What is the Best Way to Tour San Francisco? 

With its famous hills, flat waterfront, dazzling bay, and, of course, the impressive expanse of the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s understandable why you may be asking yourself “What is the best way to tour San Francisco?” Well, the short answer is to embrace a little of everything!

Ultimately, the best way to get around San Francisco depends on your needs and wants, so it’s purely subjective. But to help you make the most informed decisions, let us present to you some of the most popular options for touring San Francisco’s many highlights. At Incredible Adventures, we’re locals who have curated a diverse range of San Francisco tours, so you can trust us!

Scroll down to get started on our advice, and if you have any questions for us in the meantime, please just get in touch for the answers you need.

San Francisco Skyline at Sunrise, California, USA

Join Organized Guided Tours of San Francisco’s Sights

Embarking on an organized tour is one of the most convenient and efficient ways to experience San Francisco’s must-see attractions. Led by local, knowledgeable guides, these excursions are a surefire way to connect with our city in no time! The best way to find the experience you’re looking for is to browse our complete range of tours in San Francisco.

If you want an immersive, multi-day itinerary, we think you will love the two-day San Francisco City Tour and Alcatraz Tour. With access to hop-on, hop-off buses running around the city between 9 am and 5 pm, you can see a lot of the city in a relatively short time. This package also includes a Chinatown Walking Tour, a Sausalito loop over the Golden Gate Bridge, a panoramic night tour, and more!

A double decker bus driving down a city street in California.

Walk Around San Francisco’s Neighborhoods

For those who prefer a more intimate and leisurely pace, exploring San Francisco’s vibrant neighborhoods on foot is a delightful way to soak in the city’s unique charm. From the colorful houses of Haight-Ashbury to the quaint streets of North Beach, each neighborhood offers its own distinct atmosphere and attractions.

As you wander through the winding streets and bustling plazas, keep an eye out for hidden gems such as local cafes, street art murals, and charming boutiques. Don’t forget to snap photos of the stunning Victorian architecture that adorns many of San Francisco’s residential streets, providing the perfect backdrop for your urban exploration.

Unsure where to start? Read our picks for the top five neighborhoods to visit in San Francisco.

If you take your walking seriously, San Francisco has some incredible urban hikes that you’re sure to love. Check out our blogs What are the Top 5 Urban Hikes in San Francisco? and What are the Best Urban Hikes in and Around San Francisco? for all the ideas and inspiration you need!

A unique view of San Francisco from a hillside.

Rent a Bike for a Self-Guided Tour of San Francisco

For the more adventurous souls seeking a blend of exercise and sightseeing, a self-guided bike tour is the perfect way to experience San Francisco’s scenic beauty up close. With miles of bike-friendly paths and stunning vistas around every corner, you’ll have the freedom to chart your own course and explore at your own pace.

Pedal across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, feel the breeze on your face as you cruise along the picturesque Embarcadero, or venture into the lush greenery of Golden Gate Park. With bike rental shops conveniently located throughout the city, gearing up for your two-wheeled adventure is a breeze.

We recommended a bike ride by the bay in our list of fun places to visit during the summer in the Bay Area, so be sure to check out our advice there when you have finished here.

A woman riding an electric bike on a city street in California during a small group tour.

Explore San Francisco Bay by Boat

It’s time to get out on the water! To truly appreciate San Francisco’s breathtaking skyline and stunning waterfront vistas, take to the bay by boat for a one-of-a-kind perspective. And the good news is, you have multiple options to choose from, including sailboats, cruises, and kayak rentals.

On our San Francisco Sailing Tour, you can sail under the Golden Gate Bridge, past Fort Point, and by Alcatraz Island. And as you glide over the water, soak up the ever-changing views of the city skyline and keep your eyes peeled for sea lions, pelicans, dolphins, and other wildlife!

Are you more drawn to the inherent romance of a sunset cruise? We totally understand! Watching the shifting colors of a sunset from the water, with unique views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Angel Island, is something you will never forget. Our Alcatraz Day Tour and San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise is a combination package that includes two of The City’s most popular experiences. If you’d prefer to reverse the order, check out our Alcatraz Night Tour and San Francisco Bay Cruise.

Last but not least, consider a Sausaltio Kayak Private Group Tour to explore a quieter corner of the bay inches above the waterline! This two-hour guided excursion runs solely for private groups of up to eight people and offers a different perspective of the Bay Area.

San Francisco, California, known as the cultural and commercial hub of the state. Located in Northern California, it offers a unique blend of urban city life with beautiful natural surroundings. From iconic landmarks

Take to the Skies for Breathtaking Views of San Francisco!

For the ultimate bird’s-eye view over the city, the bay, and the surrounding areas, embark on a breathtaking San Francisco seaplane tour! Soar high above the city and marvel at panoramic vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, downtown San Francisco, and much more.

As you glide gracefully through the sky aboard a seaplane, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the sheer beauty and scale of San Francisco’s iconic landmarks. With an experienced pilot at the helm, not to mention commentary from a professional guide adding color and context to your experience, you can relax and enjoy the awe-inspiring scenery unfolding before your eyes.

A unique bridge with cars on it, offering a range of things to do in San Francisco.

Find Your Adventure with Our San Francisco Tours!

So, what is the best way to tour San Francisco? Well, that’s for you to decide now! Remember, our full range of San Francisco tours has something for travelers of every kind, so start your planning by browsing our carefully curated itineraries.

And if you want to take your adventures further afield, our tours from San Francisco visit even more incredible destinations in Northern California, including Napa and Sonoma Wine Country, Yosemite National Park, Silicon Valley, and Muir Woods.

Do you have any questions for the Incredible Adventures team? Please contact us for more information. We’re here to help!