The dramatic scenery of S.F.'s "Postcard Row" -- where a sweeping downtown vista is the backdrop for a steep-streeted row of Queen Anne Victorians -- brings thousands of tourists to Alamo Square each year. But though these visitors can snap photos, they can see no farther than the Painted Ladies' exteriors. Those who attend the S.F. Museum & Historical Society's Victorian Home Tour have an opportunity to peek behind those embellished doors, when restored rooms in five vintage homes around the park open for viewing. Two of the Postcard Row houses are accessible, along with the Westerfield House at the corner of Fulton and Scott, the magnificent former home of Manson Family member Bobby BeauSoleil. The self-guided tour starts at 11 a.m. at 1000 Fulton (at Steiner), S.F. Admission is $20-25; call 775-1111 or visit www.sfhistory.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Tri, Tri Again
Do you love the smell of salt water in the morning -- and your own sweat the rest of the day? If you do, the Treasure Island Triathlon is right up your (some would say insane) alley, with its brisk swim through the icy waters of the harbor and picturesque jaunts around the island on bicycle and foot. Several events are scheduled, ranging from the 10-and-under race to the Top Elite professional competition. Sign up for pain on Friday beginning at 11 a.m. (official competition starts Saturday at 7:15 a.m.) on California between Avenues C and F, Treasure Island. Admission is free (for spectators); visit www.tricalifornia.com/treasureisland/2003.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Seen a Ghost?
Get them before they get you
If you want to be haunted by something besides a cavity this Halloween, try the San Francisco Ghost Hunt, a guided nighttime walk that covers a mile of historic Pacific Heights, where many ghosts allegedly still haunt rickety Victorians. Hear about author Gertrude Atherton, whose dead husband was sent to her inside a barrel of rum, and abolitionist Mary Ellen Pleasant, described in her time as the Voodoo Queen of S.F. Perhaps the can-do spirits of vanished dot-commers are still hanging around, too, damned to search forever for the perfect foosball table. Added bonus: Find out how to catch a ghost, if you're brave enough to try. The hunts begin at 5 and 9 p.m. at the Queen Anne Hotel, 1590 Sutter, S.F. Admission is $10-20; call 922-5590 or visit www.sfghosthunt.com.
-- Jack Karp