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San Francisco Go Card vs CityPASS: Which is the best visitor pass to help you save money while exploring the city?

San Francisco can seem like an expensive city at first glance but with the San Fancisco CityPass or Go card it can be easy!

Some of even the most budget friendly hotels in Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco and Union Square hotels come with a pretty hefty price tag. However, finding decent accommodation in the city is always worth it. This is especially true if you can save a little money somewhere else in your San Francisco trip planning.

That’s where the San Francisco Go Card vs CityPASS debate comes into play. Both passes offer access to some must-see attractions in (and some outside) of the city. These passes cover similar attractions, which leaves many wondering which to get?

The answer really depends on what is on your personal bucket list for San Francisco sightseeing. So, we’re breaking down the San Francisco Go Card vs CityPASS. We going to take a look at what they really do (and don’t) include to help you pick the right one.

San Francisco CityPASS vs San Francisco Go Card

San Francisco Go Card

San Francisco Go Card | Dylan's Tours

The San Francisco Go Card gets you access to dozens of attractions all over the city.

The San Francisco Go Card will get you into just about every major attraction in and around the city.

If you’re looking for a San Francisco museum pass, the San Francisco Go Card will get you into 11 museums across the city.

You will have access to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park and the Exploratorium on the San Francisco waterfront at Pier 17. You’ll be able to visit the classical fine arts museum the Legion of Honor and the de Young Museum known for collections of art from the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. In the heart of the Financial District you’ll be able to visit the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

You’ll have access to a few other beloved museums and a dozen other San Francisco attractions.

The San Francisco sightseeing pass section of the San Francisco Go Card offers access to 8 fun tours in SF. Included in these options is a tour of Oracle Ballpark, some of the best San Francisco boat tours, San Francisco Go Car Tours in those speedy little yellow cars, our favorite hop on hop off bus tours and San Francisco bike rentals.

san francisco guide

One of the biggest things to consider when look at the San Francisco Go Card vs CityPASS is that the Go Pass includes one big attraction outside of San Francisco. Nearby amusement park, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom with all its fun roller coasters!

Transportation to the amusement park is not included, but you can easily reserve a rental car in San Francisco for a little day trip.

Please note, the San Francisco Go Card offers access to all these locations. The similar San Francisco Explorer Pass has similiar tour offerings, but only lets you choose 3-4 of the places listed.

Who is the San Francisco Go Card for?

The San Francisco Go Card covers a lot more ground than the CityPASS. If you’re coming to San Francisco and want to see as many museums as possible and experience as many tours as time allows, then you’ll want to pick a Go Card.

A key difference between the San Francisco Go Card vs CityPASS is that there is no public transit or cable car rides included with the Go Card. Unlimited cable car rides is only a perk of the CityPASS.

This means for as many tours, museums and attractions the Go Card includes — you’ll still have an extra transportation expense. However, if you were already planning on taking taxis or ride-shares, missing out on public transportation might not be a deal breaker!

If you were planning on taking advantage of San Francisco’s robust public transportation system of trains, buses and historic cable cars, keep reading to learn about the San Francisco CityPASS.

San Francisco CityPASS

San Francisco Citypass | Dylan's Tours

The San Francisco CityPASS will get you onto cable cars and into the biggest attractions around town.

Riding the San Francisco cable cars is usually $7 for every ride. Luckily, the San Francisco CityPASS includes *three days* of unlimited cable car rides with a special Muni Passport. The more you ride on Muni, the bigger your San Francisco CityPASS discount will be!

In addition, you’ll get tickets to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park and a San Francisco bay cruise with Blue & Gold Fleet. Not to mention, you’ll get entry to the Aquarium by the Bay in Pier 39.

Lastly, you’ll be able to choose between two attraction. The Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum, or the recently renovated San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Which will you choose?

Please note, San Francisco CityPASS Alcatraz tickets are not available. For ideas on how to get to Alcatraz and the best Alcatraz tours, just check out our blog for the best tips!

San Francisco Go Card vs City Pass | Dylan's Tours

Alcatraz Island and Coit Tower in San Francisco, California.

Who is the San Francisco CityPASS for?

