City Insider’s Guided San Francisco Tour
See more, do more on this fully guided tour of San Francisco attractions. Your Expedition Leader is a true “city insider” ready to take you behind the scenes to experience all the famous (and not so famous) sightseeing places in San Francisco. This is the most comprehensive city tour available.
Among other San Francisco attractions, you’ll see the Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Victorian homes of Haight-Ashbury, China Town streets, the Pacific Ocean and Sutro Baths at Lands End, mansions on Nob Hill, North Beach and its Coit Tower.
Super-combo: City Insider's Tour + San Francisco Bay Cruise
Upgrade your City Insiders tour with a combination of experiences that will make your stay in San Francisco Extranomically special. The package includes:
- San Francisco fully guided City tour
- San Francisco bay cruise
We know you’ll be mesmerized by San Francisco’s rich history, vibrant cultural heritage and unforgettable natural beauty with our guided tour of the City by the Bay.
Finish off the day (or the next day) in style, as you board a Blue and Gold ship for an afternoon cruise on the bay (this can be done on another day). You’ll return amazed and refreshed to explore the restaurants of North Beach.
Super-combo: City Tour plus Alcatraz Island Tour
Our most premier San Francisco package adds a visit to the infamous Alcatraz Island (you don’t want to stay!). This package, includes:
- Hotel pick up and coffee break at the Ferry Building
- Alcatraz Island tour ferry and entry ticket
- City Insiders fully guided tour
After a convenient hotel pickup in the morning, we start this 1-day San Francisco Alcatraz day tour by exploring the city’s legendary waterfront, learning the stories of the Embarcadero, Levi’s Plaza and Fisherman's Wharf. We’ll even take a brief coffee break at the Ferry Building.
Then we make our way to Pier 33 where you’ll board the ferry to infamous Alcatraz Island where Al Capone, The Birdman and others called “home” when it operated as the most secure of American prisons. We know it as “The Rock”. Listen to a in-depth audio presentation featuring actual recordings of inmates and guards that worked and inhabited the island! Our San Francisco Alcatraz day tours give the flexibility to enjoy some time to roam and explore this historic spot.
After 2-3 hours on “The Rock”, you’ll take one of the late-morning ferries to San Francisco so you can join the afternoon City Insider’s tour.
Alcatraz tickets frequently sell out. Don’t wait until the last minute. Book your City Insiders with Alcatraz Island guided tour now.
Detailed Description: City Tour of San Francisco
This San Francisco guided tour will begin by putting you in a front row seat for views of San Francisco’s waterfront. Your Expedition Leader will keep you on the edge of that seat as you learn the remarkable history of the City by the Bay. You’ll want to return to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 to spend more time at its many attractions.
The first stop on your San Francisco guided tour will be the Palace of Fine Arts, an historic attraction since the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition. It is one of the few surviving structures from the Exposition. After seeing it, you’ll understand why it is a favorite spot for wedding photographs.
After a stream of selfies, we’ll jump back on our vehicle for a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge – a Bay Area icon since 1937. You’ll travel the 1.7 miles across this historic suspension bridge in our comfortable coach, taking in the breathtaking views more than 200 feet above the chilly waters of the Golden Gate Strait.
For a unique view, you’ll soon arrive at a spectacular vista in the Presidio where the memorable views of the city, the bridge and the bay will be with you forever.
Make sure your camera or cell phone is all charged up for the selfies to come as we arrive at Lands End! No San Francisco guided tour is complete without a stop to enjoy the stunning scenery at Lands End and walk along its blustery trails at the westernmost point of San Francisco.
Set your camera on its “panorama mode” for photos of Sutro Baths, Ocean Beach, the Cliff House, the Labrynth and the Pacific coastline. After you return home, you’ll reflect on your guided tour and your photos, and will be taken back in time to the distinctive sights and sea-breeze smells of your Pacific experience.
Get ready for an eyeful as you explore more things to do in Golden Gate Park. We’ll introduce you to the de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Buffalo Paddock and more.
Then your San Francisco tour guide will help you learn cool and interesting facts about the Haight-Ashbury, Mission and Castro districts both their history and what they are today!
Listen to tons of district stories that will make you laugh out loud at the surprising, sometimes crazy, things that have made San Francisco one of the world’s most beloved cities.
You’ll also have the chance to see first-hand the living urban culture of Chinatown. Get some great photos as you marvel at skyscrapers in the Financial District and Nob Hill.
We’ll conclude your San Francisco guided tour with a visit to the Italian neighborhood and the historic cornerstone of North Beach. Stay here for dinner or let us return you to your hotel. It’s your choice!
Behind the scenes
In a bit more detail, here is more about the places we will stop to explore on your city tour of San Francisco.
What you’ll see: It is neither a palace or a museum of fine arts… There are no “residents” of the Palace (unless you count the swans!). With locals, it is a favorite spot for wedding photographs.
The Palace of Fine Arts was originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in order to exhibit works of art presented there. It is one of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition.
The Palace is in the city’s Marina neighborhood, which was originally its beach. But the area was used as a landfill 150 years ago and the beach was buried under a mountain of unstable trash, leaving the area susceptible to earthquake damage.
When the exposition ended, the Palace was so beloved that a Palace Preservation League was formed. But preservation was challenging because the plaster and burlap structure was built to only stand for the duration of the Exposition.
Originally intended to only stand for a year during the Exposition, the colonnade and rotunda were not built of durable materials, and thus framed in wood and then covered with staff, a mixture of plaster and burlap-type fiber. As a result of the construction and vandalism, by the 1950s the simulated ruin was in fact a crumbling ruin.
In 1964, the buildings were reconstructed in permanent, light-weight, poured-in-place concrete, and steel I-beams were hoisted into place for the dome of the rotunda.
Ft. Baker View of Golden Gate Bridge
What you'll see: Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, Fort Baker is a 335-acre former U.S. Army post located immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge. This hidden gem has historic buildings and gun emplacements, a sheltered harbor and forested areas climbing gently up from San Francisco Bay.
There are easy walks along the waterfront and along the bluffs-all with spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. Pay attention and you spot an endangered Mission Blue butterfly and its host plant, the silver lupine. Don’t worry your guide will point them out!
What you will see: As you walk along the breezy trail on the western edge of the city, you’ll stop a lot to snap memorable photos of the majestic cliffs and, after a short trail hike, the jaw-dropping view of the Golden Gate and its famous bridge.
Adolph Sutro designed the elegant Sutro Baths for the public. At the end of the 19th century, the glass-enclosed bathhouse contained seven swimming pools to accommodate up to 10,000 guests. Besides diving platforms and water slides, guest enjoyed orchestras, restaurants, a theater, museum, classical Greek and Roman statutes, gigantic stuffed animals, rare plants and Egyptian artifacts. Destroyed by fire in 1966, today the site is in ruins, but it provides a fascinating glimpse of Gilded Age luxury.
From this western perch you will also see the Cliff House, white sands of Ocean Beach, Labyrinth, and white-capped waves around the Red Triangle.