Ferry Building

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Ferry Building: Our most recommended tours and activities

San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

1. San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

Enjoy a 1-hour journey along San Francisco's historic waterfront and experience the thrilling history of the San Francisco Bay, with all the sound and glory it deserves. The 1-hour non-stop Bay Cruise takes you past the famous PIER 39 sea lions and along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, revealing the city’s fascinating skyline. Relax in comfort, with both indoor and outdoor seating, and enjoy a full narration describing major landmarks as you sail by. See sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the iconic San Francisco skyline as you go. Whether it’s your first time to San Francisco, or your 10th visit, the Bay Cruise is something you should experience at least once in your life. You will get a complimentary souvenir map, which is available in nine languages, and if you get hungry, there’s a full-service snack bar on board with food and drink available to purchase.

San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

2. San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

Hop aboard a sightseeing bus for a tour of the 'City by the Bay' and delve into the fascinating history of San Francisco and its legendary sites, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf. The hop-on-hop-off route stops at key points of interest all around San Francisco. Experience the diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views from the top of an open-air sightseeing bus. Hop off and back on at your leisure to create your own customized itinerary around the city. Explore 3 routes depending on your ticket purchase. San Francisco City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Explore San Francisco’s famous landmarks on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour. Sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through the city on an open-top bus and learn about San Francisco's unique history Panoramic Night Tour Board the bus at Pier 41 at the end of Powell St in Fisherman's Wharf to explore the dazzling city of San Francisco at night. Climb up the historic Nob Hill for a stunning close-up view of the magnificent Grace Cathedral. Then, make your way across the grand Bay Bridge for picturesque views of the city skyline from Treasure Island, the site of the 1939’s World Fair. Heading back into the city, continue along the Embarcadero to view the glittering lights on the Port of San Francisco.

San Francisco: Alcatraz Tour w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket

3. San Francisco: Alcatraz Tour w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket

See the best of San Francisco with this combined hop-on-hop-off ticket and Alcatraz Island visit. Explore the island of Alcatraz and enjoy 2 days of sightseeing with insightful commentary from a live guide. Tour the famous prison that has played a role in jailhouse folklore and the historic evolution of the West Coast. Learn more about the 14 unsuccessful escape attempts by over 30 prisoners and their fates. Your Premium Big Bus hop-on-hop-off pass is a great way to see the sights of San Francisco. Listen to commentary by live English-speaking guides, or enjoy pre-recorded audio commentary in 10 languages. Your 2-day ticket includes a full day of unlimited hop-on-hop-off and a 1-hour panoramic night tour. Explore one of San Francisco's most fascinating neighborhoods on a fun and informative walking tour of Chinatown. The tours are offered daily, and you can ask an agent for locations and time schedules. Also included are a bonus 1-hour bike rental (with the purchase of a 1-hour rental) and Players Arcade Drink and Game Tokens. Hop-on, hop-off tour stops include: Stop 1: Corner of Jefferson & Mason StreetStop 2: Holiday Inn Northpoint b/w Jones & ColumbusStop 3: Washington Square - Columbus & Union StreetsStop 4: Embarcadero Center - Corner Clay & Battery StreetsStop 5: Ferry Building - Market St b/w Stuart & Spear StreetsStop 6: Union Square South - Geary St across from Macy’sStop 7: Hilton Hotel - Corner Mason & Ellis StreetsStop 8: Civic Center - Fulton St b/w Larkin & Hyde StreetsStop 9: Alamo Square - Corner Fell & Pierce StreetsStop 10: Haight Ashbury - Haight & Shrader StreetsStop 11: Golden Gate Park - Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate ParkStop 12: Golden Gate Bridge- North Vista PointStop 13: Palace of Fine Arts - Richardson & Francisco StreetStop 14: Marina Neighborhood - Lombard & Fillmore StreetsStop 15: Lombard Street Corridor - Lombard & Gough StreetsStop 16: Union Square North - Post & Powell StreetsStop 17: Chinatown Gate - Grant and Bush StreetsStop 18: Portsmouth Square - Kearny & Clay StreetsStop 19: Pier 35 Cruise Terminal - The EmbarcaderoStop 20: Pier 39 Fisherman’s Wharf (then return to Stop 1)

