A few weeks ago we took a trip to one of my favorite cities, San Francisco. When I was researching everything I wanted to do, I came across the San Francisco CityPASS. Think of it as a coupon book you buy to visit awesome things, at a discounted rate! I researched many of the things we wanted to do and most were included on the CityPASS. The pass includes places like the California Academy of Sciences and Alcatraz. I wasn’t sure if I would end up writing a whole post about this but we really enjoyed using these more than we thought we would!
One of the things we didn’t plan on was rain. As much as I love walking around San Francisco, it’s not so pleasant in the cold rain. So one of the best things about us buying the CityPASS is it was the perfect option to see San Francisco in the rain!
Everything we did as part of the San Francisco CityPASS is below!
Blue and Gold Ferry
Hae you ever wanted a different perspective of the Golden Gate Bridge with a little history lesson about San Francisco? This tour is about an hour long and takes you next to the city, under the bridge and around Alcatraz Island! You have the option to sit inside or enjoy the fresh air outdoors.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay was definitely an awesome experience. The aquarium is pretty large with different sea life to see such as sharks, sea lions, penguins and octopus! This aquarium is not to be missed and you could easily spend a whole day here.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is actually 2 hours south of San Francisco. We planned on spending a whole day in beautiful Monterey.
California Academy of Sciences
The family loved it here because there was so much to experience. You can easily spend a WHOLE day here exploring different areas! There’s an earthquake room, a large aquarium, planetarium, a swamp and even a rain forest!
Tip: Get to the planetarium first to reserve your space! We missed out on a spot to see this.
This was a very cool experience that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting San Francisco. On the island you get to do your own audio tour at your own pace. Being a fan of history and architecture, I honestly did NOT want to leave Alcatraz. Funny, I know.
This place is such a fun place for kids and adults! It’s a hands on experience where you get to have fun and learn at the same time.
San Francisco CityPASS Cost breakdown:
1 adult pass: $94
- 7-day Cable Car and Muni Bus Passport $40
- California Academy of Sciences $34.95
Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure $30 or Alcatraz Island $33
- Exploratorium $29 OR de Young museum $10
- Monterey Bay Aquarium: $39.95 or Aquarium of the Bay $22.95
If you did just 1 – 2 things plus the bus pass for 7 days, it basically pays for itself!
Questions about the CityPASS:
Can you do everything listed on the CityPASS? You have to choose between 3 things on the tickets, the bus passport and Academy of Sciences are their own pass. Then you have to choose from the ones that are side by side. The only way you can do Alcataraz is if you call the number on the CityPASS site.
Here’s what we did:
- California Academy of Sciences
- Bay Cruise
- Monterey Bay Aquarium (approximately 2 hours south of San Francisco)
- And the bus pass of course, we used this everyday to get to all of our destinations.
We did do Alcatraz as well but we paid for this directly.
How long do you need to do everything included in the San Francisco CityPASS? I would say if you are ambitious, 2 days with the exception of Monterey Bay because it’s 2 hours away. We did everything here in 4 days and it was the perfect amount of time.
Why is the cable car and bus passport important? You do not want to drive and park in the city. Parking is spare and costly. We were also warned by many that street parking can not only be tricky but can get costly if you go over your time. We found the bus system EASY to navigate by using Google maps and the MUNI app (download it free on your phone via the app or play store). Plus you could go on trolleys and cable cars how many ever times you want! Since the streets are crowded and a little hectic to navigate if you aren’t from the area, it takes a lot of stress out of getting around.
Here’s a San Francisco Bus tip: If you are new to the bus system in San Francisco, if you are at a stop with multiple bus numbers you will want to wave your hand as your number comes towards you. We are from a city where the bus always stops and we quickly learned that the buses don’t always stop at their designated stop unless you flag them down!
While there are affiliate links in this post, we truly loved getting to experience all of the things with the CityPASS and can’t wait to use it in another city!