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Ferry Building

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: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

2. San Francisco: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

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 landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf. The hop-on-hop-off route stops at the main 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 anytime and create your customized itinerary at your leisure. Explore 3 routes depending on your ticket purchase. San Francisco City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through the city on an open-top bus. Learn about the unique history of San Fransisco while passing through Chinatown, Union Square, Civic Center, and the Alamo Square.  Panoramic Night Tour Board the night bus to explore the dazzling city of San Francisco at nighttime. Climb 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 World Fair site in 1939. After heading back to the city, continue along the Embarcadero to view the glittering lights of the Port of San Francisco.

SF: Alcatraz Ticket w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Night Tour

3. SF: Alcatraz Ticket w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Night Tour

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. 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.  Take a 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 Bay: Adventure Boat Tour

5. 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 Vista Helicopter Tour (15-20 minute tour)

6. San Francisco Vista Helicopter Tour (15-20 minute tour)

Take in an aerial view of San Francisco and the Bay Area with the Bell Jet helicopter. Choose between 3 departure times and pickups at Union Square, Nob Hill, or Fisherman’s Wharf. Relax on the ride to the launch pad. After a safety briefing, climb aboard and see a vista of the world-famous city.   Admire the city's landscape and see landmarks like Alcatraz Island, the Transamerica Pyramid, the Ferry Building, Ghirardelli Square, Coit Tower, and AT&T Park. View both the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge; if you're lucky, fly over and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Throughout the 15 to 20-minute flight, enjoy inspiring background music and live narration from your pilot. After touching down back at the launch pad, you will be transported back to your original departure point.

Streets of San Francisco Electric Bike Tour

7. Streets of San Francisco Electric Bike Tour

Enjoy a half-day electric bike tour around the back alleys of San Francisco, exploring North Beach’s Little Italy district up-close. Get panoramic views of the iconic Transamerica Pyramid building, and much more. The flat route takes in the Barbary Coast and San Francisco’s historic supper clubs. Find out how the neighborhoods have transformed from scandalous to sparkling. Cycle around the Giants’ Oracle Ball Park, and into the culturally rich Mission, Castro, and Haight Ashbury neighborhoods. Look at the ever-changing street art scene, and see the locals who rule each area to make their communities unique. Go to Nopa, and take in the charming Painted Ladies of Alamo Square, before visiting the Civic Center. Pedal to Polk Gulch, San Francisco’s original gay neighborhood. Finish your tour with at look at Aquatic Park, before cycling to Fisherman’s Wharf.

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

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

Make your way around San Francisco with a 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus ticket. Hop off to explore the city's best highlights or stay on the double decker to enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the city for two hours. Combine your ticket with a 1-hour Golden Gate Bay Cruise to sail around the famous San Francisco Bay. Golden Gate Bay Cruise Arrive at Fisherman's Wharf and look 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 digital commentary, available in 10 languages. The route of the hop-on hop-off bus includes 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: 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.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Ferry Building

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What people are saying about Ferry Building

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 2,049 reviews

Our guide was Maggie and she was wonderful. She clearly enjoyed showing us her beautiful city! The walk was great and I didn't feel any part was too strenuous. She did a great job!

Perfekte Organisation, entspannter , professioneller Flug, der auch als Rundflug über SF ausreicht mit dem Event Flug unter Golden Gate. Vergisst man nicht.

exhilarating!!! Our captain Charles was incredible, so knowledgeable and made us feel super safe. Couldn’t recommend this boat ride enough!!

They had alternatives for handicapped visitors. The staff was very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable.

Touring around San Francisco Bay Area is great experience for us.