Spend an evening under the neon glow with SF Neon authors Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan. Tours feature local history with architectural and graphic design insights to San Francisco's unique legacy of surviving neon signs. Photography and a lively Q&A are encouraged. Be prepared to walk 2 miles for approximately 2 hours, with rest stops. Tours start just before twilight, rain or shine. (Neon looks best on a rainy night!) Contact us to schedule private tours for up to 12 people.
Tickets: $30 Regular and $15 Students/Teachers/Seniors.
Tour season is Aug-May. (Too cold to tour in June and July.)
Preview of SF Neon tours by Evatt Carrodus
From the grandeur of the Alameda Theater to the nearly invisible Pop Inn, downtown Alameda boasts a fine collection of vintage neon. This tour was developed by Alameda local, Devi L. Dahl, and winds through a quiet bungalow neighborhood and commercial corridors of Alameda. Design insights and historical backstories included. This Sunday evening tour was a popular sold-out feature of Neon Speaks 2019.
Photo: Devi L. Dahl
This tour has hidden neon gems that still light up the night, reminding us when San Francisco's nightlife was ablaze with neon. The Downtown neon tour includes several neighborhoods from the produce market lore of Front Street, to the well-heeled Palace Hotel, plus Union Square back streets.
Flow through corners of three neighborhoods, from the stunning Castro marquee to the city's largest neon martini glass at the 500 Club. Historic neon glows on corner stores, corner bars, coffee shops, groceries stores, and cinemas—all places where neighbors congregate. Meet at It's Tops Coffee Shop on Market Street near Octavia.
Look up to find forgotten clusters of vintage neon signs in the streets of Chinatown, back alleys and back stories are included. These are some of the oldest signs in San Francisco. They are sometimes overlooked, but not forgotten because of the history they hold in this unique tourist and working class neighborhood. Meet at the Chinatown YMCA on Sacramento Street near Grant.
From the gritty to the sublime, zig zag through the historic corridors of Ellis, O'Farrell, Geary, Post, Sutter, and Bush Streets. As twilight falls, theses neon signs illuminate local landmarks, classic hotels, and famous movie locations. Meet at Mack's Valet Cleaners on Post Street near Taylor.
Wander between Lombard and Chestnut Streets to discover vintage neon signs for motels, movie theaters, psychics, falling donuts, and a diving lady. Meet at the Presidio Theater on Chestnut Street near Divisadero.
Small Print: Requests for cancellation with full refund can be made 24 hours prior to tour start time. If you want to reschedule your tour, we may be able to move your reservation to a future tour, just let us know. We reserve the right to change/cancel the tour due to obstructions, stormy weather, or insufficient reservations. Canceled tours will be fully refunded. All participants agree to assume 100% responsibility for their own safety, conduct, and well-being, and recognize that possible hazards exist while participating in outdoor (or any other) activities; and agree to participate solely at their own risk. If you join this group, and if you click the reserve button, and/or attend any San Francisco Neon or Giant Orange Press events; it shall be conclusively presumed you understand and agree to this policy.