6 Best San Francisco Tours
Are you planning a trip to San Francisco? Check out our list of the best San Francisco tours that all come highly recommended and offer the most unique and fun ways to see San Francisco in a day!
There are over 300 different companies offering various selections of San Francisco Tours. You’ll find a variety of San Francisco bus tours, bike tours, and even tours to the wine country!
This is our list of the best San Francisco Tours:
So, how do you choose the best San Francisco tour with so many options?
To sum up, based on our experience it comes down to seeing the best parts of San Francisco in a single day. That is why we created the top rated tour, our Famous San Francisco to Muir Woods tour.
- San Francisco’s most famous neighborhoods
- Muir Woods
- Lunch in Sausalito
- 7 amazing photo stops, 15 locations
Book it today and get a Family and Group Rate for 3 or more people. Be sure to use BESTOFSF for 10% off!
Want more in depth tour comparisons? Read on!
If you’re looking for the top San Francisco tour options, we’ve got you covered with this list! We think each of these adventures provides excellent insight into the city, and Viator San Francisco seems to agree since several of these tours are listed as top Bay Area attractions.
To help travelers visiting San Francisco better understand what each tour offers, we’ll be comparing specific San Francisco bus, and bike tours. We’ll also note if these tours stop at some of the must-see locations like the ancient redwood groves in Muir Woods, the infamous former prison on Alcatraz Island, the murals of the Mission District, the panoramic views from Twin Peaks, the old hippie hangout Haight-Ashbury, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, and the often overlooked Golden Gate Park on the far western side of the city.
At the end of the article, we’ll also discuss a celebrated Wine Country tour option. For those who want to take a trip out of the city during their stay, this is one of the best trips from San Francisco!
We want you to have all the important info needed to decide on what type of tour to take, so that your San Francisco sightseeing excursion is as smooth and easy as possible. So, we’ve also noted the type of tour, the departure time, the length of the tour, and pricing for each tour.
Keep reading to learn about our minibus tours and bike San Francisco city tour options!
Ready to plan your trip and start enjoying some city sightseeing? Take a look at our favorite full day San Francisco + Muir Woods tour!
Use promo code BESTOFSF for 10% off our popular San Francisco tours!
Best time to visit San Francisco
Before deciding which tour to take, it is important to know when it’s the best time to visit San Francisco.
Believe it or not, the best time to visit San Francisco is from September to November. The temperature in the city is best during the fall and the crowds are a lot less than in the summer. Summer is the peak of tourism for San Francisco, tourists hope for beautiful weather and a lot of sun, but this can be very disappointing. During summer, the temperature is not higher than 60℉ and there is a lot of chilly fog accompanied by sea winds, which makes the summer not the best time to be in the city. The room rates also rise in summer since it is peak season so be sure to book your hotel reservations months in advance if you want to visit the city during summertime.
During spring San Francisco has mild temperatures and a lack of rain which makes it a good season to travel to the Bay Area. San Francisco is famous because of it’s fluctuating climate so be sure to bring layers in case the weather changes quickly. In winter we also recommend bringing a lot of layers since it can be frigid.
What to bring?
As mentioned before it is very important to pack a lot of layers when visiting San Francisco. The temperatures in the city can change very quickly and every neighborhood has its own climate some days, these are called microclimates (yes, these are REAL).
If you are planning on doing a few hikes during your trip make sure to bring the right clothes and equipment. Prepare yourself by reading blogs about hiking to make sure you know what to expect.
Want to make sure you know what to pack for a visit to the Bay Area? Check out this packing list for great tips!
San Francisco Neighborhoods To Visit
San Francisco has a lot of different and unique neighborhoods. This makes it a bit hard to find out what the best places are to visit when you only have a short amount of time in the city. We created a top 10 of our most favorite neighborhoods to make it easier for you to choose!
#1 Fisherman’s Wharf
This is probably the most crowded and touristy area of San Francisco. The famous Pier 39 is located in Fisherman’s Wharf as well as most of the major hotels and souvenir shops. Definitely a must-see!
Chinatown attracts more visitors a year than the Golden Gate Bridge, it is a unique neighborhood which is definitely one of our favorite places in the city!
#3 North Beach
This is where our bike shop is located 🙂 Make sure to walk around Little Italy and to eat at one of the great restaurants.
#4 Telegraph Hill
The Telegraph Hill is located between Fisherman’s Wharf and North Beach. Make sure to visit The Coit Tower for an incredible view.
