Things to do in
Little Italy, San Francisco

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Little Italy, San Francisco: Our most recommended tours and activities

North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour

1. North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour

Take a behind the scenes food tour of North Beach and Little Italy. Enjoy tasting great local foods, see how these culinary delights are made and meet the local artisans who make them on your guided walking tour. North Beach and Little Italy will awaken your senses. From the cafés and restaurants, to the smell of fresh-baked bread in the air. Just when you think you can't feel any more romantic you will discover quaint shops filled with incredible crafts and ceramics that will fill you with awe. Explore the life of North Beach, as we join family bakers kneading love into every loaf of bread. And just when you think that you can't be any closer to food heaven, we visit real coffee shops that fresh roast the coffee beans daily. And if that was not enough, we uncover authentic Italian cathedrals where hundreds of couples have felt their heartstrings tug. As you taste everything from cappuccinos, chocolates, breads, pastries, olive oils, specialty meats, and more, your senses and your taste buds will come alive. Every time we find another artisan crafting food handed down through generations or weaving life into handmade crafts, you'll know that you've experienced one of the places that makes San Francisco a series of ever expanding adventures. All food and drinks are included on this tour that was voted "Best City Tour" two years in a row on Citysearch. Tasting portions guarantee that you will not walk away hungry on this leisurely walking tour that strolls 7-8 flat blocks.

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San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown & Bay Cruise

2. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown & Bay Cruise

Start your tour near the Ferry Building with a view of what was once one of the busiest ports in the world. Then catch an iconic San Francisco cable car from a favorite stop and learn what makes this very unique public transport so special. Disembark atop Nob Hill and learn about the industrial tycoons who built the city as you wander through Huntington Park. Visit the beautiful gothic interior of Grace Cathedral. Enter the bustling neighborhood of Chinatown, the largest Chinese enclave outside of Asia and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Taste fresh fortune cookies and see hidden landmarks like the Tin How Buddhist Temple as you learn how the neighborhood went from being a seedy red-light district to one of the most vibrant enclaves in the city. For a little treat, pop into the legendary Golden Gate Factory for an insight into the art (and logistics) of fortune cookie making. Receive a special custom-made cookie to take home. That’s not the end of the delicious snacks either - you'll also get advice on where to eat if you want to come back to try the world-famous dim sum. Then, visit Lombard Street, called the "most crooked street in the world", Fisherman's Wharf, and Ghirardelli Square. See Fisherman’s Wharf, explore the old docks, and smell the fresh bread in the famous Boudin Bakery. Your tour will also pause at Ghirardelli Square for a sample of famous chocolate. After this, continue on to your final highlight of the day - a gorgeous bay cruise of the historic waterfront. Admire beautiful views of the San Francisco skyline in every direction and sail past the famous Pier 39 sea lions, right under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz Island (the closest you can get without booking a ticket). A perfect end to a San Francisco day. Effective August 20, 2021, proof of Covid-19 vaccination (over the age of 12) is required to enter sites on this tour (currently, Alcatraz does not require proof of vaccination). Everyone (over the age of 2) is required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status while indoors. For full requirements, please the San Francisco Government website.

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San Francisco: 2.5-Hour Wharf & Waterfront Segway Tour

3. San Francisco: 2.5-Hour Wharf & Waterfront Segway Tour

Explore San Francisco’s historic waterfront from the back of a self-balancing, eco-friendly Segway on this 2.5-hour tour, including a 45-50 minute training session on how to safely operate your vehicle. Your fully narrated route features spectacular views of San Francisco Bay, including Fish Alley, Fisherman's Chapel, the World War II Liberty Ship, and Submarine Pampanito. Go behind the scenes to see where the fishing industry, fleet and seafood processing are located, and catch the scent of the Dungeness crab stands in Fisherman's Wharf. Time permitting, you can take a loop through North Beach and San Francisco's Little Italy. On alternate days, a different route is taken, traveling from the Wharf area towards the Golden Gate Bridge. This loop glides through the Marina District, past the yacht harbors, and along Marina Green to the Palace of Fine Arts. Note: Please bring an extra layer of warm, resistant clothing. Rain ponchos, knit gloves and warm jackets are available for guest use. Please leave bulky backpacks at home.

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San Francisco: City Sights, Muir Woods & Alcatraz Day Tour

