San Francisco Treasure Hunts

About Jayson Wechter’s San Francisco Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt

The Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt is San Francisco’s longest-running urban adventure game -- a scavenger 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.


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.



Each clue leads to a unique location where players must find and use a piece of information to answer a question. 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, often something you might never notice if you weren’t looking for it. 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.



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 (and to every team member having fun). 



There are four divisions 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.



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.​​



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



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.



Partial proceeds benefit the San Francisco Circus Center.



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. He 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.

For non-ticketing questions please check our Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt FAQ page. For further questions, please email us at


“I highly recommend San Francisco Treasure Hunts to any manager looking to bring their team together over an afternoon of puzzles & fun.”

Mark Provost, Salesforce
“Our team loved the hunt. I loved how (Jayson) Wechter mixes in history. He’s a really fascinating guy. Sort of part historian part tour guide, part facilitator.”

John Ghasghai, TiVo Inc.
“It worked just as well for the participants from across the country as it did for the natives.  A great team-building event!”

Eric Schmautz, Wells Fargo
“Our customized Angel Island hunt was intellectually & physically stimulating. We enjoyed rising to the challenges and would do it again. We all had a great time."

Sara Ruiz, Genentech, Inc.