Art Deco Walking Tour of San Francisco

activities / Guided tours

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Art Deco Walking Tour of San Francisco information and booking

2 to 2.5-hours
Departs from
Rincon Center, San Francisco
Returns to
Concludes at the Westin St Francis Hotel in Union Square
Time of departure
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Tour description provided by Viator

Step back in time on this Art Deco walking tour in San Francisco. Led by an art historian, this tour takes you to buildings featuring distinctive 1920s and 30s architecture. Learn about renowned architects and designers such as Timothy Pflueger as you visit the Rincon Center, the Pacific Exchange, the 450 Sutter Medical Building, the Westin St Francis Hotel in Union Square and more, and hear fascinating stories about how these architectural masterpieces were constructed.

Meet at the Rincon Center in San Francisco. Your guide – an art historian, vintage enthusiast and Art Deco expert – will tell you all about this building complex, which was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood in the Streamline Moderne style. Step inside and learn why dolphin friezes adorn the doorways and windows, and inside, admire watercolor murals depicting California’s history.
Then, head to the Stock Exchange Tower on Sansome Street. This historical building opened in 1930 and was designed by Timothy Pflueger, a prominent architect and interior designer. A San Francisco native, he also designed the luxurious cocktail lounge inside Top of the Mark at the exclusive Mark Hopkins Hotel, the patent leather bar at the Westin St Francis Hotel and the Cirque Room at The Fairmont Hotel.
While sitting on the steps of the Pacific Exchange, your guide will hand out tour notes including photos and addresses of other hidden art and architectural treasures that you can visit later.
Then, hike up Sutter Street to visit another Art Deco gem of Pflueger’s: the 450 Sutter Medical Building. This spectacular tower is world renowned for its unique neo-Mayan design elements.
Lastly, head to the lobby of the St Francis Hotel in Union Square, where you’ll see Ansel Adam’s stunning photographs of Pflueger’s interior design of the famed patent leather bar. Your tour concludes here, where you are free to stay and enjoy a drink at the bar or carry on to find other art deco gems on your map.

What's included

  • Expert guide
  • Map and photographs of additional points of interest

What isn't included

  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off