Whether you choose to see San Francisco on foot, by boat, or on a bus, top tours by knowledgeable guides await.
1. Alcatraz Cruises
Nicknamed "the rock," Alcatraz served as a federal maximum security prison from 1934 to 1963 and was home to such notorious prisoners as Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and Robert Stroud, aka the "Birdman of Alcatraz." Alcatraz Cruises’ Cell House Audio Tour, recorded by former inmates and wardens, brings the Alcatraz experience to life. Tickets ($26 for adults; discounts for children and seniors) cover the boat ride and the cost of the tour. Phone: 415-981-7625.
2. Wok Wiz Tours of Chinatown
Consistently rated one of the city's best tours by national publications, Wok Wiz tours take visitors through one of the city’s most culturally rich neighborhoods. The guides speak fluent Cantonese, providing an authentic experience as they tour local herbalists, art galleries, tea purveyors, Chinese temples, and produce markets. Learn about the ornate architecture in this area, and the best places to shop for souvenirs, jewelry, and linens. Tours are offered with or without a dim sum lunch. Phone: 650-355-9657.
3. Mission Mural Walks
The Mission neighborhood has long been famous for its vividly colorful street murals created by artists and activists, a tradition started by Latin American immigrants in the 1970s. There are more than 600 vibrant murals painted on buildings, fences, and garage doors throughout the neighborhood. Precita Eyes Mural walks, led in English or Spanish by working muralists, take in up to 70 murals in a 6-block stroll. Phone: 285-2287.
4. San Francisco Shuttle Tours
SF Shuttle Tours offers comprehensive city tours on intimate, climate controlled shuttle buses equipped with both a driver and knowledgeable guide. Guides present historical narratives and in-depth visits to great San Francisco neighborhoods and landmarks. Buses make several stops so patrons may experience sites first-hand. Phone: 415-513-5400.
5. Mexican Bus
A San Francisco institution for 20 years, the Mexican Bus offers high-octane salsa dancing tours of San Francisco on weekend evenings. The colorfully decorated authentic Mexican vehicle makes stops to some of the city’s best salsa clubs, plays rocking music along the way, and lets you dance, drink, and party to your heart’s content. Phone: 415-654-3747.