Things to do in
North Beach, San Francisco

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Our most recommended things to do in North Beach, San Francisco

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

1. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Cruise around the Golden Gate Bay on a boat tour. Enjoy informative commentary, see sights like Alcatraz Island, and purchase food and drink from the onboard bar. Launched in 1939 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, this 1-hour cruise has been a highlight of any visit to San Francisco for over 75 years. With 8-14 departures daily from Fisherman's Wharf, you will sail along San Francisco's breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and close to the notorious Alcatraz Island. Discover San Francisco's fascinating history, brought to life through audio commentary broadcast in 16 languages via personal headphones. Look out for wildlife along the way, including pelicans, sea lions, and even dolphins and whales. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach, the famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park, the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, and San Francisco Maritime National Park, before heading west towards Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy views of Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio, before cruising under Golden Gate Bridge. Steam back into the Bay, traveling past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands, and the legendary town of Sausalito, once home to the 1960s’ flower generation. With Angel Island State Park to your left, cruise around infamous Alcatraz. After a full hour of exciting sights, the barking sea lions at Pier 39 welcome you back to Pier 43 1/2. A full bar with drinks, snacks and merchandise, including logo wear, is available at reasonable prices on board the iconic red and blue sea vessels.

San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

2. San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

Hop aboard a sightseeing bus for a tour of the 'City by the Bay' and delve into the fascinating history of San Francisco and its legendary sites, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf. The hop-on-hop-off route stops at key points of interest all around San Francisco. Experience the diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views from the top of an open-air sightseeing bus. Hop off and back on at your leisure to create your own customized itinerary around the city. Explore 3 routes depending on your ticket purchase. San Francisco City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Explore San Francisco’s famous landmarks on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour. Sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through the city on an open-top bus and learn about San Francisco's unique history Panoramic Night Tour Board the bus at Pier 41 at the end of Powell St in Fisherman's Wharf to explore the dazzling city of San Francisco at night. Climb up the historic Nob Hill for a stunning close-up view of the magnificent Grace Cathedral. Then, make your way across the grand Bay Bridge for picturesque views of the city skyline from Treasure Island, the site of the 1939’s World Fair. Heading back into the city, continue along the Embarcadero to view the glittering lights on the Port of San Francisco.

San Francisco: Alcatraz Tour w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket

3. San Francisco: Alcatraz Tour w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket

See the best of San Francisco with this combined hop-on-hop-off ticket and Alcatraz Island visit. Explore the island of Alcatraz and enjoy 2 days of sightseeing with insightful commentary from a live guide. Tour the famous prison that has played a role in jailhouse folklore and the historic evolution of the West Coast. Learn more about the 14 unsuccessful escape attempts by over 30 prisoners and their fates. Your Premium Big Bus hop-on-hop-off pass is a great way to see the sights of San Francisco. Listen to commentary by live English-speaking guides, or enjoy pre-recorded audio commentary in 10 languages. Your 2-day ticket includes a full day of unlimited hop-on-hop-off and a 1-hour panoramic night tour. Explore one of San Francisco's most fascinating neighborhoods on a fun and informative walking tour of Chinatown. The tours are offered daily, and you can ask an agent for locations and time schedules. Also included are a bonus 1-hour bike rental (with the purchase of a 1-hour rental) and Players Arcade Drink and Game Tokens. Hop-on, hop-off tour stops include: Stop 1: Corner of Jefferson & Mason StreetStop 2: Holiday Inn Northpoint b/w Jones & ColumbusStop 3: Washington Square - Columbus & Union StreetsStop 4: Embarcadero Center - Corner Clay & Battery StreetsStop 5: Ferry Building - Market St b/w Stuart & Spear StreetsStop 6: Union Square South - Geary St across from Macy’sStop 7: Hilton Hotel - Corner Mason & Ellis StreetsStop 8: Civic Center - Fulton St b/w Larkin & Hyde StreetsStop 9: Alamo Square - Corner Fell & Pierce StreetsStop 10: Haight Ashbury - Haight & Shrader StreetsStop 11: Golden Gate Park - Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate ParkStop 12: Golden Gate Bridge- North Vista PointStop 13: Palace of Fine Arts - Richardson & Francisco StreetStop 14: Marina Neighborhood - Lombard & Fillmore StreetsStop 15: Lombard Street Corridor - Lombard & Gough StreetsStop 16: Union Square North - Post & Powell StreetsStop 17: Chinatown Gate - Grant and Bush StreetsStop 18: Portsmouth Square - Kearny & Clay StreetsStop 19: Pier 35 Cruise Terminal - The EmbarcaderoStop 20: Pier 39 Fisherman’s Wharf (then return to Stop 1)

