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North Beach San Francisco: Self-Guided Audio Tour

San Francisco literary figure, Joan Gelfand, hosts this grand tour from the Gold Rush haunts of the Barbary Coast to the culturally rich neighborhood of North Beach. The audio tour plays automatically as you are led to the tour’s historic figures, favorite local restaurants, and hidden gems.

GPS-activated audio guide plays on your phone
Local insider commentary and guest interviews
See top attractions like the TransAmerica Building, Jackson Square, MacArthur Park, Sentinel Building, and the Condor Club
Find hidden gems, including: Punk Rock birthplace, Mabuhay Gardens; City Lights Bookstore, Beat Museum; and gold rush ear hang outs.
Restaurant recommendations
Easy pause and play to go at your own pace
Meals or beverages

This route meanders through wonderfully historic neighborhoods of San Francisco. Your host, Joan Gelfand, an accomplished literary figure in her own right, takes you from North Beach, home of the beats, punks and jazz; to Jackson Square where Gold Miners came to weigh gold, carouse and sleep.

This entertaining audio tour takes about an hour but there are many places to stop and linger along the way, like: City Lights Books, Purple Onion Comedy Club, and The Beat Museum.

Landmarks you will see on your tour include: the TransAmerica Building, Bay Bridge, Saints Peter and Paul Church, Jackson Square, MacArthur Park, Sentinel Building, and the Condor Club

As you walk, learn the stories of Jim Dirksen, the Pope of Punk; Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet; Jack Kerouac, writer; Francis Coppola, movie producer; and Tony Serra, attorney.

Finally, when you are ready, take a break for coffee or a meal. Your host makes recommendations, including: Cafe Vesuvio, Tosca Cafe, Cafe Trieste, Cafe Sport, Cafe Pucchini, The Stinking Rose and Stella Bakery


The tour begins at the corner of Columbus and Broadway. Get there by taking BART to Montgomery Street, then walk east on Montgomer to Columbus, or take the MUNI bus.

Know before you go

This is a self-guided audio tour. Entrance fees to all attractions mentioned on the tour are excluded from the price.

Remember your headphones and charge your phone's battery. The way the app uses GPS to play audio automatically can be battery intensive.

Important Information
What is the best time of day to do the tour?

Daytime bay views are lovely, but evenings when cafes are bustling are magical.

Is the route hilly?

San Francisco is full of great hills but this area is relatively flat for the entire 1 mile path

What is weather like in San Francisco?

Like much of the California coast, San Francisco has a temperate climate with highs between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (12 to 24 Celsius) all year around. Winter storms, however, can make it feel much colder, so visitors should dress in layers and bring a warm rain jacket.

Where is the starting point?

Corner of Columbus and Broadway, San Francisco, California, 94133

Once I start the tour, can I pause it?

Yes. Simply hit pause on the tour and do what you’d like. Hit play when you return, even the next day if needed.

What time do the Beat museums close?

The Beat museums closes at 5:00 pm.

Can I download the tour in advance?

You can download the tour at any time, before or after your booking date. It’s best to download the tour before you set off for the starting point.

How long does the tour download take?

The download should only take a few minutes to complete. If it takes longer, please cancel the download, go to Account, select Purchased and download the tour from there.

What should I bring?

Remember to bring your own headphones. Please charge your phone as well.

What is the tour duration?

45 minutes or longer with pauses to explore the cafes, restaurants and historical landmarks.

Where does the tour end?

Corner of Columbus and Broadway, San Francisco, California, 94133

North Beach San Francisco: Self-Guided Audio Tour
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