This is a sponsored post. We were given a CityPass for this review. All opinions are 100 percent our own!
Whenever I travel I’m always looking for ways to stretch my dollar. Recently in San Francisco, our friends at CityPass gave us two complimentary passes to try out the pass.
What is it?
The San Francisco City Pass gives you access to several area attractions as well as three days worth of free travel on the buses, cable cars, and street cars. The pass costs $89 for adults and $66 for kids.
WHAT DO YOU GET?
1) Admission to the California Academy of Sciences. Retail price $35.95 for adults and $30.95 for kids.
2) Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruise. Retail price $31.00 for adults and $21.00 for kids.
3) Aquarium of the Bay. Retail price $24.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids.
4) Exploratorium. Retail price $29.95 for adults and $19.95 to $24.95 for kids. OR De Young Museum. $15.00 for adults and free for kids.
5) Street car, cable car, and buses for three days. Retail. $2.00 to $7.00.
IS IT WORTH IT?
Clearly, you save money if you buy the pass and go to all of these attractions but the big questions are, would you (or should you) visit them all?
If you are traveling with your kids, this is a no-brainer. We have four kids in the house ranging from 4 to 14 and everything on the list is something they would love.
If you didn’t bring the kids along on the trip (and we didn’t for this one) I still think the price of the CityPass is a bargain.
WHAT WE LOVED ABOUT IT:
1) Transportation – If you’ve never been to San Francisco, the cable car is an absolute must stop. One ride on the cable car costs $7 dollars and odds are you are going to want to a ride back on it, so on a typical trip in San Francisco if you road the cable for one two-way trip, you’ve already spent $14.
We didn’t have a car during the trip (and with the parking costs, I wouldn’t recommend it) and we used the Muni buses and streetcars. They cost about $2 a ride and we rode them at least six times in the four days we were there. So in transportation costs alone, we would have spent $26. That is nearly 1/3 of the cost of the CityPass and we haven’t even talked about the attractions yet. I will also add that the pass is extremely easy to use for transportation, you just have to flash the pass as you enter the ride.
2) The Exploratorium – Like I said, we didn’t bring the kids but we loved this place and could have stayed hours there. If we had the kids, we could have probably been there all day. The Exploratorium has tons of interactive exhibits based on science. If you kids are old enough to read, they can do a bunch of the exhibits on their own but you are going to want to participate too.
I recommend making it your first stop of the day, after breakfast, because it can get crowded. We went on a Wednesday in summer and it quickly filled up with school groups. The pass gives you the option of doing this or the De Young museum which is an art museum. You can do both if you visit on the same day. We didn’t make it over to the De Young but you can certainly do both if you get the Exploratorium early and take a cab over to the De Young.
WHAT WE LIKED:
1) The Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruise – This would have easily been in the love category if the weather had cooperated. The tour was an hour long and takes you past Alcatraz, Angel Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge. The day that we went, the water was very choppy and made it difficult to get great pictures. We also found it to be extremely windy so the jacket or sweater you packed will come in handy.
The crew was great and drinks and snacks on the boats were reasonably priced. The great thing was that once the weather became a little too much there is an indoor cabin with plenty of large windows for enjoying the scenery.
We didn’t have to make reservations and were able to walk right into a line for a ride. I recommend you check in advance just to make sure because this may differ if they are busy.
2) California Academy of Sciences – The Academy is a unique science museum that has a little bit of everything. You need to budget plenty of time to enjoy everything that it has to offer. Unique to the museum is a rain forest dome where you can enjoy plants and wildlife from the rainforest. Once you leave there, you will find a small aquarium.
The museum also includes a live penguin display and various dinosaur models. I found the exhibit on earthquakes particular interesting.
WHAT WAS OK:
1) The Aquarium of the Bay – We are spoiled because we have a great aquarium in our hometown so maybe if I weren’t used to visiting it, I would have rated this a little higher. Also, this aquarium focuses primarily on wildlife from the Bay Area which naturally limits the exhibits.
It is a small aquarium and it won’t take you very long to get through it. We enjoyed the otters and the exhibit that lets you touch a starfish. One benefit to the aquarium is that you can re-enter as many times as you like during the same day which is a good reason to do it first thing during the day. If you have kids and downtime, it makes sense to go through again later. They also offer various presentations throughout the day so there is a reason to want to return.
In conclusion, I found the CityPass to be well worth the cost. Even factoring in that you of the attractions might not be your thing, the overall value and quality of the attractions makes this a good investment for your trip to San Francisco.