San Francisco CityPASS vs The Sightseeing Pass vs GoCity

BOOK MY SPOT NOW!
Updated: Dezember 21, 2023

As tour guides, we're always trying to provide excellent information about every city where we offer our services, including how to save money on popular attractions.

In San Francisco, one of the best ways to save on tours and other activities is by using a discount pass. There are currently 3 different types of passes in this city:

The basic idea behind most of these passes is that you'll pay one flat price for access to multiple popular activities.

There are also combo packages you might want to consider, including some that provide tickets to Alcatraz!

For a more detailed explanation, make sure to check our section covering information to consider before you buy.

If you're interested in what locals and travelers think about these services, check out some of the most helpful recommendations members of our San Francisco Travel Tips Facebook group have made.


BEFORE YOU BUY

San Francisco tourist passes (or attraction discount passes) can help you save a lot of money on popular activities throughout the city.

Here are ten of the top attractions included with most of these services.

With so many options, we have broken down the tourist passes by type and then gone into detail about each pass. 


The San Francisco Sightseeing Pass and the Go City San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass are both All-inclusive passes (think all-you-can-eat buffet) that include entrance/access to a long list of attractions, tours, and activities. 

All-Inclusive City Pass

These passes have the "potential" to save you the most money and give you the most flexibility, but in order to get those savings, you will need to stay busy.


Next are the Choose # of Attractions passes such as the San Francisco FlexPass and the Go City San Francisco Explorer Pass.

With these passes, you choose a specific number of attractions, tours, or activities (typically 2, 3, or 5) and you pick from their list of attractions. 

Pick Your Attractions Tourist Paris City Pass

In general, the range of attractions is fewer than what is available with the all-inclusive pass above, but the selection is still large. 

You won't likely save as much as the above-mentioned pass, but you will have more flexibility. 


There are prepackaged passes that bundle several specific popular attractions, thereby saving you money.

These passes are like a prix fixe/set menu dinner. These have the least amount of flexibility, but you will be certain about what you are getting.  


Lastly, there are combo passes that include Alcatraz along with a few other attractions, usually bus tours to other locations in San Francisco.

If at first glance some tourist passes seem too pricey, take the time to do some math.

Alcatraz Tours

When you calculate the regular cost of the attractions you want to see and compare it to the price of a pass, you'll find that you will save money.

We recommend that you decide in advance what you want to see, then find a pass that includes most, if not all, of those activities. 

The biggest mistake travelers do is overestimating the time and stamina that they will have, so be realistic.

And don't forget about all our “name your own price” walking tours of the city!


San Francisco Sightseeing Pass

Package-Type: Intense Planner | On-the-Go | Day or Week-Long Trip

This all-inclusive pass allows you to choose how many days you would like a pass for, and within that time you can visit as many attractions as you want for just one price.

There are over 25 different activities and locations you can enjoy with the San Francisco Sightseeing Pass.

If you intend to see a lot of sights around the city, this pass will also save you time because you won't need to wait in line to purchase attraction tickets at every location you visit.

Passes are available for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days. Once you activate it by visiting your first attraction, the clock starts ticking.

Be mindful of the time as the pass is for consecutive days. Conveniently, the San Francisco Sightseeing Pass is valid for 12 months after the initial purchase.

A great feature of this pass is that it includes a free hop-on-hop-off bus tour.

This service will take you to many of the locations included with the San Francisco Sightseeing Pass, making it pretty easy to get around town.


Prices:

Below are the prices that include a discount. In order to get these prices, you need to use our exclusive promo code: FTBF

The prices underneath each multiple-day pass listing are the average costs per day. The longer the pass, the lower the daily cost.

  • 1-Day: $74/Adults | $51.80/Children
  • 2-Day: $109/Adults | $93.10/Children
    • [$54.50/day/adult and $46.55/day/child]
  • 3-Day: $124/Adults | $119/Children
    • [$41.33/day/adult and $39.67/day/child]
  • 5-Day: $169.60/Adults | $141.40/Children
    • [$33.92/day/adult and $28.28/day/child]

Click here for more information or to purchase. Don’t forget to enter our exclusive promo code FTBF for a 20% discount!


Sample Itinerary

If you're curious about how you might use this pass to save money, the following itinerary will give you a look at how big of a discount you can get with a 3-day pass.