San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

4. San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Make your way around San Francisco with a 1-day hop-on hop-off bus pass. Explore 17 points of interest or enjoy a 360 panoramic view of the city for two hours. Combine your pass with a 1-hour Golden Gate Bay cruise to sail around the wonderful areas of San Francisco. Golden Gate Bay Cruise Arrive at Fisherman's Wharf and look out for the red and white colors of the "Red & White Fleet" to find your boat. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach and take advantage of the bar onboard with drinks, snacks, and merchandise. Admire the famous swimming clubs of the Aquatic Park and the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier. Enjoy idyllic views of Crissy Field and the Presidio of San Francisco before the stunning image of the Golden Gate Bridge comes into view. Cruise straight under the bridge as the sun shines and waves lap against the boat. Travel past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands to reach the shores of Sausalito, once home to the Flower Children. With Angel Island State Park to your left, finish your cruise outside the infamous Alcatraz prison. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Exchange your voucher at any of the bus stops and get ready to discover the city of San Francisco. Discover local parks and architecture as you listen to the recorded commentary, available in 10 languages. The route of the hop-on hop-off bus includes 17 stops at iconic landmarks from Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Golden Gate Bridge, and Little Italy, this flexible approach to sightseeing allows you to enjoy your day at your own pace.

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown & Bay Cruise

5. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown & Bay Cruise

Start your tour near the Ferry Building with a view of what was once one of the busiest ports in the world. Then catch an iconic San Francisco cable car from a favorite stop and learn what makes this very unique public transport so special. Disembark atop Nob Hill and learn about the industrial tycoons who built the city as you wander through Huntington Park. Visit the beautiful gothic interior of Grace Cathedral. Enter the bustling neighborhood of Chinatown, the largest Chinese enclave outside of Asia and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Taste fresh fortune cookies and see hidden landmarks like the Tin How Buddhist Temple as you learn how the neighborhood went from being a seedy red-light district to one of the most vibrant enclaves in the city. For a little treat, pop into the legendary Golden Gate Factory for an insight into the art (and logistics) of fortune cookie making. Receive a special custom-made cookie to take home. That’s not the end of the delicious snacks either - you'll also get advice on where to eat if you want to come back to try the world-famous dim sum. Then, visit Lombard Street, called the "most crooked street in the world", Fisherman's Wharf, and Ghirardelli Square. See Fisherman’s Wharf, explore the old docks, and smell the fresh bread in the famous Boudin Bakery. Your tour will also pause at Ghirardelli Square for a sample of famous chocolate. After this, continue on to your final highlight of the day - a gorgeous bay cruise of the historic waterfront. Relax and tune into the included audio device to hear some fascinating tales. Admire beautiful views of the San Francisco skyline in every direction and sail past the famous Pier 39 sea lions, right under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz Island (the closest you can get without booking a ticket). A perfect end to a San Francisco day.

North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour

6. North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour

Take a behind the scenes food tour of North Beach and Little Italy. Enjoy tasting great local foods, see how these culinary delights are made and meet the local artisans who make them on your guided walking tour. North Beach and Little Italy will awaken your senses. From the cafés and restaurants, to the smell of fresh-baked bread in the air. Just when you think you can't feel any more romantic you will discover quaint shops filled with incredible crafts and ceramics that will fill you with awe. Explore the life of North Beach, as we join family bakers kneading love into every loaf of bread. And just when you think that you can't be any closer to food heaven, we visit real coffee shops that fresh roast the coffee beans daily. And if that was not enough, we uncover authentic Italian cathedrals where hundreds of couples have felt their heartstrings tug. As you taste everything from cappuccinos, chocolates, breads, pastries, olive oils, specialty meats, and more, your senses and your taste buds will come alive. Every time we find another artisan crafting food handed down through generations or weaving life into handmade crafts, you'll know that you've experienced one of the places that makes San Francisco a series of ever expanding adventures. All food and drinks are included on this tour that was voted "Best City Tour" two years in a row on Citysearch. Tasting portions guarantee that you will not walk away hungry on this leisurely walking tour that strolls 7-8 flat blocks.

