We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

city sightseeing bus tours

Which San Francisco hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Washington DC
posts: 1
city sightseeing bus tours

We'll be in SF for a week and want to take a half a day or so on a Gray Line type tour around the city, just to get an overview. There are so many of them that we are getting overwhelmed. We'll be staying near Union Square...any suggestions? Thanks.

posts: 6,108
reviews: 14
1. Re: city sightseeing bus tours

I'm running out the door, but here's a brief recap and you can try searching the site using keyword "tours":

We have a paucity of information on tours. There are many, including Gray Line, if that's what you like and what you're familiar with (sorry about that dangling participle).

The problem is that locals don't generally take the tours, so we're not in a good position to recommend them. The feedback we've gotten from travelers is spotty -- not many write about their experiences. Since SF has both city tours and also is the launching point for day tours outside the city, there are a lot of tours to report back on.

One way of weeding through them is to decide whether you want, for example, one of those double-decker tours or one on a motorized cable car (lookalike, that is, not a real cable car). Some have the option of hopping on and off, and picking up the next tour vehicle on the route.

Since you're looking for a basic overview and nothing fancy, I won't go into the Go Cars, Segway and related novelty tours, some of which are on-your-own, no guide tours.

Puerto Del Carmen...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Del Carmen
posts: 2,144
reviews: 22
2. Re: city sightseeing bus tours

I could certainly recommend the motorized cable car option having taken one last Sept while on honeymoon. Very informative and if you get there early for a seat near the driver you can ask questions as you go along. Don't know if you get a live guide with the bus tour as we didn't take on.

Cable car tour took in most of the important sites, including driving over the Golden Gate Bridge with a short stop on the over side for photo opportnities. Very good value for money (although can't remember how much).

Leaves from somewhere near pier 39 (one of the roads that runs away from the main drag). Book a couple of hours in advance, then go have a wander round the wharf areas.

Going off topic slightly, one of the funniest experiences was when a bunch of Germans piled on to the car and took over the whole inside area (conforming perfectly to stereotype). Was such a shame when they were told that they had to get off because they hadn't pre-bought tickets and the current tour was full ;-)

Sunderland, United...
Destination Expert
for Sunderland
posts: 6,754
reviews: 47
3. Re: city sightseeing bus tours

I did a tour similar to this (http://tinyurl.com/f6hpp), if not the very same one and really enjoyed it. The guide we had was great.

posts: 1,124
reviews: 1
4. Re: city sightseeing bus tours

Hi Check out SF Comprehensive Shuttle Tours on their website they have good info. Also do a search and it the past 6 weks some comments on them which were good. They have a 5 hr tour (9 or 11 a.m. approx.departure) you meet at the Ferry Bldg. You cover a fair bit of area is my understanding there is a driver and a guide. We are taking this tour in April on the recommendations of others that have gone. Also we are taking Grayline to Carmel/Monterey for the day trip. Have fun and please post your trip report when you are back. When are you going to SF?