"City Scapes and Public Places"

That's the name of the San Francisco City Guides walking tour I took today.
"City Guides got [their] start more than 25 years ago when a San Francisco mayor asked the city librarian to find volunteers to give tours in City Hall."

Today, City Guides offers walking dozens of different walking tours all over San Francisco "focus[ing] on the architecture, history, legends, and lore".

The best part? All tours are free. (Donations accepted.)

That's pretty cool because tourism in San Francisco is not cheap. Tickets for comparable commercial tours would easily start at $30.

Today, we're going to "discover hidden parks, rooftop gardens, and other delights while experiencing some of the colorful history and distinctive old architecture of San Francisco's financial district."

And why not. San Francisco's getting all tricked out for the holidays.



The roof garden at Montgomery and Market. I've always wondered how to get up here. The entrance is through the Galleria next door.




Coleonema album, Rutaceae. I like this plant. The foliage has a spicy fragrance.


You can get a good view of the Palace Hotel from up here--formerly the Palace Sheraton. I'm going to take the City Guides tour of that too.


And you can see this building...


which is built entirely around this smaller building...


and I've never noticed that before although I've walked right past it hundreds of times.

Moving on...


I didn't know Evel Knievel died today when I took these pictures of motorcycles.




The address is One Sansome Street.


(The tree is actually crooked, not the photographer.)


And this is Star Girl.



I was too busy taking pictures to pay attention to the historical narrative, or even to pay attention to where we were exactly. The guide took us into dozens of public buildings I never imagined entering by myself. I took a lot of pictures, including stuff that had nothing to do with the tour.


San Francisco has amazing old banks with incredible features and flourishes. Unfortunately, they don't want you taking pictures.


And many of the pictures I took anyway were too blurry to use. Heh, heh. But this one's okay.


The tour was full of interesting nuggets. Seriously. This is a "money museum" in the basement of an old bank.


And these are some relics from a pre-1906 apothecary shop found during a building excavation some years ago.



More roof garden action.


Every once in awhile you catch a little glimpse of the bay between the buildings.


And I learned these statues (which I like, but which many consider tacky) are made out of styrofoam so that if they fall, hopefully noone will die.



This is the Bank of America building.


You might know the Transamerica Pyramid...


But did you know there's a garden of redwood trees next to it?


With a fountain.





And I like plantings like this, with the redacted hardscape.


This was the last stop on the tour, but I'll end with this short clip of a mesmerizing fountain in one of the buildings we buzzed through.


JvA said...

I think it would be more appropriate if those statues -- who look to be the Three Fates -- were real and could kill someone if they fell.

I mean, not that I would want them to do that. But it's pretty weird to make styrofoam statues of goddesses fixing our doom.

chuck b. said...

They are the three fates. And actually there are 12 of them because there are three on every side.

That's a very interesting take on those the styrofoam, Julie.

sixty-five said...

Wow thanks! What a fantastic tour! I'm going to link to it in my own blog - assume you won't object.

anna maria said...

I didn't know they were styrofoam! Weird.
You got captured some beautiful photos of our city and thank you for naming the Coleonema album, I've often wondered what it was.

chuck b. said...

I'm pretty sure it's the species C. album; the pink-flowering form is C. pulchrum, and a synonym for both is Diosma.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I like that, too, with the redacted hardscape. It looks like someone peeled back chunks of sidewalk and freed the plants to pop out. :)

vonne said...

Wow! Thanks for the walk down memory lane! I use to live in San Francisco, but I left in '78 and I haven't been back since.
I've been slowly working my way thru your blog. It's been great fun seeing familiar sights.
Btw, love your garden.

The County Clerk said...

Excellent tour. As always.

lisa said...

Great tour! Amazing how they put the large bldg. around the small one...I presume the old one has some historical significance...seems like a cool idea to me. BTW-why DON'T banks want you taking pictures of the architecture? Do they think you're casing the joint?