The guides listed below include walks in Russian Hill. Each offers something unique. But, more importantly, they offer interesting walks throughout San Francisco for those who enjoy exploring The City and its many and varied neighborhoods and districts.
San Francisco: The Ultimate Guide, Randolph Delehanty, 1995. The book features 16 self-guided tours of the city. Tour Six covers Russian Hill and focuses on the history and architecture of our buildings.
Historic Walks in San Francisco, Rand Richards, 2001. This books features 18 walks through the city’s past. A Russian Hill walk starts on page 347. The book also includes short biographies of famous people in the city’s history.
Stairway Walks in San Francisco, Adah Bakalinsky, 1995. Among San Francisco’s little known treasures are more than 350 stairways. These stairs traverse the city’s hills and offer stunning views, alternate routes, and exhilarating ways to get exercise. This book contains two walks on Russian Hill, with special focus on the tucked-away places that make Russian Hill unique.
Walking the Barbary Coast Trail, Daniel Bacon, 1996. Another great San Francisco walking tour with an emphasis on anecdotes of early San Francisco. This guide only briefly deals with Russian Hill, but covers the surrounding area in a unique and fascinating way. The tour is marked by bronze plaques similar to those on the Freedom Trail in Boston.
Lunchtime Walks in Downtown San Francisco, Gail Todd, 1998. This book contains walks that start in downtown San Francisco. It covers the downtown area with many walks not found in other guides. Included are two “aerobic” walks — one in Russian Hill: “Aerobic Walk to Russian Hill South – Walk 24”, and the other in Telegraph Hill — “An Aerobic Tramp on San Francisco’s Long Trail: The Filbert & Greenwich Steps – Walk 22.”
Other Resources for Walks in the City
City Guides Neighborhood Walks offers free walks of many city neighborhoods; schedules are available online and at Bay Area libraries, (415) 557-4266.
Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) Presidio of San Francisco, Bldg. 1007, P.O. Box 29456, 94129-0456, (415) 561-6890. FUF provides free guided “Tree Tours” through San Francisco’s urban forest. FUF has worked with Russian Hill Neighbors since 1981 to plant hundreds of trees on the sidewalks of the hill. FUF conducts an outstanding walk on Russian Hill. The walk covers 123 species of trees and shrubs found on Russian Hill (only 3 are native) as well as stairs, lanes, and architecture. Call FUF for their calendar of walks or check their website.
Octagon House, 2645 Gough at Union. Open to the public on the second Sunday and second and fourth Thursday of each month (closed the month of January), Noon to 3 p.m.; Free (donation requested), (415) 441-7512.
The San Francisco Chronicle regularly lists walking tours in the Exhibits Section, under History or Tours.
San Francisco Heritage provides tours of the Haas-Lilienthal House, 2007 Franklin St. Check their web site for the schedule.
The Sierra Club, S.F. Bay Chapter publishes an activities schedule on their web site. Check their Activities Calendar for a schedule of walks and hikes.
Guided Tours of City Hall, scheduled guided tours of City Hall are given free of charge Tuesday through Friday at 10 a.m., 12 noon, and 2 p.m., and on Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. Reservations (and a fee) are required for groups of eight or more and must be made four weeks in advance to allow for scheduling. Children’s school tours are free, and MUST be scheduled. For more information check their web site.