San Francisco Bay
Viewing Points

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Our most recommended San Francisco Bay Viewing Points

  • San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

    1. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

    Launched in 1939 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, this 1-hour cruise has been a highlight of any visit to San Francisco for over 75 years. With 8-14 departures daily from 10:00, you will sail along San Francisco's breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and close to the notorious Alcatraz Island. Discover San Francisco's fascinating history, brought to life through audio commentary broadcast in 16 languages via personal headphones. Look out for wildlife along the way, including pelicans, sea lions, and even dolphins and whales. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach, the famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park, the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, and San Francisco Maritime National Park, before heading west towards Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy views of Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio, before cruising under Golde...

    Great experience. There are restrooms and a bar with snacks on board. It was a nice relaxing and educational tour to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island. Everyone was friendly. I would recommend 100%!!

  • San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off: Classic, Premium or Deluxe

    2. San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off: Classic, Premium or Deluxe

    San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Loop:

    Stop 1: Pier 41 (End of Powell St), Fisherman's Wharf 

    Stop 2: Washington Square – Corner of Columbus and Union Streets

    Stop 3: Embarcadero Center – Corner of Clay and Battery Streets

    Stop 4: Ferry Building - 1 Market Street, between Stuart and Spear Streets

    Stop 5: Union Square South – Geary Street across from Macy’s Entrance 

    Stop 6: Hilton Hotel – Corner of Mason and Ellis Streets 

    Stop 7: Civic Center - Fulton Street between Larkin and Hyde

    Stop 8: Alamo Square/Painted Ladies - Corner of Fell and Pierce Streets

    Stop 9: Haight Ashbury - Corner of Haight and Shrader Streets 

    Stop 10: Golden Gate Park - Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate Park

    Stop 11: Golden Gate Bridge- North Vista Point Main Parking Area

    Stop 12: Palace of Fine Arts – Corner of Rich...

    2 things to improve: they should give you a map when you first get on so you know which stops are closest to the sites you want to see. And both headphone jacks were on the same side, so my husband's cord was stretched across me the entire time.

  • San Francisco: Bridge to Bridge Cruise

    3. San Francisco: Bridge to Bridge Cruise

    See both the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 1 cruise with personal headphone audio included. Explore San Francisco's famous landmarks, history, natural history, architecture, and Native American culture on board this unique bay cruise. During the 90-minute cruise you'll depart from Fisherman's Wharf, one of the city's busiest tourist attractions. From there, sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. Completed in 1937, the Golden Gate is one of the world's most famous and beautiful bridges, and was at one point the largest suspension bridge in the world. Cruise past Alcatraz Island, once home of one of the world's most infamous prisons, and take the chance to enjoy the stunning San Francisco waterfront. The boat will pass along the harbor before heading under the colossal San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Then it's time to head back to the charming city of San F...

    The crew was very helpful getting my husband on and off the boat. He is in a wheelchair. I wish he could have give up too, more to set up there. We enjoyed the audio tour which was broadcast over the ship. I learned a lot about the bridges and the surrounding areas.

  • San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

    4. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

    Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour around Alcatraz Island. Skip the box office line and go straight to the gate with your ticket.

    See Alcatraz island from the water while listening to accounts of the chilling escape attempts and the notorious criminals that called Alcatraz prison home. Cruise full circle around Alcatraz Island, allowing you to view every angle of this mysterious island, which housed famous inmates such as Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson, whose escape attempt is legendary. Gain a clear picture of what life in this maximum-security prison was like when it was the most feared institution in the American penal system.

    This was a fun trip! I do wish someone would of warned us about how windy and cold it is if you sit on the outside deck. A winter coat and hat, at least, would of created a more comfortable experience. It did seem like the cruise was generous with the time. The only thing I would change is that when circling around Alkatraz that circling around at oppsite directions so that BOTH sides of the boat can get the good, unobstructed view. If you want an unobstructed view sit on the right hand side of the boat. Otherwise we enjoyed this cruise very much. Thank you!

  • San Francisco: California Sunset/Twilight Cruise

    5. San Francisco: California Sunset/Twilight Cruise

    On this relaxed 90-minute cruise, enjoy spectacular sunset views, as you sail on beautiful San Francisco Bay. Take in the amazing waterfront views of modern skyscrapers, historic landmarks, and natural beauty. Along the way, view numerous National Historic landmarks and San Francisco sights, including Coit Tower, the Transamerica Pyramid, St. Peter and Paul's Church, and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. As the sun begins to set over the Marin Headlands, cruise past Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the shorelines of Tiburon, Belvedere, and Sausalito. Watch the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, as you sail west towards the Golden Gate. On your way back to Fisherman’s Wharf, see many more famous sights, including the Presidio, the Marina District, and Fort Mason. Kindly note that seating for this cruise is 'open style'. At times, please expect to sit next to unfamiliar faces.

    The boat was clean and the ride was smooth with plenty of seating both indoors and outdoors. Overall a very enjoyable experience.

  • San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

    6. San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

    Enjoy this relaxing 90-minute cruise on board a luxury catamaran and see sunset views of San Francisco as the sun dips below the San Francisco Bay. Sail by Alcatraz Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge, and search for sea lions playing in the ocean. Then, cruise along the shore, gazing on the city skyline as you watch the magnificent sunset.

