San Francisco
Viewing Points

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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: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

2. 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: 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 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: California Sunset Boat Cruise

4. 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: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoias Hike

5. 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: Bridge to Bridge Cruise

6. 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.

San Francisco: Scenic Helicopter Flight

7. San Francisco: Scenic Helicopter Flight

Get bird’s-eye views of San Francisco and the Bay Area on a popular helicopter flight above the city. Choose from 3 different departure times and enjoy a free shuttle transfer to the heliport from Union Square, Nob Hill or Fisherman’s Wharf. Listen to a safety briefing at the launch pad, and then climb aboard and glide up into the air for unforgettable views of the city and California coast. Hover over landmarks such as Alcatraz Island and the iconic Transamerica Pyramid building. Continue over Ghirardelli Square and see the Coit Tower and AT&T Park from above. Benefit from an informative narration from your pilot along the way. Hear about the Bay Bridge and other attractions. Sit back and listen to inspiring background music as you fly over Sausalito and Tiburon in Marin County. Get the ultimate adrenalin rush and fly over and under the Golden Gate Bridge, weather permitting.  

San Francisco Vista Helicopter Tour (15-20 minute tour)

8. San Francisco Vista Helicopter Tour (15-20 minute tour)

Take in an aerial view of San Francisco and the Bay Area with the Bell Jet helicopter. Choose between 3 departure times and pickups at Union Square, Nob Hill, or Fisherman’s Wharf. Relax on the ride to the launch pad. After a safety briefing, climb aboard and see a vista of the world-famous city.   Admire the city's landscape and see landmarks like Alcatraz Island, the Transamerica Pyramid, the Ferry Building, Ghirardelli Square, Coit Tower, and AT&T Park. View both the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge; if you're lucky, fly over and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Throughout the 15 to 20-minute flight, enjoy inspiring background music and live narration from your pilot. After touching down back at the launch pad, you will be transported back to your original departure point.

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

9. 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 Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

10. San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

Take a relaxing 90-minute round trip boat trip onboard a luxury catamaran. See sea lions, famous sights, and sunset views of San Francisco as the sun dips below the Bay. Sail by Alcatraz Island, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and past Sausalito. Search for the famous Pier 39 sea lions and other kinds of sea life playing in the ocean. Cruise along the shore, gazing on the city skyline as you watch the magnificent sunset. Relax with a complimentary drink on board either a 55- or 65-foot catamaran. Both come complete with a protected viewing area, providing panoramic 360-degree viewing, in addition to canvas trampoline nets for the more adventurous who want to experience the sights in the bracing open air.

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

I went in May and the weather was very cold and breezy on the boat. I had on a jacket but a better heads up about being well layered or to bring a blanket would have been good to know. But overall great experience.

It was so magical. The fog was very strong the day we went but it didn’t make it any less beautiful. We had such a great time!

Fantastic trip, well organised and Archie our driver was very friendly and informative.

Very fun, full day! Highly recommend. Muir Woods is amazing! The rest is bonus.

Very organised and enjoyable despite the weather being cold and foggy.