Day 1

  • Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour | $59.68
  • Madame Tussauds | $29.99
  • Aquarium of the Bay | $29.25
  • 7D Experience | $28

Day 2

  • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour | $63
  • Asian Art Museum | $15
  • Downtown Escape Game | $43.99
  • San Francisco Ghost Hunting Tour | $55

Day 3

  • GoCar 1-Hour Tour | $59
  • Unlimited Biking E-Bike Rental | $32.55
  • San Francisco Scavenger Hunt | $20
  • Fisherman's Wharf Escape Game | $43

Total Value: $478.46

Total Cost: $124

Total Savings: $354.46 (74% off)


Is the San Francisco Sightseeing Pass worth it?

Depending on how you use the pass, you should be able to use this pass to save a decent amount of money on the various activities included.

The more you use it, the more you'll save, so the answer to this question really depends on whether or not you plan to fit as many activities as possible into the time period when your pass will be valid.


Go City San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass

Package-Type: Intense Planner | On-the-Go | Day or Week-Long Trip

With flexible options and pricing for 1­-5 consecutive days based on your needs, the Go City San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass can’t be beaten!

This all­-inclusive pass means you are granted free admission to as many attractions as you can fit into the number of days that your pass allows.

There are 25 attractions to choose from.

All Go City San Francisco All-Inclusive and Explorer Passes have a zero-risk refund policy.  

If you don’t activate your pass up to 1 year after your purchase date, all your money will be refunded no questions asked.

Prices:

  • 1­ Day: Adults $84 | Children (ages 3-­12) $79
  • 2­ Day: Adults $124 | Children $109
    • Price per day: Adults $62 | Children $54.50
  • 3­ Day: Adults $144 | Children $124
    • Price per day: Adults $48 | Children $41.33
  • 5­ Day: Adults $184 | Children $149
    • Price per day: Adults $36.80 | Children $29.80
  • Learn more or purchase.

Check out our sample 3-day itinerary that focuses exclusively on getting the most out of the Go City San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass!

25+ Attractions Including:

  • LEGOLAND
  • San Francisco Zoo
  • California's Great America
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
  • Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
  • And more!

Before you buy:

As recommended with any of these packages, you want to plan ahead in order to get the most out of Go City San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass. 

While you have unlimited access, you don't have unlimited time.

Make sure you look at days and hours of operations for each attraction and factor in travel time.

Grouping activities in nearby locations can be a great way to get in more than just a few things in a single day!

However, there are some places you’ll want to spend more time in than others. Do your research, and this could be a very good buy!

All Go City San Francisco All-Inclusive and Explorer Passes have a zero-risk refund policy.  

If you don’t activate your pass within 1 year of your travel date, all your money will be refunded no questions asked.


Is the Go City San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass worth it?

Given that you can use it for as many of the included activities as you want, it's actually quite easy to save a lot of money using this discount pass.

If you're interested in a lot of the attractions provided by this service and you plan to visit several of them, this is a great way to get some of the best prices in San Francisco.


CHOOSE # OF ATTRACTIONS

Package Type: Moderate Planner | Extended Stay

There are a few passes (sometimes referred to as ‘pick’ passes) that allow you to create a pass by the number of attractions and activities, rather than the number of days.

These passes (Explorer Pass, the Sightseeing FlexPass, and the iVenture Card) offer the option to buy between 1- 6 attractions.

You ‘pick’ your attractions from a list of attractions, many of them among the most popular, and expensive.

By purchasing a pass, rather than each attraction individually, you can save up to 50% off the total cost of your sightseeing.

You do not need to choose in advance which attractions you will go to or what days you will visit them. Even better, most ‘pick’ passes are valid for 30 days from the date you first activate it.

Another nice perk is that at some attractions you will get fast-track entry and get to skip some general admission lines!

One slight downside to these kinds of passes is that to make the most of your savings, you should do considerable pre-planning and research.

You may even want to take out your calculator.

For example, if you pick attractions that are the most expensive (over $20), your savings will be higher.

This approach assumes that you actually want to see those attractions.

Watch out for attractions that can be visited for free on certain days or hours.

Also, there may be similar attractions and activities you can get at a lower price.

As an example, if you want to take a walking tour, why use one of your 'picks' when you can try one of our pay-what-you-wish tours? 


Go City San Francisco Explorer Pass

This pass lets you pay one price and grants admission to 3, 4, or 5 attractions that you choose from a list of 25 attractions at a discounted rate. 

You don’t need to pre-select your choices when buying but will be cut off after you’ve used your 3, 4, or 5 admissions.

The Go City San Francisco Explorer Pass is valid for 30 days from your first visit, so you can take your time making your choices.

All Go City San Francisco Explorer and All-Inclusive Passes have a zero-risk refund policy.  

If you don’t activate your pass within 1 year of your travel date, all your money will be refunded no questions asked.


