Portsmouth Square

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Portsmouth Square: Our most recommended tours and activities

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

1. 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 sites, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf. The hop-on-hop-off route stops at key 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 and back on at your leisure to create your own customized itinerary around the city. Explore 3 routes depending on your ticket purchase. San Francisco City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Explore San Francisco’s famous landmarks on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour. Sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through the city on an open-top bus and learn about San Francisco's unique history Panoramic Night Tour Board the bus at Pier 41 at the end of Powell St in Fisherman's Wharf to explore the dazzling city of San Francisco at night. Climb up 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 site of the 1939’s World Fair. Heading back into the city, continue along the Embarcadero to view the glittering lights on the Port of San Francisco.

San Francisco: Alcatraz Tour w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket

2. San Francisco: Alcatraz Tour w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket

See the best of San Francisco with this combined hop-on-hop-off ticket and Alcatraz Island visit. Explore the island of Alcatraz and enjoy 2 days of sightseeing with insightful commentary from a live guide. Tour the famous prison that has played a role in jailhouse folklore and the historic evolution of the West Coast. Learn more about the 14 unsuccessful escape attempts by over 30 prisoners and their fates. Your Premium Big Bus hop-on-hop-off pass is a great way to see the sights of San Francisco. Listen to commentary by live English-speaking guides, or enjoy pre-recorded audio commentary in 10 languages. Your 2-day ticket includes a full day of unlimited hop-on-hop-off and a 1-hour panoramic night tour. Explore one of San Francisco's most fascinating neighborhoods on a fun and informative walking tour of Chinatown. The tours are offered daily, and you can ask an agent for locations and time schedules. Also included are a bonus 1-hour bike rental (with the purchase of a 1-hour rental) and Players Arcade Drink and Game Tokens. Hop-on, hop-off tour stops include: Stop 1: Corner of Jefferson & Mason StreetStop 2: Holiday Inn Northpoint b/w Jones & ColumbusStop 3: Washington Square - Columbus & Union StreetsStop 4: Embarcadero Center - Corner Clay & Battery StreetsStop 5: Ferry Building - Market St b/w Stuart & Spear StreetsStop 6: Union Square South - Geary St across from Macy’sStop 7: Hilton Hotel - Corner Mason & Ellis StreetsStop 8: Civic Center - Fulton St b/w Larkin & Hyde StreetsStop 9: Alamo Square - Corner Fell & Pierce StreetsStop 10: Haight Ashbury - Haight & Shrader StreetsStop 11: Golden Gate Park - Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate ParkStop 12: Golden Gate Bridge- North Vista PointStop 13: Palace of Fine Arts - Richardson & Francisco StreetStop 14: Marina Neighborhood - Lombard & Fillmore StreetsStop 15: Lombard Street Corridor - Lombard & Gough StreetsStop 16: Union Square North - Post & Powell StreetsStop 17: Chinatown Gate - Grant and Bush StreetsStop 18: Portsmouth Square - Kearny & Clay StreetsStop 19: Pier 35 Cruise Terminal - The EmbarcaderoStop 20: Pier 39 Fisherman’s Wharf (then return to Stop 1)

San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

3. San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Make your way around San Francisco with a 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus ticket. Hop off to explore the city's best highlights or stay on the double decker to enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the city for two hours. Combine your ticket with a 1-hour Golden Gate Bay Cruise to sail around the famous San Francisco Bay. Golden Gate Bay Cruise Arrive at Fisherman's Wharf and look for the red and white colors of the "Red & White Fleet" to find your boat. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach and take advantage of the bar onboard with drinks, snacks, and merchandise. Admire the famous swimming clubs of the Aquatic Park and the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier. Enjoy idyllic views of Crissy Field and The Presidio of San Francisco before the stunning image of the Golden Gate Bridge comes into view. Cruise straight under the bridge as the sun shines and waves lap against the boat. Travel past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands to reach the shores of Sausalito, once home to the Flower Children. With Angel Island State Park to your left, finish your cruise outside the infamous Alcatraz prison. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Exchange your voucher at any of the bus stops and get ready to discover the city of San Francisco. Discover local parks and architecture as you listen to the digital commentary, available in 10 languages. The route of the hop-on hop-off bus includes stops at iconic landmarks from Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Golden Gate Bridge, and Little Italy. This flexible approach to sightseeing allows you to enjoy your day at your own pace.

San Francisco: Chinatown Walking Tour with Fortune Cookie

4. San Francisco: Chinatown Walking Tour with Fortune Cookie

Enjoy the lantern-covered streets of Chinatown through this hour-long introduction with a local guide. Start near the Dragon’s Gate to discuss the history of this once-rough area and address the mystery of San Francisco's moving waterline. Take in some of the most incredible shops, eateries, and cultural icons including the 'Street of the Painted Balconies' as you detour from the main thoroughfare, Grant Avenue. Stop at historical points of interest and get an introduction to the often-overlooked history of Asian immigration to the United States, which goes back much farther than you may think. Learn the ways that Chinatown has been integral to the growth of San Francisco as a whole and how the Gold Rush defined this neighborhood. This tour is only partially about history. You will also get to learn the modern life of the neighborhood that is a fascinating mix of east and west. Marvel at landmarks like Waverly Place and St. Mary’s Cathedral. Discuss Chinese medicine at a traditional apothecary, tempt your tastebuds at some of the city’s best bakeries, and even taste some fresh fortune cookies (a local invention) at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. Where you can try freshly-made cookies and take home a personalized treat just for you. Before you go, get recommendations on where to eat delicious dim sum. Your guide will leave you at the crossroads of two foodie neighborhoods where you can easily walk to some incredible places to enjoy a meal or snack based.

