Your San Francisco Cruise: Six Must-See Sights

Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its completion. Today, it is the most iconic sight in San Francisco.
Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its completion. Today, it is the most iconic sight in San Francisco.

The jewel of the West Coast, San Francisco is a city brimming with art, culture, and spectacular scenery. To get the most out of your San Francisco cruise, you will no doubt want to explore this vibrant city. Save precious time and make your stop in San Francisco meaningful by visiting these top-rated sights and attractions:

Alcatraz

Once upon a time it was the first lighthouse to be lighted on the West Coast, and later, it was a fortress, but Alcatraz is best known for having been a federal penitentiary. Some of the most notorious criminals of the twentieth century were held there between 1934 and 1963. On an excursion to Alcatraz, you can take a self-guided audio tour of the jail and see where the prisoners once lived.

Golden Gate Bridge

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is one sight you cannot miss on your San Francisco cruise. Completed in 1937, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time, connecting the city to Marin County. The sidewalks are open to pedestrians, allowing them to walk its 1.7 mile length for views of the bay and the city.

Golden Gate Park

Covering over 1,000 acres, Golden Gate Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world. The true lungs of the city, it's ideal for outdoorsy, active people with miles of paths to explore and ample space to relax with a picnic or practice sports. It is also home to museums, botanical gardens, the Japanese Tea Garden, an aquarium and lots more.

Pier 39

Pier 39 may be the best destination to pack in as many San Francisco activities into the day as possible. A 45-acre entertainment complex built on two levels, this is a great place for everything from feasting on clam chowder and fine Californian wines to gazing out over the bay, listening to live music acts, shopping, and even watching the famous sea lions playing at the end of the wharf — and all only a stone's throw from the ship's pier.

Bus Tours

If you want to see more of the city at your own pace, the Hop On and Hop Off Bus is a great way to do so. It stops at 20 of the top sights in the city, so visitors can choose whether to get off and explore, or stay on and continue with the narrated tour. The itinerary takes in Washington Square, a historic park; North Beach, the city's own Little Italy; Union Square, a hub of art and culture; and Golden Gate Park, among others.

Sausalito

If you choose to venture beyond the city limits, consider visiting Sausalito. Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, it's a scenic little town to stroll around, with numerous excellent restaurants and a whole host of arts and crafts stores, boutiques, and art galleries to visit.

Fascinated by San Francisco? Discover California Coastal cruises that include a stop at the City By The Bay.