San Francisco City Pass, Explorer Pass, Go San Francisco Card?

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

San Francisco, with its picturesque hills, the cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most fascinating cities in the United States, which has so much to offer to those who choose it as a destination for their journey.

There are so many many attractions that it is almost impossible to be able to visit them all, not only for lack of time, but also for the cost of tickets, which can reach considerable figures.



If you want to see all the major attractions of the city without spending a fortune, you should buy a pass, which will allow you to save up to 50% and more compared to the total cost of tickets purchased separately.

Let's see what types of passes are available for the city of San Francisco.

Before making your choice, carefully compare the characteristics of the various passes, because each one has different characteristics from the others and not all of them could adapt to your needs.

Index

  • What passes are available for San Francisco?
  • Is it convenient to buy a pass?
  • Is it possible to skip the lines with the passes?
  • Do they also include public transport?
  • Comparison of passes for San Francisco
  • What pass is Alcatraz included in?
  • San Francisco CityPASS
  • All Inclusive Pass
  • Build Your Own Pass
  • San Francisco Explorer Pass
  • Sightseeing Flex Pass

What passes are available for San Francisco?

  • San Francisco CityPASS
  • Sightseeing Flex Pass
  • All Inclusive Pass
  • Explorer Pass
  • Build Your Own Pass

(the last three are all part of the Go City Card offers)



Is it convenient to buy a pass?

Anyone who plans to visit at least two paid attractions, will surely find it convenient to buy a pass. In any case, before purchasing, it would be better compare the various types of passes, to make a quick calculation of the cost of the tickets and see if the pass actually saves us.

Is it possible to skip the lines with the passes?

The answer is: yes and no. In many places you can skip the line at the ticket office, because you already have a pass; in others, you may have to queue at the ticket office to show your pass; in many of the places you visit, even if you have a pass, you will still be unable to avoid any security checks.

Do they also include public transport?

Again, the answer is yes and no. It mainly depends on the characteristics of the pass.

Some passes may include more touristic means of transport, such as Trolley Buses for Hop - On, Hop - Off tours or ferries; others, however, such as CityPASS, they also include Cable Cars and the Muni Bus service.

Now let's go into detail, to discover all the features of the various passes for San Francisco.

Comparison of passes for San Francisco

CityPASS All Inclusive Pass Build Your Own Pass Explorer Pass Sightseeing Flex
how long does it last 9 days 1 5-days 30 days 30 days 7 days
how many attractions it includes 5 28 by 1 to 36 by 3 to 5 by 2 to 6
includes public transport yes: muni pass and cable car No. No. No. No.
savings max 42% 55% 20% 50% 55%
how much $ 76 and $63 at $147 depends on the attractions and $67 at $100 and $79 at $109

What pass is Alcatraz included in?

The CityPASS includes the visit to Alcatraz, only if you buy the pass on the official Alcatraz website.



The other pass that includes a visit to the famous island is the Build Your Own Pass: however, it does not only include entrance tickets, but also a 3-hour tour of San Francisco, for which the price is $ 125 against about $ 37 only tickets to Alcatraz.

All other passes do not include the visit.

San Francisco CityPASS

Let's start with one of the most popular passes, the San Francisco City Pass, consisting of a booklet of tickets to be used to access the attractions included within it.

What does it include?

The San Francisco City Pass includes access to the following attractions:

  • California Academy of Sciences. Located inside the beautiful Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences includes the Steinhart Aquarium, which houses about 40.000 animal species, the Morrison Planetarium, with its imposing dome, the Animal Attraction and Human Odyssey exhibits;
  • Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure, a cruise that offers the opportunity to pass under the Golden Gate Bridge and admire the view;
  • Aquarium of the Bay (standard entrance) o The Walt Disney Family Museum (standard entrance)
  • Exploratorium (standard entrance) or San Francisco Zoo and Gardens (standard entrance)

How much?

The San Francisco City Pass costs $ 76 for adults (ages 12 and up) and $ 56 for children ages 5 to 11. For children who have not yet turned five, this type of pass is not convenient because many of the attractions it includes are free or heavily discounted.



How much do you save?

Thanks to the San Francisco City Pass it's possible save about 44% on the full price of tickets purchased individually, with a total savings of $ 64,85, when the combined price of individual tickets comes to $ 153,85.

How many days is it worth?

Il Pass is valid for 9 consecutive days from the date of activation, which can take place within 6 months of purchase (one year if you have the voucher to be presented at the ticket office).

When is it convenient?

