San Francisco Bay Cruises and Boat Tours

Which San Francisco Boat Tour or Cruise is Best?

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This post compares and reviews the many different San Francisco Bay cruises, boat tours and dinner cruises available to you to help you decide which is best for you.  Choosing the right company and service can be difficult.  Thus, we have come up with a comparison post to help you make your choice.  We have also made note of which of our self-guided tours are good companions to a particular choice.

Each of the cruises and tours listed below have a cost.  Some of the choices may be included as part of the San Francisco City Pass or Go San Francisco Card. Read our guide on whether a tourist discount pass is a good fit for you.

Tourist Cruises

Water Taxis

Fishing Boat Tours

Dinner Cruises


TOURIST CRUISES

Most of these tourist cruises take guests under the Golden Gate Bridge and then circle around Alcatraz, though some include longer trips with more sites. Read more »

Self-Guided North Beach Walking Tour

Posted by & filed under San Francisco.

San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods, each distinct and enticing in its own way. Step into the city’s North Beach neighborhood, and the enticements increase. San Francisco’s Italian district, never known as “Little Italy,” is named for the beach that once touched its northern border. Situated in the northeastern portion of the city and intersected by the busy Columbus Ave., North Beach’s eponymous beach was eventually filled in to create greater land space for the growing city. As the neighborhood grew, it became a draw not only for Italian culture, but in the 1950s, for the arrival of the Beat Generation.

Walking through North Beach today, you’ll find the same enticing smells of freshly brewed espresso and roasting garlic wafting through the air while having the opportunity to visit some of the city’s most well-known cultural sights, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s famous City Lights Bookstore.

Read on to see the entire walking tour!

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Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, London, Miami, New Orleans, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC.

Is Travel insurance worth it?Travel insurance is often the last thing you have on your mind when planning your next trip for just yourself, with your family or with friends. We look forward to a well-earned and long-desired vacation and we know deep down, however, that travelling brings about the unexpected (mostly in good ways). For the hopefully rare bad case scenarios, where you need to cancel a trip due to hazardous weather, sickness, the death of a family member, or any accidents during your trip, stolen or lost luggage/passports/wallets, and even worse injury or death of a travel mate, you want to be covered. Instead of overthinking the many things that might happen, travel insurance can help to put your mind at ease for the many what-ifs, so you can get back to planning and enjoying the fun things about your next trip.  So, is travel insurance worth it?

Be sure to read our post on purchasing a SIM Card for the US.

Travel insurance – what to look for:

Most travel insurance plans cover 2 main things: travel benefits and medical benefits. Those usually entail:

  • a refund when you need to cancel your trip due to emergency
  • covered expenses when a flight is delayed or cancelled or when you miss your flight
  • compensation of expenses if your carrier loses or delays your luggage
  • Coverage of expenses for any medical or dental emergency during your trip
  • Coverage of cost for medical emergency evacuation or accidental death or dismemberment
  • Optional benefits include car rental insurance

Depending on the provider benefits may differ in cost and range, so make sure you read the small print. Read more »

Best Seafood in Fisherman’s Wharf

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Located along San Francisco’s northern waterfront, Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular neighborhood amongst locals and tourists. Historically, it developed in the late 19th century as many Italian immigrant fishermen moved to the area. Though today it is mostly a tourist hub, there are still many active fishermen in the area.

The restaurants in Fisherman’s Wharf offer some of the freshest seafood in the city, as well as some of the best views. With the exception of the Codmother restaurant listed below, expect to pay a little extra for the prime location and food.

Check out our complete guide on visiting Fisherman’s Wharf.



The Codmother Fish and Chips — 2824 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94133 — $

  • Known for… the fish and chips, of course! The fish tacos are also very popular.

Scoma’s Restaurant — Al Scoma Way, San Francisco, CA 94133 — $$$Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisherman%27s_Wharf,_San_Francisco#mediaviewer/File:Dungeness_Crab_Fishermans_Wharf.jpg

  • Known for… crab cakes and clam chowder.

Fog Harbor Fish House —  PIER 39, 39 Pier 39 Concourse, San Francisco, CA 94133 — $$

  • Known for… anything with crab and the ahi tuna poke appetizer.

Crab House at Pier 39 –PIER 39, 39 Pier 39 Concourse, San Francisco, CA 94133 — $$

  • Known for… whole crabs, garlic fries, and shrimp.

Sotto Mare — 552 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133 (slightly inland from Fisherman’s Wharf) — $$

  • Known for… oyster shooters, clam chowder, and crab ciopipino (an Italian-American seafood stew that typically includes a mix of Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, and fish).
San Francisco Painted Ladies

How is the weather in San Francisco in March?

Posted by & filed under San Francisco.

March is a cool month in San Francisco with morning lows mostly in the mid to upper 40sf (8-9C) with afternoon highs mostly in the low to mid 60s f (16-17C).  A few of the cooler mornings may see temperatures drop into the lower 40s f (5-6C) or less while a couple of warmer afternoons can reach the upper 60s f (20C) or more.  Over the years San Francisco has seen temperature extremes during March from as low as 30f (-1C) to as high as 85 f (29C).

