In preparation for your visit to our beautiful city, you may find the following websites informative and helpful: BayCityGuide.com (Sights and Attractions/ City Sights), wheretraveler.com and sfgate.com.
Guided City Tour/ Hop on Hop off Bus City Tour
In order to acquaint yourself with San Francisco on your first day, you may consider a 3 ½ -4 hour guided city tour, during which a knowledgeable guide will show you the major sights and attractions, while giving you further background on the city’s history and culture. Pick up and drop off – depending on the tour company would be @ the hotel. (Cost of the Guided City Tour is about $49 per adult)
Another popular way to discover the city and gain a first overview while having the option to explore different parts and areas of the city would be aboard one of the Hop on/Hop off sightseeing buses (itinerary & discount coupons available @ the Concierge Desk for a couple of the preferred companies/ prices vary slightly depending on the company/ tickets available for 24 and 48 hour periods). No reservations are needed, even though you may experience some wait time during peak season. The closest pick up point to the hotel is located on Union Square. Buses run frequently 7 days a week – depending on the tour company of choice every 15 – 30 minutes between the hours of 9:00am and 5:30/6:00pm, with the first and last bus departing from Fisherman’s Wharf. Touring the city in one of the Hop on/Hop off buses can be a full day affair with you being at liberty to stay on the bus or getting off at either one of the up to 20 assigned stops at the city’s landmarks and re-board the next bus of your choice.
Alcatraz Day or Night Tours
Alcatraz Island tour is a not to be missed attraction on every first time San Francisco visitor’s checklist, and it is highly recommended to pre-arrange reservations in advance via the government approved official website @ www.alcatrazcruises.com, as these tours indeed sell out weeks in advance during the Summer months in particular. ($30 per adult)
Cable Car Ride/ Return via F-line
Walk to the Cable Car turnaround just 5 minutes away and ride the hills of San Francisco on the famous ‘Powell & Hyde’ Cable Car line to Ghirardelli Square/ (*Optional) Get off atop Russian Hill @ Lombard St to get a close up view onto the ‘Crookedest’ St in the World/ Walk downhill (on Hyde St) to Ghirardelli Square/ Reward yourself & stop by the remaining famous Chocolate & Ice Cream store/ Explore fantastic fresh seafood & the sights in Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 with its Sea Lion Colony, Aquarium of the Bay, Hard Rock Café & other tourist attractions/ Return via F-line, a vintage electrical street car that will take you along the bay. The cost for Cable Car rides are $6 per person, F-line $2 per person per ride. Both means of transportation run from early morning hours till almost midnight. Expect extended wait times at peak hours at the cable car turnarounds.
Bike Ride across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito – Return by Ferry
For a truly unique way to explore the city en plein air, we recommend for you to make your way to the bay on either cable car or street car, rent a bike from one of the numerous bike rental places (ask your concierge for recommendations & discount passes)/ Ride along the beautiful scenery of the bay across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito or Tiburon, the picturesque coastal towns on the peninsular in the North Bay/ Enjoy lunch by the bay/ Return via ferry
Walking Tour – Union Square, Chinatown, Little Italy/ North Beach/ Coit Tower
Discover the city on foot by walking towards Union Square, the heart of Downtown and Designer Shopping Area, then through the Dragon Gate (Gate to Chinatown)/ visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, continue on Grant Ave to Columbus St, and you are right in the heart of bustling North Beach - often compared to Paris’ Left Bank and known as Little Italy of the West. Visit Washington Square with St Peter & Paul Church, take the famous Filbert Steps (while listening to the parrots) to Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill with sweeping 360 degrees view of the city.
49 Mile Drive
Should you prefer to discover the city via car, let this imaginary road guide you along the major sights and attractions of San Francisco. (Maps & additional information available @ your Concierge Desk)
Day Outing to the ‘Flower/Power’ Haight Ashbury & Golden Gate Park
Explore the colorful & eclectic Haight Ashbury district and experience its ‘Flower/Power’/Hippie era revival of the 60s with its vintage clothes boutiques, record stores and independent book stores/ Discover Buena Vista Park, San Francisco’s oldest official park with views of the Golden Gate Bridge & the “window” overlook on the West side of the hill onto the Golden Gate Park & Pacific Ocean (on clear days up to the cliffs of Drake Beach). Proceed on to Golden Gate Park with its many attractions. Visit the Japanese Tea Garden, take a stroll around Stow Lake or discover it on a rowing boat, visit the Botanical Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, see the Golden Gate Park Windmills & Tulips, visit the Buffalo Paddock next to Spreckels Lake, take your kids to the Golden Gate Carousel & Children’s Playground, discover art from around the world @ the De Young Museum and/ or experience the Aquarium, Planetarium, History Museum & current earthquake exhibit at the stunningly innovative & eco-friendly California Academy of Sciences with its living roof. (15% discounted tickets available through your Concierge)
Day Shop San Francisco
Westfield San Francisco Centre (biggest shopping mall in San Francisco) – home to Bloomingdale and Nordstrom Department stores as well as numerous brand name boutiques, two food courts, upscale restaurants, Burke’s Spa and the wonderful Bristol Farms Supermarket/ Union Square in immediate walking vicinity with Designer brand name shops as well as Department Stores the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Barneys/ Boutique street shopping, restaurants & cafes in the hip & trendy Fillmore District, Union Street and Chestnut Street/ Eclectic vintage street shops in the Haight & Ashbury
Discover San Francisco
We highly recommend furthermore discovering San Francisco from different vista points as well as from the waterfront. Whether you are able to view it from an elevated vista point North of the Golden Gate Bridge @ the Marin Headlands, to the East from Treasure Island, from elevations in the city like Twin Peaks & Coit Tower or Sausalito & Tiburon, the peninsular across the bay, the views are truly breathtaking. The choice is yours, whether you opt for the adventure of a seaplane or helicopter ride for a bird’s eye view, sail the bay on a yacht, catamaran or rocket boat from Pier 39 or explore via kayak from Sausalito. Enjoy beautiful San Francisco!
Day Trips from the City
o Muir Woods & Sausalito
o Wine Country - Napa & Sonoma Valley
o Monterey & Carmel
We are excited to have you stay with us and are looking forward to making this a truly memorable trip for you and your family!