#5 The Mission
This neighborhood is famous for its colorful murals. The mission owns a lot of great restaurants and on a sunny day you can hang out in Dolores park where you will have a great view of the city.
#6 The Castro
This is San Francisco’s vibrant gay neighborhood, you can wander through the streets while enjoying the rainbow-flag clad streets. A big movie fan? Make sure to stop at the beautiful Castro Theater to catch a movie!
The “summer of love” took place in this vibrant and unique neighborhood. You can stroll through the street and discover the funky shops and little stores. Your trip to haight street is not complete without a stop at Amoeba Music.
#8 Pacific Heights
Visit this neighborhood to spot the most expensive houses, victorian homes, and views in the city. This is also the place to be for the best weather in the city thanks to the microclimates!
#9 Financial district
The financial district is known for the prominent skyscrapers but there is a lot more to do. Discover the Ferry Building, City Hall and Union Square, all of it is easy to do in only one day!
#10 The Presidio
Presidio is great for hikes and if you rent a bike you can bike all the way to the Golden Gate bridge through this big park. Traveling with kids? Pay a visit to the Disney Family Museum in the old barracks.
Now that you know when to visit San Francisco, what to bring and which neighborhoods should definitely be visited, it is time to compare the top San Francisco tours.
DYLAN’S TOURS SAN FRANCISCO BUS TOURS
Our locally-led minibus tours are some of the top-rated San Francisco city tours!
On the ride, our guides aim to give a comprehensive overview of the city to small groups. We feel that this small group size assures that our guests are comfortable, well looked after, and have fun! So, you won’t find any overcrowded big bus San Francisco tours in our selection of SF packages.
Instead, we offer a unique and friendly setting you won’t find anywhere else. Our small group minibus tours are considered some of the best TripAdvisor things to do in San Francisco!
#1 Dylan’s Famous Tour with Muir Woods
Time: Departs daily at 9:30am
Length: 7 hours
Tour Type: Minibus
Price Range: $115 adults and $69 for kids
Tour Stops: Fisherman’s Wharf, Marin Headlands, North Beach, Chinatown, City Hall, Twin Peaks, Haight Ashbury, The Mission, The Castro, Pacific Heights, Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Presidio, Fort Point, Tenderloin, Muir Woods
Dylan’s Tours has been leading 100% local San Francisco Bus Tours for over a decade. Our famous city tour of San Francisco lasts about three hours and has been our most popular bus tour of San Francisco for over ten years!
On this San Francisco to Muir Woods tour, we’ll explore the most iconic city sights such as Fisherman’s Wharf, Haight-Ashbury, the Marin Headlands, and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.
We’ll also take you to some less well-known destinations throughout the city. So, you can discover the murals of the Mission District, the bird’s eye view of the city from Twin Peaks, the mansions on Billionaires Row, and the charming coastal town of Sausalito.
Along the way, you’ll be treated to stories about the neighborhoods, diversity, and geography of the area. Because locals lead all of our tours, this is a great way to get a local take on SF and see the city from an insider’s perspective! You’ll also be sure to get some amazing recommendations for restaurants and other things to do in San Francisco.
While this isn’t as flexible as a hop on hop off tour, we will make several stops so you can take photos and do some on-foot sightseeing in San Francisco and more! After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, our next stop will be the beautiful coastal town of Sausalito, where we encourage you to grab lunch and enjoy the waterfront views.
After boarding the minibus, we’ll head over to our last stop. This San Francisco sightseeing tour wraps up in the beautiful Muir Woods Redwood National Monument. We’ll have taken care of your reservation at the park already, so you can spend your time enjoying this stunning national monument!
We’ll hop on the tour bus one last time and make our way back across the bridge and over to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, where we’ll drop you off at the same location where you boarded the bus.
This tour is recommended on TripAdvisor as one of the best San Francisco tours, and tickets sell out quickly! So we recommend booking as soon as you know the dates for your vacation to San Francisco, CA.
#2 Dylan’s Famous San Francisco City Tour
Time: Departs daily at 9:30am
Length: 3 hours
Tour Type: Minibus
Price Range: Adult $79, child $59 + $15 admission to Muir Woods
Tour Stops: Fisherman’s Wharf, Marin Headlands, North Beach, Chinatown, City Hall, Twin Peaks, Haight Ashbury, The Mission, The Castro, Pacific Heights, Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Presidio, Fort Point, Tenderloin, Sausalito
Dylan’s Tours has been leading 100% local San Francisco Bus Tours for over a decade. Our Almost Famous tour of San Francisco is 3 hours in total and has been one of our most popular minibus tours of San Francisco for over ten years!