San Francisco Weather March

 

About 18 or 19 days this month will see either sunny or at least partly sunny skies over San Francisco, so March is a good time to explore this city.  About 11 days this month see some precipitation, however, only 2-3 days will record significant rainfall amounts of 1/2 inch (13mm) or more.  In general, early March tends to be wetter than the latter part of the month and San Francisco can be breezy at times with the wind during March coming mostly from the west or northwest at 9-12 mph with gusts generally 18-21mph.

 

What to wear in San Francisco during March

The weather tends to be cool so a couple of sweaters with long sleeve shirts (no shorts) and at least 1 medium weight jacket or coat will be needed. You won’t need any heavy winter ware and don’t forget to pack some comfortable walking shoes.

 

What to do in San Francisco in March

Sunny skies and cool weather make exploring the city an excellent experience this month.  Some of the events in March include the Black Cuisine Festival,  the Chinese New Year’s Treasure Hunt and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  You should also check out 1 or 2 of the Free Tours by Foot San Francisco walking tours to really experience what this city has to offer.

 

How to Get from Newark Airport to Manhattan

How to Avoid Jet Lag

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, London, Miami, New Orleans, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC.

Many of our tour guests who travel from afar or from overseas have trouble to adjust to the new time difference in their destination city. Here are some tips on how to avoid jet lag.

When you travel to another time zone, your internal clock is off – that’s what you call jet lag. Usually getting over jet lag should take 3-4 days depending on how far you have traveled from. Flying eastwards will make it a bit harder to adjust to the new time zone, then when you are flying westwards. That is because our body accepts it better if you are staying up a little later, then having to go to bed much earlier than usual. In addition, if you are used to getting up rather early, flying eastwards is a little bit easier than for people who generally stay up late. And vice versa, if you are a night owl, you will have less trouble adjusting, if you were traveling westwards.

How can I avoid  jet lag or at least minimize it?

  • Start to adjust your internal clock several days before you fly, by staying up later (if traveling westwards) or getting to bed earlier (if travelling eastwards).
  • Once you are in the plane, act like you are in your destination time zone already e.g. change your clock, take a nap, eat moderately or skip a meal and avoid alcohol.
  • Be healthy and well rested. The more you rest before your big travel, the easier it will be to adjust to your new time zone.
  • If you are travelling overseas, on the day of your flight, try to sleep in or sleep as long as you can. This goes for either direction, as you will likely skip a night travelling eastwards, or you will have to stay up much longer when you arrive travelling westwards.
  • Bring a neck pillow and nap on the plane. Even if you don’t fall asleep into a deep slumber, your body will thank you later for each little 20 minute nap you do on the plane.
  • Stay hydrated. It’s best to purchase a bottle of water at the airport (after you are through security), so you don’t have to get the stewardess attention every time.
  • Once you arrive, don’t nap more than 30 minutes or go to bed immediately if it’s not bedtime yet. Stay up till at least 9 pm. This discipline on your first day of arrival, will get you over jetlag much faster.

Other things to consider when travelling to different time zones and jet lag:

When flying westwards, e.g. from Europe to New York, or from Washington DC to San Francisco: Don’t make any late evening plans the first couple of nights.  You might think you are up to it, but your body will tell you otherwise. If you are booking our walking tours, stick to the morning and daytime tours, and avoid the evening tours.

When flying eastwards, e.g. from California to New York, or from Boston to London: Don’t make any morning plans the first couple of days.  Instead plan more things to do in the afternoon and evenings. If you are booking our walking tours, avoid the early 10 am tours, and go for the afternoon or evening tours.

+++We hope you have safe and enjoyable travels without much jet lag and we look forward to having you on our famous pay-what-you-like walking tours soon.+++

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

How is the weather in San Francisco in November?

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General Information on November Weather in San Francisco

foggy-sf

Although September and October are some of the best months to visit San Francisco, November is what we call the “shoulder season” in this city. When you arrive, it probably won’t be very cold: the typical temperatures in the early part of the month are in the mid-60s (19-20 C), with the warmest days of the month getting into the mid-70s (22-23 C). As the month progresses, it will get a bit chillier. Late November temperatures are often in the mid-50s (11-12 C). At night, the temperatures always about 10 degrees (5 C) lower than the daytime temperatures. So if you plan to be out at night, you should remember to bring an extra layer of clothing. The November weather in San Francisco has never gotten below freezing (0 C), so you do not have to ever worry about snow.

The Best San Francisco November Activities

One of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco in November is Chinatown. There are some major festivals in Chinatown in October, and the neighborhood often leaves the decorations up for the next month for us to enjoy. So we’d recommend taking a great walking tour of the area while you’re in town.

Another great activity happening in the San Francisco area in November is the Napa Valley Film Festival. At the festival, you can enjoy the best new movies of the coming year right alongside with some of the best actors and filmmakers of our time. All this in the best wine-making region in the country.

