Everyone loves a good ghost story, and here in the wild wild West, we’ve got many of them.
The city by the Bay is rich with history and mystery, and though it was hard to narrow down, we have seven locations around the city that you might spot a few ghosts.
Here are seven locations around the San Francisco that you can go visit (without having to trespass or getting arrested) to get your ghost story fill just in time for Halloween.
Built in the 1940s, Trax Bar in the Haight has been known as a spooky joint for a while. Customers and workers have seen the same male apparition frequently seated at the end of the bar, walking through the room and exiting out the door. Eventually, its workers discovered a photo taken a year after the bar opened, with a familiar face—that very ghost standing in the photo, pointing towards the camera.
The Queen Anne Hotel originally opened in 1890 as a school for girls, offering etiquette classes to the upper crust of the city. Almost a decade later it became an exclusive gentleman’s club, and finally it became the hotel it exists as today in 1980. Nowadays, the hotel (and particularly room 410) is said to be haunted by Miss Mary Lake, the head of the girls’ school, because she was not ready to give up her school when it was purchased.
Probably the most famous haunted establishment in the Bay Area, Alcatraz Island was formerly an infamous prison housing some of the country’s most dangerous criminals, including Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly. Its past is very storied and includes all sorts of eerie happenings, from clanging sounds, the smell of smoke, and even the sound of a strummed banjo (Al Capone used to play).
The Nob Hill Inn, which was built after the 1906 fire is somewhat famously haunted by a total of at least 22 ghosts (according to Curbed) who like to mess around with the hotel’s visitors by moving around their things and fiddling with their locks. Luckily, they’re friendly—as of yet, no one has complained on their hotel’s highly rated Yelp page.
Young Hewlett Tarr was working at the box office in the 1920s when Eddie Anderson attempted to rob the the theater. Unfortunately, his gun got caught under the railing and accidentally fired, killing Tarr. Anderson was reportedly executed for his crime. Tarr, however, still hangs around. According to the Curran’s manager, patrons report seeing the visage of a young man reflected in the large mirror near the entrance.
Cafe du Nord, the basement to the Swedish American Hall, has a dangerous history. The former speakeasy now houses several ghosts. Workers have reported hearing piano sounds and seeing a male seated near the street level office. Downstairs in the main hall, a woman in a red dress has been spotted walking towards the now sealed speakeasy escape door.
The legend of th Stow Lake lady has been circulating for decades. As it goes, a woman was walking her baby in a stroller when she became tired and sat on a bench next to Stow Lake. Another woman sat down next to her, and while they were talking the stroller silently fell into the lake. When the woman realized her baby was gone, she began running around the lake for hours, asking “Have you seen my baby?” As the legend says, she eventually jumped into the lake and was never seen again. Stories say that late at night, the lady will approach you and ask if you’ve seen her baby, stall cars nearby, or move the statue on the lake.