Embrace the spookiness and fun of the Halloween season on a San Francisco getaway at Tilden Hotel near Union Square. The Bay Area comes chockablock with Halloween happenings across the entire spectrum, from family-friendly pumpkin patches to history tours with a spicing of the supernatural to all-out-freaky haunted houses. Here’s a quick survey of some of the options at your disposal on an October stay at Tilden!
San Francisco has a well-earned reputation as one of the most haunted cities in the country, and thus it’s no surprise you’ve got multiple options for ghost tours all year-round—with a definite crescendo of offerings this wraith-ridden time of year! The possibilities include the San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour, the Haunted Haight Walking Tour, both the Paranormal Investigation and Haunted San Francisco itineraries offered by Wild SF Walking Tours, and the Alcatraz Night Tour, which provides an after-hours look at one of the most notorious swaths of real estate in the USA.
A free and highly recommended paranormal perambulation takes place on October 30th, meanwhile: the Ghost Walk at City Hall led by San Francisco City Guides, which’ll delve into stories of infamous assassinations, ghost encounters, and more.
Even if you’re not signing up for a formal tour, you can tap into the supernatural by visiting some of the public landmarks of San Francisco rumored to be haunted—and there’s no shortage of those! Besides Alcatraz, they include the Curran Theater, whose lobby boasts a ghosty ticket taker; Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park, known for sightings of a mysterious woman in white; and the San Francisco Art Institute, where visitors and workers alike have reported unexplained sounds and the periodic apparition. (Get some more inspiration via this roundup.)
Ghost Signs of San Francisco
This time of year is also perfect for a different sort of ghost-hunting: tracking down some of the famous “ghost signs” of San Francisco. The city is blessed with at least several hundred historic hand-painted advertisements on its venerable brick buildings, and thanks to the San Francisco Ghost Sign Mapping Project launched in 2011 it’s never been easier to appreciate them. The project’s founder Kasey Smith leads walking tours in spring and summer, but this time of year you can use the interactive map and geo-caching resources to navigate your way to these cultural treasures.
Indeed, we’ve got our own ghost sign next door here at Tilden Hotel, visible from some of our rooms and from the Backyard!
Haunted Houses & Other Eerie Experiences
If you feel like scaring the wits out of yourself, you certainly have plenty of haunted houses and scare zones to choose from in the greater Bay Area, including Fear Overload Scream Park and California’s Great America Halloween Haunt. A unique (and more family-friendly) option is the famous Winchester Mystery House, an eccentric mansion built in 1923 and another of the area’s well-known paranormal epicenters.
Halloween Pub Crawls
An entirely different sort of Halloween tradition is holiday-themed (and often costumed) bar-hopping, and in that department, you’re also well covered on a Tilden visit to San Francisco. The biggest is Halloween pub crawl in town is said to be Crawloween, which this year goes down October 26.
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