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San Francisco Pass and other passes

The San Francisco Pass will be your ally to combat American prices during your trip.

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

7 min read

San Francisco Pass and other passes

View of San Francisco | ©Bernard Spragg. NZ

On a tour of the west coast of the United States, you can not miss a visit to San Francisco. Known for the Golden Gate, Lombard Street or Alcatraz Island, this city is a melting pot of cultures united under the Californian spirit.

In San Francisco there is a lot to see but to simplify the organization of your trip there are some tricks, such as tourist passes. I'll tell you the best ones you can use to visit the city and not miss anything!

Most popular: San Francisco City PASS

Streetcar on the streets of San Francisco| ©Amogh Manjunath
Streetcar on the streets of San Francisco| ©Amogh Manjunath

Starting at 65 euros, the San Francisco City PASS is the most popular tourist card to visit the main tourist attractions and places of interest in this Californian city as it will not only give you access to very cool places to see during your vacation but also save you money.

If you plan to travel to San Francisco for ten to fifteen days, this is the ideal pass for you as it will allow you to save around 50 euros compared to the combined box office price of adult tickets. In addition, the San Francisco City PASS has discounts to visit other attractions to help you save even more and offers unlimited use of the city's iconic streetcars and Muni public transportation for 3 consecutive days.

This tourist card is valid for 9 consecutive days from the date of first use and expires 1 year from the date of purchase.

Keep in mind that some of the tourist attractions in San Francisco require a previous reservation to visit them or have limited days or hours of operation so before you go there I advise you to always consult this information.

Book your San Francisco City Pass

For short trips: Go San Francisco Card

San Francisco Sightseeing Bus| ©megabus13601
San Francisco Sightseeing Bus| ©megabus13601

If you are only going to spend a few days in San Francisco but want to enjoy the city to the fullest by sightseeing, I advise you to get the Go San Francisco Card from 54 euros.

This is a tourist card that not only gives you access to more than 25 attractions but also allows you to save time (by having direct entry to each attraction and avoiding queues at the ticket office) and money (by enjoying discounts at stores and restaurants in the city), which always comes in handy if you are traveling with your family.

The Go San Francisco Card is activated the first time you use it and you can choose between a 1, 2, 3 or 5-day tourist card. For added flexibility, this pass is valid for 2 years from date of purchase to first use.

It also includes a 1-day free-stop San Francisco sightseeing bus tour so you can explore the city at your own pace, hopping on and off at any stop.

Book your San Francisco Sightseeing Pass

The most economical option: San Francisco Explorer Pass

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art| ©Guilhem Vellut
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art| ©Guilhem Vellut

If you are traveling to San Francisco on a tight budget, the best tourist card to get is the San Francisco Explorer Pass from 47 euros.

This pass is also the best if you are looking to personalize your experience in the city, because you can choose between 2, 3, 4 or 5 attractions and you will pay according to the number of attractions you choose, so you will save much more money than with conventional tourist cards.

The San Francisco Explorer Pass is great for those people who travel with an open and flexible plan seeing tourist attractions as they go. In fact, the pass is valid for 2 years from the date of purchase and is only activated when visiting the first attraction. From then on it is valid for up to 30 days except for the Go San Francisco 2-Choice 2-Attraction Pass which is valid for 60 days.

To get the most out of this tourist card, I advise you to opt for the most expensive attractions to maximize savings. And to move from one to another, do not forget to use the 1-day San Francisco sightseeing bus tour with free stops included in this pass but you can also use it if you prefer to explore the city at your own pace.

Reserve your San Francisco Sightseeing Pass


How much does a tourist pass for San Francisco attractions cost?

California Academy of Sciences| ©Jose Camões Silva
California Academy of Sciences| ©Jose Camões Silva

It depends on the type of tourist card you choose. The most economical is the San Francisco Explorer Pass where you can choose up to 5 attractions to visit in 30 days.

However, if budget is not a problem for you and you are an all-rounder traveler who wants to get the most out of your stay I recommend choosing between the San Francisco City PASS (the most popular option for all the possibilities it offers) or the Go San Francisco Card (to use it for the days of your visit).

How do I choose my pass to visit San Francisco?

