Saturday, February 24, 3:30 pm 7:30 pm (doors open at 2:00 pm) Tickets On Sale Now!

An urban adventure game played on the colorful streets of Chinatown & North Beach with the Chinese New Year Parade as a backdrop.

Starting & ending at the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center gym, 555 Chestnut Street (between Mason and Powell Streets) in San Francisco

The treasure hunt takes place entirely outdoors, on foot, and rain or shine.

The 2024 Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt has been completed. Please check back in with us for information about next year’s event.

2024 ticket prices

Partial proceeds will benefit The San Francisco Circus Center.

Everyone gets a detailed map of the playing area, and every team receives an alphabetic street index. You’re encouraged to bring your own maps, guidebooks or reference works to aid in solving clues. While familiarity with San Francisco geography is an advantage, the ability to collaboratively solve a puzzle and work as a team are more important.

For non-ticketing questions please check our Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt FAQ page 

For further questions, please email us at questions@sftreasurehunts.com

 

WHAT TO BRING TO THE TREASURE HUNT

Definitely bring:

  1. A printout or the electronic version of your Eventbrite ticket.
  2. Comfortable footwear (you will do a lot of walking and / or running during the hunt)
  3. A flashlight
  4. A spirit of adventure and a zest for new experiences.


Helpful but optional items:

  1. Snacks or drinks in a backpack.
  2. a clipboard or piece of foam core for your answer sheets (8-1/2”x11”)
The 2024 Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt has been completed. Please check back in with us for information about next year’s event.

The 2022 Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt has been cancelled. Please check back for our next event.

Partial proceeds will benefit The San Francisco Circus Center.

  • Form or join a team 
    • Solo players or small groups can match up to create a team
  • Players are provided with a detailed map of the treasure hunt boundaries and a set of clues
  • Teams race across the city to decipher intellectual puzzles amid the spectacle of the Chinese New Year Parade 
  • Teams that solve the most clues in the shortest period of time (or until the end time) win prizes

Solving Clues

  • No need to be a San Francisco historian to compete; skills required include the ability to collaboratively solve puzzles with your team and have fun
  • Optional but encouraged supplies: bright flashlight, clipboard, writing utensils, and weather-appropriate clothing
  • The treasure hunt takes place entirely outdoors, on foot, and rain or shine!  

Choose Level

We encourage all varieties of players to join in the hunt. In recognition of our differing abilities, we have four competition levels and award prizes for winning teams in each. Select any one of the ranks below to learn more.

  • Beginner’s Hunt
  • Regular Hunt
  • Thinks-Faster-Than-Walks Hunt
  • Master’s Hunt

Learn more about the levels here!

Keep Your Eyes Open!

Clues lead players to a location where they must seek out a piece of information from their environment – like the wording in a street sign or plaque, symbol in a piece of artwork, or features of an architectural design.

Teamwork is Key!

Solving the clues relies on the collective skills and brainpower of a unified team and not any single player. 

Think Outside the Box!

Clues involve wordplay, puzzles, trivia, anagrams, map reading, and other fun challenges.

Have a Fresh Perspective!

Even players who have crossed the city’s streets dozens of times find something new to look at. Consider yourself an urban explorer!

For a full understanding of the treasure hunt rules, click here.

About The San Francisco Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt

The Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt is San Francisco’s longest-running urban adventure game — a treasure hunt for information, in which teams collaboratively solve clues leading to off-the-beaten-track locations connected with local history, art, and culture.

Since 1989, it has raised tens of thousands of dollars for local non-profit agencies including Riley Center for Battered Women, Bay Area Women’s & Children’s Center, Hamilton Family Services (now Hamilton Families), and the San Francisco Circus Center.

Explore San Francisco during its most festive celebration

The Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt is a game of urban exploration and discovery in Chinatown, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, and the Financial District, which uses the Chinese New Year Parade as a backdrop. Teams compete to solve clues leading to obscure landmarks, forgotten architectural delights, secret views, and vestiges of San Francisco’s colorful past (and present). Teams solving the most clues in the shortest time receive prizes and bragging rights.

Chief Sleuth

The treasure hunt is created by private eye and urban explorer Jayson Wechter. He aims to show treasure hunt participants the urban environment as they haven’t seen it before. His hunts lead them to hidden vistas, forgotten plaques and landmarks, overlooked vestiges of the past, and architectural ornaments or public art that most passersby never notice.

Jayson views his treasure hunts as fast-paced urban explorations disguised as games, to remind participants that the city is a playground and has hidden treasures all around, if only you look for them.

About

How Does It Work?

Each team of 2 – 9 people solves cryptic clues (or puzzles), each leading to a unique location within the hunt area. At each location, the team must find and use a piece of information to answer a question at the end of each clue, to be written down on their Team Answer Sheet. The information could be wording on an historical plaque, a detail in a mural or public artwork, a unique architectural feature or a distinctive business sign; it’s often something you might never notice if you weren’t looking for it.

Participants will receive a packet that includes the clues, a detailed map of the hunt area, an index of streets and landmarks and a Team Answer Sheet (one street index and Answer Sheet per team).

The treasure hunt is an exercise in visual awareness that hones your observation skills and heightens awareness of the urban environment. Participants often discover memorable sights they’d passed by hundreds of times and overlooked. They travel over streets trod by 1849 gold-seekers, 1870s silver barons, 1920s crime writers, and 1950s beat poets.

Solving Clues

Clues involve wordplay, puzzles, trivia, anagrams, map reading, and other fun challenges. They’re designed to be too difficult for one person but solvable by a team using their collective skills and brainpower, so working together is key to succeeding!

Choose From 4 Different Difficulty Levels

There are four divisions or competition levels in the treasure hunt, offering clues suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to experts. The hunt is designed to be enjoyable by all ages and ability levels, by long-time San Francisco residents and new arrivals. You can participate at your own pace, racing from clue to clue or walking leisurely and stopping for snacks, drinks, or espresso.

Form or Join a Team

Players can come with a team already organized or can join like-minded hunters at the event. The treasure hunt is a great way to make new friends.

Location

The treasure hunt will start and end in the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center gym, located at 555 Chestnut Street (between Mason and Powell Streets) in San Francisco.

Prizes

Prizes (champagne and chocolates) are awarded to the winning teams in each of four divisions (Beginner’s, Regular/Intermediate, Master’s, and Thinks Faster Than Walks) and to the teams with the best names and costumes.

Rules

Rules for the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt ensure the experience is fun and fair for every participant. Any team violating the rules will be disqualified. 

#1 You must travel on foot

Teams cannot make use of ride-shares, buses, taxies, scooters, bicycles, or any other form of enhanced transport for the duration of the treasure hunt.


#2 Teams must stay together

No running ahead or splitting up to solve different clues, and all team members must arrive at the finish line before you can submit your Team Answer Sheet.

All team members must be at the same clue site at the same time within sight and earshot of one another (generally within twenty to forty feet). Examples that break this rule:

  • One or more team members running more than half a block ahead of others to get to the clue site more quickly
  • One or more team members at a different clue site communicating via phone with other team members
  • Someone at another location doing research for you

*Note: Any team member who becomes lost, has to leave early, or stops for health or personal reasons can rejoin the team later, but may not work on clues while separated from the rest of the team. 


#3 Do not guess clue answers

All team members must visit a clue site to correctly solve the puzzle or the team will not receive credit for the solution.  


