San Francisco City Tour and Alcatraz
- Union Square – Financial District
Union Square today is the main square of the city where you will find the most important department stores such as Macy’s, Nemun Marcus, numerous shops of the most important brands of the firmament of high fashion and the most famous jewelers in the world. The square takes its name from the first pro-union meeting at the time of the American Civil War 1861. The monument erected in the center is in memory of the sailors of the United States Navy. The adjacent Financial Center is the second most important center of US finance after New York.
San Francisco is home to the largest Chinese neighborhood in the West. Founded in 1840, it is the place emphasized in the world of cinema, literature, music and photography. Crossing the “Dragon Gate”, characterized by portals with dragon sculptures and symbol of traditional Chinese culture. Along the main street, Grant Avenue, a myriad of typical shops and restaurants, the setting for numerous Hollywood films with actors such as Bruce Lee, Will Smith, Clint Eastwood and Eddie Murphy and others, especially interesting for the architecture that blends the oriental style with the western style. Stockton Street, with its food market, which runs parallel to Grant Avenue, is the heart of the neighborhood and deserves more attention.
- North Beach
This neighborhood is the “Little Italy of the West”. San Francisco has historically been home to a large Italian American community, although other ethnic groups currently live in the neighborhood. There are numerous Italian restaurants and it was also the historic center of the Beatnik subculture. Today it has become one of San Francisco’s main nightlife districts. It also includes the famous Broadway where numerous strep tease clubs have sprung up and where Carol Doda was the promoter of the first topless shows in the Bay Area in 1964.
- Fisherman’s Wharf
The heart of tourist activities is an area frequented by about 16 million visitors a year. The main attractions are the pier (Pier) 39, an outdoor shopping center with several dozen commercial activities such as restaurants, souvenir shops and more. The most curious area is the one where, at the end of the pier, a colony of “sea lions” lives, marine mammals characterized by facial hair and the color of their coat very similar to seals. Other attractions are the boats moored in the adjacent marina, a carousel handmade by artisans in Italy with over 1800 flashing lights and 30 wooden animals to ride, musicians, street artists and an aquarium. Hard Rock Café, the iconic Rock restaurant is located at the entrance to Pier 39. The neighborhood takes its name from the dawn of the city in the mid-1800s, when immigrants from around the world arrived in the city during the “gold rush” of 1849. Many Italian immigrant fishermen dedicated themselves to fishing and settled in the vicinity. called North Beach. Since then, the region has been the starting point for the fishing industry. In the 1970s and 1980s, after the decline in fishing activity, the region was redeveloped into a tourist attraction. Today, it is the center of tourist activity with an average annual presence of more than 16 million tourists per year (2016 data, record year).
- Palace of Fine Arts
The “Palace of Fine Arts” in the Marina district is a monumental structure originally built for the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915 to exhibit the works of art and masterpieces presented at the Expo. It is one of the few surviving structures of the Exhibition, which remained in its original site, rebuilt in 1965. Completely renovated in 2009.
- Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park
When it was built in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge was the first longest suspension bridge in the world with an impressive distance, for the time of 2.8 km. Overlooking the bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, it connects the coast between north and south, avoiding the long journey around the San Francisco bay which measures approximately 60 ml (97 km).
Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco, is a large rectangular park of 1017 acres (4.1 km²), 174 acres more than Central Park in New York, to which it is often compared. With 13 million annual visitors, Golden Gate Park is the third most visited urban park in the United States after Central Park in New York and Lincoln Park in Chicago. The sports facilities allow the visitor to practice all sports, have a picnic, visit the Academy of Sciences (sustainable building designed by Renzo Piano, Italian architect) and the Museum of Contemporary Art “De Young”. There are many botanical gardens, including the Japanese tea garden.
During the 1967 “Summer of Love”, psychedelic rock music was entering the lives of young people, receiving more and more space on commercial radios. Scott McKenzie’s song “San Francisco (… be sure to put flowers in your hair when coming to San Francisco)” became a hit that year: the neighborhood’s fame reached its peak becoming a paradise for many rock artists and bands psychedelics of the time such as Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and the likes of Janis Joplin Jimi Hendrix who all lived in the neighborhood immortalizing Pop Culture with the music and songs of that period.
- Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks owes its name to the two peaks, about 283 meters high, from which you can admire a 360 ° view of the city and the bay of San Francisco, as well as the Pacific Ocean. The view of the “Skyline” of the city center is extraordinary.
- Castro District
Commonly referred to as “The Castro”, it is a neighborhood at the foot of Twin Peaks. Castro was one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States. After passing through a popular neighborhood in the 1960s and 1970s, Castro remains one of the most important symbols of activism for the LGBTQ community in the world.
- Alamo Square
The historic district of Alamo Square is important for the set of residential architecture created by illustrious architects covering the period from 1870 to the 1920s. the famous “Postcard Row” with in its background the skyline of the city center is identified all over the world with San Francisco as the Cable Cars, the climbs and descents of the numerous hills and sea lions of Fisherman’s Wharf … With a variety of architectural styles , the neighborhood is unified in its residential character, type of construction, materials (mainly wood), intense ornaments (especially at the entrance and the cornices). The term was first used in Victorian homes in San Francisco by the writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their 1978 book “Painted Ladies”.
- Civic Center – City Hall
The San Francisco Administrative Center is an area that contains many of the city’s most important government and cultural institutions. It has two large squares (Civic Center Plaza and United Nations Plaza) and a number of buildings in classic architectural style – City Hall, Symphony Hall, Opera House, Herbst Theater, State of California Building, Court House, Asian Art Museum and the main Public Library .
- The city tour end at Pier 33 for the following Alcatraz Tour.
- The excursion consists of a visit to the abandoned prison located on the island of Alcatraz located at the center of the SF bay for about 2.30/3.0 hours, including round-trip ferry transportation.
- Departures every 30 minutes
– December through March from 8:45 am until 13:05 pm last departure.
– April through November from 8:40 am until 15:45 pm last departure.
- The tour is audio-guided, with a narration system provided by earphones connected to a multilingual MP3 player, lasting about 45 minutes with the possibility of forwarding, rewinding and pausing.
- You will collect the entrance tickets to the “Group ticket office” of the Pier 33.
- Participants has to show a valid I.D. (driver license or passport, etc.). The duration of the passage by ferry is about 15/20 minutes.
- On the ferry there is a photo shoot to make a “souvenir photo” of the participants made digitally with a background that reproduces the island, to be purchased if desired. Upon returning from the excursion, the photo will be available on a panel at the departure time. It is sold with a package that contains photos of different sizes and frames.
- Smoking, drinking alcohol or eating are prohibited on the island, only water is allowed; this is to avoid damaging and / or polluting the flora and fauna. An attempt has been made to recover the original ecological environment since the prison ceased its activity. It is also recommended to follow the marked routes without overcoming the barriers that prohibit some areas where buildings and / or routes are precarious and unstable with the risk of falling over rubble.
- Upon arrival at the landing pier on the island of Alcatraz, a Park Ranger (National Parks Service Officer) greeted us and will provide general information as well as prohibitions and recommendations on behavior during the visit.
- To access the prison, where the storytelling device will be distributed at the Cellhouse, there is an ascent of about 1/4 (0.4Km) of a mile. with a drop of about 130 (40 meters) feet the equivalent of walking up a 13-story building spread out over a 1/4 of a mile.
- For people with walking difficulties or medical conditions that require assistance, there is a motorized (electric) “Tram” service that takes the passenger to the top of the island avoiding the demanding climb.
- Once inside the prison, and having withdrawn the narrative system, you will listen to the guided recording where the visitor crosses the corridors of the cells of the most dangerous criminals in American history of the 1930s. Places where the dramatic events that inspired the Hollywood films took place, “Escape from Alcatraz” or “The Rock”, all accompanied by sound effects and voices of various criminal characters, including the most famous Al Capone.
- Once the visit is over, the audio system is returned and you can spend some time to buy some souvenirs in the shop before returning to the pier where the ferry will take the visitor to San Francisco Pier 33.
- The return to the hotel is free and at will, we will not take you back to the hotel. Public transport and taxis are available in the immediate vicinity.
3.30 hrs City Tour + 2.30 hrs Alcatraz Tour
( *) prices are subject to change Discounted rates for children and teenagers
City Tour Live Tour Guide
Alcatraz narrated with Audio Guide.