First, we’ll meet you outside Fisherman’s Wharf at 9:30am. Your guide will be wearing a Dylan’s Tours shirt to help you spot them easily.
After a brief roll call to make sure everyone is present, we’ll hop on the bus and travel to our first stop. Over the next 7 hours, we’ll explore the ins-and-outs of the city, and you’ll learn all about the neighborhoods, culture, history, and architecture of the area.
Our San Francisco bus routes are specifically designed to give our guests plenty of opportunities to hop on and hop off the bus. While we can’t afford to spend a lot of time at each stop, we will be sure to allow you to take photos, and we’ll even help you capture a memorable group photo!
After cruising across the Golden Gate Bridge, we’ll travel from San Francisco to the coastal town of Sausalito. We recommend that you pick up some lunch at one of the fantastic local delis, and then spend a bit of time enjoying the waterfront views!
Then hop on a ferry, call an Uber or Lyft driver, or rent a bike to get back across the Golden Gate Bridge and complete your tour of San Francisco.
#3 1-Day Alcatraz Experience
Time: Departs daily at 8am
Length: 7 hours
Tour Type: Minibus
Price Range: Adult $159, child $129
Tour Stops: Fisherman’s Wharf, Marin Headlands, North Beach, Chinatown, City Hall, Twin Peaks, Haight Ashbury, The Mission, The Castro, Pacific Heights, Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Presidio, Fort Point, Tenderloin, Muir Woods, Alcatraz
Dylan’s Tours is the only Bay Area tour company offering San Francisco, Muir Woods, and Alcatraz in one day! If you want to experience some more action-packed excursions from San Francisco, this is the best tour for you.
We’ll start the day at 8am outside of Fisherman’s Wharf. One of our local guides, wearing a Dylan’s Tours shirt, will meet you there and conduct a brief roll call. Then we’ll board the bus and start exploring!
Our first stop includes 75-minutes to walk amongst some of the last remaining coastal redwoods in the world! This is, of course, an unforgettable photo opportunity. Many of our customers consider this the highlight of the entire day!
We’ll spend the rest of the morning visiting famous sites in San Francisco, and along the way, you’ll learn all about the city’s history and culture from your local guide. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to hop on and hop off the bus, take photos, and even wander around a bit!
At the end of our adventure, we will then drop you off back in Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can enjoy lunch, explore Pier 39’s shops, and San Francisco’s infamous sea lions. Our guides provide plenty of recommendations on our favorite places to grab a bite!
Finally, our guide will drop you off at Pier 33, the Alcatraz departure point. We’ll have taken care of your Alcatraz reservations ahead of time, so you can board the ferry for the official tour of the island.
While this eight hour San Francisco sightseeing bus trip with Muir Woods and Alcatraz makes for a long day, it’s the only one of the many Bay Area tours that offer both of these national park sites in one day! So, if you want to do some major city sightseeing in the US, this is a great option.
Still not convinced to sign up for this complete San Francisco tour package? Check out our Alcatraz tour reviews on TripAdvisor to see if this tour is right for you!
See two of the Bay Area’s most famous national park sites, Muir Woods and Alcatraz Island, in one day! Don’t wait; tickets sell out quickly.
SAN FRANCISCO BIKE TOURS
Are you looking for more active San Francisco excursions? We also offer a selection of local-led electric bike tours for some fun outdoor sightseeing!
If you want to take a San Francisco guided tour and still feel like you are authentically experiencing the city like a local, these bike tours are a great option.
Or, if you want a self-guided tour of the city, you can check out our bike rental shop to get set up with a standard or electric bicycle for DIY San Francisco trips!
#4 Original City Loop Bike Tour
Time: Departs daily at 9am
Length: 5 hours
Tour Type: E-bike
Price Range: $99
Tour Stops: Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, the Painted Ladies, Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, Marina, Chinatown, North Beach, Fort Point, Aquatic Park, Palace of Fine Arts, Ocean Beach, Sea Cliff, Legion of Honor.
Zip up San Francisco’s infamously steep hills on electric bikes with our Original City Loop E-Bike Tour.
This 6-hour long tour covers roughly 20 miles of San Francisco’s parks and neighborhoods. But don’t worry about it being too strenuous. Our E-bikes make the trip effortless, you don’t even have to pedal!
This has been voted our most fun San Francisco city tour and is a great way to experience the city like a local.