#4 Do not use prohibited resources

Teams can make inquiries of pedestrians on the street and use bookstores, libraries, or the internet for assistance when solving the clues. An example of a prohibited resource includes arranging to have a person at home (not present for the treasure hunt) research and provide solutions.  


#5 Leave clue sites unchanged

Do not tamper with, damage, or interfere with the answers at clue locations, or block other teams’ access to them. 


#6 All team members must be present when submitting your Team Answer Sheets

The only exception is for participants who leave early for health or personal reasons.  

Competition Levels

There are 4 different levels you can compete in, each offering an increasing level of difficulty. Teams winning first place in one category must subsequently play in the next highest category the following year.
Beginner’s Hunt

Beginner’s Hunt clues are designed for teams that haven’t previously solved at least ¾ of the clues in the Beginner’s Hunt or with one or more members who are less familiar with San Francisco or are doing the hunt for the first time. The Beginner’s hunt may be a little bit easier but is just as much fun!

Best for teams with: 

  • First-time or less experienced competitors
  • Newer residents or visitors to San Francisco

Teams that have previously won the Beginner’s Hunt must advance to the Regular Hunt

Regular Hunt

Clues are more challenging than the Beginner’s Hunt level.

Best for teams with:

  • Participants who have played at the Beginner’s Level for one or more years and want a more challenging experience
  • A majority of players who solved all of the clues in the Beginner’s Hunt in a previous year
Thinks-Faster-Than-Walks Hunt

This competition level is specifically designed for people whose minds work faster than they can walk or run. Teams work fewer clues from the Regular Hunt in a smaller and flatter playing area.  

Teams can participate if:

  • Half their members are age 55 or older; or
  • The average ages of team members is 55 or older; or
  • One or more team members has a mobility limitation (for example, a person with a sprained ankle or in the eighth month of pregnancy) 
Master’s Hunt

More difficult puzzles for folks who want more of a challenge. Teams that have previously won the Regular Hunt must advance to the Master’s Hunt.

Levels

Team Rankings

Within a couple of weeks of the Chinese New year Treasure Hunt, please come back here to check out the team rankings. We will update them and you can see how your performance this year stacks up to years past.

[Clue solutions are posted here after the treasure hunt ends. Your logins are in your clue packets. You should have the correct password for your hunt; the usernames will appear in the login popup when you go to the page. Click the links for access (NB: these are NOT THE USERNAMES):]

Solutions

Clue solutions are posted here after the treasure hunt ends. All you need to access the solutions is a passcode for your level which has been provided in your clue packets. Click the links below for access.

2024 Solutions

Welcome Treasure Hunters!! Select your level below and then enter your pass code!

Team Names

Team Names

Prizes are awarded to the teams with the cleverest names, typically puns related to the year of the Chinese zodiac (2024 is the Year of the Dragon) or current events or culture. There’s a separate category for Noir-Themed team names related to film noir or hard-boiled crime fiction (à la Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler). 

You can register your team’s name when you buy your tickets. Team Names may be no longer than 10 words and must be submitted by 4 pm on Monday, February 19 to be considered for the contest.

Past Team Name Winners

Costume Contests

Costumes

How the Costume Contest Works

Two prizes will be awarded for the best-dressed teams, one for the team with a theme related to the Year of the  Dragon, and one for any other sort of costume. 

Check out some of the creative costumes by contestants from previous hunts!

Got Questions About the Treasure Hunt?

WHAT IS THIS YEAR’S ANIMAL?

2024 is the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac calendar.

HOW DO I GET TO THE MEETING SITE?

The Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center gym is located at 555 Chestnut St. between Mason and Powell Streets.

Taking public transit is an excellent idea. The following Muni lines stop nearby: 8 (1½ blocks); 30 (1½ blocks); F historic streetcar (4½ blocks); 41 & 45 (4½ blocks).  

If you must drive, the closest parking garage is on Vallejo St. between Stockton and Powell, but it’s likely to fill up early because of the parade.   

WHEN DOES THE HUNT BEGIN AND END?

2:00 pm: Doors open

2:45 pm: We will start announcements and award prizes in the team name and costume contests.

3:00 pm: Hunt begins

7:30 pm: Hunt Ends

If you return after 7:30 pm, we’ll accept your answer sheet, but you won’t be eligible to win. 

The winners will be announced as soon as scores are tallied after 7:30 pm. The clue locations and solutions will be posted on this website that evening. Team standings will be posted on the website several days later.

HOW MUCH WALKING WILL I DO?

The hunt area is roughly one square mile and includes Telegraph Hill and Nob Hill. You can expect to walk several miles during the hunt.

DO I NEED TO BE FAMILIAR WITH SAN FRANCISCO TO PLAY?

No. Common sense, and the ability to work effectively as a team are more important. Clues often involve references to popular culture, the arts, science or history, and most of them can be solved through intelligent use of the map and street index that you will receive.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

Comfortable footwear (there’s a lot of walking involved); a flashlight (the brighter the better); a pen or pencil; a smartphone or tablet for help in solving clues; something to eat and drink during the hunt.

Strongly recommended: A clipboard for your answer sheets (9-1/2”x11”)

I’M NOT VERY COMPETITIVE. WILL I STILL ENJOY THE HUNT?

Yes. The hunt is designed to be enjoyable no matter how competitive you are. You can participate at your own pace, racing from clue to clue or walking leisurely and stopping for snacks, drinks or espresso. Play for a couple of hours, then go and enjoy a leisurely dinner. It’s up to you.

Tickets

WHY SHOULD I BUY A TICKET IN ADVANCE?
  • There’s an early bird price savings. Ticket prices increase as the hunt date approaches.
  • The Hunt often sells out. You can avoid disappointment by buying your ticket in advance.
IF I DON’T BUY A TICKET IN ADVANCE, CAN I STILL SHOW UP?
Yes, if there are tickets available
WHAT DOES A TICKET ENTITLE ME TO?

Your ticket for the Beginner’s, Regular, Thinks Faster Than Walks, or Master’s hunt reserves you a spot in that hunt, and a clue packet. It’s like having a guaranteed seat for a performance.

IF I BUY A TICKET AND CANNOT ATTEND THE HUNT, WHAT HAPPENS?

Tickets are non-refundable. You’re free to sell or give your ticket to someone else. Or you can donate the ticket back to the event.

Teams & Divisions

I WANT TO PLAY, BUT I DON’T HAVE A FULL TEAM.

You can purchase tickets for your friends to guarantee them a place in the hunt. If they decide not to attend, you can sell the tickets to someone else on the day of the hunt. If they wait until the day of the hunt, tickets may not be available. They can check this website or the Eventbrite ticketing page to check on ticket availability for the day of the hunt.

I HAVE FRIENDS WHO MIGHT WANT TO JOIN MY TEAM, BUT THEY’RE NOT SURE YET. WHAT ARE OUR OPTIONS?

You can purchase tickets for your friends, to guarantee them a place in the hunt. If they decide not to attend, you can sell the tickets to someone else on the day of the hunt. If they wait until the day of the hunt, tickets may not be available. They can check this website to check on ticket availability for the day of the hunt.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BEGINNER’S, REGULAR, THINKS FASTER THAN WALKS AND MASTER’S HUNTS?

