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San Francisco

Viewing points

Our most recommended San Francisco Viewing Points

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

1. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Cruise around the Golden Gate Bay on a boat tour. Enjoy informative commentary, see sights like Alcatraz Island, and purchase food and drink from the onboard bar. Launched in 1939 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, this 1-hour cruise has been a highlight of any visit to San Francisco for over 75 years. With 8-14 departures daily from Fisherman's Wharf, you will sail along San Francisco's breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and close to the notorious Alcatraz Island. Discover San Francisco's fascinating history, brought to life through audio commentary broadcast in 16 languages via personal headphones. Look out for wildlife along the way, including pelicans, sea lions, and even dolphins and whales. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach, the famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park, the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, and San Francisco Maritime National Park, before heading west towards Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy views of Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio, before cruising under Golden Gate Bridge. Steam back into the Bay, traveling past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands, and the legendary town of Sausalito, once home to the 1960s’ flower generation. With Angel Island State Park to your left, cruise around the infamous Alcatraz. After a full hour of exciting sights, the barking sea lions at Pier 39 welcome you back to Pier 43 1/2. A full bar with drinks, snacks, and merchandise, including logo wear, is available at reasonable prices on board the iconic red and blue sea vessels.

San Francisco: California Sunset Boat Cruise

2. San Francisco: California Sunset Boat Cruise

Enjoy sunset views as you sail on beautiful San Francisco Bay. See important landmarks, including Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. In the winter months, take in the serene twilight views instead. Along the way, view numerous National Historic landmarks and San Francisco sights, including Coit Tower, the Transamerica Pyramid, St. Peter, Paul's Church, and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. As the sun begins to set over the Marin Headlands, cruise past Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the shorelines of Tiburon, Belvedere, and Sausalito. Watch the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, as you sail west towards the Golden Gate. On your way back to Fisherman’s Wharf, see many more famous sights, including the Presidio, the Marina District, and Fort Mason.

San Francisco: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

3. San Francisco: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

Hop aboard a sightseeing bus for a tour of the City by the Bay and delve into the fascinating history of San Francisco and its legendary landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf. The hop-on-hop-off route stops at the main points of interest all around San Francisco.  Experience the diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views from the top of an open-air sightseeing bus. Hop off anytime and create your customized itinerary at your leisure. Explore 3 routes depending on your ticket purchase. San Francisco City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through the city on an open-top bus. Learn about the unique history of San Fransisco while passing through Chinatown, Union Square, Civic Center, and the Alamo Square.  Panoramic Night Tour Board the night bus to explore the dazzling city of San Francisco at nighttime. Climb the historic Nob Hill for a stunning close-up view of the magnificent Grace Cathedral. Then, make your way across the grand Bay Bridge for picturesque views of the city skyline from Treasure Island, the World Fair site in 1939. After heading back to the city, continue along the Embarcadero to view the glittering lights of the Port of San Francisco.

San Francisco: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoias Hike

4. San Francisco: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoias Hike

Experience both the Yosemite Valley and the Giant Sequoia Walk on this day tour. See why artists and poets have been inspired for generations by the breathtaking sceneries at the national park. Since 1890, the beautiful Yosemite National Park has been the jewel of America's National Parks, possessing some of the best-known landmarks in the world, such as the tallest waterfall in North America, Yosemite Falls. Have 5 to 6 hours to explore the stunning national park, and take in the majestic natural wonders, accompanied by a complimentary audio-guided tour. See the spectacular Half Dome and El Capitan, two of the most frequently climbed cliffs in the world. It is also home to several groves of stunning Giant Sequoia trees, the largest trees on earth. The Giant Sequoia Walk is along 1 mile (1.5 km) of paved trail with a 400 ft (120 m) incline, snow depth permitting. On a group tour, view stunning panoramas, go on walks, and even hike a little, before returning to San Francisco. Or if you prefer, upgrade to a private tour for your group only.

San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

5. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

Hop on board a boat and cruise around Alcatraz Island and other sights of San Francisco Bay on this round trip journey. Benefit from a straight-to-the-gate access ticket and informative commentary as you go. Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour by boat around Alcatraz Island. Skip the box office line and go straight to the gate with your ticket. See Alcatraz island from the water while listening to accounts of the chilling escape attempts and the notorious criminals that called Alcatraz prison home. Enjoy a cruise with food and drink available to purchase onboard. Cruise full circle around Alcatraz Island, allowing you to view every angle of this mysterious island, which housed famous inmates such as Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson, whose escape attempt is legendary. Gain a clear picture of what life in this maximum-security prison was like when it was the most feared institution in the American penal system.

