San Francisco sightseeing tours can be by helicopter, walking, eating in Chinatown, touring the gay area, tours of Haight-Ashbury, or bay boat trips to the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
In the swinging 1960s, San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district was renowned for people taking trips, and visitors taking a more conventional trip to the city today can still book a Flower Power sightseeing tour. There are also helicopter tours, tours to sample the food in Chinatown, Gray Line bus tours, historical walking tours, gay tours, and boat tours around the famous bay. Some of the best San Francisco sightseeing tours include the following.
San Francisco Helicopters offer the chance to see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and other San Francisco tourist attractions as they've never been seen before – on an exciting helicopter tour complete with choreographed music. Or combine a chopper ride with dinner on a yacht in San Francisco Bay – or a trip out to Napa Valley.
A range of boat tours which take visitors under the Golden Gate Bridge and out to almost touch Alcatraz are available from the Blue and Gold Fleet. They operate out of Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf and also offer high-speed 30-minute RocketBoat tours. Also on Fisherman's Wharf at Pier 43½ are the Red and White Fleet with Golden Gate Bay Cruises, California Sunset Cruises, and others. Boat trips around the bay are among the most popular of San Francisco sightseeing tours, and rightly so. Don't miss it.
Cruisin' the Castro was founded in 1989 and offers historical walking tours of San Francisco's main gay district, the Castro, as well as special Harvey Milk tours, including Harvey Milk's former residence, and the City Hall where he was California's first openly gay politician, and was eventually tragically murdered.
Read our page about one of the best experiences we've ever had in San Francisco - a San Francisco Music Tour on the Magic Bus.
Check the Wok Wiz website for details of what the New York Times has called "One of the best tours in San Francisco". There's a choice of tours, ending with or without a dim sum lunch, and all taken by Chinatown residents who really know their stuff. Explore not just restaurants and food stores but architecture, herbalists, temples, shops, and Chinatown's own Farmers' Market. There's also a totally food-focussed tour, called I Can't Believe I Ate My Way Through Chinatown. Delicious!
Also see our page on San Francisco's Best Chinatown Restaurants.
Try the San Francisco Historical Walking Tours, led by long-time resident Jay Gifford or his colleague Shonna Sinclair, who's lived in the city for almost 25 years. They'll show you Pacific Heights and Cow Hollow, where tour buses are not permitted, and you'll get to see the outsides and insides of some of San Francisco's fabulous restored Victorian homes.
The Hippy Gourmet runs the Haight-Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour several times a week, seeing the sites associated with musicians like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, and Joni Mitchell.
The Gray Line company has a choice of city tours, some with lunch or a bay boat trip included, some without, some Deluxe bus tours, and others to places around the city like the Wine Country. They also have a range of tours in several foreign languages: French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, German, and Korean.
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The Napa Wine Country Inn and Gardens in St Helena, Napa Valley, overlooks a vineyard and has free wine tastings every evening, and offers guests help with booking wine tours.
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La Jolla in southern California is north of San Diego off the Pacific Coast Highway and has museums, good shopping, restaurants, hotels, beaches, wildlife, and the wonderful Birch Aquarium.
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Cambria on California’s Central Coast is a good stop on the Pacific Coast Highway, with hotels and restaurants, and close to Hearst Castle and the Piedras Blancas Beach to see elephant seals
To help you in choosing your Pacific Coast Highway hotel, guesthouse, inn, bed-and-breakfast, resort, motel or other accommodations, we've prepared our Pacific Coast Highway Hotels Guide. In it we do mini-reviews of accommodations along the Highway, from Seattle to San Diego, through Washington, Oregon, and California.
In all there are over 200 hotels listed, complete with 8 pages of color maps showing the towns where our recommended hotels can be found. There are both alphabetical and geographical indexes, helping you plan your journey.
We also include color photos of all the hotels that are our Personal Favorites. Here's the link to read more about our ebook guide to Pacific Coast Highway hotels.
The 2016 edition of our Hotels Guide is available with maps and color photos (if you have a color reader) in the US Kindle Store for only $4.99 and in the UK Kindle Store and other Kindle stores worldwide at prices based on the US price.
If you want a paperback edition of the 2016 guide with only black and white photos and black-and-white maps, it costs $6.99 at the US Amazon Book Store and £4.99 in the UK Amazon Store.