First, we’ll meet up at our bike rental shop on Columbus Avenue to get you set up with a bike and go over the necessary safety precautions. Then, we’ll hit the roads together!
We’ll go off-the-beaten-paths to discover parts of San Francisco tour buses are banned from. Over the six hours of this San Francisco bike tour, we’ll bike along the waterfront to see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean, the ruins of Sutro Bath, the entire length of Golden Gate Park, Haight-Ashbury, and more. We’ll even stop for photos at the “Full House” Houses.
Along the way, we’ll make frequent stops to talk about the significance of the areas we visit, as well as a stop for lunch. Our lunch stop features one of our favorite authentic markets with fresh salads and sandwiches.
This tour is the perfect combination of adventure and information, and one of the most fun ways to bike ride in San Francisco!
Reserve your spot to pick up some wheels and see the city sights like a local!
#5 Bike the Bridge + Shuttle to Muir Woods
Time: Departs daily between 9:30 and 10:15 am
Tour Type: Combo E-bike & Minibus
Price Range: 7 speed bike $85 (12+), electric bike $105 (16+). + $15 admission to Muir Woods
Tour Stops: Self-guided bike tour, Muir Woods
There might be a lot of tour companies offering San Francisco bike rentals to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. Still, there’s only one San Francisco tour company which lets you drop off bike rentals in Sausalito and then catch a private Muir Woods shuttle!
Our Bike the Bridge and Shuttle to Muir Woods is the only combo tour of its kind: bike rental from SF to Sausalito, private shuttle from Sausalito to Muir Woods, and final destination drop-off back in San Francisco!
For this day trip in San Francisco, you can stop by our rental shop to pick up your bike anytime between 9:30 and 10:15 AM. We offer both electric bicycles and standard 7-speed bikes.
When you’re choosing which bike to rent, keep in mind that there are a few steep hills to tackle while sightseeing in SF. So, if you’re concerned about the ride being too strenuous, we’d recommend choosing an E-bike. You won’t even have to pedal, and they’ll make the trip much more relaxing and fun!
We’ll talk you through some necessary safety precautions, tell you about our recommended route, and offer suggestions about some key places you may want to see along the way.
Then you’re on your own to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and make your way down to Sausalito! While cruising through the city, be sure to hop off your bike as often as you want to take photos of the Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the Golden Gate Bridge. There will be plenty of time to do so.
After making your way across the bridge, enjoy a leisurely downhill ride to Sausalito. Here, you can drop off your bike, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the charming waterfront town.
At 1:45pm, be ready to catch our private guided shuttle to Muir Woods Redwood National Monument. During the drive, our local guide will suggest plenty of trails to follow and other things to do in Muir Woods. After more than an hour exploring the magnificent redwoods, our private shuttle will take you back to Fisherman’s Wharf to finish up your sightseeing adventure!
Our combo Muir Woods and San Francisco sightseeing tours are a one of a kind adventure. Explore Northern California with us!
SAN FRANCISCO TO WINE COUNTRY TOURS
#6 Sonoma and Napa Valley Combo Tour
Time: Departs daily between 8am-9am
Length: 8 hours
Tour Type: Minibus
Price Range: Adult $149, youth $104
Tour Stops: Golden Gate Bridge, Peter Cellars, Nicholson Ranch, Starmont Winery & Vineyards, Oxbow Market
Includes: Hotel pick-up
Do you plan on heading up to the Wine Country during your vacation to San Francisco? Looking for something outside of the typical San Francisco tours? These small-group Napa and Sonoma Valley Winery tours are some of the best Bay Area tours for visitors who want to sample the country’s best wine!
For these Wine Country tours from San Francisco, you’ll be picked up at your hotel between 8am-9am, where you’ll board the minibus and travel to the first stop, the Golden Gate Bridge. Here, you’ll have an opportunity to hop off the bus and capture some memorable photos of this iconic landmark!
After boarding the minibus again, you’ll make your way to the first winery stop in Sonoma. Over the course of the day, you’ll be visiting three favorite wineries in the region, as well as making a stop at the Oxbow Market for lunch.
While the wineries are subject to change if needed, the tour will most likely stop at Peter Cellars, Nicholson Ranch, and Starmont Winery & Vineyards. At one of the wineries, you’ll also be treated to a detailed description of the winemaking process!
At the end of this fantastic Wine Country and San Francisco bus tour, you’ll be dropped off at the same location where you boarded the bus.
Ready to see the Wine Country? Reserve your spot on a small group Sonoma and Napa County tour today!