The founders of Wild SF Walking Tours, nicknamed J. Jo and Wild Wes, firmly believe that walking tours give participants the opportunity to experience the city sites first-hand, like a local. When the college friends (and former band mates) returned from studying abroad in Mexico and Spain, respectively, the friends saw the opportunity to create a walking tour. Of course, they agreed that their walking tour would be different. Thus began Wild SF, a walking tour, but with their own unique spin on the concept.
Wild SF differs from any other walking tour because it embodies the counterculture of San Francisco that strives to challenge others. With that, for $14-$30, Wild SF agrees to educate you on the history of neighbourhoods like The Castro, Mission, Haight-Ashbury, North Beach, and Chinatown. However, just like the hippies of the 60’s and Beat poets of the 40’s, Wild SF tour guides seek to challenge both visitors to SF and long-time SF dwellers alike. Topics across tours include the Beatniks of North Beach, gang wars of Chinatown, Latinos and feminists of The Mission District, and the LGBT equality movement of The Castro.
Consequently, the company asks that you sign up for a tour with an open mind. Unsurprisingly, each tour also starts with a mini warning of “If you’re not comfortable discussing _________, this is not the tour for you!” prior to beginning. Throughout the tour, these difficult subjects that are integral to many of these local SF communities are shared, questioned, and discussed in depth. Wild SF openly admits to trying to take advantage of participants’ open minds. So, if you sign up for a tour, be ready to be wholeheartedly enlightened on some of the most difficult subjects that make up not just San Francisco’s past, but also the city’s present.
Unlike other walking tours as well, Wild SF promises to provide the best of what tends to make or break a walking tour: guides. With just six tour guides, including the two founders, Wild SF promises the most impassioned and knowledgeable of guides. It is easy to tell that the company of six dedicates itself to sharing the unique and quirky culture of San Francisco, whether that be by asking trivia questions or by orchestrating a sing-a-long to the acronym LGBTQQIAAP. Tour guides truly identify as lovers of all things San Francisco, and as a company made up of self-identified performers, you can bet that your tour will be nothing short of energetic.
If you’re headed to San Francisco, or if you want to know more about your own neighborhood, be sure to book a tour with Wild SF Walking Tours. Educate yourself, challenge your own opinions, and maybe even make some new friends. Wild SF still receives post cards from many of their past participants for good reason.