The Best Attractions to See With a San Francisco CityPass

There’s no denying that San Francisco is a city bursting with character, culture, and countless attractions. From its iconic Golden Gate Bridge to its bustling Fisherman’s Wharf, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful city by the bay.

But with so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan the perfect itinerary. That’s where the San Francisco CityPass comes in.

This convenient pass gives you access to some of the city’s most popular attractions, saving you time and money. I’m a Bay Area local, and when I moved here 10 years ago, the first thing I did was to buy a CityPass so I could get a feel for the city in a short time.

In this blog post, we will explore the best attractions to see with a San Francisco CityPass, so you can make the most of your trip.

California Academy of Sciences, A Stellar Attraction for Kids

Located in the heart of Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences is a must-visit for anyone interested in natural history, earth and life sciences, and astronomy. This world-renowned institution features an incredible array of exhibits, including a living rainforest, a planetarium, and a massive aquarium.

With your CityPass, you’ll have access to all these fascinating exhibits and more, making it a perfect start to your San Francisco adventure. As someone who visits multiple times per year, I can attest to the fact that it’s one of the best attractions for kids in the city.

Blue & Gold Fleet San Francisco Bay Cruise

No visit to San Francisco is complete without a cruise on the sparkling waters of the San Francisco Bay. Your CityPass includes a one-hour Blue & Gold Fleet San Francisco Bay Cruise, which will take you under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, past the infamous Alcatraz Island, and along the picturesque San Francisco skyline.

Unbeatable Views for Instagram Photos

Although the boats themselves aren’t super luxurious, you get amazing views of the city that are perfect for Instagram photos. Having taken the ferry several times, I can assure you it’s a unique and memorable way to experience the city’s beauty from a different perspective.

Choose Your Own Adventure: Two Additional Attractions

The San Francisco CityPass also grants you access to two more attractions of your choice. With such a diverse selection, you can tailor your experience to your interests. Here are your options:

Aquarium of the Bay

Located at Pier 39, the Aquarium of the Bay is home to over 20,000 marine animals, giving you an up-close look at the diverse aquatic life in the San Francisco Bay and California coastline.


As one of the most unique kids’ museums I’ve seen, the Exploratorium is perfect for curious minds aged 3 and up. This interactive museum encourages hands-on exploration of science, art, and human perception.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Pro Tip: Don’t Miss the Pies and Pastries

Art enthusiasts will love SFMOMA, which houses an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by iconic artists like Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. If you’re into art, this is a great choice. Plus, they have great pies and pastries in the cafe – don’t miss them!

San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

Spanning 100 acres, the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is home to over 2,000 exotic, endangered, and rescued animals, as well as lush gardens with over 250 plant species. While it’s a bit far from downtown, you can visit their elephants, giraffes, and even ride the Little Puffer steam train.

The Walt Disney Family Museum

Disney fans will be enchanted by this museum, which tells the story of Walt Disney’s life, career, and lasting legacy through interactive exhibits, original artwork, and rare artifacts.


The San Francisco CityPass is a fantastic way to experience the best that the city has to offer, all while saving time and money. With access to the California Academy of Sciences, a Blue & Gold Fleet San Francisco Bay Cruise, and two additional attractions of your choice, you’ll have a jam-packed itinerary filled with unforgettable experiences.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a Bay Area local looking to rediscover the city, the CityPass is your ticket to a San Francisco adventure you’ll never forget. From my personal experiences visiting these attractions, I can confidently say that they offer a diverse range of experiences that cater to visitors of all ages and interests. Happy exploring!

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Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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