San Francisco, California

Street Art of the Tenderloin and SoMa

with Russell H.

Video Verified

77 reviews

Russell H.

Like free, public art that covers a city's walls, urban landscapes and environments can change dramatically. While still skid row for some, what is now known as the Mid-Market Corridor is about to be transformed. Where store fronts remain boarded up near the Market and 6th Street, Twitter and other corporations and organizations are creating a real estate boom in one of the last remaining "cheap" places to live in San Francisco.

Amongst it all, murals, graffiti, and street art have colored the local walls of this tough part of the City. There has been a vibrant art presence for decades which is under-appreciated in a misunderstood part of San Francisco.

Tourists with a thick skin will get to see amazing sights: a huge graffiti artist spraying paint over Market St., a 6-story tall wind-driven sculpture, and two economic realities crashing in on each other.

Several amazing art galleries anchor the rich and vibrant public art along this tour. We'll start at the Luggage Store, walk over to 1AM, and then zig zag through the Tenderloin to end at White Walls on Geary and Larkin. Depending on tour times, we will visit these galleries if they are open (Galleries are all closed on Sunday, so tour may be altered a bit.)


This tour available for WEEKENDS ONLY! Last minute bookings usually DO NOT work.

PARTY OF ONE? Please contact me for single tour rates and opportunities!

Thanks for being interested in sharing art in the streets with me.

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per person
for 3 hours

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Russell H.

Hey there, I've been wandering the streets of San Francisco and staring at the walls, poles, fences, and sidewalks, since 1997. The City's urban landscapes can be filled with graffiti, murals, stickers, stencils, and other creative styles. I have been documenting, writing about, and making stencils since 1995. In 2008, I wrote the book "Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art." It has over 500 photos, 400 artists, from 28 countries. I also have a website (since 2002) with over 20,000 photographs of street art documented. I have exhibited art shows as well as written essays for art books. Go here for more info: Full profile

77 Reviews

Pamela K.

Both tours with Russell were soooo amazing. I became an avid street art lover and have found a passion that you can only gain through experience. This was my first tour of external public art and I became emotionally abound by the consiousness, thought and imagery the art evoked in me. Russell's knowledge and flexibility made the experience truly special. He customized the tour to the small group and offered a wealth of resources as well as made us feel comfortable by welcoming all questions and engaging us in our experience.

Carolyn C.

The tour far exceeded my expectations. It was clear to me that Russell is very passionate about public/street art, and also well-connected, so he had a lot of knowledge to share. He was able to provide history/background on the various types of street art, movements, artists, and individual pieces, and all in a way that was easy to understand. By the end of the tour, I was able to identify which artists were behind some of the pieces (although I was not very good at remembering names!), and I now find myself more aware of my surroundings as I have begun to take notice of things, art in particular, that I had overlooked before. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in getting to know this city a bit more intimately. Due to the constant evolution, it seems as though there will always be something new to explore, which is why I plan on continuing to participate every few months. Russell was kind enough to work around my schedule and willing to conduct his first night tour for us, which I really appreciated. Because it was a Friday night, we decided on a tour of the Mission instead of the Tenderloin, for obvious reasons. I brought my friend along who has lived in the city about two years, whereas I just moved to the city a few months ago. The tour had something for both of us, and we each experienced the tour and the art in a different way, which was great!



Nirmal T.

We took a tour with Russell around the Mission district in SF. Russell is an awesome tour guide! For one Russell really knows his way around the best street art in SF. Russell understands the theory and types of art and walks you through identifying these on the streets. Finally Russell loves the art around SF, knows a lot of artists personally and loves the vibrant diversity of the city and its expression! I'd go out scouting the streets of SF with Russell again!


Russell is an excellent guide with a wealth of information about street art, its creators, and its intricate history. He actually wrote a book about it! Russell gracefully navigates through SF's Tenderloin and SoMa neighborhoods and points out the beauty sprouting out from the darkest corners, streets, and alleys. I personally have been looking forward to taking this trip for several years, but have never gotten around to taking it. Russell and the art he showcased definitely did not disappoint. I took a private trip, and it was wonderful. He gives you a new, beautiful perspective to the city. With so much going on, it's easy to miss many of the artistic wonders that are right in front of your eyes. Russell points them out for you. I took a two-hour tour, which I thought would be more than enough. It barely skimmed the surface! I could have easily continued happily for an additional two hours! Russell knows such intricate detail and history about the artwork and the artists behind them, that with all the information he shares, you almost want to take out a notebook and take notes to reference later! However, there's no need to take the trouble to do so! Why? Russell provides you with a link to a map of the places visited during the tour, as well as an email list of all the artists, and additional galleries and websites of interest. I really considered that above and beyond! I highly recommend this tour!

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