Frequently Asked Questions | San Francisco Treasure Hunts



This page is a general FAQ resource. For all Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt questions, click here.

Q: What does a treasure hunt cost?
A: Pricing is typically based on the number of participants, but we offer several pricing options. Please contact us for price quotes. 

Q: How do San Francisco Treasure Hunts work?
A: Teams of 4 to 6 players collaboratively solve a series of puzzles, riddles and mini-mysteries, each leading to an exciting mystery location – a historical plaque, a hidden view, an architectural delight – that few tourists ever see. The team that solves the most clues and plans their route around the playing area most strategically wins the hunt.

Q: How difficult are the clues?
A: Our treasure hunts are tailored to the audience, but do not require familiarity with the playing area to achieve success. Solving clues can call upon a variety of skills: knowledge of current events, popular culture and literature; the ability to use the provided map and street index intelligently; simple puzzle solving; research skills; the ability to work effectively as a team. Some clues are easy, a few are difficult, and many are in-between, giving players a variety of intellectual challenges. To see sample clues, please visit the Sample Clues pages...

Q: How long does a treasure hunt last?
A: Typically between two and four hours, not including a pre-hunt orientation / briefing, and a post-hunt de-briefing. We tailor the hunts to your needs and scheduling requirements.

Q: Where do treasure hunts take place?
A: We are based in San Francisco, where our award-winning treasure hunts have delighted over forty-thousand participants over the past twenty-five years. We offer hunts in several of San Francisco’s most colorful and historically rich neighborhoods as well as in Golden Gate Park, on Angel Island, in downtown Oakland, Palo Alto, San Jose, and the town of Sonoma. We can also create an entirely customized hunt in the city or meeting place of your choosing. We have created successful hunts in environments ranging from a country estate to high school and university campuses, a medical center, even McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Take a look at Hunts & Packages for more info about what we offer.

Q: How physically demanding is the treasure hunt?
A: This also is tailored to meet your specifications. Do you have a group of employees in their early twenties who are restless after sitting through two days of meetings and training sessions? We can provide them with a simultaneous intellectual and aerobic workout that will take them over a city’s most famous hills. Want something more relaxed? We can provide a leisurely hunt on level ground that gives players time to experience the city at a slower pace.

Q: What are your customized hunts?
A: Customized hunts are created from scratch for your event, in a location of your choosing. They can have a specific theme relating to a location, a film or literature, or something connected with your business or organization. San Francisco Treasure Hunts created a Vertigo theme hunt for the a holiday party, with clues leading to locations from the famed Alfred Hitchcock film. The event was voted their best holiday party ever, and we subsequently created a similar hunt for them based around locations from Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City

Q: What are the benefits of a treasure hunt?
A: Treasure Hunting offers an intense, challenging experience, a simultaneous intellectual and aerobic workout that draws out each player’s knowledge and personality. It’s a great social icebreaker, and fosters camaraderie. Treasure hunts are excellent tools to:

  • Introduce new employees to the company and / or location
  • Introduce employees working together on a project
  • Emphasize team-building skills at a formal training session.
  • Provide a break at a conference or convention
  • Reward a department for successful completion of a project
  • Acquaint participants with the history, geography and resources of a location.
  • Enliven social gatherings and events
  • Educate participants in new ways of seeing and exploring their environment

Treasure hunts provide more than just a fun afternoon discovering fascinating new locations. They reward good teamwork, and require many of the skills necessary to succeed in business, or in life, such as:

  • Creative thinking
  • Good listening skills
  • Using effective research to arrive at a correct conclusion
  • Seeking and building a consensus for a plan of action
  • Plotting a strategy, then having the flexibility to change it when anticipated results do not appear.

Q: How is San Francisco Treasure Hunts different from other services offering team-building experiences?
A: We are the oldest and most experienced creator of treasure hunts in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our award-winning Chinese New Year’s Treasure Hunt is one of the most popular, challenging and successful treasure hunts in the world. We are the only treasure hunt company headed by a private investigator, who knows first-hand how to create and solve a stimulating intellectual puzzle, and how to make treasure hunters feel like sleuths for a day.

We can create an unforgettable event for your personal or corporate team-building needs just about anywhere you can imagine - not just the SF Bay Area