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San Francisco CityPASS Review: Is It Worth It?

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If you’re looking for a way to save on your trip to San Francisco, look no further than the CityPASS. This booklet offers tourists discounts on some of the city’s most popular attractions, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and more. So is it worth buying? Let’s take a closer look.

With so many sights to visit, top food and drinks to try, and so many other San Francisco attractions, plus the hotel expenses, there’s no doubt that these could add up and cost you a fortune.

But that isn’t necessary. You won’t have to worry about added costs for tourist attractions while using the CityPASS because it covers them all, and you can do so at your own pace.

There are a number of available passes that will allow you to explore San Francisco without hurting your bank account. You only need to get the right passes to see all San Francisco CityPass attractions. Choose the one that comes with good value.

Golden Gate bridge

Here are a few things about the San Francisco CityPass you must consider.

What can people expect from the San Francisco CityPASS?

The San Francisco CityPass offers a wide array of package tours for San Francisco’s top attractions you can choose from. While it is often compared to the GO San Francisco Pass, these two are all-inclusive for their packages. This means that the rate you pay already includes the transfers and the general admission fees for all the attractions.

San Francisco CityPASS Pricing

The pricing of the San Francisco CityPASS is a great deal for tourists. For just $76, adults can visit four of the included attractions. This is a 44% discount from the regular admission prices at these attractions.

Children aged 11 and below can visit four attractions for $56, which is also great. With CityPASS, you can save money and enjoy some of the best attractions San Francisco has to offer.

The card also comes with the official CityPASS online travel guide that offers great tips and suggestions on what to do and see in San Francisco.

Where can I buy the San Francisco CityPASS?

It is easy to buy the San Francisco CityPass online using their official website. Alternatively, if you plan on buying other tours when visiting San Francisco, we suggest using GetYourGuide to buy the CityPASS, tours and other various attractions in one central place.

San Francisco Sightseeing Passes

San Francisco CityPASS Website
San Francisco CityPASS / CityPASS

You can choose from a few different tourist passes besides using CityPASS. Each of these has different options for included attractions. Regardless, these are great for saving money during any travel experience.

After all, you are buying the city pass so that you’ll be able to experience the best of San Francisco without using up all your savings.

GO City San Francisco Explorer Pass

GO City San Francisco Explorer Pass Website
GO City San Francisco Explorer Pass / GoCity

The GO San Francisco Explorer Pass is better for visitors who want to see more than four attractions. The card offers access to 38 attractions and comes with a free guidebook as well. Adults pay $89 for the card, a 49% discount from regular admission prices, while children aged 11 and below can get it for $59.

The card also includes a free Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour, which is great for getting around the city.

San Francisco Flex Pass

Sightseeing San Francisco Flex Pass
San Francisco Flex Pass / Sightseeing Pass

The San Francisco Flex Pass is perfect for visitors who want to customize their tourist experience. The pass offers access to 15 attractions; visitors can choose which ones they want to visit. The pass also includes a free Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour.

Adults pay $119 for the card, while children aged 11 and below can get it for $89. Like the San Francisco CityPASS, the FlexPass also comes with a guidebook that offers great tips and suggestions on what to do and see in San Francisco.

Which Pass is the Best for You?

The best way to experience all that the city has to offer is by using one of these city passes. They offer great deals and discounts on some of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning tourist, be sure to check out one of these passes before your next visit to San Francisco.

Both tourist passes have their benefits, ultimately depending on what you want to see and do. If you want an all-inclusive experience with transfers and entrance fees, then the San Francisco CityPASS is your best option. If you are happy paying for individual tickets and don’t mind doing extra research, then the GO San Francisco Explorer Pass is the better option.

While there are other tourist passes for San Francisco, these two are the most popular and offer the best value. Whichever one you choose, you can save money on some of the top attractions.

Considering that San Fran is a highly urbanized city, tours around it and the corresponding attractions do not come cheap. Let’s look at how the San Francisco CityPASS works and the corresponding reviews of each attraction included.

