San Francisco, California audio tour: San Francisco Driving Tour: From the Gold Rush to the Golden Gate

San Francisco Driving Tour: From the Gold Rush to the Golden Gate

Driving Tour

120 mins

About the Tour

San Francisco is known for its high tech financial center, iconic bridges, Victorian-style homes, immigrant communities and lush parks. But its stories of the visionaries and rebels behind some of its famous landmarks make a visit much more memorable.

On this driving tour, you’ll travel along San Francisco’s waterfront to both its lesser and better-known attractions before crossing the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Professional tour guide and city insider, Brad Prickett, will be your guide. Along the way, he’ll reveal the backstories behind the city’s sites, and share interviews with historical figures to create an experience with far more depth and variety than you’d find in a stack of travel books. Drive at your own pace while listening to tales of the gold rush founders, the scandalous Samuel Brannan, innovator Levi Strauss, Alcatraz escape attempts, Fort Point soldiers, and Al Zampa of the Half Way to Hell Club.

Highlights you’ll see on this tour include:

• The San Francisco Ferry Building
• Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill
• Levi Strauss Headquarters
• Pier 39’s sea lions and shops
• Ghirardelli Square
• The city’s “crooked” Lombard Street
• Alcatraz prison from afar
• The Palace of Fine Arts
• Presidio National Park
• Fort Point military base
• The Golden Gate Bridge

The tour is designed to take roughly two hours in typical city traffic. We’ll point out plenty of spots that are worth exploring along the way, including a few places you can stop for lunch. If you visited them all, your tour could last all day! You could also pack a picnic to enjoy in one of San Francisco’s waterfront parks.

Whether you’re here for a visit or you’ve lived here all your life, this tour aims to give you a sense of the forces and events that created this city, admired world-wide for its progressive and innovative spirit.

Tour Producer


Extranomical Tours

Born in San Francisco. Only in San Francisco.

18 years ago, we started as a small company that loved showing off Yosemite Valley, Muir Woods, and the wine country just a short drive away. From behind the wheel of a single van in 2002, we would ask hotel and hostel guests, “Who wants to go explore?”

One 5-star tour at a time, Extranomical Tours built a respectable reputation as the best small tour operator in San Francisco. Today, we are bigger but Extranomical’s “travelling with friends” vibe is still flourishing.

Major Landmarks

  • Ferry Building

  • Pier 39

  • Fisherman's Wharf

  • Lombard St.

  • Palace of Fine Arts

  • Presidio

  • Fort Point

  • Golden Gate Bridge

Directions to Starting Point

Starting point is the parking lot of the Starbucks at 490 Brannan St

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

Several stopping points you may enjoy, including the Ferry Building, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, Marina, Fort Point, and Vista Point.

Best time of day

Best time would be either mid-day or late evening, after rush hour. Traffic on the Bridge is pretty bad from 7:00 AM until about 9:00 AM, and again from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM.


As with any San Francisco-based tour, park smart! Keep all valuables hidden when you park.


Self-paced and convenient using my phone’s GPS. Two thumbs up for being a well-narrated and self-guided 2 hour tour of San Francisco’s landmarks. Will check out other tours from this company next time I am in town given value-for-money tour options and my customer service experience.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 3 months ago

This tour was great. What a wonderful way to get to know the city on your own schedule. It did not disappoint. We just connect it to our AppleCarplay for the audio portion.
As the GPS guided us in the rental car. I will check out their tours in other places I visit.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 4 months ago

This is the best way to tour! It’s your own personal guide from the comfort of your car! Would recommend and do it again!!

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 5 months ago

Great tour! The narrator is knowledgeable, liked the background music. Allow at least 2 hours to complete it)

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 9 months ago
Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
San Francisco Driving Tour: From the Gold Rush to the Golden Gate