San Francisco: Chinatown Food and History Walking Tour

5. San Francisco: Chinatown Food and History Walking Tour

Meet your tour guide at Dragon's Gate, the main entrance to San Francisco's Chinatown neighborhood, to begin your walking tour of Chinatown's most famous sights and hidden spots. As you wander this colorful and lively neighborhood, listen to commentary from your guide about Chinatown's history, culture, and present-day authenticity. Stroll down Stockton Street past busy markets selling some of the freshest and most exotic foods in the city. Pass by buildings designed like pagodas and have your camera out as you admire eye-catching Chinese decorations adorning the streets. Gain an understanding of Chinatown's religious culture and history as you visit the Old Saint Mary's Cathedral. Get a chance to taste traditional Chinese cookies and tea of your choice at Eastern Bakery where you can expect to get some inside cooking tips from the bakery owners. Go to Portsmouth Square and learn about the historical significance of this area for the Gold Rush, California's beginnings, and Chinatown's origin. Taste homemade dim sum at Delicious Dim Sum where you'll enjoy some of the best dim sum in the city.  Finish your tour with a memorable visit to a Fortune Cookie factory. Taste the fortune cookie, learn about the cooking techniques, and learn about the historical significance of fortune.

San Francisco: The Warrior Cat Chinatown City Game

6. San Francisco: The Warrior Cat Chinatown City Game

Here's a sneak peek to the storyline: “You're a cat with a black belt in karate, and you've been tasked with clearing out a dark cult in San Francisco Chinatown.” As you solve challenges, the story unfolds and exact directions on your phone will guide you to the next location. Ready for an adventure? The city game starts at Bush Street & Grant Avenue. It will take you around 2 to 3 hours to complete and you can also explore at your own pace: pause the game and resume anytime from the location where you paused it. You will finish at The Golden Gate fortune factory. After your booking you will receive an email with instructions on how to download and play the game on your phone. You can play on your own, in a large group or in several smaller groups that compete against each other and meet at the final stop of the game. It is recommended that each user purchases a ticket for an optimal experience, although several people can share a phone.

San Francisco: Chinatown Food and Cultural Walking Tour

7. San Francisco: Chinatown Food and Cultural Walking Tour

Join this flavorful San Francisco food tour that will lead you to discover and taste some of the best local bites in Chinatown. Take to the streets learn about life in Chinatown by exploring the area’s shops, murals, and cultural artifacts. Start by meeting your foodie guide at the photogenic entry to Chinatown, Dragon Gate. Peek into exotic, local shops and learn the history of this place, going all the way back to Portsmouth Square. Head to the Chinese Fortune Cookie Factory, a real hidden gem. Taste cookies as they come off the hot cookie press and choose to purchase your own bag to enjoy after dinner. To quench the group’s collective thirst, you’ll visit a Ross Alley shop next to enjoy a milk iced tea. Pick your favorite boba inclusion to customize your flavor experience. Next, it’s time to get down to some seriously delicious food. Take a seat and discuss what you’ve seen so far while enjoying moon cake from the celebrated Garden Bakery. Continue with some bites from the House of Dim Sum. Before leaving Chinatown, your small group will take a short walk to an authentic Chinese tea shop where you can choose from hundreds of varieties and your guide will provide more cultural context for your experience. A tasting of teas is included. For the final stop of the tour, get your phones ready, because you’ll make a must-do photo stop at the Zodiac Wall.

Other Sightseeing Options in Portsmouth Square

Want to discover all there is to do in Portsmouth Square? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Portsmouth Square

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 950 reviews

Joseph did a fantastic job with the history of both old San Francisco and Chinatown. He was very knowledgeable, professional, and friendly. He gave the perfect amount of detail and had clearly researched the topics thoroughly. We also loved all the food selections on the tour and even went back to one of the little restaurants for another selection after the tour ended.

We lived in the San Francisco area for most of our lives, but moved to be close to our kids and grandchildren ten years ago. We wanted to our city again but with the hassle. This tour was great. Just seeing all the old neighborhoods again brought back so many memories. A memorable day.

We had a combination ticket for 2 days. We therefore also took part in the night tour and visited the submarine. Top!!! The day tour and the night tour was a different route, thumbs up.

The tour guide was very knowledgeable in San Francisco history. We enjoyed the walk, sights and learning about the fascinating saga of China Town. Thank you Ellen!

the drivers are very friendly and helpful. They point out many cool things while driving the city.