    Relax onboard either a 55- or 65-foot catamaran. Both come complete with a protected viewing area, providing panoramic 360-degree viewing, in addition to canvas trampoline nets for the more adventurous who want to experience the ocean and sights in the bracing open air.

    the crew was very informative and prepared for our trip, even providing extra jackets if needed

  • San Francisco: Small-Group Sonoma Wine Tour with Tastings

    7. San Francisco: Small-Group Sonoma Wine Tour with Tastings

    The beautiful Sonoma Valley is your destination on this laid back, fun-filled, all-day tour. Your adventure begins with a pick-up from your hotel/accommodation in downtown San Francisco. Get to know your travel companions for the day as you head out of town and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Learn about the region from your friendly and knowledgeable guide and sample many of the delicious wines that have made Northern California a world-renowned wine-producing region. Travel with a small group (limited to 13 people) to three of Sonoma's finest boutique wineries and spend approximately one hour at each winery. This journey also includes a stop in scenic Sausalito, a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge and a lunch stop in the historic town of Sonoma where you can select from one of the many fantastic restaurants on the square. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a walk into the past at Missio...

    Anthony was such a great tour guide! So funny and knowledgeable- took us to three great wineries and Sausalito too. He had first hand knowledge of a lot of wine country experience and had us laughing the whole day. Highly recommend the Sonoma wine tour with Anthony!

  • San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off City Bus Tour and Bay Cruise

    8. San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off City Bus Tour and Bay Cruise

    A visit to San Francisco just wouldn't be complete without a ride aboard an original open top double-decker bus. This hop-on hop-off tour shows you all of the highlights of the city, including Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square, City Hall, China Town, the Embarcadero, North Beach, Lombard Street, Pier 39, and much more. Explore the highlights of San Francisco at your own pace and simply hop on the next bus when you are ready to go to the next location. Enjoy this entirely live narrated 2.5-hour tour of San Francisco's most famous sites. Your ticket is valid for 24 hours so you can hop-on and hop-off the bus at any of the designated stops during the tour to browse, shop, and take pictures. Buses arrive at each stop every 20-30 minutes. With your ticket, you can also enjoy the 60-minute boat cruise takes you past the famous Pier 39 sea lions and along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, r...

  • Half-Day by the Bay: Neighborhoods Tour & Golden Gate Cruise

    9. Half-Day by the Bay: Neighborhoods Tour & Golden Gate Cruise

    Smell the salty Pacific Ocean and feel the wind in your hair with a cruise to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and tour of San Francisco’s most distinct neighborhoods. See where Hollywood titans penned their most iconic scripts and a legendary baseball player (supposedly) married a Hollywood legend. Hear the story of an American secretly winning Italy's most prized pizza-making competition and climb two blocks to Lombard, known as the most crooked street in the world. Get a taste of local history at Ghirardelli Square, where chocolate staked its claim in San Francisco during the Gold Rush. Visit the bustling Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 to meet the real stars of the show, the local sea lions. Get spectacular views of the city and Alcatraz Island from the Bay with a cruise to the Marina District, where you can travel under the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Effective August 20...

  • California Highlights Express: 3-Day Tour from Los Angeles

    10. California Highlights Express: 3-Day Tour from Los Angeles

    This 3-day tour includes highlights of the Golden State, such as Santa Barbara, Solvang, the famous Pacific Coast Highway, Carmel, San Francisco, and Yosemite National Park. Day 1: Monday Departing north, travel along the spectacular and scenic California Coast to Santa Barbara. Visit a Spanish Mission and learn how these religious outposts were key in the development of the entire region. Continue to Solvang, a quaint Danish community, and browse the local shops. Your trip continues along Highway 1 through Big Sur to charming Carmel, home to actor Clint Eastwood. Enjoy some free time to stroll through town before heading on to Silicon Valley for overnight. Overnight: Santa Clara – La Quinta Inn & Suites Day 2: Tuesday See for yourself why San Francisco is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Start your day at the Fisherman’s Wh...

    Overall it was a good experience would like to stay a bit longer at Pebble Beach & Carmel. The San Francisco day was excellent. I would skip the City Hall and would prefer more a stop at Golden Gate Park or at Muir Woods. The Yosemite day was great the only problem we had was an Austrian couple was late by 25 minutes from our first El Capitan stop. This made coming back to Los Angeles very late.

Other Sightseeing Options in San Francisco Bay

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What people are saying about San Francisco Bay

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,307 reviews

The cruise started at 11am. We traveled west along the shore line and the narrator described all the pertinent landmarks including the Presidio, the forts and the Palace of Fine Arts. We passed the Golden Gate Bridge and the view was amazing. On the way back we saw Sausalito, Angel Island, Alcatraz and more of the San Francisco cityscape. This cruise should be a requirement for any first time visitor.

The crew was very helpful getting my husband on and off the boat. He is in a wheelchair. I wish he could have give up too, more to set up there. We enjoyed the audio tour which was broadcast over the ship. I learned a lot about the bridges and the surrounding areas.

Very nice- the people was very friendly with my mom she walked slowly and then was patient,thanks for everything

the crew was very informative and prepared for our trip, even providing extra jackets if needed

It was easy and great . Showed all the great places