17 AMAZING Tours in San Francisco [February 2020]

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San Francisco is the city that has it all! This popular city mixes landmark attractions with a vibrant culture, striking architectural gems, and beautiful natural surroundings. San Francisco is considered the financial, cultural, and commercial center of the US – so you can imagine how many attractions there are around the city.

There are loads of San Francisco things to do that will appeal to all kinds of people. You can explore nature around the Bay Area, visit historic and cultural landmarks in the city, or experience the thrilling tech scene of Silicon Valley. Whatever you choose to do, San Francisco guided tours are always a great idea.

Here is our list of the best tours in San Francisco, covering a range of attractions around the city. Choosing any of these will certainly make your experience of the Golden Gate City one to remember.

These tours from San Francisco offer special experiences for those that want to make the most out of their visit to the city. Here are some of the top options for anyone seeking unforgettable tours in this destination.

#1 – Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Golden Gate Bay Cruise

  • $
  • 1 hour
  • Sail along the waterfront
  • Witness top sights of Golden Gate Bay

This classic San Francisco tour allows you to sail along the city’s wonderful waterfront – passing many of the top sights and landmarks. The cruise will pass the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, and circle around the famous Alcatraz Island. You will also get to witness the quirky enclave of Sausalito from an amazing perspective.

This tour is fully narrated, and available in 16 different languages. Throughout the cruise, you will get to listen to stories about the fascinating history of the city. As if this isn’t enough, you could also get to see some dolphins, sea lions, and whales while you cruise past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands.

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#2 – San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off

San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off

  • $$
  • Valid 24 – 48 hours
  • Stop at the top sights around San Francisco
  • Explore the city at your own pace

San Francisco daily tours don’t get much more convenient than this hop-on hop-off bus. You can choose between three different ticket options: classic, premium, or deluxe. These give you access to the network of double-decker buses that drive between the top sights and attractions around Frisco.

Your ticket will allow for an unlimited number of stops throughout the day on the San Fran tour bus. This lets you travel between the attractions and sights of your choice, as you please. This is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to get around the city for visitors.

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#3 – Alcatraz Island and Muir Woods Full-Day Tour

Alcatraz Island and Muir Woods Full-Day Tour

  • $$$$
  • 8 hours
  • Visit two of the Bay Areas national treasures
  • Enjoy a full-day guided excursion

This is one of the best San Francisco tours for those that want to witness some of the most iconic sights in the area. The tour will include a stop at Muir Woods National Monument, where you will get to see the towering redwood trees. You will also get to explore the renowned Alcatraz Island and look into the cell houses.

This tour is fully guided and includes all entrance tickets, transport, and hotel pick up and drop off. Anyone wanting to spend a day seeing some of the most famous sights around the Bay Area should consider this expedition.

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#4 – Yosemite Park Small-Group Tour

Yosemite Park Small-Group Tour

  • $$$$
  • 15 hours
  • A fully guided coach tour of the Yosemite Valley
  • Experience amazing rock formations and waterfalls

There may be loads going on in San Francisco, but this city is also a great jumping-off point for exploring the surrounding area. For those that want to experience some of the best nature in the US, you could take a full-day tour to the stunning Yosemite Valley.

This tour departs San Fran early in the morning, with a scenic drive through the Great Central Valley. Your live tour guide will explain the amazing natural surroundings to you, as you pass all kinds of wonders in the Yosemite National Park. This is a brilliant day tour option for those wanting to discover more outside of San Francisco.

#5 – Muir Woods National Monument Tour

Muir Woods National Monument Tour

  • $$$
  • 3.5 hours
  • Witness the ancient redwood trees
  • Enjoy the best of Californian nature

One of the most desirable San Francisco excursions is a trip to visit the amazing redwood tree forest of Muir Woods. This tour allows you to spend some time wandering between these historic trees, admiring their sheer magnitude and beauty.

The tour includes a stop at Sausalito and a crossing over the Golden Gate bridge. Anyone wanting to experience the unique natural surroundings of San Francisco will love this tour.

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#6 – Scenic Helicopter Flight

Scenic Helicopter Flight

  • $$$$
  • 2 hours
  • See the best sights of San Francisco
  • Experience a thrilling helicopter flight

You can tour San Francisco in many different ways but a helicopter ride is arguably the best! This is such a fun way to gain the most scenic perspective of the city. The tour allows you to soar over the top things to see in San Fran.

Taking a helicopter flight is an experience you will never forget – and when you do it in surroundings like this, it is even more special.

#7 – Silicon Valley Half-Day Tour

Silicon Valley Half-Day Tour

  • $$$
  • 7 hours
  • Witness the history and future of Silicon Valley
  • Visit the Computer History Museum

Silicon Valley is the most exciting place in the world for technology. If you would like to experience the world-leading tech scene, then be sure to take this San Francisco day tour.

You will pass the headquarters of Google, Facebook, Apple, and plenty of other innovators. The tour includes a stop at the Computer History Museum, where you will learn about the past and present state of technology.

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#8 – Golden Gate Bridge: 3-Hour Sausalito Cycle Tour

Golden Gate Bridge: 3-Hour Sausalito Cycle Tour

  • $
  • 3 hours
  • Enjoy a fun bike ride through the San Francisco waterfront
  • Explore exciting Sausalito

One of the most enjoyable ways to take San Francisco day tours is through a bicycle ride. Your guide will meet you at Fisherman’s Wharf, where you will depart for a fun ride through the waterfront.

Cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge for the ultimate views of the San Francisco skyline. The tour ends at Sausalito, where you will explore this unique part of the Bay Area before heading back to your accommodation.

#9 – Monterey and Carmel Day Tour

Monterey and Carmel Day Tour

  • $$
  • 11 hours
  • Cruise along the California coastline
  • Visit the Monterey Peninsula, Cannery Row, and Carmel-by-the-Sea

This day trip allows you to experience the magnificent coastline of San Francisco. The tour will take you past the Monterey Peninsula, Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, and end up at Carmel-by-the-Sea.

The tour is on a boat and will last all day. This is an awesome way of getting out on the water and experiencing the city’s surroundings from truly spectacular angles.

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#10 – Panoramic Night Tour

Panoramic Night Tour

  • $
  • 1.5 hours
  • An open-top bus tour through San Francisco
  • Includes an informative guide

San Francisco is beautiful by day, but it is also incredibly appealing at night. This tour allows you to pass through all the top sights and attractions in the city from an open-top bus. This is all done in the evening.

You will see Fisherman’s Wharf, Nob Hill, Union Square, the Golden Gate Bridge, and plenty more.

#11 – California Twilight Cruise on San Francisco Bay

California Twilight Cruise on San Francisco Bay

  • $$
  • 2 hours
  • A beautiful evening cruise
  • Includes drinks, an appetizer buffet, and live music

What better way to take in the Golden Gate Bridge than with a twilight cruise through the bay. This cruise includes live music, delicious food, and drinks.

You can admire San Francisco’s best sights in absolute style and comfort. There could hardly be a better way to witness the San Francisco city skyline.

#12 – Napa & Sonoma Valley Wine Tour

Napa & Sonoma Valley Wine Tour

  • $$$
  • 8 hours
  • Discover the beautiful regions of Napa and Sonoma
  • Taste plenty of local wines

Any wine enthusiasts visiting San Francisco can spend a special day exploring the nearest wine-growing region. This tour takes you to the world-famous Napa and Sonoma Valley, where you will get to experience the stunning vineyards and natural scenery.

You will get to visit three different prominent wine farms. At each one, you will enjoy guided tastings, to help you learn more about the wines of the region. You will also get to understand the history and winemaking process around Napa and Sonoma. The tour includes all transportation, as well as a knowledgeable guide.

#13 – Chinatown Walking Food Tour

Chinatown Walking Food Tour

  • $$
  • 3 hours
  • Discover the best food in Chinatown
  • Enjoy a guided culinary tour through this vibrant part of the city

One of the most exciting places in San Francisco is Chinatown – especially if you are a foodie!

A local guide will show you all around this district in the city, teaching you about the culture, history, and traditions of the place. During this, you will get to sample some of the most delicious and authentic foods in the city.

If you love to taste delicious regional food, the tours of San Francisco don’t get much better than this.

#14 – San Francisco Movie Sights City Tour

San Francisco Movie Sights City Tour

  • $$
  • 3 hours
  • Visit the most famous movie sights in San Francisco
  • Guided by ex-actors

If you love the big screen, this is the tour to do. Your fun guides will show you over 70 clips from 55 different movies filmed in this city. This is an enjoyable way to gain a new perspective on your surroundings.

The tour is family-friendly and fully interactive. This is the ideal combination of seeing the top sights while learning all about film and cinema in the city.

#15 – Craft Beer Tasting Crawl by Electric Tuk-Tuk

Craft Beer Tasting Crawl by Electric Tuk-Tuk 

  • $$$
  • 3 hours
  • Visit 3 award-winning craft breweries
  • Get around by tuk-tuk

San Francisco is home to some amazing craft breweries. If you want to experience these the best possible, then a tuk-tuk tour would be it.

This tour allows you to zoom through the city on a tuk-tuk – complete with karaoke set up in the back. You will get to visit 3 of the best craft breweries in San Fran, where you will get to sample and learn about the city’s best beer.

#16 – Fisherman’s Wharf Cable Car Tour

Fisherman’s Wharf Cable Car Tour

  • $$
  • 3 hours
  • Travel around in an authentic cable car
  • A unique way of seeing the city

This San Francisco daily tour allows you to cruise the city streets in an authentic classic cable car. You couldn’t get much more of a traditional San Fran experience than this.

You will stop at 3 key destinations in the city where you can get off and do a small walking tour. This is a great option for history lovers.

#17 – Food and Street Art of the Mission

Food and Street Art of the Mission

  • $$$
  • 2.5 hours
  • Explore the city’s oldest neighborhood
  • Visit the trendiest food and creative spots

The Mission is the trendiest, liveliest area of San Francisco. This guided walking tour takes you through the street art and amazing food on offer here. You will absorb the hip culture of the city through this, and stop for plenty of amazing photo opportunities.

Final Thoughts on SF Tours

There is a good reason that San Francisco remains one of the most popular cities to visit in America. This destination has it all – stunning natural scenery, a vibrant city culture, world-famous landmarks, historic, and cultural attractions.

With Silicone Valley, Napa wine country, and beautiful national parks in close proximity to the city, sightseeing opportunities here are spectacular.

These tours all provide an excellent perspective of the city. People with widely ranging interests can all enjoy San Francisco, as this is a destination with loads on offer. Be sure to consider a tour here to maximize your San Fran experience.

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About the Author Aaron Hovanesian

Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.