This type of pass is convenient if you plan on visit at least three of the attractions included in the pass.

Where to collect the pass?

There are two ways to collect your pass.

The first is to print a voucher after making the payment, the second to have it sent to you by post (passes are also sent to Spain).

How does it work?

The San Francisco City Pass is nothing more than a ticket booklet for attractions included in the price.

You can buy it on the internet or directly at the ticket offices of the various attractions included in the offer.

It is not compulsory to visit them in a precise order, you can start with the one you prefer; the pass will be activated when you visit the first attraction.

Please, let the ticket office staff remove the tickets from the block, do not do it yourself because if you arrive with the ticket already detached it loses its validity. Also remember that each ticket is valid for one visit only.

Do I need to book the included attractions?

No. The only exception is the trip to Alcatraz, which, on the other hand, requires reservations.

Purchase the CityPASS

All Inclusive Pass

Go Card All Inclusive San Francisco Pass

Compared to the Passes seen so far, l’All Inclusive Pass di GO Card it has somewhat different ways of using it.

If, in fact, with the other passes there was no time limit but you had a less wide choice, with this pass you can can visit all the attractions included in a period of time ranging from 1 to 5 days (the cost of the pass varies according to the number of days for which it is purchased).
Let's see in detail how the All Inclusive Pass works:

What does it include?

Here is the long list of attractions that you can visit if you buy the All Inclusive Pass. Some are also present in the other passes, while others are exclusive to this pass:

  • Hop–On, Hop–Off Big Bus San Francisco 1 Day Classic;
  • California Academy of Sciences;
  • Exploratory;
  • Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise, a cruise that passes under the Golden Gate and reaches the Bay Bridge;
  • Escape from The Rock, an exciting boat tour that includes the Golden Gate Bridge and a circular ride around Alcatraz;
  • The Walt Disney Family Museum, a museum dedicated to the genius who founded the historic animation studios;
  • Ripley’s Believe it or Not! San Francisco, the best known museum of curiosities;
  • One All – Day Comfort Bike Rental by Blazing Saddles, to get around the city by bicycle with the help of the various itineraries available on the dedicated App;
  • Aquarium of the Bay;
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA);
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, a theme park dedicated to land and marine wildlife, with many adventures for young and old to experience;
  • Madame Tussauds San Francisco;
  • USS Pampanito, the visit to the famous submarine of the Second World War;
  • The San Francisco Dungeon;
  • Golden Gate Bay Cruise, a 1-hour cruise from Fisherman's Wharf to explore the Bay;
  • de Young Museum and Legion of Honor, includes visits to both museums;
  • The Contemporary Jewish Museum;
  • GoCar San Francisco Tour (30 - minute rental), a tour with funny yellow cars with GPS itineraries;
  • California's Great America, a spectacular amusement park;
  • AT&T Park Tour;
  • The Beat Museum, a museum entirely dedicated to the Beat Generation;
  • Asian Art Museum;
  • UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens, a wonderful botanical garden, established in 1890, which has one of the largest collections of plants in the United States;
  • Angel Island Roundtrip Ferry, a boat tour to Angel Island;
  • USS HORNET Museum, the visit to the famous warship dating back to the Second World War USS HORNET;
  • California Historical Society, a sort of museum with various exhibits that, in rotation, tell the story of the city and an incredible collection of photographs;
  • K1 Speed Indoor Karting, to have fun at one of the best indoor Go Kart tracks.

How much? (discounted until 18/03)

Here, in detail, are the various types of All Inclusive Passes available and their cost:

  • 1 day - Adults $ 63, Children (ages 3 to 11) $ 52;
  • 2 days - Adults $ 94, Children $ 79;
  • 3 days - Adults $ 119, Children $ 99;
  • 5 days - Adults $ 147, Children $ 122.

Also in this case, the passes purchased and not yet activated can be refunded in full if the request is made before the expiry of the one-year term.

How much do you save?

As indicated by the official website, with the formula proposed by the All - Inclusive Pass you can save up to 55% compared to buying single tickets.

How many days is it worth?

As we have seen in the price table, you can choose between four different validity periods, ranging from 1 to 5 days.

When is it convenient?

Given the large amount of attractions it includes, I would say we can confidently say that this pass is always affordable. Surely, if in one day you think you will be able to see more than three attractions among those proposed, savings are insured; moreover, you have the opportunity to visit all the attractions on the list without any constraint, other than that imposed by time.

Where to collect the pass?

