New at the Presidio ?!
Digital Arts Center in the Presidio is now open to the public. We will
walk the grounds and learn the history of the Presidio as well as Lucas'
plans for his "new empire". Professional walking guide Marilyn Straka
will be your guide for this two hour, two mile outdoor tour (this is one
in a series of her award-winning walks with no hills or steps in San
will circle the historic Presidio to see a wonderful mix of old Army
buildings and newly renovated homes, offices and conference centers.
Then we will compare the old and new architecture as we continue to
Lucasfilm Center. There are unparalleled views of the Palace of Fine
Arts as we are surrounded by brick and stucco military-like buildings,
big granite boulders, streams, and rolling green knolls. Come and
experience the ambience Lawrence Halprin created for the common areas of
this 23-acre office complex. The tour will continue on to explore other
Presidio historic sites and some surprises.
YOUR Day at the Presidio. Optionally finish your tour with a snack or
meal at one of the Presidio's ten restaurants (List of restaurants is
available at www.presidio.gov).
NOTE: LDAC lobby tour is only available on weekdays. Peeking is
permitted on weekends.
have a rest/refreshment stop at the Presidio Visitor's Center partway
through the walk.
Salesforce Rooftop Garden and the New TransBay Terminal Walking Tour
Salesforce 61-story tower is the new tallest building in San Francisco! We will start our walk at the Salesforce Plaza at Mission and Fremont and see the intriguing lobby of the TransBay Terminal building. Then we take an elevator or gondola to the 4th level garden where the "awe factor" continues.
We will do 5 blocks of walking to loop through the complete garden above the new transit center. There are signs to explain each of the thirteen unique and colorful gardens. We are surrounded by an amazing new urban "world of high rises", including the tallest building in San Francisco, Salesforce.
This huge open space in the middle of downtown San Francisco is complete with fountains and spaces for entertainment as well as many benches and tables to rest, eat and socialize. Food trucks are available to purchase food on the main level. The tour continues with insights into the buildings and neighborhood around the tower and gardens.
The 2 hour tour also visits other rooftop gardens and open spaces in the area and ends with a walk "over the water" to see another view of the skyline.
Click here for tickets and booking.
Gardens & Waterfalls in Downtown San Francisco
Waterfalls in Downtown San Francisco? Rooftop gardens open to the public? Yes, to both questions!
One percent of the funds spent on any private building in San Francisco must go toward public spaces. Sometimes this is an art exhibit in the lobby BUT sometimes it’s a waterfall (there are multiple water features along our route) or a rooftop garden (with a great view). Many are unknown to the general public.
Join your guide, “On The Level” Marilyn Straka, for a mile-long walking tour of downtown San Francisco to see these hidden treasures.
Click here to download the brochure.
Click here for tickets and booking.
Billionaires Row Walking Tour
Pacific Heights West is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in San Francisco. Broadway is often called "Billionaires Row". Join "On The Level" Marilyn Straka for an intriguing and educational walk of the area.
The walk starts from the front door of the Drisco Hotel and offers incredible views, gardens in bloom year round and a look at the homes of the rich and famous. The tour is full of fun facts about the history, the designers and the early owners of the huge homes along the route. Learn the secrets of the current owners as well. This walk of 8 city blocks follows a path along well-maintained city sidewalks and is enjoyable for all walking abilities.
Victorians, Mansions and Gardens
Come and experience a wonderful journey and fascinating insight into the Victorians of Pacific Heights and Cow Hollow. Marilyn Straka, long time Pacific Heights resident and owner of "On the Level Walking Tours", will be your guide.
The tour begins at the beautiful Queen Anne Hotel. You will then stroll past over 100 beautifully restored Victorian homes and mansions. See the homes where the television series "Party of Five" and the movie "Mrs. Doubtfire" were filmed. Another highlight will be the oldest mansion in the area, the spectacular Casebolt home.
You will gain insight into the Tech industry with stories from Marilyn and you will take in the grand architecture and history of Pacific Heights. Ask to see the secret rooftop garden!
