Is the Go San Francisco Card worth it? Go San Francisco Card review 2018
San Francisco is a California favorite and a destination spot for people from around the United States as well as a few international visitors. It's also one of the most expensive places to visit in the US due to high hotel, meal and attraction costs.
But there is a way around paying all of those admission fees to your favorite attractions- the Go San Francisco Card. This card, designed to save money, is a weapon of choice for many when it comes to lowering vacation costs.
But is it really worth it? We'll explore that question and more.
Go San Francisco Card prices for 2018
Prices vary depending on how many days you are purchasing and your age. Adult cards (13 and up) cost more than child cards (ages 3 through 12) while those who are younger than 3 are free. Below you'll find the current prices.
- 1 Day Adult $69.00, 1 Day Child $55.00
- 2 Day Adult $95.00, 2 Day Child $65.00
- 3 Day Adult $122.00, 3 Day Child $89.00
- 5 Day Adult $155.00, 5 Day Child $115.00
When looking into purchasing your card, it's helpful to keep in mind that throughout various times of the year, discounted prices and promotions can be found.
Where to buy the Go San Francisco Card
Top sights and attractions
Aquarium of the Bay – $24.95
A great way to spend an hour or two, the Aquarium of the Bay is made for both adults and children. Here you'll get the chance to learn, see and touch different marine life species that call the bay home. You'll also find yourself wandering through 300 feet of clear tunnels that feature over 20,000 different marine animals. There's also a Touch the Bay exhibit where you'll find numerous touch tanks with sharks, rays and sea stars.
Escape from the Rock – $37.00
Have you ever had an interest in Alcatraz? Now's your time to experience it for yourself. With this cruise, you'll first sail under the Golden Gate Bridge before circling Alcatraz island. By circling the island, you'll get the chance to see every angle of the prison while learning more about the criminals that inhabited it. Each tour lasts about 1 1/2 hours, making it a perfect way to start your day before heading to your next attraction. Great for both kids and adults.
Golden Gate Bay Cruise – $32.00
Easily the most recognizable feature of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is anything but an eyesore. On the Golden Gate Bay Cruise, you'll spend an hour cruising along the North beach shoreline where you'll view Aquatic Park, Hyde Street Pier and ships within the National Maritime Historic Park. You'll also find yourself sailing right underneath the bridge, offering you a different perspective. Great for both adults and children. When planning this cruise, it should be noted that reservations are required.
California's Great America – $34.00
A theme park that's great for both adults and children, California's Great America is located in Santa Clara and offers dozens of rides to choose from. Here you'll find a water park, a 4D attraction, entertainment and dining. When planning a trip here, it's important to note that this park is seasonal and is open from March to October.
Ripley's Believe It or Not! – $23.00
A beloved attraction with locations throughout the states, Ripley's Believe it or Not! is an indoor exhibit that features all kinds of unusuals and rarities. Here you'll find over 400 weird things to look at including art, deformities and artifacts. There's also a toy and candy factory that sells sweets, both modern and classics. Generally speaking, you could easily spend a few hours here.
UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens – $12.00
A beautiful attraction that only takes an hour to explore, the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens is a great choice for those who love gardens and numerous varieties of flowers and plants. First designed in 1890, you'll find 34 acres featuring over 12,000 different species of plants that have come from around the world. Arrangement wise, exhibits are centered on geographic presence meaning you'll find plants from Asia in one area and plants from South America in another. This attraction provides lots of photo opportunities, so make sure to bring your camera.
Is the Go San Francisco Card a good deal
With each card that you purchase, you'll not only receive admission into 28 different attractions, but also a detailed guidebook loaded with attraction descriptions and a location map. You'll also find, as an added bonus, various discounts for dining, entertainment and shopping.
But is the card really a good deal? It is, but only if you use it as it is meant to be used. Make sure to visit higher costing attractions and as many as possible. This will allow for an increase in savings.
To help, we've created a sample 2 day itinerary showcasing the price difference between the 2 day card and the general admission prices.
- The Contemporary Jewish Museum $14
- Ripley's Believe It or Not $23
- Aquarium of the Bay $24.95
- Six Flags Discovery Kingdom $72.09
Without the card, this 2 day itinerary would end up costing $134.04. With the card you would receive a savings of $39.04. That's money you can use toward a nice dinner, hotel stay or a few gifts.
Are all of the attractions covered with the Go San Francisco Card worth a visit
Yes! With a large selection of options available, you, your partner and your family will have ample opportunities to explore different attractions, each suited to different personalities. Because of this, each person will find something each day that interests them.
How not to use the Go San Francisco Card
In order to get the maximum savings out of your card, you'll need to first plan a little. In fact, you'll need to plan on what not to do. Two major things not to do with the card are to not visit only low priced attractions and to not visit attractions that are spaced far apart in the same day.
By not doing those two things, you're allowing yourself the maximum benefit and therefore saving even more money.
One way to use the card to your benefit even more, is to take advantage of Hop-on/off Sightseeing Tour. This tour, included in the price of the card, allows you to hop on or off whenever you want as the trolly ventures through the city. This is a great way to get from one attraction to the next without having to navigate the streets on your own.
The bottom line
The Go San Francisco Card can be a great money saver if you use it right. During your visit, if you use the card to visit mostly higher priced (over $20) attractions, then you'll be rewarded with major savings. If you plan to visit lesser priced attractions, then you might find yourself paying about the same prices, or in some cases more for the card than the admission costs.
Where do you purchase your Go San Francisco Card
There are 4 different ways to receive your newly purchased card. The first and most popular way is via smartphone where you'll instantly receive your card and digital guidebook. Other options include printing from your computer, snail mail (includes a full color guidebook) or picking up the card from one of the in-city pickup locations.