Collecting the All - Inclusive Pass is child's play! As soon as you have completed the payment, it will arrive to you a confirmation email containing a link that you will need to print your pass and guide or to download the appropriate app, which will act as a ticket and guide.

How does it work?

Once you have printed the pass or downloaded the app, you can start using the pass, which will become active as soon as you you register at the first chosen attraction.

At that point the countdown will start. To take advantage of the entrances included in the pass, you must go to the ticket offices marked in the guide, paper or electronic, which is given to you at the time of payment.

Once you have reached your chosen destination, simply show your pass to access the attraction.

With this pass, attractions can only be visited once.

Do I need to book the included attractions?

For most attractions no reservations are required, for others yes. To be sure, check the guide that is provided to you at the time of payment.

Buy the All Inclusive Pass

Build Your Own Pass

Do you already have in mind a very specific itinerary, or are you sure you want to visit only certain attractions?

Then the pass for you is the Build Your Own Pass, the flexible pass where you can enter the attractions you prefer, paying less than buying individual tickets. Would you like to know more?
Here's everything you need to know about Build Your Own Pass:

What does it include?

Here are the attractions you have available if you decide to use this pass:

  • Academy of Sciences;
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA);
  • Weekday Napa and Sonoma Valley Wine Country Tour (M - F), a day of your choice from Tuesday to Friday to discover the beauties of the two counties famous for their vineyards and their cellars;
  • Madame Tussaud's San Francisco;
  • Wharf and Waterfront Segway, to explore this area of ​​the city aboard a fun Segway;
  • The Walt Disney Family Museum;
  • One All Day Comfort Rental by blazing Saddles;
  • Exploratory;
  • Golden Gate Park Segway Tour, a Segway tour of the most beautiful park in the city;
  • Golden Gate Bridge Guided Bike Tour by Blazing Saddles, a guided bike tour on one of the most famous bridges in America;
  • Alcatraz Admission plus San Francisco Grand City Tour, a unique experience, which combines a visit to Alcatraz plus a 3 and a half hour guided tour through the streets of the city in a fully equipped coach;
  • Electric Bike Rental by Blazing Saddles, to rent an electric bike;
  • Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise;
  • Golden Gate Bay Cruise;
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom;
  • San Francisco Grand City Tour;
  • Escape from the Rock;
  • Bay Cruise Adventure, a cruise to the discover the secrets of the San Francisco Bay starting from the sea lions of Pier 39, and then the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Angel Island;
  • Rocket Boat, to experience 30 minutes of adrenaline gliding on the waters of the Bay with this super - fast boat;
  • Ripley’s Believe it or Not! San Francisco;
  • San Francisco Zoo and Garden;
  • The San Francisco Dungeon;
  • de Young Museum or Legion of Honor;
  • AT&T Park Tour;
  • Go Car 1 Hour Tour;
  • Angel Island Round Trip Ferry;
  • Asian Art Museum;
  • Legion of Honor or De Young Museum;
  • The Contemporary Jewish Museum;
  • Aquarium of the Bay;
  • Ripley's Believe it or Not! Museum, Mirror Maze an Laser Race Combo, to experience three of the wonderful adventures proposed by this museum of curiosities;
  • California’s Great America;
  • Hop–On, Hop–Off Big Bus San Francisco 1 Day Classic Tour;
  • U.S.S. Hornet Museum;
  • K1 Speed Indoor Racing;
  • USS Pampanito.

How much?

This pass does not have a fixed cost, like the others, because it is totally customizable. Butter choose which attractions you are interested in (you must enter at least two), and you will then receive a 20% discount on the total price.

How much do you save?

Here too the same goes for the cost of the pass. Savings vary based on the attractions you choose.

For example, if you decide to visit Alcatraz + Guided Tour $ 125,00, SFMOMA $ 25,00 and California Academy of Sciences $ 35.95, you spend $ 148,76 instead of $ 185,95. This will save you a whopping $ 37,19!

And for the children? In the list at your disposal, you will find an indication of which attractions are free and which have the reduced price ticket: it will be on the latter that you will receive a 20% discount.

Take for example the same attractions as before: Alcatraz Visit + Guided Tour costs $ 125 for adults and $ 125 for children, SFMOMA for children is free, and the California Academy of Science offers a reduced ticket for $ 25,95. The total cost of tickets for one adult and one child would be $ 336,90. With the pass, on the other hand, you spend $ 269,52, for a saving of $ 67,38.

How many days is it worth?

The pass is valid for 30 days from the date of activation and you have one year to activate it.

When is it convenient?

