- Plan a Perfect Week
- San Francisco Tours
- Wine Country Tours
- Silicon Vly/San Jose
- Tours with more than 6
We can pick you up anywhere within 90 minutes’ drive of San Francisco—at your home, hotel, ship's terminal, or the airport!
“Everybody's Favorite City” San Francisco Tour
- The majestic and beautiful Golden Gate Bridge
- Muir Woods: an ancient redwood forest featuring some of the tallest trees in the world
- Colorfully decorated over a century old Victorian houses known as "Painted Ladies"
- Golden Gate Park: the tranquil Japanese Tea Garden (1894), the ultramodern DeYoung art museum, the Conservatory of Flowers (greenhouse that looks like a wedding cake), the newly rebuilt California Academy of Sciences with its living rainforest, living coral reef and "living roof"
- Nob Hill: a Gothic cathedral with stained-glass windows like no others…famous grand dame hotels
- Haight-Ashbury: where you can get your tattoo, hipster clothes or Jerry Garcia T-shirt
- North Beach: Old San Francisco with an Italian flavor
- Pacific Heights: the city's most prestigious address…a hundred elegant mansions with panoramic Bay views
- Sausalito: 'Mediterranean' hillside town looking out to the city skyline and Alcatraz
- Chinatown: a residential neighborhood (as well as tourist attraction) of open-air markets, herb and tea chops, famous fortune cookie factor, hidden temples
Creating your Personalized "Everybody's Favorite City" Itinerary
San Francisco can be fun! and overwhelming. There are a very large number of attractions— famous ones like the amusing sea lions at Pier 39, and those known almost exclusively to locals. For nearly a dozen years A Friend in Town has been trying to show our guests everything of interest in a single day—an impossible goal as new sites (for example, the Walt Disney Museum) open every few months. So we'll ask you for your priorities before your tour (or the morning of)…then you can choose where we focus our attention in the time allotted. Be aware that with some guided tours (by us or others to whom we can refer you), access to a period Victorian home interior or the most delicate murals at Coit Tower can be managed--these are places often closed to the general public. If by mid-afternoon you've still got energy and want to add sites to your original itinerary, we can often do that (for an additional $60 an hour). An important goal for us is that you spend as much time with actual San Franciscans as with other tourists.
If you would prefer just to leave it to your guide, we'll create an itinerary that focuses on famous attractions but also shows you a few unexpected places that help make San Francisco familiar from movies and TV, yet also surprising…relaxing and stimulating…historic and new.
How do we decide whether a half (usually 4 hours)- or full-day (approx. 8 hours) Itinerary works best for us?
We begin every San Francisco tour by discussing your priorities as we cannot even drive by everything listed. Consider the suggested sites and how much time it takes on average to enjoy them. Add at least 10-15 minutes of travel time between sites, time for you to make a personal pit stop or two, plus time for taking or being in photos. If the sum of all that is closer to 4 hours, then you plan for a half-day tour...if closer to 8, then a full-day tour. The most important decision for a full-day tour is whether you want to go to Muir Woods (which we highly recommend) or not. You will spot Alcatraz occasionally as we move about the city, but we never go there as it's an island and requires a ferry trip, for which you'll need tickets...often several weeks in advance. Unless you have just one day to see San Francisco, we usually do not take you to Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39/Ghirardelli Square either, since you don't need a guide to enjoy them. Decide which 5 or 6 attractions/neighborhoods interest you most, and we'll focus your itinerary on those. This doesn't mean you won't see other landmarks, but it's important that your guide know whether you want to experience Chinatown on foot (nearly an hour) or just drive through (20 minutes), spend time on Haight Street exploring its shops and streetlife or not, etc.
Why not just be spontaneous and add time as we go? Because sometimes A Friend in Town will have another tour or activity scheduled after yours.
“I felt like I really got to meet the City”
“It was great not to be part of a tour bus… just one of many in the herd. I have taken bus tours of San Francisco before, but this time I felt like I REALLY got to meet the City. Your knowledge of its history, architecture, restaurants and activities were amazing. I like the flexibility of being able to spend more time at the areas which interested me such as Grace cathedral and Muir Woods. Being able to go into neighborhoods to see houses, into restaurants to view old photographs of the city, or into a temple in Chinatown isn't something that's usually done on a bus tour. I have already recommended your company to some friends… Thanks again for a great time.”
– Douglas D. (Santa Maria, California)
What will it COST?
Because each tour is designed to fit your interests, our fees vary. Basically you pay by the number of hours in your itinerary. We do not add the fuel surcharges, "license fees," "tax" and mandatory gratuities that many other companies do.
(paid to vendors)
|Gratuity||Add'l Hours||Minimum Duration|
|Half Day||$320*||$340*||4h||Entrance Fees||**||$70 ea||3h|
|Full Day||$600*||$630*||8h||Entrance Fees, Lunch||**||$70 ea||7h|
* Not per-person. See also our FEES page (showing our November thru March PST.)
* These fees are for couples, groups of up to 6 people or solo travelers. For groups of 7 to 25+ (whereby we charter a minibus), please ask for a quote.
** A gratuity is customary and will be appreciated, but is not required. Please note that if you are referred by a Travel Agent, s/he may add to your total a commission (fee for finding and making arrangements with us).
“My one-stop recommendation for tours of the Bay Area”
“Perhaps the best thing about Jesse as a tour guide is that he is very unobtrusive: he invites you to explore the sites you visit on your own, yet is always ready to answer any questions you may have. Not only do you visit the site, but experience it. Jesse sets a mood with background information and personal asides that add priceless depth to the tour. As a travel professional it is exactly what I look for when choosing a tour company for our most discriminating clients. [His] personal service and flawless attention to detail is unmatched, and he will be my one-stop recommendation for tours of the Bay Area… You can truly tell that Jesse loves this city, and the amount of knowledge he has about San Francisco and the surrounding area is truly mind-boggling.”
– Wes H. (Charleston, South Carolina)
Why spend considerably more with A Friend in Town,
instead of saving $$ with a big-bus tour?
There are dozens of reasons why—compare us with renting a car or hiring a limo: Why tour with Us? We pick you up at your home or hotel; they make you start where they are. We can help you explore places (like Chinatown, the Mission district, the Haight), while buses only point to them as they pass them by. Using our extensive local knowledge, we can plan an itinerary that works so that you don't waste time and get disappointed because the place you really wanted to see required a reservation or doesn't show well in fog. We have access to neighborhoods, wineries and interesting destinations (which we won't share with our competitors) that are prohibited to buses and limos. We do the driving on San Francisco's steep, often one-way streets and the country lanes of the Wine Country… when you drive, you can't do it safely and enjoy the scenery.
“We really appreciated the flexibility and personalized service.”
“We had an absolutely fantastic time on the tour. We had a very limited time frame, yet we were able to see everything we wanted to see and more! We really appreciated the flexibilty and personalized service… and Jesse's vast knowledge of San Francisco and its history! Highly recommended!”
– CJ & Layne D. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Call: 510-619-3619Reserve Your Tour