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8.6

Hop-on Hop-off San Francisco | 2024 Bus Options & Prices

(15 customer reviews)

$50.00

Last updated on July 13, 2024 9:55 pm
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Are you wondering how to begin planning for your favorite activities and sightseeing adventures in one of the best cities in the world? A hop–on hop–off San Francisco bus tour is the perfect place to start. 

Whether it’s experiencing unparalleled views of San Francisco Bay from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge or wine tasting in Napa Valley — the San Francisco bus tours have you covered.

These tours are fantastic because they allow you to see more sights in less time. Plus, unlike traditional tours that can be lengthy and restrictive, the hop–on hop–off San Francisco buses give you the freedom and convenience to come and go as you choose. 

Otherwise known as big bus tours, these outings are great fun for the whole family, couples, and solo adventurers. 

Highlights:

  • Explore San Francisco on an open-top, double-decker bus
  • Cruise over the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Visit the most iconic sights in the city 
  • Learn about San Francisco’s culture and history while enjoying the fresh breeze and sun on your face

Know before you book:

  • You may only hop-on and hop-off at certain spots stated in the tour details 
  • An adult must accompany all children under the age of 16
  • Make sure you bring along your ID/passport 

Row of houses in San Francisco

As the cultural capital of Northern California, San Francisco is a buzzing metropolis brimming with culture, music, art and history.  

San Francisco is in California, which is one of the best warm places to visit in December in the USA. That being said, the open-top bus tours will exceed your expectations no matter the time of year. 

You can choose between a one-day and two-day pass. The passes are valid for 24 or 48 hours after authorizing your ticket. Some passes include certain activities, such as a complimentary bike rental across the Golden Gate Bridge or a free guided tour of Alcatraz Prison. 

The buses stop at over 15 top landmarks and tourist destinations around San Francisco, and the tours operate every day of the year. Experience world-famous landmarks, including Alcatraz prison, Fisherman’s Wharf, and San Francisco’s historic cable car system.  

Big Bus San Francisco 2024 Prices

The tickets start at around $50 per adult and can go up to $160 per adult, depending on what the tour includes and offers. Tickets for children aged 3-12 years are around $50. Children under the age of three ride for free. 

Compare prices across the ticket providers below:

 

San Francisco Tour Bus Times

The first bus leaves at 10 am from the Big Bus Tours Visitor Center, located at 99 Jefferson Street in Fisherman’s Wharf. The last bus leaves at 5 pm from the same stop and does the complete circuit once more. 

Buses leave every 15 minutes, with the entire circuit (if you don’t hop off) lasting approximately two hours and 10 minutes. However, in the summer, which is the high tourist season, the buses are more likely to leave every 30 minutes due to increased traffic. 

Monday – Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm

Bird's eye view of San Francisco City

Hop on Hop off Bus San Francisco: Best Time to Go

It’s best to hop on the bus first thing in the morning to get the most out of viewing San Francisco for the day. Bus seats are first-come, first-serve, and the open seats at the top fill up quickly, so be sure to get there a little earlier to grab a good spot. 

Also, avoid jumping on the bus during peak traffic hours of 4 pm to 6 pm, especially on weekdays. The buses will likely be stuck in traffic and take longer than usual to reach the next stop. 

Travel Tip: Bring a raincoat and something warm to wear so you can still enjoy the panoramic views of the city, come rain, shine or wind.  

Big Bus Night Tour San Francisco

What better way to experience San Francisco after dark than an evening tour on a big bus? Although these tours are not hop on hop off, they are a great way to see the city come to life at night. 

The Big Bus night tours are a perfect alternative to experience San Francisco if your itinerary during the day is looking a little full. The duration of the night tours is approximately one hour and 30 minutes, and the tour covers seven top sights in San Francisco.

Choose from the multiple departure times of 6:30 pm or 7 pm. In April through October, there is an added departure time of 7:30 pm. All night tour buses depart from 99 Jefferson Street in Fisherman’s Wharf. After the tour, the bus returns to the original place of departure.

Big Bus Tours San Francisco | Packages & Tickets

You’ll get to choose from a variety of Big Bus Tours in the city. San Francisco’s hop-on-hop-off tours that operate during the day each offer something unique. 

Before your tour, exchange your voucher at the official ticket office on the corner of Jefferson and Mason Street in Fisherman’s Wharf. 

Additionally, you can download the Big Bus App to live-track buses and view the locations of stops. 

Bus Tour San Francisco: 1 or 2 Day Pass

Enjoy incredible views and learn more about San Francisco’s most famous landmarks. Hop on and off to explore Chinatown, Union Square, and Civic Center, to name a few destinations. 

