San Francisco is a great cosmopolitan city—from major attractions, to great restaurants, and shops, there’s certainly plenty to do. The following is a review of a number of attraction passes to choose from which could save you money on attractions in San Francisco. In order to make a smart decision about which pass best fits your needs, make sure to identify what you want to see first, THEN check what card gets you there for the best value in terms of pricing and time to get the pass.

Some highlights that not all travelers might consider: 

  • The Moss Room at the California Academy of Sciences is an excellent fine dining restaurant. (There are limited tables, so reservations through OpenTable are encouraged.)
  • One of the highlights of the Children’s Creativity Museum located in Yerba Buena Gardens is the elaborately hand-carved carousel(built in 1906!). You don’t need to pay admission to the Museum to enjoy a ride on it.  Tickets to the carousel may be purchased right outside of the front door -- $3 for 2 rides. There's also an large awesome slide in a unique playground just across the bridge. Your kids could spend all afternoon there for free. Consider packing lunch to enjoy in the Garden.
  • Café Asia at the Asian Art Museum serves up delicious and authentic Asian food.  The ingredients are always fresh and seasonal.  (A visit to the Café does not require paid museum admission.)

MULTI-ATTRACTION PASSES and OTHER WAYS TO EXPERIENCE THE CITY:  

Go Select San Francisco Pass:

This admissions pass is different to all the rest mentioned below.  This is an attraction pass that you build yourself -- giving you full control over what attractions you choose to add to the pass. Why bother spending money on attractions that are pre-loaded for you, when you can choose your own and gain a discount?

Passes are sold on www.smartdestinations.com (you can often find special deals/savings there) or through the Go Select smartphone app.This pass offers instant gratification in terms of delivery.  You can save time by displaying the pass on your smartphone OR you can print the pass as a PDF from a home printer. So no need to bother with shipping or going somewhere to pick it up. With Go Select San Francisco, you start saving once you've chosen at least two attractions.

Don't want to build your own pass?  No worries. There are also a number of pre-built options/theme packages such as the Fisherman’s Wharf Explorer Pass or San Francisco Family FunPass for you to choose from. Note though, if you select a pre-built package you can’t remove or swap any of the pre-selected attractions from it.

Go Select Pass is valid for up to 30 days from its first use. It covers most of the major attractions in San Francisco including the California Academy of Sciences, a Golden Gate Bay Cruise, transportation to Angel Island, and a tour of Muir Woods and Sausalito

A sample savings: A Go Select Pass for the California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Bay Cruise, and Angel Island with Roundtrip Ferry comes out to $55, which is a 24% discount over the standard admission costs of those three attractions.

Best for: People who know what they want to visit and who want to customize their pass based on their needs. Also, great for on-the-go travelers, as you can buy the pass last minute and just display the pass on your smartphone to show at the gate.

 

Go San Francisco Card:

The Go San Francisco Card gives you access to over 30 attractions for one low price. You only have to choose the amount of days you want to use it for—whether it’s a 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 day pass, you can save up to 55% off gate prices. Something to keep in mind is that there’s a lot to see, so you need to pace yourself and plan accordingly.

This is an updated price table (updated on 4/1/ 2013):

1-day Adult (13+): $54.99

1-day Child (3-12): $39.99 

 

2-day Adult (13+): $79.99

2-day Child (3-12): $56.99

 

3-day Adult (13+): $109.99

3-day Child (3-12): $79.99

 

5-day Adult (13+): $139.99

5-day Child (3-12): $99.99

 

7-day Adult (13+): $164.99

7-day Child (3-12): $119.99  


More Info on Go Select San Francisco Pass and Go San Francisco Card:  http://www.smartdestinations.com/san-...

 

WharfPass: 

The WharfPass gives you admission to 5 tours and activities for a set price for one day. The five attractions include: Open Top City Tour, Golden Gate Bay Cruise, Historic Cable Car Ride, Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39, Choice of Ripley’s Believe it or Not OR the Wax Museum.

The Pass can be purchased at participating Wharf attractions or on www.wharfpass.com

The prices (updated on 4/1/2013):

Adult: $69, Child 5-11: $41

 

NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences:

Every Thursday night from 6-10 pm, the California Academic of Sciences opens its doors for a NightLife event. Each event features a unique theme—from seafood, to salsa dancing, to cocktails.

Check out the schedule and buy tickets at: http://www.calacademy.org/events/nigh...

 

Segway Tour:

A great way to visit key parts of San Francisco is via segway. With Electric Tour Company, you can explore Fisherman’s Wharf and surrounding areas. You will get to see great views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, and visit Fish Alley, Fisherman’s Chapel, the WWII Liberty Ship and Submarine Pampanito, among others. There are also other tours that you can choose from.

The way it works is that you’ll first get a training session on how to safely operate the Segway, and then you’ll go on the narrated tour. (Note: tours are limited to ten riders per guide.) The whole experience takes 2.5 hours (including training time).

The price is $70 per person.

More information: http://www.electrictourcompany.com/ 

 

Ride the Ducks Tour:

With Ride the Ducks you'll get to travel through the historic streets and neighborhoods of San Francisco on a duck vehicle! Plus you’ll get to splash into the bay! Some of the sites that you’ll admire include Chinatown, Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, South Beach, Bay Bridge, City Skyline, and much more.

Prices (updated on 4/1/2013): 

Adult (18 - 61)  $35.00

Senior (62+)     $32.00

 Child (4-17)      $25.00

Infant (0-3)      Free, but must be ticketed and sitting on a lap.

More information: http://sanfrancisco.ridetheducks.com/...