Prices:

  • 2 Attractions: Adults: $66 / Children (ages 3-12): $52
    • Price per Attraction: Adults / $33 | Children / $26
  • 3 Attractions: Adults: $84 / Children (ages 3-­12): $69
    • Price per Attraction: Adults / $28 | Children / $23
  • 4 Attractions: Adults: $114 / Children (ages 3­-12): $89
    • Price per Attraction: Adults / $28.50 | Children / $22.25
  • 5 Attractions: Adults: $119 / Children (ages 3-12): $99
    • Price per Attraction: Adults / $23.80 | Children / $19.80

We recommend instant delivery via online purchase, as the lines at the ticket booth locations can get long.

You can also call 866.628.9031 and have the attraction tickets sent to your mobile device.

You’ll receive a guidebook with restaurant recommendations with your purchase!


Sample Itinerary

If you're wondering whether or not this service is worth the price, this itinerary is designed to give you an idea of how much you can save with a 5 attraction pass.

5 Attraction Explorer Pass

  • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour | $63
  • California's Great America | $50
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom | $89.99
  • Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour | $62.98
  • Escape From the Rock Cruise | $47

Total Value: $312.97

Total Cost: $119

Total Savings: $193.97 (62% off)


Is the Go City San Francisco Explorer Pass worth it?

Absolutely! One of the best things about this service is that it's valid for a total of 60 days, so you can actually take your time and explore the city at your own pace.

Although the amount you can save will be limited, the open-ended nature of the pass makes it an excellent choice for both locals and travelers.


San Francisco Sightseeing Flex Pass

San Francisco Sightseeing Pass App.

This pass allows you to choose 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 different attractions for a set price. You get to choose from a list of 25 great attractions.

Visitors who know exactly what they want to see and aren’t interested in paying for anything else should definitely consider the Flex Pass.

Once your service is activated, you will have 30 days to visit each attraction at your own discretion, making this an excellent choice for both locals and travelers alike.

Another benefit is that you have 12 months from the date of purchase to activate your Sightseeing FlexPass. 


Prices:

Below are the prices that you will pay.  The prices for the 4, 5, & 6 Attraction Flex Passes have a 20% discount applied to them. 

To get discounts on these passes, make sure to use our exclusive promo code: FTBF

The prices in red underneath each multiple-attraction pass listing are the average cost per attraction. Generally, the more attractions in the pass, the lower the average cost per attraction.

  • 2 Attractions:  $64/Adults | $54/Children
    • [$32/attraction/adult and $27/attraction/child]
  • 3 Attractions: $79/Adults | $69/Children
    • [$26.33/attraction/adult and $23/attraction/child]
  • 4 Attractions: $89/Adults | $79/Children
    • [$22.25/attraction/adult and $19.75/attraction/child]
  • 5 Attractions: $109/Adults | $99/Children
    • [$21.80/attraction/adult and $19.80/attraction/child]
  • 6 Attractions: $129/Adults | $119/Children
    • [$21.50/attraction/adult and $19.83/attraction/child]

Click here for more information or to purchase. Don’t forget to enter our exclusive promo code FTBF for a 20% discount!


25 attractions to choose from such as: 


Sample Itinerary

For those who still aren't sure whether or not this service is worth considering, the following itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible and how much you can save with a 6 attraction pass.

  • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour | $63
  • Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour | $59.68
  • San Francisco Ghost Hunting Tour | $55
  • Aquarium of the Bay | $29.25
  • Madame Tussauds | $29.99
  • GoCar 1-Hour Tour | $59

Total Value: $295.92

Total Cost: $129

Total Savings: $166.92 (56% off)


Is the San Francisco Sightseeing Pass worth it?

If you're looking to save as much money as possible on the activities included with this pass, it's definitely worth the price.

The only problem with this service is that the amount you can save is limited and based entirely on your choices, so it'll be important to pick attractions that usually cost a lot of money.


iVenture Card

(San Francisco Flexi Attractions Pass) 

Like the Explorer Pass above, the pass allows you to choose a ticket package of either 3 attractions or 5 attractions (they do not offer a 4-attraction pass).

You don’t have to choose which attractions in advance and the pass lasts for one month from the date you first activate it.

This pass will save you up to 50% of the normal admission prices.

You pick from more than 10 of San Francisco’s must-see attractions (see the full list here) including museums and several Gray Line tours outside of the San Francisco area such as the Wine Country day tour or Yosemite National Park Tour.


