2013 Highlights of the Mission Tour

Our 41st House Tour will highlight residences in the Mission District that showcase how modern lives fit comfortably — and opulently — in San Francisco's treasured historic homes. Guests will tour the interiors of seven Victorian homes along "Mansion Row" of South Van Ness Avenue, including an antique farmhouse, a popular inn with period decor, and a designer flat on Sunday, October 20th, from 1:00 to 5:00pm. Noted San Francisco architects such as Henry Geilfuss, Julius Krafft, and Peter Schmidt are represented. Many of these Italianate and Queen Anne homes feature bays, towers, and the rich ornamentation so beloved between 1860 and 1890.

Homes on this popular self-guided tour have proudly retained or regained their original Victorian elegance, with beautifully detailed interiors and garden embellishments, often adapted to reflect contemporary lifestyles. And along the easily navigated tour route, participants can admire several murals for which the Mission District is renowned — artwork reflecting social, political and community themes of this vibrant neighborhood.

Tour homes lie within a relatively flat and compact area, well served by public transportation. Comfortable walking shoes and attire are recommended, and stair climbing should be anticipated in most residences. Knowledgeable docents will provide historical background on each house's architect, contractor, craftsmen and the families who settled in the Mission in the 19th Century. Complimentary light refreshments will be provided.

All net proceeds benefit the Preservation Grant Fund of The Victorian Alliance, San Francisco’s oldest all-volunteer, not-for-profit architectural preservation and education organization. See our Grant Program page for an extensive list of past beneficiaries.


General Admission: $50

As this is our major fundraising event of the year, there are no refunds and a small service fee is applied to all online credit or debit card ticket sales transactions to cover the expense of operating the service.

Day of Tour Info

The tour is self-guided and runs from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Sunday,October 20, 2013.The start location is at the intersection of Guerrero and Liberty Streets; look for the balloons.

You will need to visit the check-in desk near Guerrero and Liberty Streets to pick-up a tour program; the tour program serves as your ticket for entry into the homes and includes a convenient map of the tour area. Please bring your photo identification and/or your receipt from Paypal when visiting the check-in desk as you may be asked for it. You may start at anytime during the window of 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM, but we end the tour promptly at 5:00 PM. Arrive early for the best shot at seeing all the homes.

Paper tickets are not sent for online purchases. We have a few tickets remaining, so additional tickets may be purchased on the day of the tour at the check-in desk for $50.00. Checks and cash are gladly accepted. (Bring a friend at the last minute!)

Here a few things to expect the day of the tour:

  • Parking will be challenging in and around the tour area. We recommend carpooling and public transportation. The 49-Mission and 14-Mission are very convenient to the tour area. The J Church is the closest Muni Metro line. BART is also close to the tour area, but BART may NOT be operating this Sunday due to the strike.

  • Costumes are not required, though you may see some who have donned vintage attire. Feel free to join the fun. Otherwise, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for stairs.

  • You may spend as much or as little time in each home and you may visit the homes in any sequence.

  • You may be asked to remove your shoes at certain homes; alternately, you may wear our provided shoe covers.

  • There may be lines at some homes; consider going to another house and returning a bit later.

  • Docents, homeowners, and other volunteers are given badges to bypass the lines. Docents and volunteers are on a limited break to see the homes on the tour; please understand this is one of their perks. (Consider becoming a volunteer next year and get free admission in exchange for your good deed!)

  • Restrooms are available at the location indicated on the map inside of the tour program.

  • There are a number of eateries within and surrounding the tour area. Come early for lunch or stay late for dinner. Make a day of it and explore this wonderful neighborhood!

  • Please enjoy all food and beverages before entering any of the tour homes; we offer complimentary light refreshments in a designated area.

  • Large bags, such as backpacks, handbags, suitcases, and shopping bags are discouraged inside homes. If you have them, you will be asked to leave them at the door; regretfully, we cannot be responsible for your belongings. This policy helps prevent accidental damage to homeowners' property or injury to others. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

  • Children are welcome; parents are asked to hold their very young children or, at a minimum, their hands at all times inside homes. For safety, running and playtime is reserved as an outside activity.

  • For privacy reasons, we ask that you not take any photos inside any of the buildings on the tour. You are encouraged to take as many pictures outside as you like. If you see an official Alliance photographer, we hope you won't be bashful.

  • Tour attendees with service animals are welcome, but in some instances, due to homeowner and family allergies, you may be asked to leave your animal companion with a docent outside of the private residence. If possible based on circumstances and abilities, another docent will attempt to render assistance in touring the home, if you require it. We encourage you to leave all non-service pets safely at home.