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Beyond the Painted Ladies

Starts at:

Steiner & Hayes, Alamo Square


60 minutes

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The Painted Ladies are beautiful. But the best thing about them is the neighborhood they're in. It's called the Western Addition, and it used to be packed with thousands of beautiful old Victorian houses... until the government sent bulldozers to tear them down. As you'll learn on this Detour, the stories around here often end with that kind of intensity and upheaval. The Grateful Dead threw acid parties here. Down the block, Jim Jones built up America's most notorious cult.

But that was then. Journalist Liz Gannes lives near here now. She'll show you the scars each era left behind and introduce you to people who lived through them, including a reverend who's spent his life fighting the Western Addition's destruction, the reporter who exposed Jim Jones, and a survivor who narrowly escaped the Jonestown massacre.

Western Addition isn't the prettiest neighborhood in San Francisco, but as you'll learn when you go Beyond The Painted Ladies, it's one of the most compelling.

Tips & Hours

  • You can take this Detour any day of the week. It is best during regular business hours when all of the stops are open.

  • This Detour ends about 10 minutes from where it starts. If you want to avoid the walk, the 22-Fillmore bus picks up next to the statue at Fillmore and O'Farrell. Pull the cord to get off at Fillmore and Hayes and then walk one block uphill back to where you started. It costs $2.25.