San Francisco Sightseeing Tours - Take a guided walking tour

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In the News

Featured in The San Francisco Chronicle May 11, 2001. 
Heather Knight's article describes On The Level walks: " . . . picturesque, historical and just plain fun mile-long walks through the city that don't involve the slightest change in elevation."

Featured in April 2001


Featured in Sunset Magazine Travel Guide, April 2001.

Titled "Flat-out fun," Harriott Manley's article states "San Francisco's hills make for pretty postcards -- and leg cramps. All those ups and downs can be tough.  Now there's a place to turn if you can't handle the steep climbs but still want to explore . . ."



Featured in Cooking Light magazine, Enlightened Traveler, April 2002.

The feature on San Francisco recommended "For those who prefer to explore the city on flat ground, On the Level San Francisco offers special maps with paths that go around the formidable hills instead of over them."


The Spring 2001 issue of Emerging Horizons named Marilyn Straka a "gem": "Marilyn earns Emerging Horizons gem status for her unique travel guides that "make San Francisco accessible to everyone.  Best described as a cross between a guide book and an access map, On The Level San Francisco travel guides highlight accessible walks throughout San Francisco.  Each guide contains a detailed map of the walk, plus a point by point narrative about sights along the way.  Access features such as curb cuts and accessible routes are highlighted.  On the Level San Francisco guides are great for everybody; wheelchair-users, slow walkers, moms with strollers or anybody who wants to explore San Francisco . . . Kudos to Marilyn for stressing integration and for showing others that access information can be nicely incorporated in a travel guide . . . "


  The Spring 2001 issue of Macalester Today, the alumni publication of Macalester College, mentions On The Level in a piece about the author, Marilyn Straka, and her friend and author of a popular San Francisco walking book, Adah Bakalinksy: "Marilyn Koch Straka, who has lived in San Francisco for 25 years, is the author of four new pamphlets designed to help people get the most out of exploring the city by foot.  An outdoors enthusiast, Marilyn has explored the neighborhoods and parks of San Francisco both for exercise and as her hobby. . . They are 'heartily' recommended by another Mac alumna, Adah Packerman-Bakalinsky, author of Stairway Walks in San Francisco . . ."  (Read more from Adah Bakalinksy below.)


In San Francisco Neighborhood Newspapers  . . .

  • The March 2001 issue of The New Fillmore included mention of On the Level SF booklets in its article Neighborhood tours good way to gain understanding of preservationist issues.

  • The January 2001 issue of Marina Times featured On the Level SF, "a new way to explore San Francisco" in its article, San Francisco walks without the hills!


COMMENTS from people who have done ON THE LEVEL excursions:

Steve Bowen of Tampa, Florida, read about ON THE LEVEL in Sunset Magazine while commuting on his weekly business trip to San Francisco.  Steve has done all the walks, but especially likes the Golden Gate Bridge excursion, which he did with the author.  The view of Fort Point from the bridge encouraged him to visit the fort, where he could see the "gun ports and interior gun alleys" close up.

Jane and Ben Tuma have twin girls who are just under a year old. They all enjoy taking walks with their stroller built for two. Jane comments, "I never want to get too far away from the car especially if I'm out on my own. I like knowing that I will not encounter a steep hill or stairs that will make it difficult to return to the car without retracing my steps."

Melody Semereaux, Marin Country resident, enjoys walking and exploring San Francisco. She says, "San Franciscoís charm lies in its neighborhoods. Since we donít get to visit very often, we appreciate ON THE LEVEL for leading us to memorable walks that even the locals might not know about."

Melody and her walking partner, Chewbacca, photo copyright 2000 Marilyn Straka
Melody and her walking partner, Chewbacca

Jackie Barnes, who uses a walker after battling polio, is limited to level excursions with convenient rest stops. Jackie says, "My favorite excursion is Stow Lake at Golden Gate Park because it seldom seems crowded but there are always friendly people around."

Max Bakalinsky has walked the City many times over with his wife Adah who is the author of Stairway Walks in San Francisco. But now he prefers excursions where he can walk on the level and return back to the start easily as his energy level dictates.

Reenie Albert, who uses a motorized scooter following her stroke, says: "I have lived in Pacific Heights for over 10 years and I had no idea there was a mile long level path right in my own neighborhood! I loved all the interesting facts about the area. I even took my son on the walk and he liked it too." 

Adah and Max Bakalinsky, photo copyright 2000 Marilyn Straka
Adah and Max Bakalinksy

Booklet Foreword by Adah Bakalinsky, author of Stairway Walks in San Francisco

"I love walking the hills and public stairways in San Francisco. We have over 350 outdoor stairways. But periodically people ask me if I can recommend some level walks (in this hilly city?) for relatives or friends who cannot negotiate the hills and the long distance.

I heartily recommend Marilyn Straka's walks to them.  ON THE LEVEL is a very imaginative, thoughtful collection of walks designed to be accessible to persons who cannot navigate the stairs. In addition the walks are structured so that curb cuts are always available to those who use walkers or wheelchairs. She has tested the walks for safety and convenience (parking, public transportation, rest rooms) by accompanying people with various disabilities on the routes.

The walks are all visually stimulating. There is always something new to see: a house addition, a series of windows, a strange color, finials, grill work, as well as the birds and wildlife. And all the while, the terrain is flat and one can feel confident about being able to complete the walk.

Marilyn has made a great contribution to the community and to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 by documenting walks that open opportunities for so many people to discover the riches of urban space.

Even I, who am addicted to urban hills, have a new perspective on 'flat' walking. I enjoyed my walk with Marilyn and I saw new treasures I hadn't seen before. What more can one ask of a walk?"

  Adah Bakalinsky's Stairway Walks in San Francisco



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