By Leila N’Amara
Enjoy a hand-folded and freshly baked fortune cookie at Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
Even though fortune cookies and Chinese restaurants seemingly go hand-in-hand, the famed cookie is not at all a part of traditional Chinese cuisine. In fact, the fortune cookie was invented right here in San Francisco. And, here’s the kicker, the fortune cookie was first served with tea by Makoto Hagiwara. The man who immigrated from Japan and created The Japanese Tea Garden for the California Midwinter International Exhibition of 1894 — whose tea garden still stands today in Golden Gate Park.
Neighborhood: Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is nestled into Ross Alley in Chinatown. The alleyways of Chinatown can be a bit tight to navigate with most vehicles, but our electric tuk tuks can easily breeze through here on one of our San Francisco private tours for up to six people.
Cost: You don’t have to pay anything to walk into Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in San Francisco’s Chinatown. But, be warned, it is a quarter for photos 😉 Big bags of fortune cookies are just a few dollars each and make for perfect souvenirs — if you don’t end up eating them first!
Go back in time at Hyde Street Pier
Time travel to a San Francisco before any Golden Gate Bridge, when commuter ferries connected the San Francisco Bay, at the historic Hyde Street Pier. The first Saturday of every month you can join the crew members and Park Rangers on the Balacutha for, what we consider to be ONE OF THEE MOST UNDERRATED EVENTS in San Francisco, a sail around the Bay singing sea chanties and drinking grog!
Neighborhood: The iconic waterfront neighborhood of Fisherman’s Wharf. This location is a perfect starting (or ending) point for our San Francisco private tours in electric tuk tuks. This way you can explore the historic pier at your own pace — and can be sure to have an amazing meal at some of the amazing brunch spots in Fisherman’s Wharf.
Cost: It’s free to walk along the pier. To explore inside of the ships docked at the Hyde Street Pier will be $15 and the ticket will be good for seven days.
Play with arcade history at Musee Mecanique
This antique arcade museum is a cherished relic from when San Francisco had a popular waterfront amusement park called Playland at the Beach. You might even recognize this beloved penny arcade from 2001 hit “Princess Diaries” when Julie Andrews (honest to goodness) beats an arm wrestling watch with an Andre the Giant arcade game.
Neighborhood: Just behind the infamous crab sign greeting travelers to Fisherman’s Wharf you’ll find the Musee Mecanique at Pier 45. Just like Hyde Street Pier, the Musee Mecanique is a great place to begin/end San Francisco private tours. Our electric tuk tuks easily maneuver through this busy neighborhood for convenient drop offs.
Cost: This historic arcade museum is FREE! All you need is a handful of quarters to start playing with everything. If you notice someone skating around the museum in roller skates, that’s the owner Dan — be sure to say hi!
Slide down 36 feet/11 meters at the Helen Diller Playground in Mission Dolores Park
San Francisco has a notorious reputation for it’s hills. Seriously, we have more hills than we have names for! Only 63 out of the 71 hills in San Francisco actually have names. So, what better use for a hill than to build a three story tall super slide into the side of a hill? This park also boasts an ADA-accessible suspension bridge with unbeatable views of the San Francisco skyline, natural granite boulders and wooden towers perfect for climbing and even a wooden shipwreck for exploring!
Neighborhood: This perpetually sunny park sits in the heart of the Mission District, on the southern hilly end of Mission Dolores Park. Our e-tuks always stop for photos at Dolores Park on our San Francisco private tours — and we’d be happy to extend the stop for families with kids to run around the park and take a ride down our “super slide”!
Cost: The Hellen Diller Playground is a recent addition to the neighborhood, and only appeared after $3.2 million dollar renovation of Dolores Park. There is no entry fee to enjoy what many consider to be one of the best parks in the city.
Pick up all you need to become a buccaneer at The Pirate Supply Store at 826 Valencia
What happens when a writing center doesn’t want to get shut down for violating the retail zoning of the property by not actually selling any retail items? The Pirate Supply Store is what happens! Not a pirate themed shop. But a shop where a pirate could buy supplies — like peg legs and eye patches. But, if you make your way to the back of the shop, you’ll discover the Writing Lab of non-profit 826 Valencia.
