You can’t say California without immediately thinking of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge or the notorious Alcatraz Prison. San Francisco is not only home to all these gems, but also a place that has a little bit of everything. With something exciting happening on any given day and many timeless attractions to explore, the city is always reinventing itself, without losing its authenticity and originality. Whether it’s on a touristy hop-on hop-off bus or in a fun and colourful GoCar, the ways to explore the city are plentiful. Here are some of our favourite choices when it comes to top day tours in San Francisco, California.
Another way to explore the depths of San Francisco is on two wheels. Book this tour and enjoy an electric bike tour of the city. Starting from North Beach, the trip will take you closer to the city’s iconic landmarks. On this 20-mile bike tour, travellers will learn more about the history of the place, see the Golden Gate Bridge, explore the Golden Gate Park, and check out the San Francisco Bay, Alamo Square, and Fisherman’s Wharf. The tour will be limited to groups of up to eight people, to ensure a more personalized experience.
The Original City Loop Electric Bicycle Tour
Duration: 5 hours
If you enjoy discovering a place’s history, but also like to do it at your own pace, taking your time to immerse yourself deeper into a neighbourhood or just stopping for an Instagram story, this hop-on hop-off tour is the best choice for you. You’ll get to spot the city’s most notorious landmarks, listen to a live guide telling you the history behind each one of them, but also have the flexibility to get off whenever you want to take a break or visit a particular place. After you have toured the attraction, you can get back up on another double-decker and continue your journey through San Francisco.
San Francisco Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour with Premium Option
Duration: 60 to 120 minutes
It is by far one of the most original ways of exploring a city, and anyone who has heard of it or tried it can attest to that. Grab your partner, or go solo; either way put on your helmet, hop on this brightly-coloured storytelling car, and let it take you around the city while telling you all there is to know about its most famous locations. The self-guided tour will lead you to places like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Golden Gate Park, Lombard Street, and Fisherman’s Wharf. The car can be picked up from any of following two San Francisco locations, either on Beach Street near Fisherman’s Wharf or at Union Square.
San Francisco GoCar GPS-Guided Sightseeing Audio Tour
Duration: 5 hours
Touring the hills of San Francisco on a Segway can not only be easier on your feet, but this all-day tour will also make sure you cross the main attractions of the city off your list. After exploring North Beach and Lombard Street, you’ll get to catch the ferry to one of the city’s most-sought spots, the famed Alcatraz Prison. Here you’ll learn about the history behind it on a self-guided audio tour. All the required equipment and a quick training session are included in the price of the tour.
San Francisco Hills Segway Tour and Alcatraz Admission
Duration: 6 to 7 hours
There are many ways to visit Alcatraz, but one thing’s for sure – this iconic landmark should be on every traveller’s list. If you want to explore it early in the morning, before most visitors arrive and the island gets crowded, this tour can be an excellent option. Hop on a cable car that will take you to the island, and enjoy epic sights of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Palace of Fine Arts along the way. The tour also includes admission to Alcatraz Island, an audio tour, lunch, mixed refreshments, and a professional guide. All visitors need to do is be at the departure point before 8 am.
Alcatraz Early Access and Cable Car Sightseeing Tour
Duration: 7 hours
If you want to capture San Francisco’s beauty, taking in the city sights from up above is an excellent choice. Combining air and sea views, on the other hand, is even better. This helicopter tour offers travellers the chance to soar over the city for 15-20 minutes, and then will take them on a ferry to explore the most famous prison in the US. During the visit to Alcatraz, travellers will also get an audio guide to learn more about the history of the place. Guests can choose between three different tour hours, with pickups from either Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, or Nob Hill.
San Francisco Helicopter and Alcatraz Tour
Duration: 1 day
This full-day tour is perfect for both history buffs and craft beer aficionados, as it blends a little bit of both worlds. Travellers will get to visit the iconic Alcatraz prison in the morning and unwind on a flavorful walking beer tour in the afternoon. The tour will start with a 15-minute ferry ride that offers spectacular sights of the Golden Gate Bridge and continues to the Alcatraz Island. Here, guests will see the cells where some of the most famed criminals were housed. You’ll hear names like Al Capone and Robert Stroud. The evening continues in a small group, as San Francisco’s beer history unfolds. Guests will get to check out some of the city’s best taprooms and breweries and sample a variety of IPAs, ales, and pilsners.
Alcatraz Ticket and Walking Craft Beer Tour
Duration: 9 hour
Take in all of the city’s most precious gems on this grand tour that will take you from Golden Gate Bridge and North Beach to Union Square and Chinatown. Since it wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the historic prison of Alcatraz, expect to check it out on an audio-guided walking tour. It will take you to Al Capone and the Birdman’s prison cells. Another great thing about this tour is you don’t have to worry about how you’ll get to the many attractions, for it comes with a round-trip ferry ride and free hotel pick-up and drop-off.
Combo Tour: Alcatraz Island and San Francisco Grand City Tour
Duration: 6 hours
There’s never enough time to explore every corner of San Francisco and experience everything the city has to offer, but this all-day tour is pretty close. You’ll get to go sightseeing all over the city with a guide, spot landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge or the Muir Woods National Monument, stop for photos, and take a self-guided tour of the Alcatraz Island. Just before the Alcatraz tour, guests can enjoy lunch in Fisherman’s Wharf, but at their own expense. The price of the tour includes transportation and the Alcatraz Island ticket.
The One Day in San Francisco Tour with Muir Woods and Alcatraz
Duration: 10 hours
This five-hour tour will take you up close to some of the city’s most popular attractions, and includes a total of nine stops at the Golden Gate Bridge, Alamo Square, Lombard Square, and the Painted Ladies. The trip continues on water, as the participants will take the ferry across the bay to see the waterfront town of Sausalito. The tour starts around 11 am on Columbus Avenue and includes a professional guide who will offer compelling insights about each of the main landmarks spotted along the way.
5-Hour Premium San Francisco City Tour
Explore San Francisco in different ways
There are many ways to explore San Francisco. If you’re looking to get some physical activity in opt for a Segway or a bike tour, or if you are looking to sit back, relax, and snap the city’s most Instagrammable spots we’ve got you covered too. Just make sure you check out our comprehensive list of the top day tours in San Francisco, California, and choose the one for you.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.