Beginner’s Hunt

The Beginner’s Hunt is best for first-time treasure hunters. It features less difficult clues leading to different locations than Regular and Master’s hunters. If you solved all the clues in the Beginner’s Hunt, you may want to move up to the Regular Hunt. If you have won the Beginner’s Hunt, you must advance up to the Regular Hunt.

 

Regular Hunt 

The Regular (intermediate difficulty) Hunt is good if you’ve successfully solved all the Beginner’s Hunt clues before, are more familiar with the hunt area, or want a bit more of a challenge. Regular Hunt clues are somewhat more challenging than those in the Beginner’s Hunt. If you have won the Regular Hunt, you must advance up to the Master’s Division.

 

Thinks Faster Than Walks Hunt

The Thinks Faster Than Walks Hunt features Regular (intermediate difficulty) Hunt clues, but teams in this category will be competing against one another in a smaller and flatter playing area rather than against all the Regular Hunt teams and will have fewer clues to solve. Teams can participate if:

  • Half their members are age 55 or older; or
  • The average ages of team members are 55 or older; or
  • One or more team members has a mobility limitation

Separate prizes will be awarded to the top teams in this category.

 

Master’s Hunt

Master’s Hunt clues are especially difficult and are designed for those looking for a real challenge. The teams in the Master’s Division tend to be more competitive, but there are fewer of them (usually 10 – 15) than in the Regular Division.

DOES A TEAM HAVE TO SOLVE ALL THE CLUES TO WIN?

Not necessarily. If no one solves all the clues, then the first team turning in a Team Answer Sheet with the most correct answers wins.

IS THE HUNT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

It depends on their age and temperament. Only you can decide whether your youngsters will enjoy moving through some noisy and crowded areas.

Rules Clarification

HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN I HAVE ON MY TEAM?

Up to nine players per team is the accepted range. Four to six is probably best, but smaller teams are welcome. The larger the team, the more difficult it is to stay together. You must be within sight and earshot of your teammates at all times. This means that you cannot be spread out over a distance of more than thirty or forty feet.

WHAT IF ONE PERSON ON MY TEAM RUNS AHEAD OF EVERYONE ELSE?

That is a violation of the rules. It also diminishes the fun of the hunt for the rest of the team. Everyone wants a chance to see specific objects or landmarks the clue referred to, and to search for the information required to answer the question posed in the clue. When one or two players run ahead and find this before the others arrive, it cheats folks of this sense of satisfaction. The “treasure” in this hunt is finding the unusual locations the clues lead to.

CAN I CALL A FRIEND WHO IS AT HOME, AND ASK THEM TO DO RESEARCH TO HELP ME SOLVE A CLUE?

You can use resources which exist independently of the treasure hunt, such as bookstores, libraries, the internet, etc. You cannot arrange to have someone assist your team (by doing research, for instance) who is not physically present, because they would be functioning as a member of your team, and the team must stay together.

CAN I USE MY PHONE OR TABLET?

Yes, you can use them to help with solving clues, but you cannot obtain the answer to the question posed in the clue without visiting the clue location. Some clues may require internet access to look up a business name.

WHAT IF SOMEONE ON MY TEAM DECIDES TO LEAVE DURING THE HUNT?

That’s fine. Once they leave, they cannot continue to assist you by working on clues or visiting clue sites.

WHAT IF SOMEONE GETS LOST?

They can rejoin your team later, but they cannot play on their own.

HOW DO THE TEAM NAMES WORK?

If you want to participate in the Team Name contests, you must submit your Team Names by 4:00 p.m. on February 19, 2024. Team names are submitted when you buy tickets on Eventbrite. If more than one team submits the same winning team name, the first one submitted will win. 

Prizes & Scores

WHAT ARE THE PRIZES?

The first-place teams in each division receive a bottle of champagne, a large box of gourmet chocolates and an award certificate. In the Beginner’s, Regular and Master’s Hunts, the second, and third place teams receive a bottle of champagne and a box of gourmet chocolates and an award certificate, and the fourth and fifth place teams each receive a bottle of champagne and an award certificate.  See the Contests page for more information about awards for the cleverest team names and best costumes. We also award door prizes before the hunt begins.

CAN WE FIND OUT HOW WE DID WHEN WE TURN IN OUR ANSWER SHEET?

Probably not. The winners will be announced as soon as possible after the 7:30pm deadline, once the answer sheets are tabulated (no recounts or resorting to the judiciary!). Scores will also be posted on this website, on the Contest Results pages.

or further questions, please email us at questions@sftreasurehunts.com

Volunteer

Lend a Hand and Have More Fun

Volunteers greatly support the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt. And volunteers do not forfeit the ability to participate in the treasure hunt! Prior experience with the hunt is helpful but not essential to volunteer. Time responsibilities are about 2-3 hours preceding the start of the event (1:00 – 3:30 pm) or as it ends (5:30 – 8:30 pm)

Responsibilities are on the day of the event and include:

  • Site set up (hang signs, move boxes of supplies, arrange tables and chairs, set up walkways, staff the registration tables)
  • Distribute treasure hunt supplies to teams
  • Collect raffle entries
  • Organize teams for the solo participants
  • Site clean up after the completion of the treasure hunt

 

To thank you for your efforts, we supply a light lunch and waive the registration fee if you choose to join the treasure hunt. (Please make arrangements with any non-volunteer team members in advance.)

To volunteer for the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt, please email our volunteer coordinator, Rory O’Conner at rjoconnor@morcopy.com. Please include your phone number and email address and indicate which time period (1:00 – 3:30 or 5:30 – 8:30 pm) you’re available .

Saturday, February 24, 3:30 pm 7:30 pm (doors open at 2:00 pm) Tickets On Sale Now!

An urban adventure game played on the colorful streets of Chinatown & North Beach with the Chinese New Year Parade as a backdrop.

Starting & ending at the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center gym, 555 Chestnut Street (between Mason and Powell Streets) in San Francisco

The treasure hunt takes place entirely outdoors, on foot, and rain or shine.

The 2024 Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt has been completed. Please check back in with us for information about next year’s event.

2024 ticket prices

Partial proceeds will benefit The San Francisco Circus Center.

Everyone gets a detailed map of the playing area, and every team receives an alphabetic street index. You’re encouraged to bring your own maps, guidebooks or reference works to aid in solving clues. While familiarity with San Francisco geography is an advantage, the ability to collaboratively solve a puzzle and work as a team are more important.

For non-ticketing questions please check our Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt FAQ page 

For further questions, please email us at questions@sftreasurehunts.com

 

WHAT TO BRING TO THE TREASURE HUNT

Definitely bring:

  1. A printout or the electronic version of your Eventbrite ticket.
  2. Comfortable footwear (you will do a lot of walking and / or running during the hunt)
  3. A flashlight
  4. A spirit of adventure and a zest for new experiences.


Helpful but optional items:

  1. Snacks or drinks in a backpack.
  2. a clipboard or piece of foam core for your answer sheets (8-1/2”x11”)
The 2024 Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt has been completed. Please check back in with us for information about next year’s event.

The 2022 Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt has been cancelled. Please check back for our next event.

Partial proceeds will benefit The San Francisco Circus Center.

