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Where to Find the Best Views in San Francisco

Where to Find the Best Views in San Francisco

This hilly city on San Francisco Bay is full of postcard views from the Queen Anne homes of Alamo Square to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Whether you choose to walk, ride, cycle, cruise, or even fly, there are endless ways to take advantage of San Francisco’s best vistas. Here are a few options to ensure you capture the panoramas.

Pacific Heights

Encompassing just 49 square miles (79 kilometers), San Francisco boasts so many elevated vantage points that it’s impossible to choose only one. Ride a cable car up Nob Hill, hike to Twin Peaks, climb the steep steps up Telegraph Hill, navigate a GoCar down the hairpin turns of Lombard Street, and stand amid the stately mansions of Pacific Heights. 

Landmark Views

The art deco–style Coit Tower is a classic, while Salesforce Tower is the newest—and tallest—addition to the San Francisco skyline. Both offer 360-degree views along with an interesting perspective on the city’s history and future trends. Hamon Observation Tower, situated atop the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, lets visitors peer through glass walls across downtown.

Scenic Flights

Aerial views over San Francisco and the bay let you see it all from a bird's-eye view. Gaze down on sailboats and cargo ships cruising through the Golden Gate, and fly above AT&T Park plus Alcatraz and Angel Island. Seaplane flights and helicopter tours typically last between 30 and 60 minutes, and take in the charming sights of Sausalito.

Bay Cruises

Brunch, lunch, and dinner cruises abound with photo ops from the waterfront to the dramatic Marin Headlands. Combine a tour of Alcatraz with a bay cruise, or simply set sail to soak up the atmosphere. A whale watching expedition takes passengers out to sea in search of migrating humpback whales and other marine life.

Vista Point

Biking, walking, or riding in a sightseeing coach across the Golden Gate Bridge to Vista Point is an experience not to miss. When the fog lifts, these lookout points showcase sights including Alcatraz Island and the city skyline. At night, stroll the waterfront near the Ferry Building and be dazzled by the LED light installation on the Bay Bridge, or head across it to look back at the city from Treasure Island.

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7 Tours and Activities | All San Francisco Tours

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Big Bus San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Tour

Big Bus San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Tour

star-4
Ride a double-decker sightseeing bus to San Francisco's most famous landmarks with a choice of 3 different passes. Explore the city's 49 square miles, including stops at big-name attractions like Pier 39, the Palace of Fine Arts and Union Square. Go at your own pace, hopping off at any of 24 stops, exploring at your leisure, and then hopping back on when you're done. Your ticket includes a walking tour of Chinatown. Choose the Premium or Deluxe pass for additional upgrades including a night bus tour or a trolley tour in nearby Sausalito.
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  • 1 to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.00
From
$36.00
Taking safety measures

San Francisco Vista Grande Helicopter Tour

San Francisco Vista Grande Helicopter Tour

star-5
Fly in a helicopter over San Francisco's most famous landmarks on this scenic tour. Fly over the city's neighborhoods, then head for Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Continue towards Angel Island and the Marin Headlands while you enjoy choreographed musical accompaniment and informative commentary from your expert pilot. 
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$280.00
From
$280.00
Taking safety measures

Painted Ladies San Francisco City Tour

Painted Ladies San Francisco City Tour

star-5
Take a journey around San Francisco's top sights in a retro way with this "painted ladies" tour by vintage Volkswagen bus decorated with long gorgeous eyelashes so you can't miss your tour vehicle. You'll pass by neighborhoods like Chinatown, Union Square, Pacific Heights, North Beach, Haight-Ashbury, the Marina, and the Castro, plus see the Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Twin Peaks, and more.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$65.00
Price varies by group size
From
$65.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

San Francisco 1-Hour Seaplane Tour with Shuttle Transport

San Francisco 1-Hour Seaplane Tour with Shuttle Transport

star-5
On this San Francisco seaplane tour, treat yourself to aerial views of the Bay Area’s top sights, both natural and man-made. Take off from Sausalito, soaring over the California shoreline up to Tomales Bay and Point Reyes. Then fly over the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Crissey Field and more before landing on the water. Transportation from Fisherman's Wharf is available for easy access to Sausalito.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$336.00
From
$336.00
Taking safety measures

San Francisco Private Tour by a Local

San Francisco Private Tour by a Local

star-5
Discover the best of San Francisco on a customizable private 4-hour morning or afternoon tour in a luxury SUV. Your guide can access areas and neighborhoods where larger van tours are prohibited so that you take in highlights like crooked Lombard Street, the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square, Coit Tower, Marina Green or the expensive Sea Cliff neighborhood.
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  • 4 hours
From
$425.00
per group
From
$425.00
per group

Russian Hill Gourmet Food Tour

Russian Hill Gourmet Food Tour

star-5
Russian Hill is one of San Francisco's most popular neighborhoods for shopping, eating and sightseeing. Discover it all on this 3-hour walking and tasting experience that visits seven different shops and restaurants. With a small group, you'll visit a butchers shop, a cheesemongers, a bakery and a gelato shop. What's more, you'll take in amazing views of the bay and classic San Francisco architecture while hearing tales from San Francisco's frontier-era history.
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  • 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$97.07
From
$97.07
Taking safety measures

GoCar San Francisco Tour

GoCar San Francisco Tour

star-4.5
Ride a GoCar all over San Francisco as it navigates for you and provides a guided tour. Take as long as you like to explore the city with a storytelling car as your guide — what Time Magazine has called "one of the coolest inventions of the year." Let this tiny car show you what the city is all about, learn about its history and visit sites like the Presidio, Coit Tower, Chinatown and Lombard Street. Pick up your car at one of two convenient locations: Union Square or Beach Street near Fisherman's Wharf.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$70.69
per group
From
$70.69
per group
Taking safety measures