SAN FRANCISCO’S BUS CITY TOUR
Do you have a family travel tradition? Whenever we visit a new city we always do a Hop on- Hop off bus tour on the first day. It gives such an excellent overview of our destination! The whole family likes embarking on these tours that allow us to see more and to soak up the city’s history with ease. We also love exploring the city at our own pace and without having to drive or rely on public transportation.
On our recent visit to San Francisco, we did a one-day bus tour with Skyline Sightseeing SF (a brand that operates in more than 100 cities around the world), and we had a great experience!
We enjoyed the flexibility to plan our itinerary, choosing where to stop and how much time we wanted to spend on each stop. Another bonus is that you can relax and enjoy the views while you learn about San Francisco’s culture and atmosphere (our experienced guide shared so many fun anecdotes!).
We chose the Day Hop on Hop Off PLUS ticket to do the trip over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, combining both the red and green routes on our double-decker bus. The purchase includes a 1-hour free bike rental (near stops 2 and 7).
Here are our favorite stops from San Francisco’s bus tour:
Stop 1/ Fisherman’s Wharf: This is the starting point for the visit and the best place to end a day in San Francisco.
PIER 39 has over 100 restaurants (try Trish’s Mini Donuts. They are delicious!!), shops and attractions live daily music and entertainment, great views to Alcatraz and of course, sea lions! Watching the sunset at Pier 39 is unforgettable!
Don’t forget to make your own music on PIER 39’s Musical Stairs, the interactive art exhibit presented by artist Remo Saraceni (creator of the floor piano in the Tom Hank’s movie Big). You will discover the magical sound of San Francisco.
Stops 12 and 21 / Sausalito: I truly recommend taking the tour that will drive you north through the iconic Golden Gate to the picturesque seaside city of Sausalito. (Here is an excellent article about the best attractions in Sausalito).
Time seems to slow down in Sausalito, and if you want to avoid the crowds and feel like a local, you might want to take a walk and have a lovely brunch at “Fred’s Place.”
Stop 15 / Lombard Street: probably the most famous street in California and perhaps the most crooked street in the world (the design was intended to reduce the hill’s natural 27% grade)
Stop 10 / Haight Ashbury: one of the most photographed locations in San Francisco. The “Painted Ladies” are several painted Victorian houses back-dropped by downtown skyscrapers.
Stops 5 and 6 / Financial district: The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline and has become a landmark of the city.
You can also stop at Union Square, a public plaza bordered by the popular “San Francisco Hearts,” an art installation painted by various artists and inspired by Tony Bennett’s song “I left My Heart In San Francisco.
Hearts in San Francisco started in 2004 by the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation for the purpose of fundraising.
And don’t forget to take some time to indulge at one of the Ghirardelli Icecream shops, where you can enjoy a full “chocolate sensory experience.”
From these stops at the Financial District, you can also stroll through Chinatown for some great food and shopping and enjoy some delicious Italian food in Little Italy (we ate Roman-style pizza at De La Rosa).
After this tour, I am sure your hearts will also be left in San Francisco.