Andy Goldsworthy at the Presidio
Andy Goldsworthy has become famous internationally for his site specific art installations featuring materials from nature. The Presidio is home to the largest collection of his works on public view in North America. The art is designed using materials from the Presidio; they allow the viewer to experience the familiar in a new way! This is the insider's look at Andy Goldworthy art. On this tour, we will walk 2 miles to see Spire, Tree Fall, Wood Line and Earth Wall. This tour can optionally be done with a car shuttle from site to site to minimize the walking required. Call Marilyn to create a tour that meets the needs of your group.
San Francisco WITH the Hills and Steps:
A unique offering from 'On The Level' - see the newest and best of San Francisco's 600+ stairways! Many are in the heart of SF's most intriguing neighborhoods. See first-hand the challenges city residents face who live on the stairways and have no vehicle access.
Also, see the beautifully landscaped gardens by the stairways and hidden parks, often maintained by the locals who live there. This is your reward for the climb!! With 42 minor hills and 7 major hills to explore, each walk has ten or more stairways. The length of the walk can be customized to your walking ability.
Bonus: Based on a collaboration with author, Adah Bakalinsky, the well-known stairway guide, Stairway Walks in San Francisco, will be available for purchase at a discount. This walk can be followed by a neighborhood restaurant meal (not included in tour price).
Bike Tours from On The Level in San Francisco
Choose from 3 levels of difficulty:
EASY Totally flat – explore 10 miles of the SF Waterfront, SOMA (South of Market Area) and Mission Bay
• See where to view a Giants game – free
• Landmark houseboat community (including a spaceship and a swan boat)
• New pop-up beer garden and ice cream venues
• World's largest dry dock facility
• New Benioff hospital complex
MODERATE Mostly flat or downhill – explore 5 miles of Golden Gate Park and learn its secrets (you won't see this from the bus or car), return via public bus or bike 5 miles of gentle uphill, stopping to spend time at your favorite new places
• Primitive plant trail
• Shakespeare's Garden
• Fly Casting ponds
• Natural lake with great blue herons and other wildlife
MORE DIFFICULT Bike the 5 mile Angel Island perimeter road with multiple ups and downs
• 2 secret beaches
• Unknown awesome viewpoints – 360 degree view of the Bay area
• Campsite with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge
• History of the island and the Bay Area
Low price bike rentals available at the start of all rides
All tours are private: $35/person with a $150 minimum. Families are welcome.
See YELP for reviews
Overnight Trips to
$75/day if participants
use my suggestions and tour independently
$300/day for 8-hour tour
Offering 2 to 4 night trips to explore this national
park gem. John Muir fell in love with Yosemite and you will too as
we hike, bike, or tour via car, viewing huge granite boulders,
rivers/creeks, wildlife and waterfalls. May is the best month to see
the waterfalls at their fullest. Book one month in advance for
lodging near park entrance. Book four months in advance for lodging
within the park.
Offering 2 to 4 night trips to explore the mountains
and lakes around Lake Tahoe. Includes a visit to Squaw Valley, site
of the 1960 Olympics and the Sierra Discovery Trail, an accessible
trail with river access, waterfalls, forest and meadows. What a
Offering 1 to 3 night trips to see the beauty and
diversity of the Monterey peninsula. Tour includes 17-mile drive,
Point Lobos Preserve and other hidden gems from Santa Cruz to Big
San Francisco Holiday Lights
Join “On The Level” tour guide, Marilyn Straka, to see downtown San Francisco and all that glitters at the Holiday Season. We will explore uniquely decorated hotel and office lobbies before walking to Yerba Buena Gardens for a look at a hidden treasure. Bloomingdales and the Westfield Shopping Center will offer new and exciting visual delights. Then onto Union Square to see several department stores, the large tree and other points of interest. Here shopping and eating options abound. Or continue on to the quiet world of Maiden Lane where we will sing carols. $25/person
Sheraton Palace Hotel at Market and New Montgomery, inside main
From the East Bay, exit BART at Montgomery and walk ˝ block
south of Market on New Montgomery.
Meters operate until 6pm (free on Sunday) or two ramps are
available on 3rd St between Howard and Market
family, friends, co-workers, holiday party idea! Call Marilyn at
415.921.1382 to book your date.