Nearby Excursions outside San Mateo County
MORNING: OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
Explore just outside of San Mateo County and Silicon Valley by getting out on the Bay with one of the area’s top cruises. Hop aboard a Hornblower Cruises to sightsee while enjoying a champagne brunch, or join SF Bay Adventures for some whale watching or local history and wildlife sail onboard one of their historic old ships.
Red and White Fleet offers cruises throughout the day, including one that sails under both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, while Blue & Gold Fleet boasts ferries and tours like their popular RocketBoat, the fastest and most nimble watercraft on the Bay.
Or, come experience the beauty, history, and infamy of the former federal penitentiary Alcatraz with Alcatraz Cruises, the only cruise line that lands on the island.
AFTERNOON: CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS
For your next stop, try the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. It is among the largest museums of natural history in the world and includes the largest completely digital planetarium dome in the world, a rainforest exhibit, and an aquarium.
Also, located in the heart of Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum is one of San Francisco’s premier cultural attractions. A San Francisco cultural institution since 1895, the de Young was recently renovated into a state-of-the-art facility integrating art, architecture, and the surrounding natural landscape.
For a deeper look at some of the nation’s naval history, visit the USS Hornet in Alameda, which participated in two of the greatest events of the 20th century: World War II and the Apollo 11 manned space mission.
EVENING: SHOP AND PLAY
For some great shopping and even better food, visit PIER 39, a 45-acre waterfront complex that is a gathering place for millions of San Francisco locals and visitors. It is home to 90+ shops and popular attractions like Aquarium of the Bay and 14 full-service restaurants such as Wipeout Bar & Grill, Pier Market Seafood Restaurant, Applebee’s Fisherman’s Wharf and Fog Harbor Fish House.
Stop inside the California Welcome Center on the second floor for valuable information, such as maps, hotel reservations, internet access, luggage storage, USPS shipping services and wheelchair and stroller rentals. Tickets for local events and performances can also be purchased for a discounted price at the TIX kiosk inside the California Welcome Center.
PIER 39 is known for its spectacular views of San Francisco Bay, as well as the world-famous California sea lions on K-Dock. If you visit in the spring and summer, be sure to see the World Champion San Francisco Giants play at San Francisco’s Oracle Park.