The Bay Area is rich in musical culture and history. If you’re traveling to Northern California with a group, a music-themed tour of San Francisco might be of interest to you – and probably one of the most unique things to do in San Fran! Whether you’re planning a trip for your family, sports team, class, church group, or friends, here’s everything you need to know to personalize a group music-themed tour of San Francisco.
Now that my sister and her husband are living out in San Fran, I can’t wait to get out there to visit and hopefully see some of these incredible music sites around the city. And I might have to check out some of the more quirky places to stay too!
A Taste Of San Francisco’s Music History
In planning any sort of group trip, one of the first things you need to think about is transportation. To figure out which transportation option is best for you, answer the following questions:
- How large is your group?
- Do you want to do the driving yourself or do you prefer to rent a bus with a driver?
If your group does not exceed 20 people, then a mini bus has enough space for you. It is also relatively easy to drive, so you can operate the vehicle by yourself. Otherwise, you need to find San Francisco bus rentals with driver to find school buses, mini coach buses, and coach buses for your trip.
Famous Landmarks in San Francisco
There are several famous music landmarks in San Francisco, including these three spots that you definitely shouldn’t miss:
- The Janis Joplin House
Janis Lyn Joplin (1943-1970) was a singer-songwriter who gave us classic hits such as Me and Bobby McGee, Piece of My Heart, and Maybe. Like some of the greatest musicians of her time, she died of an overdose at age 27. However, you can still celebrate her music and see where she wrote some of her most popular songs when you go to The Janis Joplin House located at 635 Ashbury Street.
- The Jimi Hendrix House
James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (1942-1970) was an iconic guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He continues to be one one of the most celebrated musicians in rock history. He died in Notting Hill, London, also of overdose, which makes him part of the Forever 27 Club in music. If you’re a fan of this rock legend, head to 1524A Haight Street to see where he lived in the 1960s.
- Amoeba Records
Amoeba Records is one of the largest independent record stores on the world. Their catalog includes vinyl records, DVDs, and CDs from hundreds of artists. Located at 1855 Haight Street, you can go here to buy records, to hangout for free and to see live shows all in one.
Obscure Sites in San Francisco
If you want to avoid the tourist crowds and experience the true San Franciscan music scene, head to these more obscure sites:
- The Great American Music Hall is an opulent and elegant venue, but they welcome an eclectic lineup of artists to play onstage.
- Slim’s is an 80’s-inspired R&B nightclub for those who want a little funk, a little soul, a little blues, and a little jazz to listen to for the night.
- Lastly, don’t mistake The Chapel for a religious place of worship. It’s the West Coast home for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band who originates from New Orleans. Aside from being a music venue, there’s also a restaurant on site where you can take kids ages 6 and up.
Booking a Private Tours in San Fran
Alternatively, you can book a private tour in San Francisco for your group. Here are two favorites among tourists:
- The City Music Tours San Francisco lets you choose your poison. You can either join the the Hippie Trail or the Punk and Rock Music walking tours. Both of these take about two hours.
- The Haight-Ashbury San Francisco Tour is a musical trip of the 60’s. The tour guide takes you around these famous San Francisco streets while they sing you a song about the most psychedelic decade in music history.
So this has been your guide to the San Franciscan music scene. With these famous landmarks, obscure sites, and private tours, you’ll get to experience the best of the city’s musical history and culture.
If you plan to visit more of America, or do a road trip like I did two years ago from Las Vegas to Colorado, be sure to read my series of posts on the USA including this guide to Vegas on a budget.