CityPASS is amazing.
It is also why I left my heart in San Francisco.
I know but, really, in 5 days my husband and I were able to take in a city full of rich culture and heritage, romance and diversity. The CityPASS is a booklet that is offered for Toronto, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle and Southern California.
CityPASS facilitated me with 2 booklets to take on San Francisco and that we did!
With our CityPASS San Francisco passes, our first stop was the Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruise where we were able to experience amazing sea breezes, turbulent and exciting waters and spectacular views of The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and The Bay Bridge. Not to mention, a gorgeous panoramic views of “The City.”
We took the opportunity to rekindle the flame in our relationship, not that it isn’t burning. But, with children, vacations are different. You are trying to get the kids to enjoy the experiences and often miss a lot. This time, we were able to experience a city and it’s attractions with the same wonderment of a child. Though, everything we did, we are talked about how much the kids would LOVE it as much as we did.
The CityPASS gives you access to all of the major attractions in your city of choice and all for ONE low price. You save a ton of money, the price of only 2 of the attractions equals the price of the pass and most passes come with 4 or more attractions and most times with public transportation included.
If you’re looking to get away for a romantic rendezvous or if you want to take your kids to places that are rich in knowledge and history, San Francisco is a must-do! I was in town for business but, they say, “work hard and play harder”, right?
I am a history buff and seeing The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz was definitely on my bucket list. We took the Blue and Gold Fleet cruise was exciting and had plenty of seating inside, on the lower deck and the upper deck that we chose to take in the sights. For us moms, I think the lower deck and the inside seating would be perfect for little ones to enjoy the sights too! Throughout our cruise, we had the pleasure of seeing kite surfers, seagulls and many sail boats in our venture.
The cruise is available 7 days a week and the first boat leaves at 10 AM. Make sure to bring a jacket and good shoes because the waters can be rough and it sure is windy. The air is so refreshing and it’s quite an experience to travel the Bay. If a narrated ride isn’t your thing, you can go on a Rocket Boat ride which is the fastest ride on the Bay!
The cruise was one-hour long and is a fully-narrated tour, we sailed along the City’s historic waterfront, past the PIER 39 sea lions, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. I took some of my best pictures on this boat and you can look out for more San Francisco, CityPASS post this week.
What Creatures Lurk in the Bay?
After taking in the bay, we deemed it necessary and quite appropriate to discover the animals that inhabit the waters that we had just navigated! We headed down through the lively and entertaining Fisherman’s Wharf and visited the Aquarium of the Bay! What is great is that Hubby and I were able to take the cruise and walk hand in hand down Pier 39 and visit the Aquarium after we finished our cruise.
We discovered that many sharks, jelly fish, star fish and so many different types of creatures make up the underwater eco-system that is the Bay. The jelly fish simply mesmerized me and I can literally watch their mystique for hours on end. I was also very surprised to discover that blue whales swim the Pacific Ocean we had cruised in. It blew my mind. The underwater tunnels were awesome and the creatures that lurked there were breathtaking.
- Discover the Bay features distinctive ecosystems that support an incredibly wide variety of marine life.
- Stroll through 300 feet of crystal clear tunnels for a scuba diver’s view or over 20,000 marine animals from San Francisco Bay and nearby waters.
- Walk through the Near Shore exhibit tunnel to catch a view of a giant Pacific octopus — one of the smartest marine animals in San Francisco Bay.
- The magic of San Francisco Bay is literally at your finger tips in Touch the Bay, featuring touch pools with sharks, rays and sea stars, and the interactive Bay Lab station.
- Take advantage of animal feedings, movies and presentations by the Aquarium’s interpretive naturalists to enhance your visit.
Put Your Thinking Cap On!
The Exploratorium is an amazing place.
It’s also another stop if you are a CityPASS holder. You can either choose from The Exploratorium or the De Young Museum. We opted to take on a day of learning and indulging our curiosity The Exploratorium is now on Pier 15 and admission requires a timed-entry ticket. Pre-purchase CityPASS with a timed-entry Exploratorium ticket at exploratorium.edu. We simply presented our passes at the ticket line and we were good to go!
More on the Exploratorium:
- Explore the environment with artworks, installations, and exhibits in the Outdoor Gallery.
- Find out how we interpret our surroundings and interact with one another in the West Gallery.
- Experiment with the sights, sounds, and experiences of perception in the Central Gallery.
- Examine life at different scales—from tiny microbes to the interconnected ecosystems of the bay—in the East Gallery.
- Enjoy breathtaking views of city and bay as you investigate the environment in the site’s one new building—the spectacular glass-and-steel Bay Observatory.
The California Academy of Sciences was one of our most favorite spots in San Francisco and on the CityPASS attractions. This is one that Hubby absolutely loved and where we spent a very, very long time! After the California Academy of Sciences, we walked the Golden Gate Park and went to see the American Bison and the Dutch Windmill.
During the week is the best time to go, as it is much less crowded but, we happened to go on the third Wednesday of the month which so happened to be a day where admission is free. It was full but, we were still able to visit all the exhibits with absolutely no problems. We took a trip to space in their Planetarium, learned about Earthquakes, took a trip to the rain forests and saw the living roof!
The World’s only aquarium-planetarium-rainforest-living museum. Come face to face with penguins and piranhas, climb into the canopy of a four-story rainforest and stop and smell the wildflowers on a 2.5-acre living roof. From the depths of a Philippine coral reef to the outer reaches of the Universe, it’s all inside the California Academy of Sciences.
A San Francisco MUST!
As a CityPASS holder you get to enjoy unlimited transportation on all Muni trolleys, buses and historic cable cars for seven consecutive days, beginning day of first CityPASS use. Without CityPASS, a single, one-way cable car ride costs $6 (Muni bus: $2). This was absolutely something that I had to do on my bucket list and with the CityPASS, I was able to check this off of my list.
With the unlimited access to the cable cars, we were able to see the whole city and I was able to feel the wind blow through my hair and hit my face as I held on and went up and down the hills of San Francisco. We also went to China Town, Nob Hill and Aquatic Park near Ghirardelli Square. It was awesome watching the grip men work the cable cars too and going past another cable car coming the opposite way down a hill was a thrill!
San Francisco is a city full of historical magnificence. A city where we made many new memories, ate delicious food and seafood right from the Bay and visited places that we had only ever read about or seen on TV. It was romantic to walk the Piers hand in hand, indulge in chocolate made in Pier 39, walk on the Golden Gate bridge and look at a gorgeous panoramic view of The City. Not to mention, experience the salty sea air while on a cruise on the rough waters of the Bay.
We came back refreshed, fell in love all over again and enjoyed a vacation that was the perfect getaway that parents NEED. If my experience didn’t convince you as to why you should consider a CityPASS when you visit major cities, well, here’s a few more for you. The savings alone is the biggest sell for me!
- Happy Travelers
- 10 million sold, 96% recommend CityPASS
- Save Time
- Skip most ticket lines with your CityPASS
- Flexible Trip
- Perfect for a weekend or up to 9 days*
- Same Low Price
- Buy now or at any CityPASS attraction for the same low price
- All your attraction tickets in one easy purchase
Keep an eye out the next two weeks of our entire trip, a post will go out every day!
Have you ever visited San Francisco?
Let me know, til next time–cheers m’deres!
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela, and wife to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.