We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

Emperor Norton's Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine

Certificate of Excellence
North Beach / Telegraph Hill
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: Union Square (under the Dewey Monument statue), San Francisco, CA
Phone Number:
+1 415-644-8513
See all hours
Thu 11:00 - 14:00
14:30 - 17:30
Sat 11:00 - 14:00
14:30 - 17:30
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Emperor Norton's Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine
More Info
and up
San Francisco Food Safari

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 148 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 138
  • 8
    Very good
  • 0
  • 1
  • 0
A charming character

The reincarnation of Emperor Norton is a wonderful older gentlemen who does an excellent tour! The Emperor called to check on us when we were running late for the beginning of the... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Zagreb, Croatia
via mobile
Add Photo Write a Review

148 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Showing 147: English reviews
Zagreb, Croatia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

The reincarnation of Emperor Norton is a wonderful older gentlemen who does an excellent tour! The Emperor called to check on us when we were running late for the beginning of the tour (had problem finding parking), he was very gracious and filled us in as we were walking to our next stopping point. After traveling for 90 minutes to... More 

Thank Tikila_12
San Francisco
Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

As a resident of San Francisco, I have had the opportunity over the years, to take many tours of this eclectic and surprising city. Emperor Norton's tour of historic San Francisco yesterday, was by far one of the best, if not the best, AND the most fun tour ever. HIs passion and love for the historical features of this city,... More 

Thank CaseySFO
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2017

We joined Emporer Norton's tour last weekend and found it fun, in depth, and educational. You will learn about San Francisco's history such as the 1906 earthquake, the clock at hotel St Francis, and Barbary coast, meet other San Francisco eccentrics such as Frank Chu, and the unique and extravagant architecture that San Francisco has to offer. The tour took... More 

Thank Alex C
Athens, Georgia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2017

The tour I took focused on the financial district of San Francisco, This tour is led by a modern-day Emperor Norton, complete with military regalia and impressive facial hair. Modern-day Emperor Norton is good at playing his historical character, who provides ample stories and material for our guide. I enjoyed the sections of the tour that focused on the Barbary... More 

Thank BonusJonas
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 3 January 2017 via mobile

Emperor Norton's tour was a ton of fun and very educational for our whole family. We learned more, laughed more and experienced more in this 2+ hour walking tour then we did on any of the bus tours. Fantastic!

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
San Francisco
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 December 2016

Lengthy, informative, in-depth tour of the heart of San Francisco! Perfect for history lovers! Lots of walking - dress comfortably and don't come hungry.

Thank valeriya1118
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviewed 5 December 2016

I participated in 3 walking tours with Emperor Norton and would take more tours if there were such. He has plenty of knowledge about San Francisco and clearly loves this city. He manages to tell its history in an entertaining manner and with a lot of humor. He is also happy to answer all your questions. I highly recommend this... More 

Thank Happytravel319
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
139 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 November 2016

This is an opportunity to walk the hills ,hear history and listen to life in 1880. The time machine walk and talk is a great introduction to the area and there is humor to go along. Stories of life then and now keep your interest as well as what SF has to offer to the inquisitive mind. Being water and... More 

Thank saba1946
Level Contributor
133 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 November 2016

Even though I was born and raised in SF and live down the Peninsula, I still enjoy visiting SF and pretending I am seeing it for the first time. The Emperor Norton tour is an entertaining, informative and fun way to see some of downtown San Francisco. The Emperor has wonderful tidbits about old SF, the Barbary Coast, Chinatown, the... More 

1 Thank RosalieBelmont
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 October 2016 via mobile

We went on a morning walking tour of downtown SF with Emperor Norton, who's brimming with historic info about the city and its buildings. He gets into character as what was the real-life Emperor Norton who lived & died in the second half of the 19th century. If he can't answer your question, he'll find the answer--& invites you to... More 

1 Thank Betsy S

Travellers who viewed Emperor Norton's Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine also viewed

San Francisco, CA

Been to Emperor Norton's Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Emperor Norton's Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?

Staying in North Beach / Telegraph Hill

Neighbourhood Profile
North Beach / Telegraph Hill
The aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans, the sounds of opera, and the sights of the romantic Italian ristorante come together to create the charming neighbourhood of North Beach, once the stomping grounds for the Beatnik Generation. Although parts of North Beach are known for nightlife that’s not always suitable for younger visitors, few neighbourhoods in the city exude as much European charm and style. Peruse a bookstore for the literature of Kerouac, Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg, grab some gelato and head to Washington Square for a perfect afternoon of people watching. Just east of North Beach, the hills and staircases of Telegraph Hill are a unique delight. At its peak, the art deco Coit Tower provides sweeping panoramic views of the bay and city. The beautifully landscaped Filbert Street Steps, a street too steep for a roadway, rewards those willing to hike uphill. Keep your ears open and you might even hear the squawk of the wild parrots who call this neighbourhood home.
Explore this neighbourhood