Prices:

  • 3 Attractions:  Adults: $65 / Children (ages 4-­15): $49
  • 5 Attractions:  Adults: $99 / Children (ages 4­-15): $79

NOTE: The iVenture Card package is not currently available as of December 2023.

Is the San Francisco iVenture Card worth it?

There are pros and cons to buying this card instead of the Explorer Card. 

A big con is that you cannot get a refund on the card if you do not use it. All sales are final. 

On the positive side, the attractions to choose from with this pass include many more tours, including ones that get you out of San Francisco to see Muir Woods, Sausalito, Yosemite Park, Wine Country, and more.  


PREPACKAGED PASSES

These types of packages save you money by bundling a certain number of attractions into one purchase at a set price.

However, you have less control over what attractions are included in your package.

Fortunately, these packages do include the attractions that most people want to see and in some cases, you are offered choices. 


San Francisco CityPASS

Package Type: Full Itinerary  | Moderate Planner | Extended Weekend or Week Long Trip

The CityPASS is a booklet of tickets that saves you 45% off [regular admission costs] of the top 4 attractions.

Two attractive features of this pass are that you get 9 consecutive days (starting from your first day of use) to visit the attractions. This gives you plenty of time to see everything included.

Also, you get to "Skip-the-Line" and gain instant access to your tickets. This can save hours of time!

https://youtu.be/UjLDQZYEPL8

Attractions:


Prices:

  • $84 - Adults
  • $64 - Children (ages 5-11)

San Francisco CityPASS tickets are either available via email or can be shipped after checkout. We recommend you purchase online here.

Before you buy:

If you are pressed for time or not particularly interested in 3 or more of the attractions listed, it might be better to look at one of the many other options below.  

Is Alcatraz included in CityPASS?

As of April 2023, this discount pass does not include tickets to Alcatraz Island.

If you're interested in saving money on this activity, there are a number of Alcatraz discounts and combo packages you might want to consider instead.

Does CityPASS include cable cars and Muni transport?

No, this pass does not currently include admission to any of the public transport options in San Francisco.

Check our post about how to ride the San Francisco Cable Car for more details on using this service.

Is the San Francisco CityPASS worth it?

The answer to this question depends upon several factors, including how long you plan to spend in the city and the pace of your sightseeing activities.

If you're looking to save the most money, another San Francisco discount pass might be a better option. However, if you want a pass that lasts a bit longer, the 9-day validity of the CityPASS makes it an excellent choice.


San Francisco Tiqets Pass

For those unfamiliar, Tiqets is a tourism service that provides access to a lot of popular activities and attractions of interest to travelers.

If you've ever used Get Your Guide or Viator before, the process with this service is quite similar.

In addition to providing various admission tickets, this company also offers their own prepackaged passes which typically include 3-4 activities.

One of the best things about these passes is that they allow you to pick the date and time for each ticket when you purchase the pass.

The only downside is that they don't usually offer a very high discount, but if it includes all the things you want or need, it might be worth the cost!


Attractions:

  • De Young Museum
  • California Academy of Science
  • Golden Gate + Bay Area Cruise
  • San Francisco Audio Guide App

Prices:

  • $103 - Adults
  • $94 - Seniors (65+)
  • $88 - Students (with ID)
  • $66 - Children (4-17)

Purchase the San Francisco Tiqets Pass.


Big Bus Explore Ticket

Package Type: Moderate Planner | Tour Lover | Short or Extended Trip

Big Bus Tours offers hop-on-hop-off tours all over San Francisco, and with the Deluxe Ticket, not only do you get 48 hours to come and go but an itinerary full of touring.

Big Bus is highly rated and this bundle is extremely affordable for all of its features:

Features:

  • 48 Hours of hop-on/hop-off bus service
  • Free Chinatown walking tour
  • Blazing Saddles Bike Rental ODER
  • Admission to USS Pampanito

Prices Online:

  • Adult $68
  • Child $60 age 3-12
  • Children under 3 FREE
  • Purchase here.

Reviewers say this is kid-friendly!

The bus ride is the highlight of this package because you get to board and disembark anytime you’d like at the designated stops all over town or stay on for over 2 hours of sightseeing.

The guides have an excellent reputation for being friendly, funny, and informative.

The only consistent complaint is that San Francisco traffic can make the buses run late, so you may want to leave extra time to arrive at any scheduled events.

NOTE: The 2 and 3-day bus tickets offered by most hop-on, hop-off companies also include free walking tours, bike rentals, and discount coupons and are themselves combo packages.


ALCATRAZ COMBOS

Alcatraz is one of the most popular destinations in the Bay Area. It’s so popular that they often sell out of tickets to the island months in advance! 

