The San Francisco City Guides program is one of the most unusual tourism programs in the world. Sponsored by the city's library, this volunteer-led program offers up to 15 free, 90-minute walking tours daily. They leave rain or shine and don't require reservations: Budget travelers simply show up at the start time and take them. I recently joined a City Guides tour of the city's famed Fisherman's Wharf district and found out more about this enviable resource.

This summer, I also visited Chicago to check out its own free guided tour program, Chicago Greeters. That one supplies customized, one-on-one tours of the city to any visitor who asks. See what that program is like by watching my quick video of the experience by clicking here.

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