  • Form or join a team 
    • Solo players or small groups can match up to create a team
  • Players are provided with a detailed map of the treasure hunt boundaries and a set of clues
  • Teams race across the city to decipher intellectual puzzles amid the spectacle of the Chinese New Year Parade 
  • Teams that solve the most clues in the shortest period of time (or until the end time) win prizes

Solving Clues

  • No need to be a San Francisco historian to compete; skills required include the ability to collaboratively solve puzzles with your team and have fun
  • Optional but encouraged supplies: bright flashlight, clipboard, writing utensils, and weather-appropriate clothing
  • The treasure hunt takes place entirely outdoors, on foot, and rain or shine!  

Choose Level

We encourage all varieties of players to join in the hunt. In recognition of our differing abilities, we have four competition levels and award prizes for winning teams in each. Select any one of the ranks below to learn more.

  • Beginner’s Hunt
  • Regular Hunt
  • Thinks-Faster-Than-Walks Hunt
  • Master’s Hunt

Learn more about the levels here!

Keep Your Eyes Open!

Clues lead players to a location where they must seek out a piece of information from their environment – like the wording in a street sign or plaque, symbol in a piece of artwork, or features of an architectural design.

Teamwork is Key!

Solving the clues relies on the collective skills and brainpower of a unified team and not any single player. 

Think Outside the Box!

Clues involve wordplay, puzzles, trivia, anagrams, map reading, and other fun challenges.

Have a Fresh Perspective!

Even players who have crossed the city’s streets dozens of times find something new to look at. Consider yourself an urban explorer!

For a full understanding of the treasure hunt rules, click here.

About The San Francisco Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt

The Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt is San Francisco’s longest-running urban adventure game — a treasure hunt for information, in which teams collaboratively solve clues leading to off-the-beaten-track locations connected with local history, art, and culture.

Since 1989, it has raised tens of thousands of dollars for local non-profit agencies including Riley Center for Battered Women, Bay Area Women’s & Children’s Center, Hamilton Family Services (now Hamilton Families), and the San Francisco Circus Center.

Explore San Francisco during its most festive celebration

The Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt is a game of urban exploration and discovery in Chinatown, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, and the Financial District, which uses the Chinese New Year Parade as a backdrop. Teams compete to solve clues leading to obscure landmarks, forgotten architectural delights, secret views, and vestiges of San Francisco’s colorful past (and present). Teams solving the most clues in the shortest time receive prizes and bragging rights.

Chief Sleuth

The treasure hunt is created by private eye and urban explorer Jayson Wechter. He aims to show treasure hunt participants the urban environment as they haven’t seen it before. His hunts lead them to hidden vistas, forgotten plaques and landmarks, overlooked vestiges of the past, and architectural ornaments or public art that most passersby never notice.

Jayson views his treasure hunts as fast-paced urban explorations disguised as games, to remind participants that the city is a playground and has hidden treasures all around, if only you look for them.

About

How Does It Work?

Each team of 2 – 9 people solves cryptic clues (or puzzles), each leading to a unique location within the hunt area. At each location, the team must find and use a piece of information to answer a question at the end of each clue, to be written down on their Team Answer Sheet. The information could be wording on an historical plaque, a detail in a mural or public artwork, a unique architectural feature or a distinctive business sign; it’s often something you might never notice if you weren’t looking for it.

Participants will receive a packet that includes the clues, a detailed map of the hunt area, an index of streets and landmarks and a Team Answer Sheet (one street index and Answer Sheet per team).

The treasure hunt is an exercise in visual awareness that hones your observation skills and heightens awareness of the urban environment. Participants often discover memorable sights they’d passed by hundreds of times and overlooked. They travel over streets trod by 1849 gold-seekers, 1870s silver barons, 1920s crime writers, and 1950s beat poets.

Solving Clues

Clues involve wordplay, puzzles, trivia, anagrams, map reading, and other fun challenges. They’re designed to be too difficult for one person but solvable by a team using their collective skills and brainpower, so working together is key to succeeding!

Choose From 4 Different Difficulty Levels

There are four divisions or competition levels in the treasure hunt, offering clues suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to experts. The hunt is designed to be enjoyable by all ages and ability levels, by long-time San Francisco residents and new arrivals. You can participate at your own pace, racing from clue to clue or walking leisurely and stopping for snacks, drinks, or espresso.

Form or Join a Team

Players can come with a team already organized or can join like-minded hunters at the event. The treasure hunt is a great way to make new friends.

Location

The treasure hunt will start and end in the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center gym, located at 555 Chestnut Street (between Mason and Powell Streets) in San Francisco.

Prizes

Prizes (champagne and chocolates) are awarded to the winning teams in each of four divisions (Beginner’s, Regular/Intermediate, Master’s, and Thinks Faster Than Walks) and to the teams with the best names and costumes.

Competition Levels

There are 4 different levels you can compete in, each offering an increasing level of difficulty. Teams winning first place in one category must subsequently play in the next highest category the following year.
Beginner’s Hunt

Beginner’s Hunt clues are designed for teams that haven’t previously solved at least ¾ of the clues in the Beginner’s Hunt or with one or more members who are less familiar with San Francisco or are doing the hunt for the first time. The Beginner’s hunt may be a little bit easier but is just as much fun!

Best for teams with: 

  • First-time or less experienced competitors
  • Newer residents or visitors to San Francisco

Teams that have previously won the Beginner’s Hunt must advance to the Regular Hunt

Regular Hunt

Clues are more challenging than the Beginner’s Hunt level.

Best for teams with:

  • Participants who have played at the Beginner’s Level for one or more years and want a more challenging experience
  • A majority of players who solved all of the clues in the Beginner’s Hunt in a previous year
Thinks-Faster-Than-Walks Hunt

This competition level is specifically designed for people whose minds work faster than they can walk or run. Teams work fewer clues from the Regular Hunt in a smaller and flatter playing area.  

Teams can participate if:

  • Half their members are age 55 or older; or
  • The average ages of team members is 55 or older; or
  • One or more team members has a mobility limitation (for example, a person with a sprained ankle or in the eighth month of pregnancy) 
Master’s Hunt

More difficult puzzles for folks who want more of a challenge. Teams that have previously won the Regular Hunt must advance to the Master’s Hunt.

Levels

Rules

Rules for the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt ensure the experience is fun and fair for every participant. Any team violating the rules will be disqualified. 

#1 You must travel on foot

Teams cannot make use of ride-shares, buses, taxies, scooters, bicycles, or any other form of enhanced transport for the duration of the treasure hunt.


#2 Teams must stay together

No running ahead or splitting up to solve different clues, and all team members must arrive at the finish line before you can submit your Team Answer Sheet.

All team members must be at the same clue site at the same time within sight and earshot of one another (generally within twenty to forty feet). Examples that break this rule:

  • One or more team members running more than half a block ahead of others to get to the clue site more quickly
  • One or more team members at a different clue site communicating via phone with other team members
  • Someone at another location doing research for you

*Note: Any team member who becomes lost, has to leave early, or stops for health or personal reasons can rejoin the team later, but may not work on clues while separated from the rest of the team. 


#3 Do not guess clue answers

All team members must visit a clue site to correctly solve the puzzle or the team will not receive credit for the solution.  


#4 Do not use prohibited resources

Teams can make inquiries of pedestrians on the street and use bookstores, libraries, or the internet for assistance when solving the clues. An example of a prohibited resource includes arranging to have a person at home (not present for the treasure hunt) research and provide solutions.  