How the San Francisco CityPass Works

San Francisco CityPASS Inclusion Details
San Francisco CityPASS / CityPASS

The first fact about the CityPass is that it allows you access to a number of popular attractions the city has to offer in one single all-inclusive pass. The San Francisco CityPass comes with tickets to individual attractions. If you are wondering where to buy CityPass in San Francisco, you can purchase it online.

Once you pass, getting through all the attractions will become easy. You have to present the mobile or physical paper ticket at the gates of any attraction, and you are good to go.

You may choose to visit the sites in the order that you wish. The pass becomes activated once you have presented it on the first site you visited. Upon activation, the pass is valid for the next nine days. That is just enough time to visit all the attractions you wish to.

San Francisco CityPASS Attraction Details
San Francisco CityPASS / CityPASS

Second, the CityPass can point you in the right direction. It gives you a whole itinerary, so don’t worry about where to go or what places to visit. Perhaps the best part is that you can get it at a flat, discounted rate to see all of San Francisco’s top attractions.

You’ll be surprised at how significantly lower the prices of these attractions are than if you decide to go from one place to another and buy the tickets from there separately.

See Related: GoCity Amsterdam Review: Is it Worth it? 

What tourist attractions are included in the San Francisco CityPass?

How much do you know about San Francisco? Remember, the goal is to do the things you want to do and do it for much less using the San Francisco CityPass. You don’t need to know everything, but at least have an idea about what amazing things you can do in the city.

This way, you will gauge which Passes are worth spending money on and which are not worth your time. There is a long list of things to do and places to visit, but which among the San Francisco CityPass attractions makes your heart leap?

View of the Golden Gate bridge

This is what you need to find out. Before your trip, do a little bit of research. Before you search how to buy San Francisco CityPASS, you must first look into what attractions you’d like to visit and which ones you’d take a pass on.

Also, take delight in CityPass San Francisco cable car rides as an add-on to your trip. The San Francisco CityPass includes access to four of the top destinations in the city. When you avail of the pass, you will be able to visit two attractions by default and a choice of the other two, and they all come cash-free.

First, there is the California Academy of Science. The second is the Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruise.

For the other two, you may choose from the following:

  • The Walt Disney Family Museum
  • Aquarium of the Bay
  • San Francisco Zoo and Gardens
  • Exploratorium

There is something that makes the CityPASS even more interesting. You can take the Escape from the Rock Cruise and Alcatraz Tour in exchange for the one-hour bay cruise offered by the Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure.

The former is the cruise that will take you around Alcatraz Island. If you decide to switch, you must add a few more dollars when booking.

See Related: Places to Visit in December on a Budget

California Academy Of Sciences

Red Bus on a Road

How would you like to spend the day exploring a natural and history museum, a living rain forest, an interactive aquarium, not to mention a stunning planetarium?

They may sound like four different things, but each offers a cool experience you’d never regret. You’ll find them all at the California Academy of Sciences.

The California Academy of Sciences is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco, and for good reason. It’s home to a natural history museum, a rainforest, an aquarium, and a planetarium, all under one roof. The museum is also known for its innovative exhibits, which change regularly.

The Academy is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and general admission tickets usually cost $39. With the San Francisco CityPASS, you’ll get general admission for free, as well as a ticket to the aquarium and the planetarium.

What’s more? It comes with a 15% coupon that you can choose to use at the California Academy of Sciences gift shop. Not only will you have to enjoy yourself, but you can take a piece of San Francisco with you when you go home.

Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure

Golden Gate Bridge and Skyline

If you’re looking for a relaxing way to see the sights, a San Francisco Bay cruise is a great option. The Blue & Gold Fleet San Francisco Bay offers cruises in the morning and the afternoon, and tickets usually cost around $30.

With the San Francisco CityPASS, you’ll get a ticket for a San Francisco Bay cruise, either the Golden Gate Bay Cruise or the Sausalito Ferry. The Golden Gate Bay Cruise takes you under the Golden Gate Bridge, while the Sausalito Ferry takes you to the charming town of Sausalito.

When you decide to take on the Blue & Gold Fleet San Francisco Bay Cruise, you give yourself an hour of narrated cruise that hits some of the city’s major landmarks.

