Day 1 You'll See:
Tour the most iconic spots in San Francisco like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Pier 39!! In want of something more educational during your visit? Switch out the cruise for a couple of hours at the Exploratorium!
Golden Gate Bridge -
The bridge, a breathtaking arc of high-visibility *international orange* cable and Bethlehem steel, holding a comfortable 5th place on a list of America’s Favorite Architecture and declared one of the modern wonders of the world, spans the three-mile-wide channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, firmly lashing Marin County to the City. In all her Art-Deco glory, the Golden Gate yawns, flexes and curves across the water, shrouded in the woolen morning fog, bathed in ethereal California afternoon sunlight, and glowing, golden and elegant, after dark. She’s even more awe-inspiring in person than in any postcard depiction you will ever see; a visit here should find a place on every Northern California travel itinerary.
Bay Cruise -
Get ready for one of the most exciting ways to see the city with a Red and White Fleet Bay Cruise, a highly popular tour experience providing the best views of the city skyline, Alcatraz, and both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. What better way to immerse yourselves in local scenery than with a seaside view of it all? Choose from the options below:
California Twilight (November - March) - Especially popular during the holidays, when the city is aglow with festive cheer.
Golden Gate Bay Cruise - The original, and many walk away saying the best, the tour offered by the Red and White Fleet. - 1 Hour
Bridge to Bridge - A voyage from Golden Gate Bridge to Bay Bridge, with glimpses of Alcatraz, ATT Park, and the Ferry Building along the way - 1.5 Hours
California Sunset Cruise - Food, music, and great ambiance come with this delightful cruise, as well as views of Angel Island and Sausalito.
The first lighthouse and U.S. built a fort on the West Coast, Alcatraz was also the site of a military prison and later a famous federal penitentiary. Ferries leave every half hour from Pier 33 in Fisherman’s Wharf to begin your journey through the island’s sensational past and its surprisingly beautiful natural grounds. The partially self-guided day tours let you tour at your leisure, leading you through audio guides and park rangers. Free programs inform you about the island’s military history, prison escapes, the Indians of All Tribes occupation, and more throughout the day. The National Park Services recommend that you reserve at least two to three hours to fully tour the island. At night, the tours expand to include guided tours of the dock, cell house level, and everything in between.
Pier 39 -
Located along the historical and breathtaking San Francisco waterfront, just two blocks East of Fisherman’s Wharf, this lively 45 acre complex is a favorite gathering place for locals and visitors; enjoy many of the deliciously delightful sights, smells and tastes of an old-fashioned amusement park with a spectacular view of the colorful 300-berth marina by the bay, the busy Bay Bridge, glorious Golden Gate and ominous Alcatraz, in addition to a front-row seat to wriggling and vocal herds of lounging sea lions stationed on K-Dock. 14 full-service restaurants, most featuring a wide variety of fabulously fresh seafood, and scores of wonderful eateries and snack shacks ensure no one in your travel group goes hungry as you explore this landmark waterfront wonderland! Numbering amongst the 90+ popular attractions here, dozens of wonderfully eclectic locally themed gift shops offer galaxies of mementos of your San Francisco experience; specialty stores like The Fudge Shoppe, Chocolate Heaven, San Francisco Sock Market, The Left-Handed Store, The Pearl Factory and Club Tattoo tempt even the die-hard no-souvenir types to duck inside.