#5 Leave clue sites unchanged

Do not tamper with, damage, or interfere with the answers at clue locations, or block other teams’ access to them. 


#6 All team members must be present when submitting your Team Answer Sheets

The only exception is for participants who leave early for health or personal reasons.  

Team Rankings

Within a couple of weeks of the Chinese New year Treasure Hunt, please come back here to check out the team rankings. We will update them and you can see how your performance this year stacks up to years past.

[Clue solutions are posted here after the treasure hunt ends. Your logins are in your clue packets. You should have the correct password for your hunt; the usernames will appear in the login popup when you go to the page. Click the links for access (NB: these are NOT THE USERNAMES):]

Volunteer

Lend a Hand and Have More Fun

Volunteers greatly support the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt. And volunteers do not forfeit the ability to participate in the treasure hunt! Prior experience with the hunt is helpful but not essential to volunteer. Time responsibilities are about 2-3 hours preceding the start of the event (1:00 – 3:30 pm) or as it ends (5:30 – 8:30 pm)

Responsibilities are on the day of the event and include:

  • Site set up (hang signs, move boxes of supplies, arrange tables and chairs, set up walkways, staff the registration tables)
  • Distribute treasure hunt supplies to teams
  • Collect raffle entries
  • Organize teams for the solo participants
  • Site clean up after the completion of the treasure hunt

 

To thank you for your efforts, we supply a light lunch and waive the registration fee if you choose to join the treasure hunt. (Please make arrangements with any non-volunteer team members in advance.)

To volunteer for the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt, please email our volunteer coordinator, Rory O’Conner at rjoconnor@morcopy.com. Please include your phone number and email address and indicate which time period (1:00 – 3:30 or 5:30 – 8:30 pm) you’re available .

Got Questions About the Treasure Hunt?

WHAT IS THIS YEAR’S ANIMAL?

2024 is the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac calendar.

HOW DO I GET TO THE MEETING SITE?

The Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center gym is located at 555 Chestnut St. between Mason and Powell Streets.

Taking public transit is an excellent idea. The following Muni lines stop nearby: 8 (1½ blocks); 30 (1½ blocks); F historic streetcar (4½ blocks); 41 & 45 (4½ blocks).  

If you must drive, the closest parking garage is on Vallejo St. between Stockton and Powell, but it’s likely to fill up early because of the parade.   

WHEN DOES THE HUNT BEGIN AND END?

2:00 pm: Doors open

2:45 pm: We will start announcements and award prizes in the team name and costume contests.

3:00 pm: Hunt begins

7:30 pm: Hunt Ends

If you return after 7:30 pm, we’ll accept your answer sheet, but you won’t be eligible to win. 

The winners will be announced as soon as scores are tallied after 7:30 pm. The clue locations and solutions will be posted on this website that evening. Team standings will be posted on the website several days later.

HOW MUCH WALKING WILL I DO?

The hunt area is roughly one square mile and includes Telegraph Hill and Nob Hill. You can expect to walk several miles during the hunt.

DO I NEED TO BE FAMILIAR WITH SAN FRANCISCO TO PLAY?

No. Common sense, and the ability to work effectively as a team are more important. Clues often involve references to popular culture, the arts, science or history, and most of them can be solved through intelligent use of the map and street index that you will receive.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

Comfortable footwear (there’s a lot of walking involved); a flashlight (the brighter the better); a pen or pencil; a smartphone or tablet for help in solving clues; something to eat and drink during the hunt.

Strongly recommended: A clipboard for your answer sheets (9-1/2”x11”)

I’M NOT VERY COMPETITIVE. WILL I STILL ENJOY THE HUNT?

Yes. The hunt is designed to be enjoyable no matter how competitive you are. You can participate at your own pace, racing from clue to clue or walking leisurely and stopping for snacks, drinks or espresso. Play for a couple of hours, then go and enjoy a leisurely dinner. It’s up to you.

Tickets

WHY SHOULD I BUY A TICKET IN ADVANCE?
  • There’s an early bird price savings. Ticket prices increase as the hunt date approaches.
  • The Hunt often sells out. You can avoid disappointment by buying your ticket in advance.
IF I DON’T BUY A TICKET IN ADVANCE, CAN I STILL SHOW UP?
Yes, if there are tickets available
WHAT DOES A TICKET ENTITLE ME TO?

Your ticket for the Beginner’s, Regular, Thinks Faster Than Walks, or Master’s hunt reserves you a spot in that hunt, and a clue packet. It’s like having a guaranteed seat for a performance.

IF I BUY A TICKET AND CANNOT ATTEND THE HUNT, WHAT HAPPENS?

Tickets are non-refundable. You’re free to sell or give your ticket to someone else. Or you can donate the ticket back to the event.

Teams & Divisions

I WANT TO PLAY, BUT I DON’T HAVE A FULL TEAM.

You can purchase tickets for your friends to guarantee them a place in the hunt. If they decide not to attend, you can sell the tickets to someone else on the day of the hunt. If they wait until the day of the hunt, tickets may not be available. They can check this website or the Eventbrite ticketing page to check on ticket availability for the day of the hunt.

I HAVE FRIENDS WHO MIGHT WANT TO JOIN MY TEAM, BUT THEY’RE NOT SURE YET. WHAT ARE OUR OPTIONS?

You can purchase tickets for your friends, to guarantee them a place in the hunt. If they decide not to attend, you can sell the tickets to someone else on the day of the hunt. If they wait until the day of the hunt, tickets may not be available. They can check this website to check on ticket availability for the day of the hunt.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BEGINNER’S, REGULAR, THINKS FASTER THAN WALKS AND MASTER’S HUNTS?

Beginner’s Hunt

The Beginner’s Hunt is best for first-time treasure hunters. It features less difficult clues leading to different locations than Regular and Master’s hunters. If you solved all the clues in the Beginner’s Hunt, you may want to move up to the Regular Hunt. If you have won the Beginner’s Hunt, you must advance up to the Regular Hunt.

 

Regular Hunt 

The Regular (intermediate difficulty) Hunt is good if you’ve successfully solved all the Beginner’s Hunt clues before, are more familiar with the hunt area, or want a bit more of a challenge. Regular Hunt clues are somewhat more challenging than those in the Beginner’s Hunt. If you have won the Regular Hunt, you must advance up to the Master’s Division.

 

Thinks Faster Than Walks Hunt

The Thinks Faster Than Walks Hunt features Regular (intermediate difficulty) Hunt clues, but teams in this category will be competing against one another in a smaller and flatter playing area rather than against all the Regular Hunt teams and will have fewer clues to solve. Teams can participate if:

  • Half their members are age 55 or older; or
  • The average ages of team members are 55 or older; or
  • One or more team members has a mobility limitation

Separate prizes will be awarded to the top teams in this category.

 

Master’s Hunt

Master’s Hunt clues are especially difficult and are designed for those looking for a real challenge. The teams in the Master’s Division tend to be more competitive, but there are fewer of them (usually 10 – 15) than in the Regular Division.

DOES A TEAM HAVE TO SOLVE ALL THE CLUES TO WIN?

Not necessarily. If no one solves all the clues, then the first team turning in a Team Answer Sheet with the most correct answers wins.

IS THE HUNT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

It depends on their age and temperament. Only you can decide whether your youngsters will enjoy moving through some noisy and crowded areas.

Rules Clarification

HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN I HAVE ON MY TEAM?