Exploratorium| ©k1ng
Exploratorium| ©k1ng

Finding the ideal tourist card for you depends on the type of trip you are going to make in San Francisco. Although it may not seem like it, this is important because you will avoid buying a pass that is too big for your stay, or worse, too small.

So when choosing your pass to visit San Francisco I advise you to compare them first and consider factors such as your tastes and interests, the time you are going to be there and the budget you have available.

Is it worth buying the San Francisco City Pass?

Discover the wax statues of fashionable actors at Madame Tussauds Museum| ©Gallant's Photography
Discover the wax statues of fashionable actors at Madame Tussauds Museum| ©Gallant's Photography

Absolutely. Not only will you have access to many of San Francisco's main tourist attractions, but it has other advantages as it will allow you to save time (by avoiding lines at the ticket booths) and money (by being able to enter the main attractions at a reduced rate and enjoy discounts).

What attractions are included in the San Francisco City Pass?

Visit the USS Pampanito| ©Steve Knight
Visit the USS Pampanito| ©Steve Knight
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • San Francisco Bay Cruise
  • Aquarium of the Bay
  • Exploratorium (San Francisco Museum of Science, Technology and the Arts)
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Walt Disney Family Museum
  • San Francisco Zoo
  • Madame Tussauds Museum
  • Oracle Park (the home stadium of the San Francisco Giants)
  • Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals & Tours
  • USS Pampanito Submarine
  • M. H. de Young Memorial Museum
  • USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier Museum
  • Asian Art Museum
  • Contemporary Jewish Museum
  • K1 Speed San Francisco
  • Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals & Tours
  • GoCar GPS Guided Tours
  • And much more.

How do the San Francisco City Pass and other passes work?

Oracle Park| © rocor
Oracle Park| © rocor

When you receive the pass after purchase, I recommend that you carefully read the instructions it comes with for proper use. However, San Francisco Tourist Cards generally work as follows:

  • San Francisco City Pass: To access the attractions you can present the pass on a mobile device or print it.

  • Go San Francisco Card: Just download the pass to your mobile device. No need to redeem a voucher.

  • San Francisco Explorer Pass: Just print the pass or download the code to your mobile device. No voucher is required.

Does the San Francisco City Pass include the sightseeing bus and what about the other passes?

Visit the city by bus| © megabus13601
Visit the city by bus| © megabus13601

The tourist passes that include the San Francisco sightseeing bus tour with free stops are the Go San Francisco Card and the San Francisco Explorer Pass. With this bus you will be able to explore the city and move around it with total comfort creating your own route, it is the most practical and fastest way to get to know San Francisco if it is the first time you travel there!

In addition, with the San Francisco City Pass and the San Francisco Explorer Pass you will have unlimited use of Muni public transportation (Muni Metro, historic streetcars, subways, buses and cable cars) for 3 consecutive days and 1 full day, respectively.

How many days do I have to use the San Francisco City Pass or the other passes?

Enjoy a Bay Cruise| © DARSHAN SIMHA
Enjoy a Bay Cruise| © DARSHAN SIMHA
  • San Francisco City Pass: The pass is valid for 9 days from the date of first use and expires 1 year from the date of purchase.

  • Go San Francisco Card: Pass is valid for 1, 2, 3 or 5 days from the date of first use and is valid for 2 years from date of purchase to first use.

  • San Francisco Explorer Pass: The 3, 4 and 5 attraction pass is valid for a period of 30 days while the 2 attraction pass (Go San Francisco 2-Choice) is valid for 60 days from the date of first visit to the attraction. From the date of purchase this pass is valid for 2 years and is only activated when you visit the first attraction.

Frequently asked questions

  • How long does the San Francisco CityPass last?

    The CityPass is valid for 9 days from the date of first use, so you should have plenty of time to take advantage of it on your trip.

  • How much will I save with CityPass San Francisco?

    It depends on how much you use your CityPass. The more you use it, logically, the more you save: in total, up to 50% compared to buying each ticket individually.

  • Can I add extras to CityPass San Francisco?

    No, all the activities included in the CityPass are already established, but you will be able to choose between access to the Exploratorium or the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.