Alicia Goehring, Executive Director and CEO of the California Historical Society, shares her favorite places to explore in San Francisco.

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December 18, 2019

How I See San Francisco: Alicia Goehring

Alicia Goehring is the Executive Director and CEO of the California Historical Society. Her interest in history and the arts led her to pursue a career in leading non-profit organizations for more than 20 years. Alicia shares her favorite places to explore in San Francisco.

What does a typical day in San Francisco look like for you?

On most Saturdays, my husband Jerry and I pick one neighborhood to explore. We arrive around 11:00 a.m., find an interesting place for lunch, and then walk around the neighborhood’s commercial district. We usually buy a few things that we don’t really need! We’ll find a place for coffee and stop to read for a bit before heading home. We’ve explored at least 10 neighborhoods this way so far.

Which neighborhood was your favorite to explore?

We’ve enjoyed exploring Bernal Heights, West Portal, Inner Richmond, Cole Valley, Glen Park, and several others.

Which parts of history have most inspired you in San Francisco?

I’ve always been interested in the stories of people migrating throughout the U.S., so I find the stories of families and groups migrating to or through this area intriguing. It is a subject area that explicitly demonstrates how the past has relevancy for our contemporary lives.

What story in our city’s history has surprised you the most?

Most recently, I’ve been fascinated reading about the 1906 earthquake refugee cottages.

What do you love about leading the California Historical Society?

It is a tremendous honor to lead this venerable 149-year-old institution. What I love most is working with staff, the Board of Trustees, and partners throughout the state to bring the stories of the past to life so that Californians will discover the relevancy history has to their lives today.

Where do you indulge your artistic side in San Francisco?

My artistic side is best expressed as a “spectator.” I just became a member of SFMOMA and look forward to occasionally wandering around there at lunchtime.

Where and what would you choose for your last meal in San Francisco?

Burma Superstar on Clement Street. Bring on the platha, tea leaf salad, coconut chicken noodle soup, Burmese style curry, and coconut rice. I can’t get enough of it.

Which restaurant is still on your list to dine at in San Francisco?

I’m looking forward to dining at some of the city’s oldest dining establishments, such as Tadich Grill and House of Prime Rib.

Where do you like to view sunrise and sunset?

I’m seldom awake at sunrise, but this past fall I loved seeing the late afternoon sunlight reflecting off of Twin Peaks as I traveled west on 24th Street towards Noe Valley.

What should every visitor to San Francisco do at least once?

It’s probably a cliché, but I’d say ride the cable car.

What’s one part of San Francisco that you wish visitors knew about?

We get many visitors to the California Historical Society, but I’d like to get more!

Any final advice for visitors coming to San Francisco?

Allow several days so that you can see the most visited attractions, but also have time to explore lesser known neighborhoods and attractions, as well.


Photo by Louis Raphael

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