Up to nine players per team is the accepted range. Four to six is probably best, but smaller teams are welcome. The larger the team, the more difficult it is to stay together. You must be within sight and earshot of your teammates at all times. This means that you cannot be spread out over a distance of more than thirty or forty feet.

WHAT IF ONE PERSON ON MY TEAM RUNS AHEAD OF EVERYONE ELSE?

That is a violation of the rules. It also diminishes the fun of the hunt for the rest of the team. Everyone wants a chance to see specific objects or landmarks the clue referred to, and to search for the information required to answer the question posed in the clue. When one or two players run ahead and find this before the others arrive, it cheats folks of this sense of satisfaction. The “treasure” in this hunt is finding the unusual locations the clues lead to.

CAN I CALL A FRIEND WHO IS AT HOME, AND ASK THEM TO DO RESEARCH TO HELP ME SOLVE A CLUE?

You can use resources which exist independently of the treasure hunt, such as bookstores, libraries, the internet, etc. You cannot arrange to have someone assist your team (by doing research, for instance) who is not physically present, because they would be functioning as a member of your team, and the team must stay together.

CAN I USE MY PHONE OR TABLET?

Yes, you can use them to help with solving clues, but you cannot obtain the answer to the question posed in the clue without visiting the clue location. Some clues may require internet access to look up a business name.

WHAT IF SOMEONE ON MY TEAM DECIDES TO LEAVE DURING THE HUNT?

That’s fine. Once they leave, they cannot continue to assist you by working on clues or visiting clue sites.

WHAT IF SOMEONE GETS LOST?

They can rejoin your team later, but they cannot play on their own.

HOW DO THE TEAM NAMES WORK?

If you want to participate in the Team Name contests, you must submit your Team Names by 4:00 p.m. on February 19, 2024. Team names are submitted when you buy tickets on Eventbrite. If more than one team submits the same winning team name, the first one submitted will win. 

Prizes & Scores

WHAT ARE THE PRIZES?

The first-place teams in each division receive a bottle of champagne, a large box of gourmet chocolates and an award certificate. In the Beginner’s, Regular and Master’s Hunts, the second, and third place teams receive a bottle of champagne and a box of gourmet chocolates and an award certificate, and the fourth and fifth place teams each receive a bottle of champagne and an award certificate.  See the Contests page for more information about awards for the cleverest team names and best costumes. We also award door prizes before the hunt begins.

CAN WE FIND OUT HOW WE DID WHEN WE TURN IN OUR ANSWER SHEET?

Probably not. The winners will be announced as soon as possible after the 7:30pm deadline, once the answer sheets are tabulated (no recounts or resorting to the judiciary!). Scores will also be posted on this website, on the Contest Results pages.

or further questions, please email us at questions@sftreasurehunts.com

Saturday, February 24, 3:30 pm 7:30 pm (doors open at 2:00 pm) Tickets On Sale Now!

An urban adventure game played on the colorful streets of Chinatown & North Beach with the Chinese New Year Parade as a backdrop.

Starting & ending at the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center gym, 555 Chestnut Street (between Mason and Powell Streets) in San Francisco

The treasure hunt takes place entirely outdoors, on foot, and rain or shine.

The 2024 Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt has been completed. Please check back in with us for information about next year’s event.

2024 ticket prices

Partial proceeds will benefit The San Francisco Circus Center.

Everyone gets a detailed map of the playing area, and every team receives an alphabetic street index. You’re encouraged to bring your own maps, guidebooks or reference works to aid in solving clues. While familiarity with San Francisco geography is an advantage, the ability to collaboratively solve a puzzle and work as a team are more important.

For non-ticketing questions please check our Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt FAQ page 

For further questions, please email us at questions@sftreasurehunts.com

 

WHAT TO BRING TO THE TREASURE HUNT

Definitely bring:

  1. A printout or the electronic version of your Eventbrite ticket.
  2. Comfortable footwear (you will do a lot of walking and / or running during the hunt)
  3. A flashlight
  4. A spirit of adventure and a zest for new experiences.


Helpful but optional items:

  1. Snacks or drinks in a backpack.
  2. a clipboard or piece of foam core for your answer sheets (8-1/2”x11”)
The 2024 Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt has been completed. Please check back in with us for information about next year’s event.

The 2022 Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt has been cancelled. Please check back for our next event.

Partial proceeds will benefit The San Francisco Circus Center.

  • Form or join a team 
    • Solo players or small groups can match up to create a team
  • Players are provided with a detailed map of the treasure hunt boundaries and a set of clues
  • Teams race across the city to decipher intellectual puzzles amid the spectacle of the Chinese New Year Parade 
  • Teams that solve the most clues in the shortest period of time (or until the end time) win prizes

Solving Clues

  • No need to be a San Francisco historian to compete; skills required include the ability to collaboratively solve puzzles with your team and have fun
  • Optional but encouraged supplies: bright flashlight, clipboard, writing utensils, and weather-appropriate clothing
  • The treasure hunt takes place entirely outdoors, on foot, and rain or shine!  

Choose Level

We encourage all varieties of players to join in the hunt. In recognition of our differing abilities, we have four competition levels and award prizes for winning teams in each. Select any one of the ranks below to learn more.

  • Beginner’s Hunt
  • Regular Hunt
  • Thinks-Faster-Than-Walks Hunt
  • Master’s Hunt

Learn more about the levels here!

Keep Your Eyes Open!

Clues lead players to a location where they must seek out a piece of information from their environment – like the wording in a street sign or plaque, symbol in a piece of artwork, or features of an architectural design.

Teamwork is Key!

Solving the clues relies on the collective skills and brainpower of a unified team and not any single player. 

Think Outside the Box!

Clues involve wordplay, puzzles, trivia, anagrams, map reading, and other fun challenges.

Have a Fresh Perspective!

Even players who have crossed the city’s streets dozens of times find something new to look at. Consider yourself an urban explorer!

For a full understanding of the treasure hunt rules, click here.

About The San Francisco Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt

The Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt is San Francisco’s longest-running urban adventure game — a treasure hunt for information, in which teams collaboratively solve clues leading to off-the-beaten-track locations connected with local history, art, and culture.

Since 1989, it has raised tens of thousands of dollars for local non-profit agencies including Riley Center for Battered Women, Bay Area Women’s & Children’s Center, Hamilton Family Services (now Hamilton Families), and the San Francisco Circus Center.

Explore San Francisco during its most festive celebration

The Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt is a game of urban exploration and discovery in Chinatown, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, and the Financial District, which uses the Chinese New Year Parade as a backdrop. Teams compete to solve clues leading to obscure landmarks, forgotten architectural delights, secret views, and vestiges of San Francisco’s colorful past (and present). Teams solving the most clues in the shortest time receive prizes and bragging rights.

Chief Sleuth

The treasure hunt is created by private eye and urban explorer Jayson Wechter. He aims to show treasure hunt participants the urban environment as they haven’t seen it before. His hunts lead them to hidden vistas, forgotten plaques and landmarks, overlooked vestiges of the past, and architectural ornaments or public art that most passersby never notice.

Jayson views his treasure hunts as fast-paced urban explorations disguised as games, to remind participants that the city is a playground and has hidden treasures all around, if only you look for them.

About

How Does It Work?

