Walking Tours

The most engaging way to get more than a glimmer of what we mean by the commons is to join us on one of our walking tours. Come along on one of our live, on the ground tours, please--they're free--, but you can catch some of the experience and a lot of the content of the Land, Villains, and Revolutionaries tour anytime on youtube. Simply click on that purplish text!

Fill out our Contact Form to find out when the schedule resumes.

Land, Villains, and Revolutionaries

FREE . . .

Departs nearly every Saturday, 9am-11:30, from the downtown American Youth Hostel at 312 Mason St. (near O'Farrell). Arrive on time, ready to walk, and dressed for whatever weather San Francisco puts up.

So Henry George had a big idea. "What's that got to do with me?" you may ask. Fair enough. San Francisco is all about real estate. Big buildings, smart penthouses, but also the homeless and gentrification. On this walk we reveal the wicked and wonderful and nasty things people have done (and are still doing) to get land in San Francisco.
We introduce you to art deco buildings and back alleys with filthy rich stories. We tell you about the Mormons, the Gold Rush, Jim Jones, Sun Yat-sen and the woman who led the way to equal pay for women. Then there's Jose Rizal and the Philippine Revolution, the San Francisco Giants (baseball team), and the Queer community. Amongst them are heroes and villains, but always the goal has been control of land . . . in order to control people.
By journey's end you'll have the economy in your hand and San Francisco's Big Idea in your head.
And loads of stories . . . about Chinatown, sugar fortunes, Abraham Lincoln, the Emperor of the United States, and school funding in San Francisco.
Whether you live here and are interested in the price of apartments, or have come from far away and wonder at sky-scraper next to empty lot, this walk will astonish and touch you like no other the world over.
Architecture. Literary anecdotes. San Francisco personalities. And plenty more.
Along the way we consider The Black Panthers, the Latter Day Saints, est, the '60s back-to-the-land movement, Jim Jones, LGBT, Hebraism, and Sun Yat-sen.

Watersheds, wealth divides, and "which side are you on?"

FREE, but the Mission Museum requests a $5 donation for admission.

Come along on a performance art political information walking tour tracing the history of Mission Creek from pre-Spanish days through to the present.

First we'll briefly explore the cemetery grounds and Ohlone Museum in the Mission building, then trace bits of now underground Mission Creek, discovering 200 years of a watershed that has sustained communities, but which now plays a leading role in the wealth divide.

Discover history, geography, social dynamics, and San Francisco's 1879 Big Idea for restoring land to the people.

Food, History, and Society


"When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?" --John Ball, in 1381, at the time of the Peasants' Revolt. This is a performance art walking tour and picnic with poetry and comestibles.

What if, when Adam and Eve were turned out of the Garden by God, they had been met at the frontier by a ticket-taker demanding a fee to use the rest of the world? Come along on a one and a quarter hour performance art walking tour of Civic Center to find out how good minds have attempted to answer that question. David Giesen, San Francisco storyteller, will use fact, historic anecdote, and tall tales to reveal the history and labor significance of United Nations Plaza, Hiram Johnson State Office Building, Earl Warren Federal Office Building, the I.O.O.F. building, Herbst Auditorium, War Memorial Opera House, City Hall, and an almost unknown community park and garden opposite the south side of City Hall. The last half hour of this histrionic program will transpire in that snug, green garden so Eden-like beside the brick and granite monuments of intentions to create cooperative communities.