And if you’re going up there, remember to check out our list of the best wine tours.

November is also a great month to take a double decker bus tour. Driving through this beautiful city on the upper level of a bus is a fantastic way to enjoy the architecture, all while getting a great narration of what you’re looking at. And don’t worry–even if it rains, they’ll put a transparent plastic covering on the bus, so you won’t get wet! So check out our page on the best San Francisco bus tours to see what is available to you.

November is a great time to attend some of San Francisco’s fall events such as the North Beach First Fridays Art Crawl or perhaps you might stake out a good spot for the City Star Party & Telescope Night.

What to Wear in San Francisco During November

Since November can get a bit cold during the day and into the evening, we recommend wearing a light jacket. In addition, you may want to bring a sweatshirt around the city. The daytime should stay warm enough that a jacket will keep you comfortable, but if the day gets windy, or if you stay outside into the evening, you will be thankful to have the extra layer of warmth. In addition, if you are particularly sensitive to windy weather, you may want to bring a scarf or earmuffs.

Do I Need an Umbrella in San Francisco in November

November is the beginning of the rainy season in San Francisco. However, there will be very few days with heavy rain (meaning 0.5 inches (13 mm) of rain. So we recommend bringing a small umbrella that you can carry around. A typical “rainy” day in San Francisco might actually only have 15-30 minutes of rain, with the rest of the day remaining cloudy. But in those 15-30 minutes, you will be thankful to have your umbrella.

Coit Tower San Francisco

Coit Tower | San Francisco’s Observation Deck

Posted by & filed under San Francisco.

This post is a visitors guide to Coit Tower in San Francisco with tips on when to come, how to get here, how much you will pay and what you will see.  Coit Tower is one of San Francisco’s most recognizable landmarks and a place everyone should add to their list, if only for the wild parrots!  Several of our pay-what-you-like tours start or end near the tower.

How to Get Here
Tickets and Hours

Views and a Brief History
Murals
Reviews of Coit Tower
Other Things to Do in San Francisco

Read more »

How is the weather in San Francisco in October?

Posted by & filed under San Francisco.

General Information on Weather in San Francisco in October

October is one of the best months to visit San Francisco! The weather here during the month of October is great for touring and other activities. In the afternoons throughout the month, the temperature typically stays mild (normally in the 60s F or 15-20 C). Although the mornings and evenings will normally be foggy and chilly, the afternoons have plenty of sunshine, with perfect walking tour weather! As always in San Francisco, it can be windy near the coastline. However, most of the best places to visit in San Francisco are shielded from the wind and shouldn’t be too chilly.

The Best San Francisco October Activities

We have a few favorite things to do in San Francisco during October. Although we admit we are biased:

  • October hosts many great activities in Chinatown and North Beach, so those are prime locations for sunny walking tours.
  • In addition, San Francisco hosts Fleet Week every year, where the United States Navy sails ships into San Francisco and hosts a fantastic air show with the famous Blue Angels! You can get a great view of this area on our behind-the-scenes tour of Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • Take a double decker bus tour! Since October is one of the few sunny months of the year, you should take advantage of it and take a nice bus ride around the city, with an awesome guide narrating your way through. Check out this page to learn the best bus tours in the city. A typical day in October will have sunny skies (at least in the afternoons), and the best way to stay warm is to be out in the sun. Sitting on the top deck of a double decker bus while you tour the city is a great way to stay in the lovely October sunshine here!

What to wear in San Francisco During October

As with most months in San Francisco, it is best to dress in layers. Shorts are not recommended unless there is a particularly warm day (though remember that it will get colder when the sun goes down!) Jeans or long pants, with sweaters and a light jacket should do fine. As we’ve mentioned in other posts, you will see many people wearing this jacket as you walk around San Francisco: North Face Apex Bionic Jacket (men’s) North Face Apex Bionic Jacket (women’s) This is the perfect jacket for SF. It’s light enough to carry around if you’re not wearing it, but thick enough to block the wind and keep you warm.

Do I Need an Umbrella in San Francisco in October?

Typically, you won’t need an umbrella unless you are visiting late in the month. On average, we get 3 – 4 days of rain in the month of October, mostly towards the end of the month. And generally only one of those days will be “heavy” rain, meaning over half an inch (or 13 mm).

Ten Apps to Download for Your Visit to San Francisco

Posted by & filed under San Francisco.

San Francisco has long been considered a land of opportunity, from the days when the original San Francisco 49ers came here to make their fortune in the gold fields, to the current tech savants who have come to fill their pockets with sales of new technologies and apps.

We have another post about the apps to make your life easier while traveling. But there are many other apps that you can download before you come to the city. Rather than making you wade through 10 million apps on iTunes or Google Play, we’ve compiled a small list for you to get started. We’ve included some of the best parking, restaurant, public transportation, attractions, and park apps around.

In no particular order, read on for our list of the 10 best apps to download for your visit to San Francisco!

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