Big news! We’ve got a new logo to unveil and couldn’t be more excited to show it off. We’ve matured a little — don’t worry, you’re guide Brendan is still as funny as ever — and thought the time was right to create a logo that gives people a taste of our San Francisco tour company.
Showcasing the vibrant city of San Francisco and some of the highlights of our tour was the easy part. But to boil down our core mission and personality into one image took much more time. Our design goal was to create a logo that captures the spirit of SF Excursions with a nod to a few of our favorite places.
Instead of hiring one designer, we pitched our idea to several and waited to see what they would come up with. Here is the design brief we gave them:
“San Francisco Excursions is a 100% family-owned and operated tour company based in San Francisco, serving visitors who are looking for a fun and informative experience of the city and the surrounding area, including landmark attractions and local, under the radar sights.”
The truth is, we’re obsessed with our city and wanted to show off some of the most popular stops on our tours. From the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to colorful victorian houses, majestic redwood trees of Muir Woods and the heart of downtown, the logo brings it all to life. Oh, and of course our van, which visitors love cruising in as they experience the city and Marin County like a local.
And last but not least, we chose the font. This step was a little tricky, and required our nerdy side to come out, but we finally landed on a custom font that’s clean, modern and fun. We’re thrilled with the result!
What do you think? Send us your feedback, and better yet, book a tour to see how the fun look and feel of our logo is an extension of our one-of-a-kind tours.
In 1962 three men left behind dummy heads in their bunks and used makeshift rafts made from old raincoats to make their escape into the icy San Francisco Bay. Less than a year later, due to deteriorating buildings and high costs of maintaining a maximum security prison on an island, Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary closed its final cell door.
Alcatraz Island didn’t open up to the public until almost 10 years later in 1972. We wouldn’t even be able to visit this former Civil War Era fortress turned federal prison if it hadn’t been for a bold 19 month occupation of the island by Indian American students at San Francisco State University (Go, Gators!) led by activist and student Richard Oakes. If you look closely, you’ll find historic graffiti that has been preserved from the Indian Occupation of Alcatraz. Our personal favorite piece of graffiti is at the entrance to Administration Building (the audio tour takes you through this entry). Look for the eagle above the door, it’s perched on a shield with the American flag and looked between the stripes where you will find the word “FREE”.
You can explore all of this history on both the Alcatraz day tour and the Alcatraz night tour. But what’s the difference between the Alcatraz day tour and night tour? Let’s break it down:
ALCATRAZ DAY TOUR
WHEN DOES THE DAY TOUR RUN?
The Alcatraz day tour runs everyday, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Departure times vary depending on season, but always begin around 9am.
HOW MUCH DOES THE ALCATRAZ DAY TOUR COST?
Adult (18-61): $37.25
Junior (12-17): $37.25
Senior (62+): $35.25
Child (5-11): $23.00
Children 4 and under: Free
HOW LONG IS THE DAY TOUR?
You’re welcome to stay as long as you like. Or at least until the last ferry leaves! Most folks explore for about two hours before heading onto a ferry back to the city. You can leave on any ferry back to San Francisco, only the ferry to ride to Alcatraz is scheduled.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE ALCATRAZ DAY TOUR?
Tickets to Alcatraz during the day include a ferry ride to Alcatraz and one back to San Francisco, as well as an audio tour of the cell house. This audio tour is unlike any others, because this was the first. The Alcatraz audio tour was produced by a local interactive non-profit theatre company after interviewing former inmates, guards who watched over the infamous Birdman of Alcatraz and children who grew up on the island — in the shadow of the San Francisco prison. Many of the voices you’ll hear have since passed away. Some of the voices you might recognize in the gift shop. Guest authors can often be found signing books and answering questions in the gift shop. There are various ranger led tours throughout the day — but the schedules aren’t posting until the day of on the island. So be sure to check for extra tours led by rangers and historic interpreters as soon as you’re on the dock of Alcatraz!
WHERE CAN YOU BUY DAY TOUR TICKETS FOR ALCATRAZ?
You can only buy Alcatraz tickets through Alcatraz Cruises, the only official ferry operator to Alcatraz, or from official third parties — like us here at SF Excursions! We explore San Francisco, Muir Woods and Alcatraz on our Ultimate Day in SF with Alcatraz Tour — perfect for those with only one day to see everything.
ALCATRAZ NIGHT TOUR
WHEN DOES THE NIGHT TOUR RUN?
The Alcatraz night tour only runs twices Thursday – Sunday evening during Spring, Summer and Fall. The night tour of Alcatraz is unavailable during winter.
HOW MUCH DOES THE ALCATRAZ NIGHT TOUR COST?
