We woke up early for the next morning’s tour, still a little tired from the day before thanks to all of our walking and exploring! After eating a quick breakfast in our hotel room, we headed out for the next tour. The Tower Tour bus picked us up at our hotel and we were dropped off at the tour headquarters. Tower Tours is another sightseeing tour company that I am very pleased with. They were on time, the bus was clean, everything was planned well and it was easy to check in.
This tour company offers many sightseeing tours from half days to full days. You can purchase tour packages or tickets, various combinations of tours (I recommend this so you can see a lot in one day!), sunset cruises and much more. We decided to do the Grand City Tour which was an excellent overview of the great city of San Francisco.
Our tour guide, Patrick, was not only super funny but very knowledgeable about San Francisco and kept everything interesting. We got off at a few locations to take photos and walk around which was the perfect way to break up a three-hour tour.
We stopped at Golden Gate Bridge, Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, drove through the city while Patrick pointed out a variety of landmarks like City Hall, Civic Center. He told us all about Chinatown as we saw the hustle and bustle of that area. It was such a fun tour and we were sad when it was over! A huge thanks to Tower Tours for a really great tour.
Next, we headed to Fisherman’s Wharf to catch our next excursion, a ride on the Golden Gate Bay Cruise. This boat ride was a pleasant and relaxing way to spend an hour cruising around the bay.
When you board, you get a headset so you can listen if you want, to facts and history about San Francisco.
Experience breathtaking views of the San Francisco waterfront, the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and the notorious Alcatraz Island. Our award-winning audio tour (offered in 16 languages) details the city’s rich cultural history as you cruise past the area’s most famous landmarks.
The views really were stunning and I enjoyed the clear day. Thankfully the boat wasn’t too rocky though I had taken my Dramamine. If you are prone to motion sickness, take a Dramamine!
My favorite part of this cruise was seeing Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge from a different perspective. If you are on the go all day, this is the ideal way to see do something but relax and sit down for a little while. The Red and White Fleet cruise is located at Pier 43 1/2 and its a very short walk over to the famous Pier 39 to see the Sea Lions or grab something to eat.
We headed over to the Aquarium of the Bay because who doesn’t love fish? This is a small, modern, clean aquarium that kids and adults will love.
Located on San Francisco’s bustling waterfront at PIER 39, the Aquarium opened in 1996 and hosts 500,000 guests annually. Featuring animals found in Bay area habitats, guests enjoy up-close encounters with more than 20,000 invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.
At this point in our day, I was exhausted! We grabbed a bite to eat at a place called the Wipeout Bar & Grill right at Pier 39, which had gluten-free options. I ate a delicious salmon bowl and a margarita.
After a couple of days on the go, I couldn’t keep my eyes open and crashed as soon as we got back to the hotel!
The next morning, our last day in San Francisco, we went to breakfast at the New Village Cafe, close to our hotel. After a huge coffee and a large omelet, we headed to Golden Gate Park. On our last day in San Francisco, we used the Hop On/Hop Off bus which constantly loops around the city. You can sit and ride on this bus and see the entire city, or you can get off and back on in various places. It’s a very convenient way to see San Francisco.
Because I love, and I do mean LOVE flowers and nature, I knew I needed to see the Botanical Garden. This is an outstanding area of the park which features more than seven thousand varieties of plants. Check it out here. I walked thru quickly, my daughter was over at the Academy of Sciences (don’t worry, she’s almost eighteen) while I took photos of plants in the garden. It was another warm, clear, sunny day in San Fran, perfect for photos!
The Big Bus Hop On/Hop Off (download the app) took us over to Haight-Ashbury, a quick ride from the park. This historic area is known for its decades of hippie culture. Stroll down Haight street and take in the sights, sounds, colors, there is no other street like this one. With the scent of pot wafting in the air, you would swear you time traveled to the late 1960s.
Numerous thrift stores dot the street, there are lots of vape/smoke shops, places to buy tie-dye shirts, souvenirs, retro clothing, murals. You could spend a few hours during the day shopping and taking photos though I would imagine at night it’s a little sketchy since there are quite a few homeless people.
After another long day of walking, exploring, taking photos and admiring San Francisco, our day came to an end and it was time to pack up and fly home.
To recap, I recommend this itinerary but add one extra day for Coit Tower, Lombard Street, and Chinatown. The CityPASS is the ideal way to pay once and get your passes in a booklet, including passes for transportation. It’s very convenient and helpful to utilize this booklet when you are visiting a new city.
Day one: Arrive in San Francisco. Immediately head to Alcatraz Island Tour (click here)
Day two: Breakfast, walk around Union Square, Muir Woods plus Sausalito (Incredible Adventures)
Day four: Big Bus Hop On/Off to Golden Gate Park (check out the Academy of Sciences) then over to Haight Ashbury.
Day five: back home!
I always feel like I need one extra day no matter where I go, San Francisco was no different, I love to travel!