You can easily visit all of these must-see attractions with just three days in San Francisco. There’s no rush to use your San Francisco CityPASS. After activating the pass, you’ll have nine days after your first visit before the ticket expires.

When it comes down to the San Francisco Go Card vs CityPASS, it’s all about how much you actually want to explore. The Go Card will get you into more places, but the CityPASS can also help you get to those places with unlimited Muni transportation!

The CityPASS might not include as many attractions, but the ones offered will help travelers really experience the best of what San Francisco has to offer. You won’t feel like you’ve missed out on anything by going with a CityPASS.

CREATE YOUR OWN SAN FRANCISCO ITINERARY MUNI PASSPORTS AND CLIPPER CARDS

Don’t want to spend money on attractions? Still looking for the most affordable way to get around town? San Francisco Muni Passports get you on every train, bus, electric streetcar and historic able car in the city for a flat price.

Clipper Cards are a convenient way to electronically store your Muni Passport. In addition, Clipper Cards can be used on BART trains from the airports and even ferries to Sausalito and Oakland.

You’ll be traveling like a local with your Clipper Card fully loaded with a Muni Passport. Whether you have 24 hours in San Francisco or 4 days in SF, you’ll  see a lot with these passes. See everything from riding cable cars past The Crooked Street to taking a ferry through the San Francisco Bay.

Muni Pass

San Francisco Go Cards vs CityPASS | Dylan's Tours

Get all access to public transportation with a Muni Passport.

When it comes to Muni, you’ll find San Francisco visitor pass options that cover basic transportation and then Muni passports that include bypassing the $7 cable car fee.

If you’ve already ridden on a San Francisco cable car, you can get a Muni Day Pass for just $5. It includes San Francisco Muni buses and trains only, no cable cars. For reference, rides on most buses and trains are $2.75 for adults for a 90 minute fare. As long as you ride at least twice in one day — you’ll get your moneys worth! 

Starting at $12 a day, with the Muni Passport San Francisco you can get unlimited rides on San Francisco cable cars, Muni buses and trains. Essentially, the Muni Visitor Passport is like the San Francisco CityPASS — but without any tickets to fun things to do around the city.

When it comes to San Francisco Go Card vs CityPASS, the Muni Passports don’t really compare since the Muni tickets don’t include tickets to any museums or attractions.

San Francisco Go Cards vs CityPASS | Dylan's Tours

Enjoy unlimited cable car rides with the Muni Passport.

Who is the Muni Visitor Passport for?

Anyone who is just interested in getting from point A to point B. Muni Passports will be for transportation only. The flexibility to reserve a Muni pass for 1, 3 or 7 days allows you to save big on public transportation costs.

The easiest way to purchase a San Francisco Muni Pass is through the app, MuniMobile available on iPhone and Android. Paper passports are available for an additional cost, but why not save the money (and the trees)?

Otherwise you can always load a Muni Passport on to a Clipper Card. Just keep reading to learn more about this universal card for transportation around San Francisco.

Clipper Card

The Clipper Card is to San Francisco what the Oyster Card is to London. The Clipper Card is a loadable card that is universally accepted for payments to various public transportation agencies across the San Francisco Bay.

How do Clipper Cards work?

When you load money onto a Clipper Card, you’ll be able to use that as fare for public transportation across the Bay.

One card allows you to pay for buses and trains on Muni and BART trains connecting SFO and Oakland Airport. Enjoy ferry rides on both the San Francisco Bay Ferry as well as the Golden Gate Transit & Ferry with the Clipper Card. Even buses with Marin Transit that lead to Muir Woods National Monument can be paid for with this card!

As you board a bus, train or ferry you simply will tap your Clipper Card on to a sensor to redeem funds from your card to pay for your transportation.

Who is the Clipper Card for?

Anyone looking how to get from SFO to San Francisco will easily be able to take BART trains into the city and transfer to Muni buses and ferry boats all with the convenience of one card.

There are no museums or tours included, but a Clipper Card will easily help you get to those fun things to do around San Francisco!

san francisco guide

Now that you know how to get around San Francisco, here’s some help on finding some fun things to do in SF!

25 Best San Francisco Tours

Guide to Beer Tasting San Francisco

7 Best Muir Woods Tours

Guide to San Francisco Walking Tours