The Castro and Mission District: Private Walking Tour
San Francisco’s pioneering activists and counter-cultural forces have powered societal change for over five decades, shaping the modern city and modern America. Walk around the Castro and Mission Districts, famous for the anti-war protests of 1967, Harvey Milk’s civil rights campaign of the 1970s, and more recent protests against gentrification in one of the most attractive and exciting cities in the United States. On your private guided tour of The Castro and Mission District, you will:
- Enjoy the personal attention of your private guide.
- See Harvey Milk Plaza and the LGBTQ protest grounds, the Pink Triangle Memorial, and the Rainbow Honor Walk.
- Enjoy sweeping downtown views from leafy Dolores Park.
- See Dearborn Garden, the city’s rooftop urban community allotment.
- Admire the bold political murals and urban artworks in Clarion Alley.
- See the Old Spanish Mission, the Bay Area’s most historic building.
- Stroll the hottest destination eateries, cafés, and food joints on Valencia Street.
- Finish your tour on Valencia Street, lined with shops, cafés, and food joints. Your guide will be ready with great recommendations for where you should indulge in a post-tour bite.
Please note: if you wish to visit the Mission Dolores Basilica, it is presently open to guests Thursday through Sunday. Please book your tour accordingly.
This Private Tour of Castro and Mission will introduce you to the city’s hippest neighbourhoods, notable for their LGBTQ community and cool, artsy vibe. In the Castro, learn about the extraordinary accomplishments of SF residents in halting demolition, stopping four-lane freeways and affecting positive change in feminism, peace, and LGBTQ rights. The neighbourhood’s many spirited LGBTQ bars range from brewpubs and bustling dives to ritzy drag shows.
You will hear how, today, America has elected more than 500 LGBTQ politicians into public office - from city council members, mayors and members of Congress to state legislators and governors - yet, 40 years ago, the tally was just a handful of gay men and lesbians, of which Harvey Milk was one. On the Private Tour of Castro and Mission, explore Milk’s Ground Zero and immerse yourself in the legacy of California’s first openly gay elected official - and the role Castro played.
In the Mission District, you will venture down Clarion Alley and see the fabulous urban graffiti and satirical political street art as you stroll in the footsteps of feminists, Latinos, artists and activists who continue to fight for the soul of San Francisco. Pop into the Mission Dolores to see the oldest building in San Francisco, along with shrubbery and a garden reflective of the mission in the early 1790s.
With a buzzing cultural mix and sizzling street food, Mission is famous for its galleries, neon-lit clubs and basement bars and is blessed with the leafy greenery of picturesque Dolores Park.
Type of tour
Walking tour – no transport costs are included. Your guide will help you get around on the day.
No tickets are required.
Food & drink not included
Couples, Family Friendly, Friends, History Buffs
Attractions along this route:
Harvey Milk Plaza
As the gateway to the Castro and part of a large metro station, Harvey Milk Plaza can almost be missed but is an essential part of learning about San Francisco's story.
Synonymous with the city's historic gay culture, The Castro is one of San Francisco's most colorful and vibrant neighborhoods.
San Francisco's oldest surviving building, Mission Dolores withstood the earthquake of 1906 and remains an active Catholic mission today.
Dearborn Community Garden
Covering less than a quarter of a block and easily missed, the Dearborn community garden is so popular that the seven year waiting list has been closed entirely.
The alley has had over 700 murals painted on it in its century spent exclusively devoted to supporting street artists, and receives over 200,000 visitors annually.
Home to hipster eateries, lined with street art and bars filled with the newest craft cocktail, Valencia Street is the main drag for foodies and people looking for a local experience.