Tour the Tenderloin

Our resident historians give you an insider’s view of the Tenderloin past and present

Walking tours are a great compliment to a Tenderloin Museum visit. Lead by longtime neighborhood denizens, our tours connect the Tenderloin's storied past, present and future potential. With a choice of daytime or evening tours with different themes, you'll experience beautiful historic buildings, stories of famous residents and visitors, and the sites where some of San Francisco's most important activist movements were born.

Tickets for the one hour daytime tour are $10, or $5 with a paid Museum admission. The 90-minute evening tour ($15) is available for adults only. Tickets for all walking tours may be purchased at the museum, online, or by calling 415-351-1912.

Please arrive to the museum 10 minutes before your departure time. All tours meet in the lobby area of the Tenderloin Museum, 398 Eddy Street.

 

Daytime Neighborhood Tours

Our tours offer the real Tenderloin experience.

Among many highlights –tour participants will visit the SRO where Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and Sugar Ray Robinson all boxed,  key sites in the launching of San Francisco’s gay and lesbian civil rights movement, the nation’s greatest collection of historic garages, and where the Grateful Dead and Miles Davis recorded legendary albums. You'll also get to meet the Museum's neighbors: the people who live and work in the Tenderloin today.

With over 400 buildings in the National Registrar of Historic places, Tenderloin walking tours offer a unique opportunity- get the inside scoop on the unseen history of the heart of San Francisco. 

Tuesday-Saturday tours begin at 11am and 2pm.
Sunday tours begin at 2pm.

Schedule tour

Night Moves 

The night tour of the Tenderloin exposes the epic underground history of the neighborhood.

The Tenderloin’s nighttime activities are the stuff of legends. You'll visit old gambling joints, brothels, speakeasies, LGBT clubs, and other places which once made the Tenderloin the vice capital of San Francisco. This unforgettable tour is completely different from our daytime tours and will be exciting for locals and tourists alike!

This adults-only excursion also includes stops and discounted beverages at historically significant neighborhood watering holes. The Night Tour is the perfect way to spend the evening imbibing and investigating the forgotten history of one of San Francisco's oldest neighborhoods. 

Tours are the first and third Wednesday evening of every month.

Meet at the Tenderloin Museum at 5:30pm, browse our permanent exhibit; tours take off promptly at 6:15pm. The tour will conclude at the Black Cat. Enjoy discounted drinks + bites, while you delight in the complimentary jazz show! Ages 21+

Schedule tour
 


Tour Guides

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Pam Coates

Pam was born in London’s East End in 1950. Always a performer, she auditioned for and was accepted by The National Youth Theatre in 1964.  Pam continued her acting career after she gained a BA (1H) from the University of Southampton,  working in repertory at various companies including The Royal Shakespeare Company. Pam has worked extensively in the Tenderloin Community as a tenant counselor / educator and community activist.

Photo: Codi Mills, The Chronicle

Photo: Codi Mills, The Chronicle

Kathy Looper

Kathy's Reality House West owns the Cadillac Hotel, the first non-profit SRO on the West Coast. Looper has worked in the Tenderloin since 1977 and is currently the President of the Uptown Tenderloin Inc. 

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Garland Richard Kyle

Garland is the editor and publisher of Modern Words: A Thoroughly Queer Literary Journal. He has spent several years searching to find services for the poor and dispossessed in the Tenderloin. He also has been a union negotiator (SEIU) and steward for the Gay and Lesbian Services Center of Los Angeles.