Notorious San Francisco: Scandal & Crime Tour
6 Ratings
San Francisco
Embark on a thrilling journey through San Francisco's scandalous and crime-ridden history. Explore Hollywood scandals, red light districts, opium dens, and more on this captivating tour. Join us now!
Duration: 3 hours
Cancellation: 1 day learn more
  • Westin St. Francis (hotel) - We begin the tour with the Fatty Arbuckle affair, Hollywood’s first ever sex scandal (here in SF). It’s not just a lurid story - it’s effects are still felt today in many ways.

If the hotel is open there’s the option of having a drink in the very nice bar in the lobby.

  • Maiden Lane - Learn how this lane - which is now a beautiful pedestrian street, was once the heart of San Francisco’s red light district.
  • Chinatown - SF’s Chinatown is the oldest in the U.S. and for many years the Chinese immigrants here were strongly discriminated against. Criminals also preyed on them - opium dens, gangs and murder were all prevalent here. Learn of some of the personalities and crimes as you walk the streets.
  • Portsmouth Square - Learn how the Gold Rush made SF what it is today. In those early years it was the Wild West, murder, robbery, kidnapping - and lynchings - were commonplace in this neighborhood.
  • Comstock Saloon - This is one of the oldest bars in San Francisco, dating back to when the neighborhood was known as the Barbary Coast. We usually take 10-15 minutes to get a drink - don’t worry, you won’t be shanghaied!
  • Columbus Avenue - One of the few buildings not to burn down in the Great Fire were the Hotaling warehouses. Is that because the whiskey inside was too important to lose?
  • Jackson Square - This neighborhood used to be called the Barbary Coast and there wasn’t a more dangerous place in the world. Robbery, assault, shanghaiing - it all happened here (but not anymore, don’t worry :-).
  • The Old Ship Saloon - This the oldest bar in San Francisco, built on top of a Gold Rush ship that was deserted by its crew back in 1849. It’s the perfect place to end the tour.
What's Included
  • $1 donation to Climate Cents for every guest
  • Professional Tour Guide
What's Not Included
  • Gratuities not included, because voluntary. Please allow 15-20% if you enjoy the tour.
  • Drinks are not included.
Additional Information

On our Infamous SF: Notoriety & Delinquency exploration, we tour the locations of high-profile Hollywood scandals, zones of prostitution, opium hideaways, gang warfare, Gold Rush related hangings & abductions – while savouring mixed drinks in a couple of historic taverns.

We initiate with the notorious Fatty Arbuckle incident, the debut lewd scandal that permanently transformed the public’s point of view on stardom (& incorporated the ‘morality clause’ in contracts). Next, we saunter down Maiden Lane, presently arrayed with luxury stores, but a century back, it served as the city’s primary red light territory.

Subsequently, we travel to Chinatown, a sector known for its opium establishments and betting dens in the old days. You’ll then decipher about the Gold Rush age in SF. We then plummet to the Barbary Coast, renowned for its bordello & ballrooms, habitually utilized to Shanghai unsuspecting seamen (which is where the term was coined).

We conclude the expedition at the most ancient tavern in San Francisco, the Old Ship Saloon. Engage in our Infamous SF: Notoriety & Delinquency exploration & be spooked by these dreadful spectres from San Francisco’s history for a significant time.

  • Aim to get to the meeting point 10-15 minutes early. If you’re late you may miss the tour.
  • Not recommended for children under 15 years old (adult content).
  • By making a booking for this tour you agree to be bound by Real San Francisco Tours terms of service.
  • We can go into two different bars for cocktails on this tour, each for 15 minutes. You do have to be over 21 y.o. to order an alcoholic drink – but you don’t have to be over 21 y.o. to do this tour.
  • Please check dates/times carefully BEFORE making a booking.
  • This is a walking tour and we move at a reasonable pace. Please book a private tour if you have mobility issues.
390 Post St
Post Street
The guide will be checking in guests the Northwest corner of Union Square - Powell and Post Streets - opposite the St Francis Hotel, from 15 minutes before the tour is due to begin. Be sure to allow extra time for traffic and finding parking. We CANNOT wait for latecomers, there are other guests.
Cancellation Policy

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours before the scheduled departure time.

Customer Ratings
(6 Ratings)
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1 star
Dec 1, 2023
Ghost Tour Recap - My boyfriend and I went on the Saturday night haunted tour. The guide had some great true crime history, which we both loved, as well as some truly scary ghost stories. The other great thing about the tour was that it stopped in a lovely bar from 1900 and ended at the oldest pub in the city. I'd never been to San Francisco before and I'd definitely recommend this tour for first-timers.
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Oct 16, 2022
Fun SF experience - Such a fun night! Learned so much about the city that I never knew. Guide was friendly and excited to share his knowledge.
Review provided by Viator
Sep 13, 2022
Great tour! - We really enjoyed the tour a lot! Very interesting information and the best tour guide. Highly recommend!
Review provided by Viator
Jun 24, 2021
Unexpected - and great - experience of san Francisco - I was visiting San Francisco for business and came across this new company. I'd done a tour with their sister company in Los Angeles a few years ago, so I thought I'd give them a try. Wasnt disappointed. Kevin, the guide, was great. So knowledgeable about san Francisco and such pleasant company. It was great to be outdoors and seeing and learning about a different part of the city. Highly recommended!
Review provided by Tripadvisor
May 12, 2024
Historical tour - We learned a lot of neat things about San Francisco. While a few ghost are included, it’s mostly historical. This tour is great for history buffs!
Review provided by Viator
Jan 11, 2022
Expensive but nice - The guide was very informative and I discovered new things about the city. The guide was friendly and tried to cater the tour to our needs. However the price point is a little high when you compare it to tours like Alcatraz or big bus which include motorized travel and other costs in it. Reduce the price and this would be a perfect deal!
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Select Date and Tickets
up to 10 guests
July 2024