Step into the SPOOKY San Francisco history this October by going on one or all of these top Halloween activities in San Francisco Whether you’re looking to scare yourself silly or find a family-friendly event, there is something for everyone. So get into the Fall spirit, enjoy the colorful fall foliage, and explore San Francisco’s spooky-themed streets, ghost tours, pumpkin patches, festivals, and more!
A great Halloween activity in San Francisco is hunting for ghosts in a GoCar! One of the best ways to take in the crisp fall air is riding in one of our open-air Go Car Tours, but did you know that several specters have been spotted on our routes?
Along the GoCar tour, there are several spooky spots worth mentioning. The Sutro Baths, included in the Golden Gate Park Tour, is a large swimming pool complex open to the public at the edge of the peninsula along the Pacific Ocean. The baths burned down in the 1960s and were closed for good, but a remaining tunnel to the baths is said to be the site of sacrifices, and maybe haunted visitors at night have reported that if you light a candle, a ghostly image will take it away and throw it in the water.
Golden Gate Park itself can be a real spooky place during fall when coastal fog rests along with the pines into mid-morning and then creeps back in the early afternoon. Driving through the fog is a great activity to get you in the mood for Halloween in San Francisco. Try GoCar’s Early Bird Tours for the best chance of experiencing this spooky phenomenon. While in the park, be sure to check out Stow Lake. This man-made lake is a popular place to hang out, hike, and rent paddle boats. Keep an eye out for an unusual woman with long hair and a glowing white dress often spotted at the edge of the lake. Some believe that this woman is the ghost of a mother walking the park who lost control of her stroller, which rolled into the lake with her baby inside. She then entered the lake to desperately save her child, but neither was recovered.
Another ghost to look out for in Golden Gate Park is a phantom police officer who pulls over unsuspecting traffic violators. When people go to pay their fine, they find the officer listed on the ticket has been dead for years. The officer’s ghost is said to be confined to the park itself, so if you head out, he will disappear the minute you leave. Keep in mind – you are responsible for any tickets you get while driving one of our vehicles – whether the officer is living or dead!
Keep in mind, on a GoCar Tour in San Francisco, the trip can be as long or as short as you wish – we give you different options along the tour to return to the shop – so you can craft the perfect experience tailored to your needs. And if the air is too crisp or a little rainy – check out our Arcimoto vehicles, which come with a roof and heated seats!
One of the most cherished Halloween events in San Francisco is the Ghost Tours of San Francisco. The tours originated in the ’80s, and have been running rain or shine during the month of October in the decades since. Centered around Pacific Heights, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in San Francisco, the tour includes many old mansions that escaped the damage of the 1902 earthquake and fire.
The monied class that lived in Pacific Heights at the turn of the last century hid strange secrets, and many met gruesome ends in their homes. One of the creepiest homes on the tour is the mansion built by high society San Franciscans, the Chambers. Matriarch Eudora Chambers was known to have attempted suicide multiple times, most famously throwing herself in front of a train on Valencia Street. Although she survived minor injuries, her resting place is unknown. Years later, one of her adopted nieces was reportedly found in the mansion sawed almost completely in two. Inexplicably, the death was attributed to a “farm machine” accident.
This is just one of the many stories included on the walking tour, running every day except Mondays in the month of October, rain or shine. The tours cost $30 per person, last between 90 minutes and 2 hours, and are hosted by an award-winning magician, storyteller, Bay Area native, and original co-creator of the tour, Christian Cagigal. Get spooked on a walking tour of Pacific Heights to get in the mood for Halloween in San Francisco 2021. And keep in mind, Pacific Heights is not accessible on a GoCar tour, so this is a perfect tour to do once night falls after driving one of our vehicles.
No visit is complete without a San Francisco City Tour to “The Rock”, Alcatraz. But thrill-seekers looking for an extra special scare might be surprised to know about the Alcatraz night Tour – one of the most unique Halloween activities in San Francisco.
Located on a lonely island in San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was once the home of a maximum-security prison that housed some of the most notorious criminals in American history, including Al Capone. The cold, and (rumored) shark-infested waters surrounding the prison make the island a popular movie subject and capture the imagination of all who visit it.
Alcatraz night tours offer an especially spooky version of the popular day tour. Departing Thursdays thru Mondays at 6 pm, the ferry to Alcatraz makes the 15 minutes ride out to the island as the sun is setting over the Golden Gate and the buildings of Downtown. The tour includes a personally narrated trip around the island, with guided tours from the dock to the main prison building.
In addition to the award-winning audio tour available on headsets provided on the island or as a free download to your phone, several presentations are offered only at night, including demonstrations of the nighttime lockdown procedure and different stories about escape attempts from the prison. Visitors may choose to attend one or two during the course of their evening, before the ferry departs at 8:40 back to the wharf, with the Bay Lights art installation by Leo Villareal twinkling in the background. This unique award-winning experience is a cherished Halloween event in San Francisco every year.
If you’re looking for something less spooky, the Halloween Hoopla hosted in Yerba Buena Gardens on October 30th this year is one of the top Halloween activities in San Francisco 2021. A celebratory multi-cultural festival for kids under 10 and their adults, the hoopla features clown performances by Unique Derique the clown, the hip hop group the Alphabet Rockers, opportunities to create crafts at tables sponsored by the Mexican Museum and the Museum of the African Diaspora, and a pumpkin patch.
In its 21st year at Yerba Buena Gardens, the Halloween Hoopla is a cherished Halloween event in San Francisco. Admission to the hoopla is free and includes entry to many of the attractions at the gardens. Take a ride on the LeRoy King Carousel between 11:30am and 2:30pm, or visit the Ice Skating and Bowling Center for the Skating Competition and Performance Party starting at 2. Guests who don’t know how to skate can even get coupons for ice skating discounts.
The grand finale of the hoopla is the annual Halloween Costume Parade, where all kids are welcome to show off their Halloween costumes.
With two locations in San Francisco, visiting Clancy’s Pumpkin patch to pick a pumpkin is a cherished Halloween activity in San Francisco. Clancy’s was San Francisco’s first pumpkin patch, opening in 1979. The patch is home to a variety of pumpkins of all sizes for carving or baking, as well as many traditional harvest treats, like gourds and corn stalks
During October, both the Sloat Street and 7th street locations are open from 9 am-8 pm daily, and feature ghosts hidden in the trees, the scarecrows, and a fort made out of hay. For those who miss traditional Halloween activities in San Francisco, you might be surprised to know that Clancy’s even features a hayride!
If you are looking for something spooky, or just want to get in the spirit, these are some of our favorite Halloween Events in San Francisco for 2021.
We offer private tours of San Francisco year-round, so be sure to check out our website and let us know how we can make your trip to San Francisco an enjoyable one!