San Francisco: Alcatraz Island and Guided City Tour

7. San Francisco: Alcatraz Island and Guided City Tour

Following pickup, enjoy a 30-minute tour of San Francisco's waterfront where you will see notable landmarks such as Embarcadero, Levi’s Plaza, and Fisherman's Wharf. Enjoy a brief coffee break at the Ferry Building. Next, make your way to Pier 33 where you’ll board the ferry to start your Alcatraz Island tour. Listen to an audio presentation featuring recordings of inmates and guards that worked and inhabited the island.  Enjoy 2-3 hours on "The Rock" where you will have time for a guided tour and some free time to explore.  Take one of the late-morning ferries to San Francisco so you can join for the afternoon portion of your day tour. Cruise along San Francisco’s waterfront and the Marina District, and then visit the Palace of Fine Arts. Explore the culturally rich neighborhoods of San Francisco. Learn about what made the Haight-Ashbury, Mission, and Castro districts what they are today and why they’re important to so many. After a slow drive through Nob Hill and Chinatown, visit the charming Italian neighborhood of North Beach. Finally, enjoy a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge and pause along the cliffs to admire the beautiful views of the “city by the bay”. Take in the spectacular beauty of Golden Gate Park before finishing your tour.

San Francisco: 2 Day Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus and Night Tour

8. San Francisco: 2 Day Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus and Night Tour

Go where you want, and see what you want to see, with a 48-hour ticket for 2 bus tours of San Francisco. Board the hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus, and enjoy panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, and more. A special night tour adds a magical touch to your adventures. This live narrated 60–90-minute tour of San Francisco shows you the most vibrant neighborhoods of the city. With spectacular views from an open-top Double Decker bus, the tour covers all major sites of San Francisco. Departing from Fisherman’s Wharf, it takes you up to Nob Hill to see California Street with its famous Cable Cars and the impressive Grace Cathedral. After passing through Chinatown and the Financial District, we cross the magnificent Bay Bridge with its spectacular art installation of lights that has become San Francisco’s most iconic light sculpture at night. From Treasure Island enjoy the best views of the sparkling skyline with amazing photo opportunities. On the way back the tour continues along the waterfront, passing the Embarcadero and Ferry Building before returning to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. The tour will be guided by knowledgeable and fun tour guides to make your evening in San Francisco an unforgettable experience!

San Francisco Movie Sights City Tour

9. San Francisco Movie Sights City Tour

Experience the best of San Francisco on this fun and unique tour. The 3-hour adventure features clips from over 50 of the most famous movies ever filmed in San Francisco. Actors-turned-guides lead you on an interactive tour of the city, as they match clips with locations right outside the bus and share their wealth of San Francisco and cinema knowledge. You’ll see even more of San Francisco on this tour than you would on a normal city tour. See the key neighborhoods: Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, Nob Hill, Union Square, Alamo Square/Painted Ladies, City Hall, Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, The Presidio, Golden Gate Bridge, and Pacific Heights. This activity is also fun and interesting for kids. The route includes locations from The Princess Diaries, Full House, Dr. Doolittle, George of the Jungle, Hulk, and X-Men 3. Locations include: • The house where Robin Williams' family lived in Mrs. Doubtfire • Various locations from the famous chase scene in Bullitt • The park where the Tanner Family enjoyed a picnic during the opening credits of Full House • The building where Christian Slater questioned Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire • The high school attended by Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries • The damaged park steps from the car chase in What's Up Doc?

San Francisco: 2.5-Hour Wharf & Waterfront Segway Tour

10. San Francisco: 2.5-Hour Wharf & Waterfront Segway Tour

Explore San Francisco’s historic waterfront from the back of a self-balancing, eco-friendly Segway on this 2.5-hour tour, including a 45-50 minute training session on how to safely operate your vehicle. Your fully narrated route features spectacular views of San Francisco Bay, including Fish Alley, Fisherman's Chapel, the World War II Liberty Ship, and Submarine Pampanito. Go behind the scenes to see where the fishing industry, fleet and seafood processing are located, and catch the scent of the Dungeness crab stands in Fisherman's Wharf. Time permitting, you can take a loop through North Beach and San Francisco's Little Italy. On alternate days, a different route is taken, traveling from the Wharf area towards the Golden Gate Bridge. This loop glides through the Marina District, past the yacht harbors, and along Marina Green to the Palace of Fine Arts. Note: Please bring an extra layer of warm, resistant clothing. Rain ponchos, knit gloves and warm jackets are available for guest use. Please leave bulky backpacks at home.

Frequently asked questions about North Beach, San Francisco

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Other Sightseeing Options in North Beach, San Francisco

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What people are saying about North Beach, San Francisco

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 3,102 reviews

It was great! We got to see everything overall with the ability to get off and explore the things that interested us more. It was worth not having to rent a car and searching for locations or parking and still getting back to our original starting point.

It was a fun way to keep teenagers engaged and see the sights of the city. If you are looking for a detailed tour regarding the history of the area, this is not it.

Had an hour to kill by myself before leaving SF. A great way to see the city, even if you're a return traveler.

Very informative and relaxing boat cruise, time it right for a low sun for fantastic pictures.

Open air top floor is fun. Two days was great - there is so much to see!