This type of pass is worthwhile if you already have specific attractions in mind but, above all, if you want to visit a few, especially if they are among those that cost less (buying one of the other passes to visit three attractions for $ 15, for example, you would not get any savings, rather you would pay more!).

Where to collect the pass?

Collecting the Build Your Own Pass is really easy.

After completing the payment, you will receive a confirmation email containing a link that you will need to print your pass and your guide directly at home or to download the appropriate app, which will act as a ticket and guide.

How does it work?

Once you have your pass, going to the first attraction it will be activated.

As we said, from that there are currently 30 days to take advantage of the benefits of the pass, visiting the attractions in the order you prefer. Thanks to it, at the entrance of many attractions you can skip the line at the ticket office.

The pass is valid for visiting the chosen attractions only once, and the amount can be fully refunded within one year of purchase as long as it has not yet been activated.

It's possible buy the Build Your Own Pass for children from 3 to 12 years of age.

If you want, you can buy admission for a single attraction, but the 20% discount will be applied to you if you buy at least two.

Do I need to book the included attractions?

It depends: there are some attractions for which reservations are not required, and others for which reservations are required (for example the boat trip to Alcatraz). To know for sure, check the guide that comes with your pass.

Acquista il Build Your Own Pass

San Francisco Explorer Pass

We come to the last type of pass offered by Go Card San Francisco Explorer Pass offers us the same methods of use of the first 2 passes that we have analyzed, with the choice of a minimum of 3 attractions and a maximum of 5, for three different rates.
Let's find out in detail:

What does it include?

Here are the attractions you can add to your San Francisco Explorer Pass:

  • Hop–On, Hop–Off Big Bus San Francisco 1 Day Classic;
  • California Academy of Sciences;
  • Exploratory;
  • Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise;
  • Escape from The Rock;
  • The Walt Disney Family Museum;
  • Ripley’s Believe it or Not! San Francisco;
  • San Francisco Zoo & Gardens;
  • One All – Day Comfort Bike Rental by Blazing Saddles;
  • Aquarium of the Bay;
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA);
  • California’s Great America;
  • Muni Day Pass, a pass for free use of public transport in the city, including Cable Cars;
  • Madame Tussaud's San Francisco;
  • USS Pampanito;
  • The San Francisco Dungeon;
  • Golden Gate Bay Cruise;
  • Rocket Boat;
  • de Young Museum or Legion of Honor;
  • GoCar San Francisco 1 hour Tour;
  • AT&T Park Tour;
  • Asian Art Museum;
  • Angel Island Roundtrip Ferry, un tour in battello a Angel Island;
  • California Historical Society, a sort of museum with various exhibitions that, in rotation, tell the story of the city and an incredible collection of photographs; K1 Speed ​​Indoor Karting, to have fun at one of the best Indoor Go Kart tracks.

How much? (discounted until 18/03)

The cost of the Explorer Pass varies depending on how many attractions you want to visit. Here are all the price ranges:

  • 3-attraction pass - Adult $ 67, Child $ 57;
  • 4-attraction pass - Adult $ 85, Child $ 74;
  • 5-attraction pass - Adult $ 100, Child $ 83.

How much do you save?

With the Explorer Pass you can get to save up to 50% compared to the cumulative cost of tickets purchased individually.

How many days is it worth?

It passes worth 30 days from the moment of activation and you have one year from the date of purchase to activate it.

When is it convenient?

This pass is convenient if you plan to visit a limited number of attractions, perhaps because you stop for a short time, even a single day, in the city.

Where to collect the pass?

To collect the pass, the procedures are the same as for All Inclusive and Build Your Own Pass.

How does it work?

The pass yes active the moment you visit the first attraction. You can visit your chosen attractions only once, in any order you like. It is also possible to buy it for children from 3 to 12 years of age.

Do I need to book the included attractions?

The attractions that need to book are marked on the guide that is given to you with your pass.

For some it may be necessary to provide credit card details, but you will not be charged any additional costs.

Purchase the Explorer Pass

Sightseeing Flex Pass

The Sightseeing Flex Pass works very similar to the Explorer Pass: you have to choose the number of attractions you want to visit. The duration is 7 days against the 30 of the previous pass.

What does it include?

