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Walking San Francisco: 30 savvy tours exploring the CityÆs distinctive enclaves, colorful history, and back alley intrigues Paperback – June 13, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Travel guru Tom Downs offers a splendid...guide..." -- Inside Bay Area, December 2007

About the Author

Tom Downs grew up in the suburbs south of San Francisco and always felt the pull of the big city. From a very early age, skyscrapers, big-league baseball, Italian restaurants, darkly lit saloons, grand parks, museums, cramped little taquerías, the whistles of hotel doormen, the bells of trolleys, the smell of fish, the babble of languages, and the constant hush and hum of traffic and people held our author in thrall. As an adult, Tom divided a decade between Los Angeles and New York before finally moving to San Francisco. Researching this book gave him the excuse to dissect the city in a methodical manner. Tom has authored guidebooks to such far-flung lands as New Orleans; the Mississippi Delta; the west of Ireland; Hanoi, Vietnam; and also our beloved San Francisco. He lived in the Mission District and in Chinatown before migrating to Oakland with his wife and kids, who are all card sharks.
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Product Details

  • Series: Walking
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Wilderness Press; 1 edition (June 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0899974198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899974194
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,680,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Being a pedestrian in San Francisco can be adventurous enough given the wild-eyed drivers here. However, if you are not worried about making appointments, getting to work or simply too exhausted to look beyond your feet when you trudge home, this compact, well-organized book is a good reminder of what this city does offer for local and tourist alike. Bay Area travel writer and Lonely Planet contributor Tom Downs traces thirty walking routes that range from the familiar to the surprising spotlighting the key sights to be seen along the way. Like a true hiking guide, he gives the distance and difficulty level, the latter of which can be wildly variable thanks to the hills and valleys indicative of our cityscape.

For each do-it-yourself tour, Downs provides helpful public transportation information and a sense of the parking challenge, perhaps the most common logistical dilemma when starting and ending these walks. His concise descriptions of the unique sights are bulleted in helpful fashion. The areas covered are what you'd expect in a guidebook - stretching from a strenuous coastline hike from Land's End to the Golden Gate Bridge to an easy stroll along the refurbished Embarcadero Walkway. There are hidden gems to be discovered in neighborhoods as diverse as Bernal Heights, Westside Cordillera and the Presidio. Along with periodic sections to describe worthwhile detours and interesting back stories, there are also appendices that organize the information by walking themes and points of interest.
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Format: Paperback
I live in the Bay Area and normally wouldn't buy a book like this, but with guests coming from out of town I gave it a shot. I started reading it and was pleasantly surprised. Well-written and entertaining beyond what I'd expect from a travel guide. Once I started walking the tours I discovered neighborhoods, parks, museums, bars, restaurants and unusual landmarks that I never knew existed. Easy to follow instructions, clear simple maps, and interesting trivia make this book a great companion. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
Any California collection specializing in San Francisco explorations will relish WALKING SAN FRANCISCO: 30 SAVVY TOURS EXPLORING STEEP STREETS, GRAND HOTELS, DIVE BARS, AND WATERFRONT PARKS. There have been other books on San Francisco's walking opportunities, but this comes from an insider who offers a blend of history, gossip, architectural and cultural insights and includes pubs and bars for added interest. It's a great collection for any walker who would see the City by foot.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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I am a volunteer tour guide in San Francisco ([...]) and for that reason I am interested in San Francisco history as well as good walks.

Well, that and a fondness for dive bars.

This is a great set of walking tours that provide a wealth of information as well as some lesser known stories of San Francisco history.

San Francisco (never Frisco) is a very walkable town. It's small compact size (it's the second most densely populated city in the US) along with impossible parking make it a walkers paradise.

San Francisco isn't so much a city as it is a series of intimate and unique neighborhoods that happen to share a city hall downtown.

For residents, this is your opportunity to explore new neighborhoods as well as finding places that in your own 'hood that you either didn't know existed or knew about but had never had an opportunity to explore.

For tourists, this is really the only way to see San Francisco. One of thiose big double decker buses will give a general idea of the city but you need to be out on the street. Eating tacos in the Mission, drinking espresson in North Beach or dodging strollers and dogs in Noe Valley.

This is a very good tour book (almost as good as a (free) City Guides Tour ([...]) well worth it's purchase price.
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I found this book while in a San Francisco Borders and it was great a introduction to the city. I believe I have walked more than half of the walks described in this volume and because of thesse walks, I really have a good appreciation and understanding of San Francisco. IMO, this is the best walking tour book of San Francisco.
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Format: Paperback
This was a great help in navigating S. F. on foot. The walks were interesting and the maps helpful. In our 8 day visit we utilized 8 of them, all delightful, some challenging with the hills. We loved learning the history of the various neighborhoods and some current culture.
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I have only done one of the walks so far. I was hoping it would have more suggestions on places to eat and drink so you can take your pick. Sometimes you want to walk for fitness, sometimes you want an adventure. Good starter ideas, though.
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By K on September 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I first read this book as a library borrow but after reading-- I knew that I needed one to keep for my own library of reference or to loan to visitors of SF. I'm a proud sf native and this book has a lot of valuable info and great walks to explore-- this book was written with great research, practicality, and vision-- it's a fun, well written, inspiring read!!
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