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown & Bay Cruise

4. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown & Bay Cruise

Start your tour near the Ferry Building with a view of what was once one of the busiest ports in the world. Then catch an iconic San Francisco cable car from a favorite stop and learn what makes this very unique public transport so special. Disembark atop Nob Hill and learn about the industrial tycoons who built the city as you wander through Huntington Park. Visit the beautiful gothic interior of Grace Cathedral. Enter the bustling neighborhood of Chinatown, the largest Chinese enclave outside of Asia and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Taste fresh fortune cookies and see hidden landmarks like the Tin How Buddhist Temple as you learn how the neighborhood went from being a seedy red-light district to one of the most vibrant enclaves in the city. For a little treat, pop into the legendary Golden Gate Factory for an insight into the art (and logistics) of fortune cookie making. Receive a special custom-made cookie to take home. That’s not the end of the delicious snacks either - you'll also get advice on where to eat if you want to come back to try the world-famous dim sum. Then, visit Lombard Street, called the "most crooked street in the world", Fisherman's Wharf, and Ghirardelli Square. See Fisherman’s Wharf, explore the old docks, and smell the fresh bread in the famous Boudin Bakery. Your tour will also pause at Ghirardelli Square for a sample of famous chocolate. After this, continue on to your final highlight of the day - a gorgeous bay cruise of the historic waterfront. Relax and tune into the included audio device to hear some fascinating tales. Admire beautiful views of the San Francisco skyline in every direction and sail past the famous Pier 39 sea lions, right under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz Island (the closest you can get without booking a ticket). A perfect end to a San Francisco day.

San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

5. San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Make your way around San Francisco with a 1-day hop-on hop-off bus pass. Explore 17 points of interest or enjoy a 360 panoramic view of the city for two hours. Combine your pass with a 1-hour Golden Gate Bay cruise to sail around the wonderful areas of San Francisco. Golden Gate Bay Cruise Arrive at Fisherman's Wharf and look out for the red and white colors of the "Red & White Fleet" to find your boat. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach and take advantage of the bar onboard with drinks, snacks, and merchandise. Admire the famous swimming clubs of the Aquatic Park and the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier. Enjoy idyllic views of Crissy Field and the Presidio of San Francisco before the stunning image of the Golden Gate Bridge comes into view. Cruise straight under the bridge as the sun shines and waves lap against the boat. Travel past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands to reach the shores of Sausalito, once home to the Flower Children. With Angel Island State Park to your left, finish your cruise outside the infamous Alcatraz prison. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Exchange your voucher at any of the bus stops and get ready to discover the city of San Francisco. Discover local parks and architecture as you listen to the recorded commentary, available in 10 languages. The route of the hop-on hop-off bus includes 17 stops at iconic landmarks from Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Golden Gate Bridge, and Little Italy, this flexible approach to sightseeing allows you to enjoy your day at your own pace.

San Francisco: Alcatraz Island and Guided City Tour

6. San Francisco: Alcatraz Island and Guided City Tour

Following pickup, enjoy a 30-minute tour of San Francisco's waterfront where you will see notable landmarks such as Embarcadero, Levi’s Plaza, and Fisherman's Wharf. Enjoy a brief coffee break at the Ferry Building. Next, make your way to Pier 33 where you’ll board the ferry to start your Alcatraz Island tour. Listen to an audio presentation featuring recordings of inmates and guards that worked and inhabited the island.  Enjoy 2-3 hours on "The Rock" where you will have time for a guided tour and some free time to explore.  Take one of the late-morning ferries to San Francisco so you can join for the afternoon portion of your day tour. Cruise along San Francisco’s waterfront and the Marina District, and then visit the Palace of Fine Arts. Explore the culturally rich neighborhoods of San Francisco. Learn about what made the Haight-Ashbury, Mission, and Castro districts what they are today and why they’re important to so many. After a slow drive through Nob Hill and Chinatown, visit the charming Italian neighborhood of North Beach. Finally, enjoy a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge and pause along the cliffs to admire the beautiful views of the “city by the bay”. Take in the spectacular beauty of Golden Gate Park before finishing your tour.

San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus with Ferry & Alcatraz Tour

7. San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus with Ferry & Alcatraz Tour

Get a huge amount of choice for sightseeing in San Fransisco in one go—access to the hop-on hop-off city tour route, a special night tour, and tickets to the Alcatraz Island for a self-guided audio tour of the notorious prison.  Audio guides are available in a variety of languages but the hop-on hop-off tour is only available in English. With open double-decker buses and a guide on each one, you can see just about everything and learn just as much. You can get to all the most famous spots in the city, and 48 hours is enough time to go back and visit your favorites again. Official City Loop highlights include:• The Palace of Fine Arts• North Vista Point where you can take photos of Golden Gate Bridge• Golden Gate Park where you can enjoy the Japanese Tea Gardens• Haight-Ashbury district• San Francisco Downtown, Chinatown• The Civic Center• The Embarcadero• Fisherman’s Wharf• Barbary Coast• The Financial District and the Ferry Building The 90-Minute Night Tour covers many of the attractions on the other routes, but with a whole new perspective. It is not hop-on hop-off and departs from Fisherman’s Wharf at 18:30 all year round with additional departures during the summer months.

