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Day Tours and Guides
Blue & Gold Fleet operates a bay cruise that lasts about an hour. Tickets may be purchased at Pier 39, near Fisherman's Wharf. The tour, on a ferryboat with outside seating on the upper deck, loops around the bay taking in the Bay Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the Golden Gate Bridge. An audiotape tells you what you're seeing. Discounts are available for tickets purchased online.
Blue & Gold Fleet (415/705-8200. www.blueandgoldfleet.com.)
Bus and Van Tours
In addition to bus and van tours of the city, most tour companies run excursions to various Bay Area and Northern California destinations, such as Marin County and the Wine Country, as well as to farther-flung areas, such as Monterey and Yosemite. City tours generally last 3½ hours and cost about $50 per person. The bigger outfits operate large buses, which tend to be roomy. Service is more intimate with the smaller companies, however, because they can fit only about 10 people per vehicle; the vans can be a little tight, but with the driver-guide right in front of you, you're able to ask questions easily and won't have to worry about interrupting someone on a microphone, as is the case with the big companies.
Great Pacific Tours is a good small company and conducts city tours in passenger vans (starting at $49). Super Sightseeing is also locally owned and operates tours in 28- and 50-passenger buses. For $18 to $19 more, both companies can supplement a city tour with a bay cruise. Super Sightseeing can also add a trip to Alcatraz for $28.
Great Pacific Tours (415/626-4499. www.greatpacifictour.com.)
Super Sightseeing (415/777-2288. www.supersightseeing.com.)
Dylan's Tours (782 Columbus Ave., 94133. 415/932-6993. dylanstours.com.)
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