Just couldn’t say no when I found out that this amazing city can be explored by a vintage Volkswagen van. Coming across Vantigo’s website online and seeing what the tour offered, I had to make sure I was on this tour and I wasn’t disappointed. Instead of taking a tour bus which would usually get stuck in traffic and only take you to the top spots in the city, here’s a tour in a van with a driver who knows a lot of information and fun facts on San Francisco (also the fact the driver knows all the shortcuts if there are traffic jams around is a bonus!) is the way to go. Here is why.
After booking up the tour, I was told to go to the starting point at Post Street (just north-west of Union Square in Downtown), and this is where the driver explained to me what type of van I was in, what to do and not to do during the tour before setting off. Straight away I was taking in the sights of Union Square, Chinatown and Financial District of the city as well as listening to amazing history of the area. I won’t say too much as it will spoil the tour if you decide to book on one when hitting up the city.
The tour stops off at a few places on the way which is fantastic as I wasn’t stuck inside a van all the time on the three hour tour. The first place I stretched my legs was on the summit of Pioneer Park which is located between Downtown/Financial district and Fisherman’s Wharf. At the top is the Colt Tower which can be seen for miles and is a lookout tower. However the views from here overlooking downtown, the bay, Alcatraz are simply amazing. I was told people can walked to the summit from the bottom of the hill but there are over four hundred steps to take on.
Moving northwards I passed Fisherman’s Wharf and then entered the area of San Francisco which has parks dotted all over the place. One of the highlights of the tour was checking out a lot of the amazing Greco-Roman architecture of the Palace of Fine Arts theatre which still hosts concerts and plays. Standing outside and looking at this sure reminded me of buildings we have seen similar like this dotted around Europe and could imagine watching a show. However the building can only hold nine hundred people so tickets are hard to get, especially if there is a big star in town. The beautiful Crissy Fields was seen and is the ideal location for doing running, cycling or anything to do with fitness. This is also a great viewpoint (or place to take photos) of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. At the north western end of Crissy Fields (where there is a fantastic small cafe at the Warming Hut I must add!), I was taken to Fort Point, a mini fortress located underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. This was built during the Civil War but has never been under attack.
After seeing San Francisco’s sight, the tour guide took us (myself and the rest of the tour group) for a drive around Lands End park before stopping at the cafe here. It is here I had a great view of the Sutro Baths and the Pacific Ocean.
Around the corner and down the hill I had a fantastic view of Ocean Beach which is San Francisco’s main surfing paradise, before driving around Golden Gate Park. This is America’s largest city park, even bigger than Central Park in New York City. There seems to be lots to do for visitors as I saw two windmills donated by the Dutch, hiking roots, music stage, the De Young museum and a planetarium. It seemed like forever to drive around the park but looking out of the window, it was wonderful to see how green the park was with all its trees and green grass.
The tour took us up on on of the spots I really want to check out whilst in the city and that was Twin Peaks. The two hills which overlook the city from the southwest has been featured on many films (mostly for make out scenes with young people), but it’s here where the best views can be had. For me it wasn’t just seeing the skyscrapers from the distance but it was seeing the coastline and small mountains overlooking the northern side of San Francisco bay to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The views were totally amazing and I was so glad to catch this before the sun went down.
As it was becoming nightfall, we drove through the Castro District which is San Francisco’s gay village. It was so funky to see the rainbow colours on the pedestrian crossings at the traffic lights. This was a very good idea and a great way to brighten up the place. Before we finished the tour I saw the ladies houses and took in the city hall before being dropped off.
I was so glad to see San Francisco in a different light, a new perspective. Before myr visit to the city, the thought of doing a tour in a campervan never came across my mind, however I was so glad to find out about Vantigo and take the chance of doing this. I really did loved every minute of the tour, the guide/driver was very informative and passionate about the city and everything was well organised from the moment I was picked up to the moment I was dropped off. Highly recommend this tour to anyone who is visiting the city (or even living in the city!).
Please note that while I was working with Vantigo the reviews and experiences written about in this post are 100% genuine. I value my readers too much to lie to you. My blog would be nothing without you and your continued support!
Visitors who want to book up the tour or find out more information then please visit Vantigo’s website.
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