San Francisco Tours

Get to Know SF Like a Local on One of These Tours

Even though I've lived in the city for years, I still love taking San Francisco tours. The variety of tours available allows me to continue to learn more about the city every time.

Some of my favorites include the bay cruises, walking tours and night tours. Some other tours I've been on recently that I also enjoyed include the SF movie tour, the waterfront Segway tour (in Fisherman's Wharf) and the Magic Bus tour.

You can also take one of several day tours including a trip to either Napa or Sonoma (or both), an adventure down to Monterey and Carmel or even a helicopter ride over the city.

Below you will find recommendations for the top tours in the city. You will also find recaps from some of my most recent trips.

If you love getting to know the city (like I do!), then taking a tour is a perfect way to learn more and understand the city like a local!

My Experiences on Individual Tours

waterfront segway tour
sf golden gate cruise
golden cruise
Segway Ride
Golden Gate
Bay Cruise
Bridge to
Bridge Cruise
golden gate park
magic bus tour
sf movie tour
Golden Gate
Park Segway
Magic Bus

Tours at Up to 50% Off

Before booking any of your tours, take a minute to check out Goldstar's list of discounted tickets. I love this online retailer as they offer amazing prices (usually up to half off) for some of the best tours in the city.

These are just some of the tour tickets that you can find at up to 50% off on Goldstar right now.

  • 60-Minute Bay Cruise: Cruises around the bay, leaves from Fisherman's Wharf, several cruises a day, Full price $33, Goldstar price $20*

  • Twilight Cruise: 1.5 hour evening cruise, leaves from Fisherman's Wharf and includes light appetizers, Full price $70, Goldstar $44*

  • Hop On Hop Off: Head out on this fun tour around SF, hop on and off as you please to see our top attractions, Full price $62.99-$79.99, Goldstar $32.29-$46.74*

  • Chinatown Food Tour: Sample traditional dishes in the popular Chinatown district as you learn about its history, Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10am, Full price $69, Goldstar $48*

*Small service fee at checkout.

Alcatraz Prison Tours

You can visit Alcatraz either during the day or at night. Both times of day offer you an amazing experience. The day tour allows you to cruise through on your own with your audio tour. During the day, you can also attend other special tours and talks to learn more about this old prison. At night, you will find it's less crowded and a few additional rooms are open for you to explore.

Learn More: Alcatraz Day Tours

Learn More: Alcatraz Night Tours

SF Bus Tour Options

One of the easiest ways to see the city is on a San Francisco bus tour. Here you will discover the five best city cruises of SF.

sf tours
The popular Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tour allows you to explore the city at your own pace.

Here you can find everything you need to know about each tour including the SF attractions you will see, how long each one lasts, and the estimated price per person. In addition, find a few tips on how you might be able to save money on these and other San Francisco tours.

Learn More: See the city by bus

More: Read about my 5 favorite city tours

More: Additional Hop On/Hop Off Tour options

Whale Watching Tours

One of my favorite things to do in SF is to go whale watching. These thrilling adventures take you out into the cool Pacific Ocean waters for the chance to see a variety of whales and other wildlife. Click the link below for more details on which whales you will see each season and tips to prepare for your journey.

Learn More: Whale Watching Details

Guided and Self Guided Bicycle Rides

Bicycle rides are a popular way to see the city. You can either head out with a group or rent one on your own. Check out this list of the top five bicycle trips in SF. They range from a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge to a fun craft brews tour.

You can also find a few tips if you decide to venture out for a self-guided tour of the city.

Learn More: Bicycle Rides Around the City

San Francisco Walks

There are so many great walking tours of San Francisco. This is one of my favorite ways to see the city, since you can get up close to see the details of each SF attraction or neighborhood.

  • Top Guided Walks: Here you will find a list of the best guided walks in San Francisco. It includes a walking tour of Golden Gate Bridge, the Haight Ashbury and the Castro. You can also learn about some of the free walks of the city as well as a list of the ones currently on sale.

  • Food Walks: If you want to sip and sample your way through San Francisco, then this list is for you. Select from a list of tours including the gourmet treats of the Ferry Building and the eclectic mix of cuisines in the Mission District.

  • Walks at Night: Discover the best ghost, bus and other night tours that allow you to see a different side of each neighborhood.

  • Self Guided Options: If you are someone that likes to venture on your own, then this is the list for you. Here you will find the best audio and map self guided tours.

  • Chinatown: This is a favorite neighborhood for visitors. These San Francisco tours cover everything from the exotic markets to the traditional temples. Click through to find a full list for the Chinatown neighborhood.

  • North Beach: Both the history and its famous residents make San Francisco's North Beach one of the best districts to visit. On this page, you will find a list of the top San Francisco tours including a nighttime pub crawl, one that allows you to sample all of the Italian goodies here and several that are free.