Each team of 2 – 9 people solves cryptic clues (or puzzles), each leading to a unique location within the hunt area. At each location, the team must find and use a piece of information to answer a question at the end of each clue, to be written down on their Team Answer Sheet. The information could be wording on an historical plaque, a detail in a mural or public artwork, a unique architectural feature or a distinctive business sign; it’s often something you might never notice if you weren’t looking for it.

Participants will receive a packet that includes the clues, a detailed map of the hunt area, an index of streets and landmarks and a Team Answer Sheet (one street index and Answer Sheet per team).

The treasure hunt is an exercise in visual awareness that hones your observation skills and heightens awareness of the urban environment. Participants often discover memorable sights they’d passed by hundreds of times and overlooked. They travel over streets trod by 1849 gold-seekers, 1870s silver barons, 1920s crime writers, and 1950s beat poets.

Solving Clues

Clues involve wordplay, puzzles, trivia, anagrams, map reading, and other fun challenges. They’re designed to be too difficult for one person but solvable by a team using their collective skills and brainpower, so working together is key to succeeding!

Choose From 4 Different Difficulty Levels

There are four divisions or competition levels in the treasure hunt, offering clues suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to experts. The hunt is designed to be enjoyable by all ages and ability levels, by long-time San Francisco residents and new arrivals. You can participate at your own pace, racing from clue to clue or walking leisurely and stopping for snacks, drinks, or espresso.

Form or Join a Team

Players can come with a team already organized or can join like-minded hunters at the event. The treasure hunt is a great way to make new friends.

Location

The treasure hunt will start and end in the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center gym, located at 555 Chestnut Street (between Mason and Powell Streets) in San Francisco.

Prizes

Prizes (champagne and chocolates) are awarded to the winning teams in each of four divisions (Beginner’s, Regular/Intermediate, Master’s, and Thinks Faster Than Walks) and to the teams with the best names and costumes.

Competition Levels

There are 4 different levels you can compete in, each offering an increasing level of difficulty. Teams winning first place in one category must subsequently play in the next highest category the following year.
Beginner’s Hunt

Beginner’s Hunt clues are designed for teams that haven’t previously solved at least ¾ of the clues in the Beginner’s Hunt or with one or more members who are less familiar with San Francisco or are doing the hunt for the first time. The Beginner’s hunt may be a little bit easier but is just as much fun!

Best for teams with: 

  • First-time or less experienced competitors
  • Newer residents or visitors to San Francisco

Teams that have previously won the Beginner’s Hunt must advance to the Regular Hunt

Regular Hunt

Clues are more challenging than the Beginner’s Hunt level.

Best for teams with:

  • Participants who have played at the Beginner’s Level for one or more years and want a more challenging experience
  • A majority of players who solved all of the clues in the Beginner’s Hunt in a previous year
Thinks-Faster-Than-Walks Hunt

This competition level is specifically designed for people whose minds work faster than they can walk or run. Teams work fewer clues from the Regular Hunt in a smaller and flatter playing area.  

Teams can participate if:

  • Half their members are age 55 or older; or
  • The average ages of team members is 55 or older; or
  • One or more team members has a mobility limitation (for example, a person with a sprained ankle or in the eighth month of pregnancy) 
Master’s Hunt

More difficult puzzles for folks who want more of a challenge. Teams that have previously won the Regular Hunt must advance to the Master’s Hunt.

Levels

Rules

Rules for the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt ensure the experience is fun and fair for every participant. Any team violating the rules will be disqualified. 

#1 You must travel on foot

Teams cannot make use of ride-shares, buses, taxies, scooters, bicycles, or any other form of enhanced transport for the duration of the treasure hunt.


#2 Teams must stay together

No running ahead or splitting up to solve different clues, and all team members must arrive at the finish line before you can submit your Team Answer Sheet.

All team members must be at the same clue site at the same time within sight and earshot of one another (generally within twenty to forty feet). Examples that break this rule:

  • One or more team members running more than half a block ahead of others to get to the clue site more quickly
  • One or more team members at a different clue site communicating via phone with other team members
  • Someone at another location doing research for you

*Note: Any team member who becomes lost, has to leave early, or stops for health or personal reasons can rejoin the team later, but may not work on clues while separated from the rest of the team. 


#3 Do not guess clue answers

All team members must visit a clue site to correctly solve the puzzle or the team will not receive credit for the solution.  


#4 Do not use prohibited resources

Teams can make inquiries of pedestrians on the street and use bookstores, libraries, or the internet for assistance when solving the clues. An example of a prohibited resource includes arranging to have a person at home (not present for the treasure hunt) research and provide solutions.  


#5 Leave clue sites unchanged

Do not tamper with, damage, or interfere with the answers at clue locations, or block other teams’ access to them. 


#6 All team members must be present when submitting your Team Answer Sheets

The only exception is for participants who leave early for health or personal reasons.  

Team Rankings

Within a couple of weeks of the Chinese New year Treasure Hunt, please come back here to check out the team rankings. We will update them and you can see how your performance this year stacks up to years past.

[Clue solutions are posted here after the treasure hunt ends. Your logins are in your clue packets. You should have the correct password for your hunt; the usernames will appear in the login popup when you go to the page. Click the links for access (NB: these are NOT THE USERNAMES):]

Volunteer

Lend a Hand and Have More Fun

Volunteers greatly support the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt. And volunteers do not forfeit the ability to participate in the treasure hunt! Prior experience with the hunt is helpful but not essential to volunteer. Time responsibilities are about 2-3 hours preceding the start of the event (1:00 – 3:30 pm) or as it ends (5:30 – 8:30 pm)

Responsibilities are on the day of the event and include:

  • Site set up (hang signs, move boxes of supplies, arrange tables and chairs, set up walkways, staff the registration tables)
  • Distribute treasure hunt supplies to teams
  • Collect raffle entries
  • Organize teams for the solo participants
  • Site clean up after the completion of the treasure hunt

 

To thank you for your efforts, we supply a light lunch and waive the registration fee if you choose to join the treasure hunt. (Please make arrangements with any non-volunteer team members in advance.)

To volunteer for the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt, please email our volunteer coordinator, Rory O’Conner at rjoconnor@morcopy.com. Please include your phone number and email address and indicate which time period (1:00 – 3:30 or 5:30 – 8:30 pm) you’re available .

Got Questions About the Treasure Hunt?

WHAT IS THIS YEAR’S ANIMAL?

2024 is the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac calendar.

HOW DO I GET TO THE MEETING SITE?

The Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center gym is located at 555 Chestnut St. between Mason and Powell Streets.

Taking public transit is an excellent idea. The following Muni lines stop nearby: 8 (1½ blocks); 30 (1½ blocks); F historic streetcar (4½ blocks); 41 & 45 (4½ blocks).  

If you must drive, the closest parking garage is on Vallejo St. between Stockton and Powell, but it’s likely to fill up early because of the parade.   

WHEN DOES THE HUNT BEGIN AND END?

2:00 pm: Doors open

2:45 pm: We will start announcements and award prizes in the team name and costume contests.

3:00 pm: Hunt begins

7:30 pm: Hunt Ends

If you return after 7:30 pm, we’ll accept your answer sheet, but you won’t be eligible to win. 

The winners will be announced as soon as scores are tallied after 7:30 pm. The clue locations and solutions will be posted on this website that evening. Team standings will be posted on the website several days later.

