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October 26, 2016

Visit San Francisco: Big Bus Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour

One of my favorite ways of touring San Francisco was from aboard Big Bus San Francisco.


There are several tours to choose from, and our family had tickets for the Standard 24 Hours Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour (also includes 3 walking tours; a voucher for Players Arcade and Grill; 1 hour bike rental with 1 hour purchase).

This tour takes you through 21 stops aboard an open-top, double-decker bus, narrated by a tour guide (recorded narration in different languages is also available), and you are able to hop off and on at different stops whenever you please in order to explore the city as much as you want.

The Big Bus Tour allows you to see so many of San Francisco's icons, learn about the city, and experience much of what San Francisco has to offer.

Our driver, John, enthusiastically greeted us once we hopped on the bus at the first stop next to the Visitor Center, and our tour guide, Mike, turned out to be a fantastic tour guide.

He was knowledgeable and entertaining, and the wealth of information he bestowed upon was astounding.

We learned so much about the people, places, things, and events that are such an integral part of San Francisco's past, present, and future.  We saw the church that Joe DiMaggio got married at, found out why the Coit Tower was built, discovered where the television was invented, learned why cable cars were created, and so much more!

Saints Peter and Paul Church; Coit Tower in the background
Cable Car
We saw amazing architecture, popular landmarks, gorgeous churches, sprawling murals - and we had fantastic photo ops to snap them all from the top deck of the bus.

Palace of Fine Arts Theatre Dome
Fisherman's Wharf
Pioneer Monument and San Francisco City Hall
Transamerica Pyramid

Love the details and color of this building!

The Hobart Building
Sentinel Building

National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi

Glide Memorial Church, which appeared in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, where thousands continue to volunteer in helping to feed the those in need



Language of the Birds public art - solar-powered books that light up at night - the pages are blank; words are down below on the street.

Love, Dignity, Justice Mural by public artist Johanna Poethig
The popular City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.
Beautiful architecture
Union Square

Jazz Mural by popular muralist Bill Weber

Summer of Love Mural, also by Bill Weber, along with Arianna Siegel

Chinatown Dragon's Gate
A highlight was going over the Golden Gate Bridge.  There's just something truly spectacular sitting on the top deck of an open bus, and peering up at the International Orange steel structure and its hundreds of thousands of rivets.




Originally we had planned to hop off at least once, but we were so comfortable on the bus, and our tour guide was just so awesome, that we just remained on board the original bus.  All of the tidbits of history and knowledge that Mike shared with us really made the tour so enjoyable.  If we had more time, we probably would have hopped off and on more, but we really enjoyed the tour that we were on.

If you do decide to hop off, simply go back to the location where you were dropped off (due to legalities, tour buses are unable to put signs as to where to hop on and off).  Buses arrive every 10-20 minutes or so (traffic dependent).

The entire tour takes about two and a half hours.  The weather was perfect during our tour - sunny and cool. If you sit on the top deck, bring a jacket since it can get chilly, especially when crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

The top deck does allow you the best photo ops, but you will still get great photos from the lower deck as well (and it's the more comfortable place to be if it happens to be raining).

The Big Bus San Francisco tour provided us with the opportunity to see and discover so many things that would have been a lot more difficult and time consuming had we tried to do everything on our own.  It's such an easy, convenient way to explore San Francisco without having to drive through the crazy SF traffic or pay a chunk of change for parking.

You can get a closer view of different attractions, eat at popular restaurants, or shop at local boutiques.

And the insight you get about the city from the tour guide is just so informative and interesting!

For the ultimate San Francisco sightseeing tour, hop on Big Bus San Francisco!

Click here for information on tours and prices.

Complimentary tickets were provided. Gratuity was paid on my own. 

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