If you want to secure your ticket before heading to San Francisco, it’s best to book your tour as soon as possible.

Skyline Sightseeing offers a pretty great combo package that makes it a lot easier to guarantee access to the Alcatraz tour.

Big Bus Tours has a similar package, but there are important differences between the two. We explain all the details and benefits of each below.

Big Bus Alcatraz Combo Ticket

Skyline Sightseeing Alcatraz Combo

The Alcatraz combo package from Skyline Sightseeing is more affordable than similar offers from their competitors.

To be fair, this package does not include entrance to as many attractions as the Deluxe ticket offered via Big Bus Tours.

That being said, you will have access to a total of four tours over the course of three full days.

If you’re looking to explore the San Francisco area and experience Alcatraz Island up close, this is an excellent alternative.


Tours Include:

  • 2-Day Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tour
  • San Francisco Night Tour
  • Discounts on Bike Rental
  • Alcatraz Island Tour

Prices (as of December 2023):

Things to Consider:

Taking advantage of this combo package is actually one of the easiest methods for getting your ticket to Alcatraz Island.

You can purchase tickets to the island separately, but they are very popular and can be difficult to obtain.


Big Bus Alcatraz Combo

Package Type: Intense Planner | Tour Lover | Extended Trip

Big Bus Tours offers hop-on/hop-off tours all over San Francisco, and with the Alcatraz Tour, you gain access to Alcatraz as well as Big Bus's other hop-on-hop-off and walking tours.


Features:

  • Alcatraz admission and ferry ticket
  • 48 Hours of hop-on/hop-off bus
  • Walking tour of Chinatown
  • Panoramic Night Tour
  • Bike Rental: Rent for 1 hour, get 1 hour free.

Online Prices (as of December 2023):

Reviewers recommend this package for all of its activities (kid-friendly!).

There is a consistent complaint of buses taking longer than 10-20 minutes to reach certain stops during high traffic or busy weekends.

We recommend this package for the planner who knows how to use a map and plan a day to maximize time, since hopping on and off this bus to cross the city may eat up a lot of it.

Travelers also recommend that you choose the Deluxe Ticket over the Alcatraz Combo if you aren’t interested in seeing the prison since that is the main difference between the two Big Bus packages.

The 7D Experience and Aquarium of the Bay are extremely fun exhibits for children!


Tips From Locals and Travelers

While we do our best to provide an unbiased look at these services, the reality is that it's important to get a broad perspective and see what other people think about tourist passes.

Thankfully, there are Facebook groups such as San Francisco Travel and our own SF Travel Tips where locals and travelers often discuss whether or not a discount pass is worth the price.

Most travelers are quite happy with the Go City pass, reporting that they have very few if any issues.

As a matter of fact, the most common issue reported is that it's easy to run out of time to do everything included on the pass, and that's why it's important to plan your trip ahead of time.

To answer Rebecca's question here, it is technically possible to enjoy both of these activities in the same day, but you should plan on at least 3 hours at the zoo and 2 hours at the California Academy of Science.

Users who chose the Explorer pass seemed pretty pleased with their experience, and it's worth noting that these passes do give you a lot more control over which activities you pay for and how much you'll save.

Most people who have used a Go City pass suggest that it's very easy to use, as the app will basically get you into any of the included attractions without issue.

If you've ever used your phone to buy a movie ticket or perhaps a public transport pass, chances are you're familiar with how this works, and it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out.

Glad you asked, David! We do indeed have sample itineraries for most of the San Francisco tourist passes, including the Go City All-Inclusive pass.

It's also quite common for travelers who have used these services to recommend using them for hop-on hop-off tours, as they can be quite expensive on their own.

Of course, although most people report zero issues with these passes, others unfortunately have run into problems.

This is actually a case where the issue arose when someone attempted to purchase the Go City pass through a third party known as Groupon.

Even if the sale is really good, we recommend always purchasing these passes directly through the official website.

Another excellent point some members make is that these passes are only valid for one use per activity, which is why the Big Bus hop-on hop-off ticket is only for one day.

If you're interested in a multi-day Big Bus ticket, these tourist passes will not cover the cost, so you'll have to consider other alternatives.

Luckily, as we have already covered elsewhere in this post, the Big Bus Explore Ticket is already its own little combo package including multiple activities!

For even more helpful advice, make sure to check one or both of these Facebook groups and perhaps even ask your own questions about San Francisco tourist passes.


RELATED POSTS:

Und vieles, vieles mehr

Join our free FTBF travel community! As a thank you, you'll receive our free itinerary planner.
Newsletter Form
Back to Top
cross