Seeing all of San Francisco’s sights and attractions as well as varied neighborhoods can initially seem like a daunting task. However once all the points and attractions are laid out on to a map things begin to look clearer. One way of connecting all the dots and taking everything in is to consider one of San Francisco’s many tour bus expeditions. Most of the tours depart from either Union Square of Fisherman’s Wharf. There are a variety of tour buses to choose from when seeing the city, from red double deck buses to air conditioned coach liners and even buses mimicking cable cars with the exact same seating lay out. San Francisco bus tours take visitors through all the main sights and attractions, many offering hop on and hop off privileges that allow passengers to get off and explore more in depth areas that interest them most.
Many of the tour buses take visitors beyond San Francisco to such destinations as Sausalito, across the Golden Gate Bridge and as far as Napa Valley, Monterey and Muir Woods (redwood forest across Golden Gate Bridge) in Marin. San Francisco has dozens of diverse neighborhoods that exude color and culture, however most areas of the city that visitors every see and take in are Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square and Chinatown. By venturing out on a bus tour visitors are guaranteed to see areas of the city and get an educational narrative they otherwise would never normally enjoy.
There are a variety of tours depending on time and packaging. Minimum time for most tours is around 2 hours; average is around 3 ½ hours while some can go all day. Some package such expeditions as Alcatraz in one bundle. We recommend doing a two hour tour and then revisiting points of interest that were discussed along the way.
Grayline is perhaps the largest and oldest tour operator in San Francisco. Operating a fleet of buses that include the cable car bus, Grayline offers a variety of tours that meet most budget and time requirements. The city tour is one of the more popular. Conducted on board an enclosed two story air conditioned coach liner, the tour lasts over 3 hours the tour includes all of the main neighborhoods of San Francisco including Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Union Square, the Marina, North Beach, Golden Gate Park, a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio and the Palace of Fine Arts.
Grayline also offers a motorized cable car tour aboard two different types of cable car like buses, one a double deck (known as the Sky View Tour) and the other a more traditional looking cable car (only with tire wheels). Both these tours are similar to the city tours offered by Grayline in that they take visitors through all the neighborhoods of San Francisco. Where they are different is that they do not cross the Golden Gate Bridge. During inclement weather these tours may not be offered. They depart from Pier 41 and last around 2 hours. They are fully narrated.