As we have said, the offer of the Sightseeing Flex Pass is quite wide and varied. You can choose from 3 to 5 attractions among those proposed. Here's what they are:

  • 1 Day Bus Hop – On, Hop – Off Tour, a nice way to get around the city by getting on and off the bus whenever you want;
  • Madame Tussauds, the most popular wax museum in the world;
  • AT&T Park Tour, a tour of the stadium where the San Francisco Giants are at home;
  • Aquarium of the Bay, the extraordinary tunnel surrounded by water and fish also on the ceiling;
  • de Young Museum, located in a decidedly unique building, it houses works and artifacts of American, Australian and African art;
  • Asian Art Museum, a museum dedicated to Asian art that includes more than 18.000 pieces;
  • Night Tour by City Sightseeing SF, a 90-minute bus tour to discover the secrets of San Francisco at night;
  • Legion of Honor, a beautiful museum dedicated to European decorative art, ancient art, numerous paintings and the magnificent statue of Rodin “The Thinker”;
  • Go Lorries – One Way Airport Shuttle, a shuttle service to or from the airport carried out by a company of proven reliability;
  • Bay City Guide - Golden Gate Park Guided Bike Tour, an exciting guided tour through Golden Gate Park;
  • Bay City Bike, includes bike rental for 2 hours;
  • GoCar 1 Hour Tour, a one hour tour on this special car that indicates the route to follow via GPS (Chinatown, Union Square, North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf);
  • 7D Experience – Ride & Maze Combo, a wonderful interactive 7D adventure to be experienced at Pier 39;
  • San Francisco Dungeon, a 60-minute journey inside a disused mine, which includes a dozen shows showing what life was like in San Francisco prisons from the time of the gold rush to the legendary Alcatraz;
  • Radical SF – Wild SF Walking Tours The Castro & Mission, a tour through the most bohemian and unconventional San Francisco;
  • Burger Bar $ 30 toward lunch or dinner, to enjoy one of the excellent burgers served at Hubert Keller's Burger Bar in Union Square;
  • Classic SF – Wild SF Walking Tours, Chinatown & North Beach, a tour to discover the origins of San Francisco, the revolutionary movements that have marked its history, Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation and the looting and kidnappings of its pirates.

How much?

  • 3 Attractions - Adult $ 79;
  • 4 Attractions - Adult $ 89;
  • 5 Attractions - Adults $ 109.

The Pass can be purchased for children aged 3 to 11.

How much do you save?

The savings offered by this pass are variable, since each attraction has very different costs. According to the indications of the official website, it is You can save up to 59% compared to the cumulative cost of the individual tickets purchased separately.

As a practical example, let's take a 3-attraction Sightseeing Flex Pass, which costs $ 69, and put it in there:
- the Hop - On, Hop - Off Tour worth $ 52;
– the visit to Madame Tussaud's gives $15;
– l’Aquarium of the Bay da $24.

Purchased separately, these tickets would cost a total of $ 91. Thanks to the pass you get a saving of $ 22.

Savings that increase if, for example, at Madame Tussaud's we replace the guided tour of the Golden Gate Park worth $ 45 (52 + 15 + 45 for a total of $ 112): in this case the saving rises to $ 43.

How many days is it worth?

The pass is valid for one week from the date of activation, and one year from the date of purchase. It is possible to get a refund of the full amount before the expiry date only if the pass has not yet been activated.

When is it convenient?

It is convenient to buy the pass if you have in plan to visit at least three attractions or take part in at least three of the proposed tours.

If, for example, you only want to visit three attractions, and they are the least expensive museums (the lowest price of a full ticket for some of these attractions is $ 15) then the pass won't suit you.

In all other cases, savings are guaranteed.

In addition to the discount on the cost of tickets, you will also have other discounts available (you will find all the information in the brochure that you will receive when activating the pass).

Where to collect the pass?

You don't have to wait until you arrive at your destination to collect your pass, and you don't even need to have it mailed to you.

Once you have completed the purchase, you will receive an e-mail with the link to your pass, so you can print it (or you can scan the QR code with your phone).

How does it work?

When you are at the ticket office of the place you want to visit, you just have to show the pass you printed or your phone and that's it.

Remember: the pass is activated when you visit the first attraction and it is not possible to visit the same attraction multiple times (this rule applies to all passes).

Furthermore, you are not obliged to visit the attractions in a specific order, but you can choose which one to see first in total autonomy.

If you have opted for the Hop - On, Hop - Off Tour, Remember to present your pass at the 1331 Columbus Avenue ticket office before boarding the bus for the first time, where you will get a ticket to be able to get on and off the buses in complete tranquility.

Do I need to book the included attractions?

It depends. For the most part, reservations are not required, for others yes. It is all specified in the brochure that is given to you when you activate your pass.

Buy the Flex Pass
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