explore north and south of this iconic street and its environs. Our path may weave its way through a number of important buildings and their partnering spaces. We may drop into the Palace Hotel and its architecturally inspiring tearoom, the historic Bank of California building or admire both the interior and exterior of the Hearst building.
Secret Spaces and Alternate Places
Unknown to many tourists are privately owned public-open spaces (POPOS), which are located throughout downtown. Our docent will have an expert grasp on these POPOS which offer an alternative perspective on the skyscrapers and tall giants that grace San Francisco’s downtown. Since the 1985 Downtown Plan, San Francisco city planners implemented systematic conditions for developers to provide such a space. Throughout our walking tour, we will include stops to these (sometimes) lush, green and architecturally inspiring spaces, from Redwood Parks to metal artist installations within skyscrapers. Our docent will navigate the group to a few of our favorite serene oases in the city as we explore the way the city is using these lesser-known urban masterpieces. We’ll see workers enjoying these spaces for meetings, lunch or an escape from the office to bask in the Californian sunshine.
At the end of our time together, we will leave one another with a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the urban landscape and architecture on display in San Francisco. We will also be able to navigate ourselves to these lesser-known spots atop buildings and have an alternate impression of the city.
Where does this tour start and where does it end?
The tour begins and ends in the financial district. Your docent can point you in the right direction for a public tranport stop if necessary.
Is this tour available at weekends?
The tour is possible to run at the weekends, although it is best during the weekdays. This is because many of the POPOS are open specifically during office hours Monday-Friday. There are other open spaces that we visit on weekends that don't have these regulations.
What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your docent will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.