Monterey from San Fran
We are coming from Canada in Sept and will be in San Fran for 5 days. We have already booked the night tour of Alcatraz and a 6 hour day tour including Muir Woods.
I am having a hard time deciding whether or not to buy the city pass. We will be on a cruise which includes Monterey but, we have booked an excursion for the 17 mile drive and not the aquarium. Is it worth it for us to go to the aquarium in Monterey from San Fran or should we just use our 4 days to hang out there.
If you do recommend Monterey, how do we get there with no car and does the city pass provide transport there.
Thank you for your question. The Monterey Aquarium is amazing, but I would recommend skipping it during this visit. With only a few days in San Francisco, you will find it's going to be really tough fitting everything in. Also, the pass does not include transit, so it would cost you money to rent a car and drive it all the way down there. It will be a hassle and a waste of time given that you will stop by again in a few days.
I also think you picked the right option to do the 17-mile drive. While I LOVE the aquarium, I enjoy this trip even more. You will get the chance to take some amazing shots and see the most beautiful golf courses in the world!
Since you have four full days in San Francisco, you could still get the CityPass if you plan to visit the California Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium (or the de Young + the Legion of Honor), and the Aquarium of the Bay (on Pier 39). The thing I really love about this pass is the 7-Day Muni card that you can use on all rides around SF. It will save you money and the hassle of searching for $2 each time you want to ride.
The CityPass also includes a ticket to a 60-minute SF Bay Cruise with the Blue & Gold Fleet. It will take you around the bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge (twice) and past Alcatraz Island. You will also get to see Angel Island, the Palace of Fine Arts, and learn all about these wonderful attractions during the ride.
However, if you do not plan to visit these attractions, then it will be better to buy them separately and skip the pass.
Also, good call on booking your Alcatraz tickets in advance. I enjoy the night tour as there are some great additional talks that everyone gets to attend that are not part of the day tour.
If you have not planned out your other days in SF yet, here are a few places to help you get stared:
One-Day in SF: This is a self-guided tour I created that will take you past the top spots in SF in just one day. It includes a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf and finishes with the night tour of Alcatraz.
Day 2 & Day 3: You can also check out these itineraries too. They work off day one and take you to additional places throughout SF. They are great because they allow you to see a lot in one day, while making the best use of your time getting from one spot to the next.
Other Itineraries: You can also check out these itineraries which will take you through some of SF's top districts.
Buy Tickets Through Goldstar: Also, make sure when you are booking your tour and activities tickets, that you check on Goldstar first. This online retailer offers tickets for almost 200 SF activities at up to 50% off. They typically post their tickets about two months in advance, so keep checking back for more great deals as they add them daily.
September Calendars: Also, if you haven't done so already, make sure to check out the September calendar to find some other events during your stay. This is where you will find a list of some great street festivals, wine tasting events, film festivals, and more. It's a great way to add to your enjoyment during your visit.
Thanks again for writing Silvia! I hope this helps clear up your question and gives you some additional things to see and do.
Please do not hesitate to contact me again or add comments to this request if you have additional questions.
Enjoy your stay in San Francisco!