Adult (18-61): $44.25
Junior (12-17): $43.25
Senior (62+): $41.25
Child (5-11): $26.50
Children 4 and under: Free
HOW LONG IS THE NIGHT TOUR?
It’s about two and a half hours. You don’t have an option of leaving early because there are only two ferries that leave the island on the night tour. And the first one heading back to San Francisco usually reaches capacity — so get to the dock early if you want to catch the first Alcatraz night tour ferry back to San Francisco.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE ALCATRAZ NIGHT TOUR?
Your tour begins with a guided tour around Alcatraz Island — while the day tour just gets a ride straight to the island! There will also be a guided walking tour to the cell house before taking the Alcatraz audio tour. From there, parts of the prison that are normally closed off become open to the public — like the hospital! There will also be behind-the-scenes tours, cell door demos and other bonus walking tours.
WHERE CAN YOU BUY NIGHT TOUR TICKETS FOR ALCATRAZ?
No third party operators can sell Alcatraz tickets for the night tour. You can only purchase them directly through Alcatraz Cruises. Tickets to Alcatraz are notorious for selling out quick — and the night tour is no exception, so book early if you have your heart set on the Alcatraz night tour!
The biggest (but not the only) reason people consider taking a private San Francisco tour is because of the cost. This might seem a little contradictory at first. But, anyone traveling in a larger group can find San Francisco private tours to be more affordable than public San Francisco tours.
It’s really just a numbers game. Our most popular San Francisco Muir Woods tour, the six hour Best Day in SF and Muir Woods, starts off at $99 — not including gratuity. Tipping can be a taboo subject, even here in the States where it’s common. But, if you had a blast with your local tour guide, it’s typical to tip $10-$20 per person at the end of San Francisco tours. If you didn’t have a blast, then tipping definitely isn’t expected (and we really want to hear from you — shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Check out a few more reasons why you might want to consider booking SFE.
WHO ARE SIX HOUR SAN FRANCISCO PRIVATE TOURS FOR?
Anyone who wants more time to explore Muir Woods or more time for a quiet lunch.
SF private tours like this offer a lot of flexibility with the hour long breaks to see the redwoods of Muir Woods and for lunch along the Sausalito waterfront. Some people choose to shorten their Muir Woods hike to enjoy lunch at a sit-down restaurant in Sausalito — or vice versa. We’ve even had travelers who ditch Muir Woods or Sausalito all together to spend more time exploring (or shopping) during the San Francisco city tour part of the day.
Anyone who NEEDS to walk down The Crooked Street NEEDS San Francisco private tours!
Lombard Street has been closed off to all tour buses since the early 1980s. We missed our window by a few decades, sorry! Our San Francisco private tours can’t drive you down Lombard, but what we can do, is take you as legally close as possible for tour buses and then let you off to hike (and we mean HIKE) up Russian Hill to get the best view of The Crookedest Street in the World. SPOILER ALERT: Technically, there’s an even crookeder street here in San Francisco, but the view in comparison is pretty “meh”.
This private tour of San Francisco and Muir Woods is surprisingly popular with travelers that have infants. Past guests have loved having the extra room to spread out — especially when it comes to any baby accidents. We’ve also learned that most babies on San Francisco private tours enjoy listening to The Beach Boys when they get fussy.
Bachelorlette parties and Bachelor parties also have a blast with this private tour!
In California it is very, very, VERY illegal to drive around with open containers. Unless you have a special license that allows for those kinds of shenanigans 😉
Did we just put children on here twice? Yup. Most of our tour guides are born and bred right here in San Francisco. Which means we know where the best parks are! Sometimes the perfect stop for San Francisco private tours is at the unofficial backyard of San Francisco, Mission Dolores Park. Kids on our private tours of San Francisco have LOVED stopping here to roll down the grassy hill and onto the recently remodeled playground. And the grown ups? They usually stay at the top, admiring the view of downtown San Francisco.
Anyone who grew up watching Full House (or now Fuller House)
For anyone of our international readers, Full House was a popular American tv show in the 80s and 90s — but it never really picked up outside of the States. Fair warning, just like The Crooked Street is off limits to tour buses — so is The Full House House. Both of them. Yes, there are two houses. One house if from the opening credits, it’s an iconic Painted Lady that sits at Alamo Square Park with the San Francisco skyline behind it. If you ask us (and we get asked this a lot), this is The Full House House. It’s the most recognizable of two houses. The other house, about 10 mins away, is actually owned by one the Full House creators. This is the red house the Tanner family is filmed is always filmed walking into. Except it isn’t red. And the entire neighborhood around this home hates Full House. And tour buses. For our San Francisco private tours we stop near The Full House House by the park and let you walk over to grab you photos.