4. San Francisco: City Sights, Muir Woods & Alcatraz Day Tour

Meet outside Fisherman’s Wharf at your chosen tour time. After a brief roll call, you’ll board the bus and travel to your first stop. Over the next 3 hours, you’ll be treated to stories about the neighborhoods, diversity, and geography of the area. You will exit the bus at several stops for photo opportunities and exploration. At the end of the adventure, you will be dropped off at Fisherman’s Wharf or North Beach, where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch and explore Lombard Street. You can also take in stunning views over the city from the Coit Tower or watch Pier 39 infamous sea lions. Your guide will recommend restaurants and must-see locations during your break. After lunch, walk over to Pier 33 to depart for Alcatraz. Upon arriving to Alcatraz Island you will take the official tour and have the opportunity to explore additional exhibits at your convenience. Lastly, return by ferry from Alcatraz back to Pier 33 where you are free to enjoy the rest of your evening. Here are the places you will explore (photo stops noted by *): • Alcatraz* - Used as a federal prison between 1933-1966, Alcatraz housed some of the most dangerous criminals of the time, including Al Capone, James "Whitey" Bulger, and George "Machine Gun" Kelly. Featuring unbelievable views of the San Francisco peninsula, a visit to the island is essential when in town • Fisherman's Wharf - One of San Francisco's most popular destinations - from beautiful old shipyards to Boudin's Bakery and of course, the sea lions of Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf has it all • Fort Point* - Located just beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point gives you a front-row seat to the San Francisco Bay. This former military fortification was used during both the Civil War and World War II • Golden Gate Bridge - Declared one of the 10 wonders of the modern world, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognized symbols of San Francisco • Pacific Heights* - Offering one of the most scenic outlooks in all of Northern California, Pacific Heights is home to Billionaire's Row, featuring the estates of politicians, tech titans, and other San Francisco celebrities • Chinatown - Boasting the largest Chinatown in the United States, this 24-block mecca is bustling with energy, amazing food, and unique shops that give this area its charm • North Beach - Voted as one of the USA's ten great neighborhoods, North Beach is best known as the home of Little Italy. From delicious restaurants to authentic sidewalk cafes and bakeries, you will feel the charm of San Francisco as soon as you arrive • Haight Ashbury* - The origin of the hippie culture and the birthplace of the “Summer of Love.” From the stunning Painted Ladies to the homes of music’s favorite 60’s bands, this district started the counter-culture movement across the USA • Tenderloin - Nestled near downtown San Francisco, the Tenderloin neighborhood continues to resist gentrification, all while spearheading the local arts movement. It’s a must-see in our modern-day city • Golden Gate Bridge - Declared “one of the 10 wonders of the modern world,” the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognized symbols of San Francisco

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Night Walking Tour of Chinatown and North Beach

5. Night Walking Tour of Chinatown and North Beach

On their own, Chinatown and North Beach stir your senses. Together, they awaken you to new flavors, new cultures, and to parts of your heart. Explore both on this unique combination walking tour. Start by exploring Chinatown by twilight, including tasting Dim Sum from one of the oldest bakeries in this vibrant neighborhood. You will delve into Chinese mysticism and culture, as you explore local sculpture and architecture and see close up how fortune cookies are made by hand. Tea is to Chinatown as North Beach is to coffee and you will sample both. You will also get the opportunity to search out authentic Chinese and Italian crafts and pottery. We will help you uncover the hidden secrets only intrepid locals know. And you'll be astonished by new finds in secret alcoves. We'll explore the "Beat Generation" of North Beach as we visit the very place where Francis Ford Coppola wrote "The Godfather" screenplay and the location where Bill Cosby and Steve Allen got their start, which has not changed at all since they performed there. Of course,you must try pizza and wine in North Beach, don't worry, we've got you covered! From wine to Dim Sum, fortune cookies, and teas, to cappuccinos in the very places where the Beat Generation started and Barbary Coast history that made San Francisco what it is began. You will feel like you've really experienced Chinatown and North Beach on this fascinating San Francisco walking tour.

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San Francisco: North Beach Food and History Walking Tour

6. San Francisco: North Beach Food and History Walking Tour

Begin your San Francisco North Beach food and history walking tour at the Columbus Tower (Sentinel Building), home to Francis Ford Coppola's and George Lucas' Zoetrope Film Studio. Meet your tour guide just right outside of Zoetrope Café. Learn about the historical and current events that helped shape San Francisco's North Beach District. Experience the exquisite murals executed by the Italian fin-de-siècle painter and illustrator Luigi Brusatori at the Saint Francis of Assisi Church. Walk along Columbus Avenue and pass all the restaurants and cafes. Arrive at Stella Pastry where you will be treated to a delicious house-made biscotti or cookie of the day with coffee or espresso. Walk to Washington Square for further exploration of San Francisco's Little Italy. Your guide will take a moment to go over the pizza options and beverage choices for the next food portion of the tour. In addition, hear stories about the Saints Peter and Paul Church. After, head towards City Lights Book Publishing Company and Jack Kerouac Alley. Admire the murals that adorn the walls of this one block alleyway that connects the tail end of Chinatown with North Beach. Before the end of the tour, spend time at one of the numerous watering holes in the area for a beer or cocktail. Take time to savor your drink while your guide summarizes the days' activities and answer any questions you may have.