  • Free Walking Tours: The SF Public Library offers free tours every day. Click the link to check out the list of tours by day and find out how you can join.

Helicopter Adventures

flying over golden gate bridge
A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from above is an experience you will NEVER forget!

Do you love adventure? Are you looking for a unique way to experience San Francisco? If so, then you might enjoy one of these helicopter rides. Each one offers shuttle service to and from the helicopter landing area - along with an unforgettable ride above the city and it's gorgeous bay. Head to the San Francisco Helicopter Tours page to learn more about each one, what to expect during your flight and more.

Learn More: Helicopter Adventures

Wine Tasting in Napa or Sonoma

It's an easy drive to both Sonoma and Napa Valley wine countries. It takes only around an hour to an hour and thirty minutes to get to each one. This makes for the perfect day trip. Find a list of the top options and what to expect during a visit to each of these regions. You will also find a few tips on getting discounted tickets for your tour.

Learn More: Wine Tasting in Napa or Sonoma

San Francisco Bay Cruises

Are you interested in seeing the Golden Gate Bridge from the water? Do you want to learn more about all of the famous attractions in or near the San Francisco Bay? If so, then check out this list of the five most popular San Francisco Bay Cruises. Here you will learn a little about each cruise, how long they last and what you need to know about each one before you book.

Learn More: Bay Cruises

Want to rent a yacht to cruise the bay instead? It's a great option for special occasions such as proposals, small birthday celebrations, vow renewals, etc. One of my favorites is Golden Gate Yacht Charters. Find details about our experience with them and what it's like to spend a few hours on their yacht.

See the Golden Gate Bridge by Foot, Bike & Boat

The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic attraction sitting high above the San Francisco Bay. You can either walk, bike or drive over the bridge for a closer look at this amazing structure. Are you looking for something more adventurous? How about a cruise under it or a helicopter ride over it? Click through to find out more about these and other popular ways to see the Golden Gate Bridge.

Learn More: Guided Visited of the Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Water Activities

Are you excited to spend some time on the SF Bay? If so, then check out my list of the 12 best water activities around the bay. You can choose from whale watching to a wine tasting cruise. Some last for just an hour while others last all day long.

>> Best water activities in SF

SF Segway Cruises

Are you looking to cruise around the city on an eco-friendly Segway? If you haven't had the chance to try one of these, now is the time. Here you will discover the four best Segway trips of the city. Novices are welcome as most of these offer a training session before they begin.

Learn More: Segway Cruises

Anchor Brewing Company Tours

Step inside the first and oldest craft brewing company in the US. The Anchor Brewing Company offers you a chance to look at their current production facility and sample some of their award winning brews. The tour runs daily, except holidays.

Learn More: Anchor Brewing Tour Details

Pedicab Tours

Have you always wondered what it would be like to cruise through the city streets on a Pedicab? I was too, which is why I recently went on a tour with Golden Gate Pedicab. These open air taxis are a combination of transportation and entertainment. Discover details about my journey and what you can expect on your own Pedicab tour.

Learn More: Golden Gate Pedicab Tours

Day Trip to Monterey & Carmel

Monterey and Carmel are cute, waterfront towns about two hours south of San Francisco. Find out what it's like to take the most popular day tour down to these two villages. Highlights of this journey include Monterey's Cannery Row, the 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach.

Learn More: Day Trip to Monterey & Carmel

Whale Watching in Monterey Bay

If you decide to head south to Monterey for a few days, then I highly recommend going whale watching. This area of the Pacific Ocean offers the perfect feeding ground for several whales such as gray, blue and humpbacks. Many others swim through on their annual trek north.

Learn More: Whale Watching in Monterey Bay

Kayaking in Monterey

Another fun activity in Monterey is kayaking. The calm waters of this bay offer the perfect place for those just starting out and those wanting to improve their kayaking skills. Tours and rentals are available most days of the week and run all year long.

Learn More: Tips to Go Kayaking in Monterey

Ghost Tours

San Francisco is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the US. SF's dark and lengthy past fuels the stories told in our popular Ghost Tours. It's cool, foggy, and mysterious nights also create the perfect setting for these chilling stories to be told. Most run all year long with a few special tours added around the Halloween holiday.

Learn More: SF's Ghost Tours

Sport Fishing on the SF Bay

If you love sport fishing, then head out on the SF Bay with Executive Fishing Charters. They offer half and full day fishing trips all year long. They also offer several additional speciality trips during the summer months.

Learn More: Find More Details & Book Your Trip Today

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Hi there! I'm Jill and I love writing about San Francisco travel as much as I love exploring my amazing city. Thanks for stopping by and please contact me if you have any questions before your trip.

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