Monthly Programs

SFHS - erba Buena History of Smuggling

Yerba Buena Cove: A History of Smuggling

Tuesday, September 13
Doors open at 5:45 PM for socializing and snacks; Presentations begin at 6:30.
608 Commercial Street

Carlina Ospina

During Spanish-California and Mexican-California, Yerba Buena Cove was a well-known secret for smugglers. Before the town of Yerba Buena was established, smugglers knew to anchor their ships in San Francisco Bay to trade/sell all kinds of merchandise, including clothing, fabric, jewelry, alcohol, food, musical instruments, furniture—anything Californios wanted or needed from around the world. Carlina will tell us why so many ships came to Yerba Buena Cove when Monterey was the official port of entry. Discover who was involved in smuggling, how this smuggling started, and curious stories about the smuggling trade.

Monkey Block - San Francisco’s Golden History PodcastCarlina is a Bay Area native, a San Francisco history enthusiast, and an overall California Gold Rush fan. While bartending at a Financial District hotel during the dot-com boom, she saw similarities between the Gold Rush boom of 1849 and the tech boom of 1999, prompting her to research San Francisco’s early history. Her monthly podcast, “Monkey Block San Francisco’s Golden History,” focuses on early San Francisco history. Visit https://monkeyblocksf.buzzsprout.com/


* To reserve your spot as an SFHS member please CLICK HERE.
* To purchase a non-member ticket ($10, free for 13 and under) please CLICK HERE.
* View online live stream during the event on YouTube: CLICK HERE TO WATCH STREAM.


In-Person Walking Tours

Our three revamped Barbary Coast Trail Walking Tours begin at the SFHS Museum, 608 Commercial Street. These walks explore “ground zero” of early San Francisco. Each tour is scheduled one time per month, October through December. Barbary Coast Trail tours are free for members, $20 for non-members (under 13 is free), but you must register in advance. Limited to 15 people or less. Rain cancels.

historical SF harbor


*** Current SFHS Members please RESERVE your spot for any tour: CLICK HERE! ***

*** Non-members please PURCHASE your tickets for any tour: CLICK HERE! ***
$20 per person (under 13 free)

Fisherman’s Wharf: A Fishing Heritage and Tourist Mecca


Join us for an exploration of Fisherman’s Wharf, the most popular free attraction in San Francisco, to discover how commercial fishing coexists with the modern tourist Mecca. Learn how Native Americans, Chinese, Italians, whaling sea captains, and sport fishermen all have harvested seafood from the waters of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

Starting at the Musée Mécanique at Pier 45, we will walk to the Maritime Museum at Aquatic Park, a flat, under-two-hour stroll. Along the way, you’ll hear stories about World War II ships, a San Francisco theatrical production called The Cable Car Nymphomaniac, and the crisis that “broke the mold” for Irish coffee glasses.

Tour Dates, Times, and Guides:

  • Saturday, August 27 at 11:00 am led by Maggie Bening
  • Saturday, September 17 at 11:00 am, led by Corrie Conklin
  • Saturday, September 24 at 11:00 am, led by Maggie Bening

SF Earthquake 1906

1906 Earthquake and Fire: Chinatown’s Devastation and Renewal

Before dawn on April 18, 1906, the San Andreas Fault ruptured, sending shock waves racing across San Francisco. The city was abruptly wakened to witness a firestorm that would last three days and destroy almost everything within sight. Vibrant and densely populated Chinatown was swiftly engulfed by a raging fire on Day One, its inhabitants dispersed like embers in the wind. With Chinatown destroyed, city politicians and power brokers decided that this was an opportune time to relocate the Chinese community. Powered by an irrepressible resilience, the Chinese community reimagined Chinatown and built it back better.

  • Saturday, September 3 at 11:00 am

(tour led by Jack Grippi)

*** Additional Information – All Tours ***

Tour Length:  approximately 90 minutes

Maximum attendees: 15

In case of rain, tour will be rescheduled

*** Current SFHS Members please RESERVE your spot for any tour: CLICK HERE! ***

*** Non-members please PURCHASE your tickets for any tour: CLICK HERE! ***
$20 per person (under 13 free)

antique appraisal san francisco historical society clars auction gallery valuation old items family event register

Walking-tour-san-francisco-historical-society-barbary-coast Gold Rush Walks for Kids

Gold Rush Walks for Kids

Our trained guides offer free walking tours for elementary school focused on the Gold Rush. This walk directly addresses grade 4 social studies standards, but students in grades 3–6 are welcome to attend. Please call 415-537-1105, Ext. 6, for more details.

Self-Guided Walking Tours

Tours of ‘Old Town’ SF
Not up for an in-person event yet? Give our self-guided walking tours a try. These walks also begin at 608 Commercial Street. You can download them for free on the App Store or Google Play. Search for “City Explorer San Francisco” and look for the walks with the SFHS logo. Or, scan the QR code with your smartphone or tablet.

SFHS Virtual Walking Tours

Self-Guided Tours Led by SF High School Students

Walking Tours of Golden Gate Park!
Walking tours of Golden Gate Park led by San Francisco high school students, the winners of the 2020 Fracchia Prize, are now available as mobile apps. Download the walks for free and start exploring “Everyone’s Park,” with freshly minted historians as your guide. Choose from:

  • “Botany and Horticulture: Symbols of Flourishing Against the Odds” by Winnie Quock, George Washington High School (1st Place Winner)
  • “Horticultural History: Learning About San Francisco’s Past Through the Garden Gems of the City’s Favorite Park” by Indigo Mudbhary, Lick-Wilmerding High School (2nd Place Winner)

* COMING SOON * “It’s a Ringer! One Perfect Day in Golden Gate Park” by 3rd Place Winner Luke Zeponni, Abraham Lincoln High School

SFHS Virtual Walking Tour - Golden Gate Park

*  Special thanks to SFHS Volunteer Gloria Lenhart for creating our mobile history apps. *