Neighborhood: San Francisco’s Mission District — home to good eats and even better murals. San Francisco private tours are perfect for exploring this often overlooked neighborhood. Our electric tuk tuk tours explore the murals of the Mission District and can easily make a stop at 826 Valencia so you can stock up on pirate supplies.
Cost: There is no charge to explore the shop. It’s not the cheapest souvenir shop, but your proceeds will go directly to helping fund the writing and literacy efforts of 826 Valencia.
See the “Mrs. Doubtfire” House
There’s no mystery as to where the “Mrs. Doubtfire” house is because the mom in the movie, played by Sally Field, gives away the real address — 2640 Steiner Street — to a realtor in the film! The home hasn’t changed much since the 90s and is still very much recognizable from the movie.
Neighborhood: Pacific Heights aka Billionaire’s Row. The homes aren’t in the billions, but you definitely have to be a billionaire to afford the homes in this neighborhood! Mrs. Doubtfire’s house is on a pretty steep road, but our e-tuks can get you over there on San Francisco private tours for some photos!
Cost: There’s no charge for taking photos from the sidewalk, this one is a freebie.
Grab a scoop of Ice Cream from SF’s very own Swensen’s Ice Cream
Even though San Francisco is a city known for it’s endlessly foggy summers, this is a city filled to the brim with artisanal ice cream made in-house. Long before Smitten Ice Cream was serving up flash-frozen ice cream made to order, there was Swenson’s. Beloved by long time locals and SF natives since they first opened in 194. Even our very own namesake, Dylan, grew up with scoops of Swenson’s Ice Cream!
Neighborhood: Russian Hill, on the way to The Crooked Street and just steps from the Powell-Hyde Cable Car. Most tour buses are banned from getting anywhere near The Crooked Street — but our electric tuk tuks are one of a handful of vehicles allowed to cruise down this iconic street and we can stop for ice cream before when you’re on one of our San Francisco private tours!
Cost: Scoops start off at $3.50.
Enjoy dinner in an old tilt-a-whirl at a carnival themed restaurant
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“Kid Friendly” restaurants in San Francisco can be a bit of a double edged sword. On one hand you can comfortably let your kids be kids, but on the other hand… food and atmosphere might not be the most “adult friendly”. Straw is not one of those family friendly restaurants in San Francisco! You’ll see grown-ups enjoying cocktails topped with cotton candy and kids enjoying their made-in-house doughnut burger. Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley is a micro-neighborhood that went relatively undiscovered until the city tore down a freeway running through the neighborhood after the ‘89 Loma Pireta Earthquake. Our electric tuk tuk San Francisco private tours can drop you and your family off here at the end of your private tour of San Francisco.
Cost: Straw is decently priced for a San Francisco foodie restaurant. Their infamous doughnut burger starts off at $15, funnel cakes for $8 and elote for $7!
The “Full House” House seen during the picnic sequence of the opening credits of the TV show is known more internationally as part of the Seven Sisters of Alamo Square. A few years ago the city banned most tour vehicles from driving within even a couple blocks of Alamo Square. Luckily our San Francisco private tours on electric tuk tuks are small enough to be allowed to not only drive around the area, but can also stop to let guests out into the park for the best photos!
Neighborhood: Historic Alamo Square District is a quiet residental neighborhood that has banned most tour busses from their streets. But our e-tuk San Francisco private tours are an exception to that rule!
Cost: Our favorite price, free!
Yoda Fountain outside of Lucas Film
Any fan of Star Wars, whether you’re a kid or a kid-at-heart, will want to make a quick stop in the Presidio of San Francisco to toss a coin into the Yoda Fountain. Only the lobby of Lucas Film is open to the public. But, there are life size figures of Storm Troopers and original movie posters in the lobby that Star Wars fans will enjoy seeing up close.
Neighborhood: Lucas Film is in the Presidio — near Golden Gate Bridge. This makes Lucas Film and the Yoda Fountain a stitch to go visit during San Francisco private tours in our electric tuk tuk!
Cost: Since the Presidio has no entry fee you won’t have to pay anything to get a photo at the Yoda Fountain at Lucas Film.