You will sail past the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. Then, you’ll get a relaxing cruise to take in all that San Francisco Bay has to offer, including a cruise around historic Alcatraz Island. The audio tour is offered in nine different languages. You also have the seating option of whether you want to stay indoors or take in the outdoors.

The Blue & Gold Fleet San Francisco Bay Cruise Adventure also offers a variety of other cruises, including a wine-tasting cruise and a whale-watching cruise. Here’s a tip for you, though. If you take on the outdoors, don’t forget to bring a jacket.

The temperature during the cruise can get quite low. With that, you may also take the early morning or the later afternoon cruise. These schedules are usually the less crowded ones.

San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

Butterfly on a Flower

The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is a zoo located in the city of San Francisco, California. The zoo covers an area of 100 acres (40 ha) and is home to more than 250 animal species. The gardens cover an area of 6 acres (2.4 ha) and include a Japanese tea garden, a butterfly garden, and a children’s garden.

The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is a great place to visit for families with children. The zoo has a wide variety of animals to see, and the gardens are a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

General admission to the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens can be purchased separately. The regular admission costs to visit are $25 per adult and $18 for children ages 2 to 11 years old.

As part of the San Francisco CityPASS, you can elect to visit as one of your multiple included attractions and have a general admission ticket.

Walt Disney Family Museum

Walt Disney Family Musuem

If you’re traveling with kids, the Walt Disney Family Museum is a must-see. It’s dedicated to the life and work of Walt Disney, and it features exhibits on everything from his early cartoons to his theme parks.

The exhibits in the Walt Disney Family Museum are made interactive and interesting, featuring the voice of Walt Disney himself. It also includes an array of early drawings of your favorite Disney characters.

They also select around 200 of your favorite Disney films to test. The multiplane camera, which creates a 3D effect while transporting you back in time to the old Disney movies, will bring back memories for you.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; tickets usually cost $40. With CityPASS, you’ll get admission for free. The Walt Disney Family Museum is located in the Presidio, a beautiful park and a great place to take a walk after you visit the museum.

See Related: Best Walking Tours in San Francisco

Aquarium of the Bay

Aquarium of the Bay

The Aquarium of the Bay is a popular attraction in San Francisco, and it’s easy to see why. It’s home to more than 20,000 marine life from San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

The aquarium is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; regular admissions costs are $29 per person. With the San Francisco CityPASS, you’ll get admission for free.

While you may think the California Academy of Sciences aquarium was enough, this one’s a whole different level. The Aquarium of the Bay is known for its innovative exhibits, which change regularly. It’s a great place to take the kids, and they’ll love seeing the fish, sharks, and other marine animals up close.

The San Francisco CityPass will take you through 300 feet of tunnels with a view of more than 20,000 marine animals. It offers a massive and immersive exhibit of all your imagination’s best sea creatures.

There are moon jellies, colorful rockfish, sharks, river otters, and the famous giant Pacific octopus. The Touch of the Bay exhibit always wins the hearts of young visitors.

You can get your hands on sea stars and leopard sharks, to name a few. What makes it even better is that naturalists are on the deck to answer queries about the different creatures you see.

The Aquarium of the Bay is also home to a 4D theater. The theater features four short films, each with unique effects.

See Related: Day Trips from San Francisco



If you want an interactive learning activity for your kids, take on the exploratorium. It will make them experience art, science, and human perception all at the same time. The Tinkering Studio is a big hit among kids and kids at heart. It is where they can build just about anything.

The Soap Film Painting Exhibits and Colored Shadows will leave you mesmerized if you are more of a visual learner. The name of this place itself suggests one thing: they have something for everyone to enjoy.

de Young Museum

De Young Museum from Golden Gate Park
Kyle Kroeer / ViaTravelers

If you’re interested in art, the de Young Museum is a must-see. It’s home to one of the most impressive collections of American art in the country, as well as works from around the world.

The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.; tickets usually cost $25. With the San Francisco CityPASS, you’ll get admission for free.

The de Young Museum is located in Golden Gate Park, a great place to visit after seeing the museum. The park is home to a variety of attractions, including a Japanese tea garden and a carousel.

