San Francisco CityPass vs Go Card [Which is Best and Worth It]

UPDATED based on new CityPASS pricing for March 2020.

I don’t know what it is about the city of San Francisco, but I just love being a tourist there. I get giddy with the anticipation of hanging off the side of a cable car. I am fascinated by the sea lions at Pier 39. I love walking the streets for hours, admiring the architecture and exploring different neighborhoods. I never, ever tire of looking at the Golden Gate Bridge.

It is one of my favorite cities and so I was thrilled to have the chance to share the City by the Bay with my daughter. And since we were going to be tourists for two days in San Francisco and visiting so many of the main attractions, I thought maybe it was a good time to check out the ultimate tourist tool — the CityPASS.

But I had to ask, is CityPASS San Francisco worth it?

Is CItyPass San Francisco worth it? We take a look at the real savings of using a CityPass or Go Card San Francisco when visiting with family.

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CityPASS marketing materials make a big deal about how you can save 45 percent on some of the city’s top attractions, Altogether, if you paid full price for all attractions, you’d spend $138.20 (depending on which attractions you chose), versus the CityPASS cost of $76. To decide if CityPASS San Francisco is worth it, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • How long will you be in town? (CityPASS is valid for 9 days)
  • How many of the attractions do you really want to visit and how many you can you really visit?

Is CityPass San Francisco Worth It?

CityPass gets you entry into four attractions (updated as per the new line up that starts on March 1, 2020):

  • The California Academy of Sciences (in Golden Gate Park)
  • A Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure (departing from Pier 39)
  • A choice between Aquarium of the Bay (at Pier 39) or The Walt Disney Family Museum (NEW as of 3/1/20)
  • A choice between the Exploratorium (great for kids) or San Francisco Zoo and Gardens (new as of 3/1/20)
  • Note that the 3-Day Cable Car & Muni Bus Passport will no longer be part of the San Francisco CityPASS program. 

So technically, if you have at least two days in San Francisco, you can make full use of the CityPASS, although you might be more comfortable spreading the attractions out over three days.

Here is what you can do, for simplicity I just calculated the savings for one adult.

Sample 2 Day Itinerary using CityPass

  • Stop by the Blue & Gold Fleet office to book the morning Bay Cruise Adventure (mornings are best if you want to find a spot outside for better bridge viewing) (regular cost $34.00)
  • Enjoy lunch at the wharf and then hop into the Aquarium of the Bay (regular cost $29.25)
  • Walk along the waterfront or take the F line street car from Pier 39 to the Exploratorium
  • Visit the Exploratorium (savings $29.95)
  • Walk down to the Ferry Building for a snack (maybe some ice cream at Humphry Slocombe?) and then take the California Cable Car back to the Union Square area
  • The next day, take the #5 bus to Golden Gate Park and hop off by the California Academy of Sciences
  • Spend a couple of hours in the California Academy of Sciences enjoying their rainforest, aquarium, and natural history exhibits (regular price varies but around $34)
  • Rent some bikes to explore more of what the park has to offer before taking the bus back downtown

How much would you have spent on attractions? $127.20. Subtract the cost of the CityPass and you’ve saved $48.20 per adult. 

Bottom line? If you are visiting San Francisco with your family and plan to spend at least two days touring the city, the CityPASS is a good investment if the attractions sound interesting and you are committed to visiting each of them, but….there is also another option.


Is CItyPass San Francisco worth it? We take a look at the real savings of using a CityPass or Go Card San Francisco when visiting with family.

Is GoCity San Francisco an Option?

The GoCity San Francisco card covers a lot of what the CityPass offers…the Aquarium by the Bay, a bay cruise, the California Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium, and tons of other attractions including a Hop On/Hop Off bus.

Altogether, the Go San Francisco card offers a whopping 25 attractions, which is a lot to do in just a few days, but luckily they let you choose between all-inclusive passes that include all the attractions, and passes that include just 3, 4, or 5 attractions. You can even build your own pass.

Of course the price depends on how many attractions you choose. To compare apples to apples, let’s pick the four attraction pass for the same attractions that are included in the CityPASS.

The GoCity price for a four attraction pass is $93. That is significantly more than the $76 CityPASS.

CityPass vs Go Card San Francisco, which one should you get? Are they really worth it?

I would pick the CityPASS over a GoCity Card UNLESS you are spending more time in and around San Francisco. If you have time to visit more attractions, chances are one of the GoCity pass options is a good alternative. However I would still recommend that you do the math between the regular price of the attractions you want to visit and the current cost of the card.


NOTE: I recommend looking at the programs and the attractions you want to visit as what it covers changes over time and prices may change.


CityPass vs Go Card San Francisco, which one should you get? Are they really worth it? I break down the attractions, costs and the savings to decide.

Have you ever used CityPass or a Go Card? Did you think it was worth it?SaveSave

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4 Comments on “San Francisco CityPass vs Go Card [Which is Best and Worth It]

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  1. Hi,

    Are you sure that you can go to the Monterey Bay aquarium with the citypass of SF ? There is absolutely no reference of it in the citypass website.



      Interesting. I just checked the site and I don’t see it either. It could be that the program has changed so I’ll update the post.

    May I ask where did you find the opportunity to do this? Contact them? I would love to get this and review.

      You can buy them online or at the visitor center. I was working with the San Francisco tourism board who provided them for free for purposes of review.

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