The buses also stop at the Golden Gate Bridge — a perfect opportunity for some fantastic photos and beautiful vantage points of the city and San Francisco Bay. The Golden Gate Bridge is arguably San Francisco’s most famous landmark. 

Buying the 48-hour ticket grants you free access to a bike rental so you can cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge. This ticket also permits free admission to the USS Pampanito, a WWII submarine that is now a museum and memorial. 

Two San Francisco trams

What we liked: Friendly and efficient bus drivers.


INCLUDES:
  • One ticket that is valid for 24 or 48 hours 
  • A one hour guided walking tour through Chinatown at 1 pm
  • Guided commentary available in 10 languages 

EXCLUDES:
  • Food and drinks 
  • Tips for the guides 

The San Francisco hop-on, hop-off bus allows you to create your own leisurely city itinerary. You can get on and off an unlimited amount of times between 10 am and 5 pm for the duration your ticket is valid.   

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Bus Tour San Francisco: 2 Day Pass + Night Tour + Alcatraz

With a free trip to Alcatraz Prison and an incredible night tour of the city, this two-day pass is an excellent choice if you’re up for the ultimate San Francisco adventure. 

Take a 10-minute ferry across the San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island, home of the infamous Alcatraz Prison. Ferries come and go every 15 minutes from Pier 33. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll learn about the fascinating history of the maximum security prison and the lives of its former inmates. 

Note: The date you choose for your tour is the same as the Alcatraz tour. You’ll be informed about the exact prison tour time 24 to 48 hours before it starts. The same goes for the night tour time. 

Alcatraz Prison on Alcatraz Island

During the day, the buses follow the circuit of the Red Route. You will experience a completely different path for the night tour — the Blue Route. 

The Blue Route will take you past Nob Hill, along the waterfront of Fisherman’s Wharf, and then over the Oakland Bay Bridge to Treasure Island. On the night tour, you’ll see San Francisco come alive with glistening lights and bustle. 

Note: The night tour lasts one hour and does not allow you to hop on and off. 

San Francisco city at night

What we liked: The ferry ride to Alcatraz Island.


INCLUDES:
  • Two-day unlimited hop-on, hop-off bus pass 
  • One hour panoramic night tour 
  • Guided commentary available in 10 languages 

EXCLUDES:
  • Food and drinks 
  • Tips for the guides  

The San Francisco Big Bus Night Tour is the perfect activity to kick off your evening in the city. Although the night tours do not have the hop on hop off feature, they are still a great way to explore San Francisco and experience the city all lit up and alive after dark. 

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8.6Expert Score
Editor Review
The San Francisco Big Bus Tours are a must for first-timers, regular visitors, and even local residents. The open-top bus tours give you an authentic feel of San Francisco's culture. The bus commentaries are engaging and filled with exciting information about the city's history and landmarks.
Location
10
Value for Money
8
Convenience
8
PROS
  • Hop on and off an unlimited amount of times
  • Informative audio tour guide included and available in 10 languages
  • Suitable for people of all ages
CONS
  • Not ideal in rainy weather
  • Buses often move slowly during peak traffic hours
  • No food or drinks (other than water) allowed on the buses

Specification: Hop-on Hop-off San Francisco | 2024 Bus Options & Prices

Accessible

Buses are wheelchair accessible. Please double check this and confirm with the official tour company.

Duration

2-3 hours

Inclusions

Bus ticket, pre-recorded commentary available in 10 languages

Exclusions

Food, drinks, gratuities

Meals

Not included

Pick-up

All Bis Bus Tours – pick up at 99 Jefferson Street

Suited for

All ages

15 reviews for Hop-on Hop-off San Francisco | 2024 Bus Options & Prices

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  1. Avatar

    Jayne_C

    I found this not worth the money. Do one of the other tours. The movie sightseeing tour was much better and I found out a lot more information about San Fran than I did on the open top bus. A lot of stops were not manned by staff so unless u knew where they were they could be hard to find.

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    Susan_H

    Pros: Wonderful scenery. Comprehensive tour of the many different areas of the city. Cons: audio commentary was hit and miss. There were long periods of 'holding' music when information would have been helpful. Tip: Wear a coat if windy as can be very cold on top deck.

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    Richard_M

    We had a great time. This is a great way to be introduced to San Francisco. Whenever we revisie, our first stop in Big Bus to introduce new friends to San Francisco!!

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    48qrpky4w7

    The guys were brilliant and very friendly. Handed out free ponchos to everyone when it was raining. The bus was a fab way off finding your way round (hop on & off when required) and seeing new sights we didn’t know about. Would highly recommend.

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