The de Young Museum is also home to a café, which is a great place to have a bite to eat after you’ve finished exploring the museum.

See Related: Driving Lombard Street in San Francisco

Benefits of the San Francisco CityPASS

Golden Gate bridge

Apart from the attractions, make sure that your San Francisco CityPASS will let you experience the life that the city has to offer. It is all about the experience. More than anything, it is about how these sights and sounds make you feel at the end of the day.

Here are some of the many benefits that the CityPass has to offer:

  • Savings of about 44% from all the admission fees
  • No-fuss streamlined entries for each attraction
  • Validity for 9 days
  • Comes with mobile tickets and a digital pass

One of the best things about reading about the attractions before the experience is that you get to assess how you feel about the thought of it.

That alone will help you decide which one you’d like to take as soon as you visit San Francisco. There’s no doubt that getting the CityPASS is worth every dollar.

See Related: Best Activities for a Girls’ Trip to San Francisco

Travel Tips for Using the San Francisco CityPASS

When using the CityPASS, be sure to visit all of the attractions. This will provide the best value for your money. The savings diminish if you miss two attractions.

For the greatest savings, visit the aquarium, the Exploratorium, or the Walt Disney Family Museum and pair those with the San Francisco Bay Cruise to make the most of your San Fran travel passes. Next, review attraction requirements, as some included attractions require reservations in advance.

San Francisco CityPASS Review: Is it Worth the Price?

San Francisco CityPASS Review: Is It Worth It? (2024)

With the sights, top food and drinks, and many other attractions, plus hotel expenses in Frisco, can't something help with costs? Enter San Francisco CityPASS!

Product Brand: San Francisco CityPASS

Editor's Rating:


  • Fixed Cost
  • Available Online
  • Best for First Time Travelers
  • Skip in Lines
  • Access to San Francisco's Top Attractions


  • Limited Attractions
  • Rush Tour in Between Attractions Not Best for Those Who Want a Guided Tour Suitable to Travelers With Specific Itinerary
Alcatraz Island

No matter how exciting all these places can be, if you don’t have enough money to visit them, you won’t enjoy the experience of being in the San Francisco Bay Area.

So, is the San Francisco CityPASS worth it? In our opinion, yes! In our San Francisco CityPASS review, we believe the San Francisco CityPASS allows you to visit some of the city’s most popular attractions for a fraction of the price.

It’s also a great way to visit attractions you might not normally have the time or money to visit. If you’re traveling to San Francisco, be sure to get a CityPASS.

So before you decide which San Francisco CityPass you’d get, it is best to set a budget for yourself, and this sightseeing pass offers a great deal to see all of the best attractions in San Francisco.

Think about it this way: the budget puts your trip into perspective. When you know how much you can afford, it is easy to decide what to do with all the rest.

The budget that you put on the trip will put everything in perspective. Both prove to be very good attractions, but which one will suit your taste and your budget? Either way, you know you’ll enjoy it because you won’t have to worry about whether you have enough to spend.


Is CityPASS worth it for San Francisco?

Yes, San Francisco CityPASS is worth it. You’ll get 5 top things to do at a discounted price: regular adult prices for three attractions instead of 4 (SF Zoo + Aquarium of the Bay combo ticket, Exploratorium ticket, and Palace of Fine Arts ticket), more savings on the California Academy of Sciences and up to $7 off admission on Alcatraz Cruises and Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise tours with your pass purchase.

What is San Francisco C3?

Otherwise known as the San Francisco CityPASS, C3 is a booklet that offers tourists admission to some of the best attractions in the city for a fraction of the price.

The booklet includes a 9-day pass for either Muni (the public transportation system) or cable cars, as well as admission to the California Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium, the Walt Disney Family Museum, and other places of interest such as the Blue and Gold Fleet-Bay Cruise Adventure, the Aquarium of the Bay, the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens, and a choice between the Asian Art Museum or the de Young Museum. CityPASS holders can also enjoy a 50% discount on admission to the Legion of Honor.

Other CityPASS Reviews

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