Experience The City's Art Deco Past with a San Francisco City Guides Walking Tour of Downtown and the Financial District

San Francisco City Guides Art Deco Walking Tour - 450 Sutter
San Francisco City Guides offers an amazing array of free walking tours. We tried the Downtown Deco tour and got a closer look at buildings we'd often just passed by without a second glance. It was a great opportunity to get some exercise and appreciate the fine array of buildings dotting the San Francisco skyline.  Therese Poletti led the tour -- she's published a book titled Art Deco San Francisco - The Architecture of Timothy Pflueger and is arguably an authority on the subject of San Francisco Architecture.
 San Francisco City Guides Art Deco Walking Tour - Therese Poletti leading a tour group

We saw a number of interesting buildings along the way including:

Pacific Telephone and Telegraph  Building - communication themes abound in the architecture and two giant eagles sit atop the structure.  Unfortunately, the security guard was not at his post so we weren't able to go inside.  This building is slated to be turned into condos.
San Francisco City Guides Art Deco Walking Tour - Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Building

Shell Building - amazing gold accents and a lotus motif is visible throughout the lobby. 
San Francisco City Guides Art Deco Walking Tour - Shell Corner

Pacific Coast Stock Exchange and Tower - This building that once housed the stock exchange is now an Equinox gym.  The Tower is home to the City Club.  The intricate ceilings in both buildings were amazing to see. 
San Francisco City Guides Art Deco Walking Tour - Pacific Coast Stock Exchange and Tower

Russ Building - The Russ building edged out the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph building as the tallest in San Francisco.  There was a beautiful painted ceiling inside but the security guard would not allow photographs. 
San Francisco City Guides Art Deco Walking Tour - Russ Building

Hong Kong Bank - an Egyptian theme complete with scarabs on the facade holds lots of curb appeal.

Hunter-Dulin Building - Dashiell Hammett placed Sam Spade's office in this building.  The ceiling was ornately painted with warm amber and brown tones.  The columns on the outside of the building were intricately patterned.
San Francisco City Guides Art Deco Walking Tour - Columns Outside the Hunter-Dulin Building

450 Sutter - A medical and dental office building, 450 Sutter boasts an incredibly ornate, Mayan inspired metal ceiling and decorations.  The building is massive and richly decorated.
San Francisco City Guides Art Deco Walking Tour - 450 Sutter



Link to photo album showcasing Art Deco architecture in Downtown San Francisco.

We also saw some interesting non-Art Deco sights along the way including this colorful stack of people.  
 
These stone blobs sat across from the colorful statue and seem to be enthralled.
 
I liked the way the different architectural styles flank this moving wheel sculpture on Mission near 1st Street.
 
After the tour, we stopped at Bread and Cocoa and tried their vegetarian chili.  It was the perfect follow-up to a wet and chilly afternoon walk.  Their homemade garlic croutons were divine.
 
The tour covered about 1.3 miles and gave some great history of buildings that I often pass on my way to work but don't always take notice of.  I definitely recommend checking out this tour or any of the others in City Guides' extensive line-up.  There are some amazing buildings in San Francisco with a rich history just waiting to be explored.


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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Experience The City's Art Deco Past with a San Francisco City Guides Walking Tour of Downtown and the Financial District
Experience The City's Art Deco Past with a San Francisco City Guides Walking Tour of Downtown and the Financial District
Photos from the San Francisco City Guides Art Deco Walking Tour.
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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