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How to Tackle San Francisco as a First Timer

How to Tackle San Francisco as a First Timer

With so much to see and do, it's easy to get overwhelmed when planning a trip to San Francisco. From exploring the hilly streets and pastel-colored Victorian homes to sailing on the bay and hiking in the redwoods, here's how to make the most of your time in San Francisco.

See the Sights

Though San Francisco is a manageable size, with its steep hills and limited public-transit options, sightseeing tours are the best way to see the city's iconic sights. Book a hop-on-hop-off-bus tour for the most flexibility, or opt for neighborhood walking tours to slow down and uncover the city's past. 

Visit the Museums

Marvel at revered paintings, sculptures, and photographs at San Francisco's art museums, including the Legion of Honor and de Young museums. Book advance tickets to avoid weekend lines, and join a gallery tour for insight into the works on display. Best of all, a ticket to either museum is good for same-day admission to both. 

Hike in the Redwoods

One of the most fantastic features of San Francisco is hiking just a stone's throw from the city. Don't miss the old-growth trees in Muir Woods, over the Golden Gate Bridge in Mill Valley, including towering redwoods and sequoias. Because public transit won't take you there, book a tour that includes a hike and stops at nearby waterfront towns. 

Go Wine Tasting

Sip California's famous wine just north of San Francisco at two of the most celebrated wine-producing areas in the country: Napa and Sonoma valleys. Take a wine-tasting tour to avoid the worry of driving yourself. Group tours offer a great value, and private tours let you choose the vineyards you'd like to visit.

Bike Over the Golden Gate Bridge

Perhaps San Francisco's most notable attraction, the Golden Gate Bridge should be on every visitor's itinerary. Don't miss the chance to bike over the bridge—several guided tours will lead the way, or you can rent a bike and head over on your own.

Sail on San Francisco Bay

Feel the wind in your hair with a sail on San Francisco Bay, where you can enjoy views of the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz Island. Book a sailing excursion for a romantic cruise with drinks, or, for a bit of history, opt for an Alcatraz Island tour—you get to see the infamous prison island and enjoy views of the bay on your included ferry ride.

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9 Tours and Activities | All San Francisco Tours

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San Francisco Super Saver: Muir Woods & Wine Country w/ optional Gourmet Lunch

San Francisco Super Saver: Muir Woods & Wine Country w/ optional Gourmet Lunch

star-4.5
For one of the best wine country tours from San Francisco, combine a visit to Northern California wine country with a Muir Woods experience for a truly fabulous day out. This Super Saver provides two popular tours at one discount price, allowing you to see and taste the delights of Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties. You’ll begin with a walk through Muir Woods National Monument with an informative guide to stare up in wonder at the towering redwood trees. Then you'll visit three wineries, with wine-tasting included. You’ll also cross the Golden Gate Bridge and have free time on Sonoma Plaza to buy lunch if you haven't opted to upgrade to the lunch option.
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  • 10 to 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$154.00
Price varies by group size
From
$154.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Muir Woods and Sausalito Half Day Tour (Optional Sausalito Ferry Ticket)

Muir Woods and Sausalito Half Day Tour (Optional Sausalito Ferry Ticket)

star-4
Wander through an ancient coastal redwood forest and explore the artistic bayside enclave of Sausalito on this half-day tour from San Francisco. Travel across the Golden Gate Bridge to visit Muir Woods, home to some of the oldest and tallest trees on Earth. Then, soak up stellar views of the San Francisco skyline and browse art galleries along the Sausalito waterfront. At the end of your tour choose between getting dropped off at Union Square in San Francisco or taking the Sausalito ferry back to San Francisco.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$73.00
From
$73.00
Taking safety measures

San Francisco Bay Sunset Catamaran Cruise

San Francisco Bay Sunset Catamaran Cruise

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Sail across San Francisco Bay at twilight to admire the city skyline as it begins to light up for the night. With an experienced captain at the helm, you’ll glide past Alcatraz Island and cruise underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$90.00
From
$90.00
Taking safety measures

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Guided Bike Tour

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Guided Bike Tour

star-4.5
On this San Francisco bike tour, you’ll cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge from the city to the waterfront town of Sausalito. With a guide, ride from Fisherman’s Wharf to Marina Green and Crissy Field, and stop at Fort Point and Vista Point for photo ops of the bridge and San Francisco Bay. The 3-hour guided tour ends in Sausalito, where you are free to bike more on your own and return to the city at your leisure (either bike back or purchase a ferry ticket). This tour includes use of the bike for the full day.
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  • 1 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$55.00
From
$55.00
Taking safety measures

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art General Admission Ticket

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art General Admission Ticket

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SFMOMA houses more than 33,000 modern and contemporary works of art on seven floors. See paintings, sculptures, photography, architecture, design, and media created by masters. Plus, with two restaurants and a cafe, it’s easy to take a break whenever you’re in need to regain some extra energy.
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  • 1 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$25.00
From
$25.00

San Francisco CityPASS

San Francisco CityPASS

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Save time and money with the San Francisco CityPASS, which gives you admission to top area attractions, a cruise on San Francisco Bay, and discounts for shopping and activities. You can choose to visit science and art museums like the Exploratorium or the Walt Disney Family Museum. You’ll have important details like hours of operation right in your pocket with the provided mobile ticket.
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  • 30 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
$76.00
From
$76.00

de Young Museum General Admission Ticket

de Young Museum General Admission Ticket

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Enjoy skip-the-line general admission to San Francisco’s de Young Museum, home to one of the city’s most prominent art collections. Seated in Golden Gate Park, you have the chance to explore the rare artifacts of the permanent exhibitions, as well as sculptures and paintings. Upgrade your ticket to include entrance to the Special Exhibitions or the insightful commentary of an audio guide. Be sure to stop at the Hamon Observation Tower before heading out, and enjoy spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. With this ticket, you can also enter the Legion of Honor Museum at no extra cost.
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  • 2 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$15.00
From
$15.00
Taking safety measures

Full Day Bike Rental from Fisherman's Wharf

Full Day Bike Rental from Fisherman's Wharf

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Discover San Francisco on your own schedule with a 1-day bike rental. Visit the crooked path of Lombard Street, North Beach, Haight-Ashbury, the Golden Gate Bridge and other culturally rich and unique San Francisco neighborhoods. This self-guided trip gives you the opportunity to create your own itinerary as you explore the beloved City by the Bay. The entire fleet of equipment is sanitized regularly and curbside pick-up is available to ensure that your rental experience is safe and enjoyable.
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  • 1 hour to 1 day
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$32.00
From
$32.00
Taking safety measures

Legion of Honor Museum General Admission Ticket

Legion of Honor Museum General Admission Ticket

star-4.5
Explore one of San Francisco’s most prominent art collections with admission to the Legion of Honor Museum. Set in the headlands above the Golden Gate Bridge, the building’s stunning neoclassical exterior is modeled after the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris. Inside, discover an impressive collection of ancient Mediterranean art, European paintings and sculptures, and the most extensive assemblage of works on paper in the American West. Upgrade your ticket to include entrance to the Special Exhibits or the insightful commentary of an audio guide. Your ticket also allows you to enter the de Young Museum at no extra cost.
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  • 2 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$15.00
From
$15.00