HOW MUCH WALKING WILL I DO?

The hunt area is roughly one square mile and includes Telegraph Hill and Nob Hill. You can expect to walk several miles during the hunt.

DO I NEED TO BE FAMILIAR WITH SAN FRANCISCO TO PLAY?

No. Common sense, and the ability to work effectively as a team are more important. Clues often involve references to popular culture, the arts, science or history, and most of them can be solved through intelligent use of the map and street index that you will receive.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

Comfortable footwear (there’s a lot of walking involved); a flashlight (the brighter the better); a pen or pencil; a smartphone or tablet for help in solving clues; something to eat and drink during the hunt.

Strongly recommended: A clipboard for your answer sheets (9-1/2”x11”)

I’M NOT VERY COMPETITIVE. WILL I STILL ENJOY THE HUNT?

Yes. The hunt is designed to be enjoyable no matter how competitive you are. You can participate at your own pace, racing from clue to clue or walking leisurely and stopping for snacks, drinks or espresso. Play for a couple of hours, then go and enjoy a leisurely dinner. It’s up to you.

Tickets

WHY SHOULD I BUY A TICKET IN ADVANCE?
  • There’s an early bird price savings. Ticket prices increase as the hunt date approaches.
  • The Hunt often sells out. You can avoid disappointment by buying your ticket in advance.
IF I DON’T BUY A TICKET IN ADVANCE, CAN I STILL SHOW UP?
Yes, if there are tickets available
WHAT DOES A TICKET ENTITLE ME TO?

Your ticket for the Beginner’s, Regular, Thinks Faster Than Walks, or Master’s hunt reserves you a spot in that hunt, and a clue packet. It’s like having a guaranteed seat for a performance.

IF I BUY A TICKET AND CANNOT ATTEND THE HUNT, WHAT HAPPENS?

Tickets are non-refundable. You’re free to sell or give your ticket to someone else. Or you can donate the ticket back to the event.

Teams & Divisions

I WANT TO PLAY, BUT I DON’T HAVE A FULL TEAM.

You can purchase tickets for your friends to guarantee them a place in the hunt. If they decide not to attend, you can sell the tickets to someone else on the day of the hunt. If they wait until the day of the hunt, tickets may not be available. They can check this website or the Eventbrite ticketing page to check on ticket availability for the day of the hunt.

I HAVE FRIENDS WHO MIGHT WANT TO JOIN MY TEAM, BUT THEY’RE NOT SURE YET. WHAT ARE OUR OPTIONS?

You can purchase tickets for your friends, to guarantee them a place in the hunt. If they decide not to attend, you can sell the tickets to someone else on the day of the hunt. If they wait until the day of the hunt, tickets may not be available. They can check this website to check on ticket availability for the day of the hunt.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BEGINNER’S, REGULAR, THINKS FASTER THAN WALKS AND MASTER’S HUNTS?

Beginner’s Hunt

The Beginner’s Hunt is best for first-time treasure hunters. It features less difficult clues leading to different locations than Regular and Master’s hunters. If you solved all the clues in the Beginner’s Hunt, you may want to move up to the Regular Hunt. If you have won the Beginner’s Hunt, you must advance up to the Regular Hunt.

 

Regular Hunt 

The Regular (intermediate difficulty) Hunt is good if you’ve successfully solved all the Beginner’s Hunt clues before, are more familiar with the hunt area, or want a bit more of a challenge. Regular Hunt clues are somewhat more challenging than those in the Beginner’s Hunt. If you have won the Regular Hunt, you must advance up to the Master’s Division.

 

Thinks Faster Than Walks Hunt

The Thinks Faster Than Walks Hunt features Regular (intermediate difficulty) Hunt clues, but teams in this category will be competing against one another in a smaller and flatter playing area rather than against all the Regular Hunt teams and will have fewer clues to solve. Teams can participate if:

  • Half their members are age 55 or older; or
  • The average ages of team members are 55 or older; or
  • One or more team members has a mobility limitation

Separate prizes will be awarded to the top teams in this category.

 

Master’s Hunt

Master’s Hunt clues are especially difficult and are designed for those looking for a real challenge. The teams in the Master’s Division tend to be more competitive, but there are fewer of them (usually 10 – 15) than in the Regular Division.

DOES A TEAM HAVE TO SOLVE ALL THE CLUES TO WIN?

Not necessarily. If no one solves all the clues, then the first team turning in a Team Answer Sheet with the most correct answers wins.

IS THE HUNT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

It depends on their age and temperament. Only you can decide whether your youngsters will enjoy moving through some noisy and crowded areas.

Rules Clarification

HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN I HAVE ON MY TEAM?

Up to nine players per team is the accepted range. Four to six is probably best, but smaller teams are welcome. The larger the team, the more difficult it is to stay together. You must be within sight and earshot of your teammates at all times. This means that you cannot be spread out over a distance of more than thirty or forty feet.

WHAT IF ONE PERSON ON MY TEAM RUNS AHEAD OF EVERYONE ELSE?

That is a violation of the rules. It also diminishes the fun of the hunt for the rest of the team. Everyone wants a chance to see specific objects or landmarks the clue referred to, and to search for the information required to answer the question posed in the clue. When one or two players run ahead and find this before the others arrive, it cheats folks of this sense of satisfaction. The “treasure” in this hunt is finding the unusual locations the clues lead to.

CAN I CALL A FRIEND WHO IS AT HOME, AND ASK THEM TO DO RESEARCH TO HELP ME SOLVE A CLUE?

You can use resources which exist independently of the treasure hunt, such as bookstores, libraries, the internet, etc. You cannot arrange to have someone assist your team (by doing research, for instance) who is not physically present, because they would be functioning as a member of your team, and the team must stay together.

CAN I USE MY PHONE OR TABLET?

Yes, you can use them to help with solving clues, but you cannot obtain the answer to the question posed in the clue without visiting the clue location. Some clues may require internet access to look up a business name.

WHAT IF SOMEONE ON MY TEAM DECIDES TO LEAVE DURING THE HUNT?

That’s fine. Once they leave, they cannot continue to assist you by working on clues or visiting clue sites.

WHAT IF SOMEONE GETS LOST?

They can rejoin your team later, but they cannot play on their own.

HOW DO THE TEAM NAMES WORK?

If you want to participate in the Team Name contests, you must submit your Team Names by 4:00 p.m. on February 19, 2024. Team names are submitted when you buy tickets on Eventbrite. If more than one team submits the same winning team name, the first one submitted will win. 

Prizes & Scores

WHAT ARE THE PRIZES?

The first-place teams in each division receive a bottle of champagne, a large box of gourmet chocolates and an award certificate. In the Beginner’s, Regular and Master’s Hunts, the second, and third place teams receive a bottle of champagne and a box of gourmet chocolates and an award certificate, and the fourth and fifth place teams each receive a bottle of champagne and an award certificate.  See the Contests page for more information about awards for the cleverest team names and best costumes. We also award door prizes before the hunt begins.

CAN WE FIND OUT HOW WE DID WHEN WE TURN IN OUR ANSWER SHEET?

Probably not. The winners will be announced as soon as possible after the 7:30pm deadline, once the answer sheets are tabulated (no recounts or resorting to the judiciary!). Scores will also be posted on this website, on the Contest Results pages.

or further questions, please email us at questions@sftreasurehunts.com