San Francisco Double Decker Bus Night Tour

8. San Francisco Double Decker Bus Night Tour

This live narrated 60-90 minute tour of San Francisco includes the most vibrant neighborhoods of the city, such as the Financial District, Chinatown, Nob Hill, and Embarcadero. Departing from Fisherman's Wharf, the tour covers all the major attractions of San Francisco during the evening hours, with spectacular views from the top of an original open top double decker Bus. Exact highlights may vary according to the season, weather conditions, and San Francisco's famous traffic, Chinatown, and Union Square, San Francisco’s shopping Mecca. You will also go to Treasure island, across the Bay Bridge, to get spectacular views of the skyline of San Francisco. On your return, you will see the ferry building, Alcatraz Pier, Pier 39, and more on your way up Embarcadero. Depending on the time of the year, it may not be entirely dark on this tour, but you will either see the city glittering at night, or in the lovely light of dusk.

San Francisco Bay: Adventure Boat Tour

9. San Francisco Bay: Adventure Boat Tour

Travel along the San Francisco Bay in a small group on a boat tour. Travel faster and go farther out into the bay than most other boat tours. You will be as close as possible to the sights and wildlife, in a personal setting.  Depart from the world famous Pier 39. You will be outfitted with weather appropriate gear to keep you warm and dry from the occasional splash. Take in the historic waterfront from a new angle. Make a quick visit to the world famous Pier 39 sea lions, where you can see them eye to eye. There is no need for binoculars on this trip because you will see everything up close. Listen to the narration from your expert captain and learn something new about this historic area. See the waterfront in a way that is unlike any other experience on the bay. Take photos, make memories, and enjoy one of the finest ways to see it all up close. This small group boat tour is limited to 12 guests which provides an intimate family-friendly experience, perfect for adults, seniors, youth, and children ages 5 and older. You will get an opportunity to get up close to the world famous Alcatraz prison, once-home to some of the most notable criminal masterminds. Learn about some incredible points of interest, such as Coit Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Presidio, the Ferry Building, Treasure Island, and other historic landmarks.

San Francisco: 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off City and Night Tour

10. San Francisco: 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off City and Night Tour

Explore San Francisco with a 1-day ticket, that includes two most popular hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tours. You can hop on and off the bus at any of the designated stops to explore all the major sights of San Francisco at your own pace. The Official City Tour - Hop On, Hop Off This 2 hour tour provides the best views of San Francisco's Downtown, Union Square, The Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park from a Double Decker Bus. Be sure to bring your camera, there will be plenty of photo opportunities to commemorate your visit to the city by the bay.  Official City Tour Highlights: Ghirardelli Square – Over 40 shops and restaurants, including the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop, world famous for its ice cream sundaes. Palace of Fine Arts – Built for the World Fair has been a favorite wedding location for couples throughout the San Francisco Bay area. Also a popular location for many festival celebrations, orchestras and events. Golden Gate Bridge – A great place to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge or visit the Presidio and its former Military establishments Golden Gate Park – An exciting place to visit a number of museums and attractions such as The Conservatory of Flowers, The California Academy of Sciences and The deYoung Museum. Haight/Ashbury – More commonly known as the “Hippie District”, Haight maintains the Summer of Love feel with its numerous shops and murals dedicated to the 1960’s. City Hall – Great photo opportunities of the San Francisco City Hall structures near to the Opera House, Symphony Hall and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Union Square – The central shopping district in San Francisco, featuring Macy’s, Tiffany’s, Neiman Marcus, Victoria’s Secret, Saks Fifth Avenue, and hundreds of other major retailers. Fisherman’s Wharf – Located on the northern waterfront, this area is best known for Pier 39 (shopping, restaurants, sea lions and much more), San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the Cannery Shopping Center, Alcatraz Landing, and many other attractions. San Francisco Night Tour This live narrated bus tour shows you the most vibrant neighborhoods of the city at night. Enjoy panoramic views of San Francisco from the top of a double decker bus from Treasure Island. The tour will be led by knowledgeable guides, to make your evening in San Francisco unforgettable.

Other Sightseeing Options in Ferry Building

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What people are saying about Ferry Building

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 1,443 reviews

If you’re planning to visit or site see San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas or other cities, the red Big Bus is the way to go. You can get in and get out of the bus. Two days pass is needed if you want to stop on all locations in San Francisco and it’s cheaper too. Since we got on and off in different spots, some Red Big Bus drivers drive smoothly while some drove rough.

It was great! We got to see everything overall with the ability to get off and explore the things that interested us more. It was worth not having to rent a car and searching for locations or parking and still getting back to our original starting point.

Open air top floor is fun. Two days was great - there is so much to see!

Excellent tour, great experience! Would do it again in a heartbeat.

Christopher was informative and a great tour guide.