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Alcatraz Ticket & Streets of San Francisco E-Bike Tour

7. Alcatraz Ticket & Streets of San Francisco E-Bike Tour

Cross San Francisco Bay on a journey to the notorious Alcatraz Prison by ferry. This world-famous prison served as a federal penitentiary from 1934 to 1963 and housed infamous criminals like Al Capone and Robert Stroud, the Birdman. Take the award-winning 45-minute Cellhouse audio tour and hear the tales of those who lived in Alcatraz. This tour brings history alive through the recounting of tales from correctional officers and prisoners. Your bike tour will take place the previous day at 11:00. On this 4-hour bike tour you’ll explore the back alleys of North Beach’s Little Italy and have up-close views of the iconic Transamerica Pyramid Building. See Barbary Coast and San Francisco’s historic supper clubs. Find out how the neighborhoods have transformed from scandalous to sparkling.  You’ll ride around the Giants’ Oracle ball park, and into the culturally rich Mission, Castro, and Haight Ashbury neighborhoods. See ever-changing street art and the locals that rule each area and make each community unique.  Cruise Nopa and take in the charming Painted Ladies of Alamo Square before visiting the Civic Center. Ride through Polk Gulch, which is San Francisco’s original gay neighborhood, and finish your ride at Aquatic Park. The tour ends at festive Fisherman’s Wharf. Important note: All bike tours take place one day prior to your selected Alcatraz departure. The date and time selected on your confirmation is for your Alcatraz tour on the second day.

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San Francisco Segway Sunset Tour

8. San Francisco Segway Sunset Tour

See 3 of San Francisco’s most enchanting neighborhoods during sunset and at night on a 2.5-hour Segway tour with guide. Meet your guide at Fisherman’s Wharf, where you will get a 45-50 minute training session to familiarize yourself with the self-balancing Segways. Then, glide through North Beach, best known as San Francisco’s Little Italy. Stop at Washington Square Park and learn about the Beat Generation that used to frequent the area. Then, continue to Chinatown, a veritable city within a city. See the hidden alleys of the largest Chinese community outside of Asia. Enjoy romantic night views of the Transamerica Pyramid and Ferry Building. The tour will then loop back from the edge of the Financial District towards the Wharf. Cruise past historic piers along the Embarcadero, while San Francisco Bay glitters against the night. Your next stop is Fisherman’s Wharf, gliding past picturesque fishing harbors and hidden gems such as Fish Alley and Fisherman’s Chapel. Watch Dungeness crabs being cracked, and see the Cable Car turntable at the end of the Hyde Street Line. At Ghirardelli Square, you will learn more about the famous chocolate that bears its name. View the streamline design of the National Maritime Museum and take in breathtaking views of Alcatraz Lighthouse and the twinkling lights of the Bay Bridge. Then, return to the start point, and end with an Irish coffee at Buena Vista Café. Please note:  Bring an extra layer of warm, wind resistant clothing. Rain ponchos, knit gloves and warm jackets are available for guest use. Please leave bulky backpacks at home.

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Fisherman's Wharf & Waterfront Segway Tour

9. Fisherman's Wharf & Waterfront Segway Tour

A city as unique as San Francisco demands a unique way to tour it, the Segway Experience route follows through North Beach and the Waterfront and allows guests great views of San Francisco Bay and the City Skyline. After a 20 -30 minute training session on how to safely operate the Segway, explore San Francisco’s North Beach and Waterfront for approximately one hour. Tours are limited to 8 riders per tour guide. Your experienced and fun tour guide will narrate your experience through a compact single ear-bud sound system. Each guest is issued a compact radio receiver so you don't miss a detail of what the guide is saying about each site seen on the tour. Numerous stops are made for photos - so don't forget your camera. The goal is to let guests enjoy riding an eco-friendly Segway, see more sights than they could cover on foot and have lots of fun. An added benefit for the environment is a few less tour buses on the city streets each day.                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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San Francisco: Open-Top Tour Sunset Experience

10. San Francisco: Open-Top Tour Sunset Experience

Head to Fisherman’s Wharf and hop onboard an open-top bus for your panoramic tour of San Francisco. Begin with a cruise along the Embarcadero Waterfront and soak up epic views of the Bay Bridge and the iconic Ferry Building. Travel across the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island, where you have a 30 minute stop to admire the view, accompanied by a complimentary drink. From this unique vantage point, marvel at the vista of the entire city skyline at the exact time the sun goes down. Admire the city’s landscape transform with color, taking on a new personality as night draws in. After the sunset, head back over the bridge into the bright lights of the glowing city. Drive through the bustling Financial District up to Nob Hill, where the tour stops at the ornate, Gothic-style Grace Cathedral. The location is famous for its impressive view down to California Street, the Ferry Building, and Bay Bridge. Later, pass through the back alleys of Chinatown, then into North Beach and along Colombus Avenue. At the end of an unforgettable adventure, the tour ends back at Fisherman’s Wharf.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Little Italy, San Francisco

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What people are saying about Little Italy, San Francisco

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 323 reviews

Great tour of Little Italy, with lots of history about the area, knowledge about the best restaurants, cafes, and delis in the area, and lots of food.

I was soo full by the end of this tour! I had Brian who was very knowledgeable and very helpful! Highly recommend taking this delicious adventure!

Isabella knows a lot about this old town Andis familiar with the Italian delicacies at the best restaurants

Lauren was very relaxed and gave us lots of interesting facts and good food

Food, food, glorious food. Interesting local insights. Good value.