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CityPASS puts San Francisco attractions within easy reach

CityPASS puts the best of San Francisco in your pocket. Photo courtesy CityPASS

CityPASS puts the best of San Francisco in your pocket. Photo courtesy CityPASS

What it is
San Francisco CityPASS
Packaged attraction and metro tickets providing access to the best of San Francisco’s top sights, museums and cruises.

Why you would care
Essentially, CityPASS offers a package of bundled attraction tickets, including a cruise and 7-day metro passport for unlimited riding on MUNI, San Francisco’s underground, above ground, and cable car system. Participating attractions include world-class museums such as the De Young museum in Golden Gate park, adjacent California Academy of Sciences, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). An option is available for the Exploratorium and one of two cruises (see our Insider’s Tip below). Admission is also included for Aquarium of the bay.

San Francisco CityPASS also doubles as a 7-day Muni passport. This feature is definitely worthwhile and a bargain. Moreover, it’s also convenient: you only need to flash the cover of CityPASS at an attendant. There’s no need to carry exact change or hunt for working change machines (which can be a challenge in most MUNI stations). It functions like a full MUNI Passport, so cable cars are included. Cable cars are normally extra with a single-ride fare.

CityPASS, the company, is also a Silver partner of IGLTA which shows a commitment to our community and a desire to serve gay and lesbian travelers with an inclusive product in all the cities CityPASS offers packages.

 

A San Francisco bay cruise aboard the Blue & Gold Fleet is one of two cruise options with CityPASS. Photo courtesy CityPASS

A San Francisco bay cruise aboard the Blue & Gold Fleet is one of two cruise options with CityPASS. Photo courtesy CityPASS

When it makes sense (or doesn’t)
There’s two scenarios where San Francisco CityPASS definitely makes sense: a) when you’re going to go to most of the member attractions and looking to save a bit off general admission, and b) sheer convenience.

For visitors to The City that plan to see most of the sights anyway, San Francisco CityPASS is a no-brainer. Even if you don’t think you’ll use all the tickets, it may still make sense for you due to the convenience of buying tickets (including pre-purchasing before your trip) at one time. You zip through the lines at some of the attractions (not all) since the CityPASS booklet has ticket vouchers inside. This level of convenience often commands a markup (think TicketMaster ticketing, for example) so it’s great to see convenience bundled with discounts for a change.

On the flipside, the passes may not make sense for travelers that take each day very spontaneously, have access to student, senior, or other discounts. You will also need to be realistic about your time management and evaluate more closely when visiting for less than at least three full days. Our conclusions: Though not all CityPASS packages are created equal, San Francisco CityPASS is a sure bet for both value and convenience.

How much it costs
Adult Pass: $69, Child (5-12 only) $39

Insider’s Tip
While CityPASS offers a great cruise through Blue & Gold, only one company, Alcatraz Cruises, lets you actually set foot on The Rock. If you want to go to Alcatraz, rather than merely sail around it, you must buy your CityPASS directly from Alcatraz Cruises either online or in person.

Where to learn more
San Francisco CityPASS
San Francisco CityPASS Alcatraz option details
IGLTA Partners (click Silver) 
Official San Francisco visitor’s website

**Note that some of the venues/attractions for the San Francisco CityPASS have changed since this review was published. Please visit the CityPass website for a current list of venues/attractions included in the pass.

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