San Francisco: Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods, & Sausalito Tour

6. San Francisco: Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods, & Sausalito Tour

See the giant redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument and stroll through the picturesque city of Sausalito on a guided tour from San Francisco. Choose to extend your time in Sausalito and return by ferry, or rent a bike to explore on 2 wheels. Meet your guide in San Francisco and board the bus to begin your experience. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge as you leave the city, and pass through the Rainbow Tunnels on Highway 101. Admire the views of tidal flats and rolling hills, with Mount Tamalpais in the distance. Arrive at Muir Woods National Monument, where you’ll spend 1 hour and 15 minutes exploring. Stroll through the landscape of giant sequoia trees, unchanged since the Coast Miwok Native American tribe lived here centuries ago. Follow the Nature Trail along Redwood Creek, passing 500- to 800-year-old redwoods. Wander through Cathedral and Bohemian Groves. Be sure to stop at the Visitor Center and the gift shop for more gems. Continue onto Sausalito, a coastal community filled with elegant homes that face the bay. Enjoy a 1-hour stop to explore the city, which has unrivaled views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. See the unique colony of floating homes moored along the waterfront. Walk through the downtown area — a National Historic Landmark District —  passing quaint boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants. Select the option including the Sausalito ferry, to enjoy a scenic 1-way ferry trip back to San Francisco. Upgrade your activity with a 4-hour bike rental to extend your time in Fisherman's Wharf. With this option, you can explore at your own pace and return to San Francisco at your leisure.

San Francisco: Airplane Sunset Flight Tour

7. San Francisco: Airplane Sunset Flight Tour

Take a 35-45 minute flight that starts off with a fly-over downtown Oakland, along the Bay Bridge, and over the Embarcadero, into San Francisco. From there your pilot navigates all the landmarks San Francisco has to offer including Coit Tower, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. This flight takes place as the sun sets and the skies highlight the Bay in beautiful orange and red hues. Witness nightlife waking up as the city lights light up all the main roads and buildings, and the first stars of the night greet you from above.

San Francisco: Bridge to Bridge Cruise

8. San Francisco: Bridge to Bridge Cruise

See both the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on a single boat tour with personal headphone audio included. Explore San Francisco's famous landmarks, history, natural history, architecture, and Native American culture on board this unique bay cruise. During the 90-minute round trip cruise you'll depart from Fisherman's Wharf, one of the city's busiest tourist attractions. From there, sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. Completed in 1937, the Golden Gate is one of the world's most famous and beautiful bridges, and was at one point the largest suspension bridge in the world. Cruise past Alcatraz Island, once home of one of the world's most infamous prisons, and take the chance to enjoy the stunning San Francisco waterfront. The boat will pass along the harbor before heading under the colossal San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Then it's time to head back to the charming city of San Francisco by the sea.

From San Francisco: Yosemite Tour with Giant Sequoias Hike

9. From San Francisco: Yosemite Tour with Giant Sequoias Hike

Begin your Yosemite National Park day tour by getting picked up at select San Francisco hotels. Cross the Bay Bridge and drive through the Central Valley to the town of Oakdale where you will stop for a short break. Start your day in the park at Tunnel View. Then, go to Bridalveil Falls for a quick walk to the base of the roaring waterfall. Next, proceed onto Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. After, enjoy some free time where you will get a chance to picnic at the base of Yosemite Falls, by a river, or in a granite-enclosed meadow. Chances are high that you will see rock climbers in the spring or fall, bears in the summer, and spectacular ice formations in the winter. After regrouping, head to El Capitan, the center of the rock climbing universe. Depending on the season, you may see some climbers on the rock, but they will appear smaller than ants on the 3000-foot (914 meters) rock. Enjoy a photo stop at Valley View and then head to the Tuolumne Grove to take a one-mile (1.6 km) hike to see a grove of 1500-year-old giant sequoia trees. Please note that the hike to the sequoias may not be available during the snow season. After the hike, head back to San Francisco with a restroom stop along the way.

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Catamaran Cruise

10. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Catamaran Cruise

Experience the beauty of San Francisco Bay on a round-trip catamaran cruise. Take in San Francisco's breathtaking skyline as you sail by Alcatraz Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Feel the breeze and keep a look out for sea lions. Admire your surroundings from a protected viewing area, or live on the edge and stand on the canvas trampoline nets with the waves beneath your feet. Pick up a helpful navigation guide providing information about San Francisco's landmarks as you sail past many of them. Make this experience complete by taking the helm from the captain and steering the catamaran yourself. This sail is the perfect activity for kids as well as kids at heart. The captain and crew are always there, happy to snap a photo or answer your questions about the sights of San Francisco. If all this excitement makes you hungry or thirsty, you’ll find snacks, soda, beer, and wine available at the cabin's snack bar.

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Frequently asked questions about San Francisco Viewing Points

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Other Sightseeing Options in San Francisco

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What people are saying about San Francisco

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 2,053 reviews

The freedom to explore was wonderful (albeit short) - we had a good group that was reliable for each return, which motivated everyone. The driver Rob was absolutely amazing and engaging with us. (Though please provide improved equipment. The microphone in the bus was really bad and people in the back had difficulties to understand half of what was said. A lot of the 'Audio guide experience' was lost because of it. This was a bit unfortunate. But since it was a technical aspect, the driver had no influence on said technical difficulties)

fantastic service and our driver was the spirit of San Francisco, dancing while we were boarding the helicopter. very professional and I felt comfortable the entire trip. FANTASTIC experience!!!

Amazing cruise and very informative tour about the Bay Area and near by places. Would definitely recommend this tour. Remember to carry a hoodie as it gets cold on the upper deck.

The cruise was very nice, the views were amazing and they took us to the major sights to be seen by water. I particularly enjoyed the comments from the captain.

If you want to have the best sightseeing of San Francisco Bay, City Landscape and Golden Bridge, this is the tour to make