Island tour

Here’s why it’s worth taking a helicopter ride over San Francisco

Ever wanted to see what makes the Golden State the “Golden State”? On this plane tour of one of California’s most famous destinations, future James Bonds can do just that. Covering approximately 90 miles from San Francisco and the California coast, this unbeatable half-hour flight is the perfect way to explore this part of the Golden State in a rich and famous way – whether it’s your first time in San Francisco or fiftieth .


Soaring through the skies like an A-lister in a state-of-the-art Bell Jet helicopter piloted by a Bell-trained, FAA-licensed pilot, travelers can enjoy an extraordinary tour of the most iconic sights and terrain. of the city, flying over its famous neighborhoods, main attractions of San Francisco and its sensational coastline from above.

After sitting down and donning your seatbelt, the helicopter flies over the Mission, Castro, Chinatown, and Presidio neighborhoods, showcasing world-famous landmarks like the Transamerica Pyramid and Coit Tower.

The flight continues into the Great Bay Area, offering sublime views of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge, as well as Alcatraz, the Marin Headlands, Angel Island, and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Plus, the choreographed musical accompaniment and engaging in-flight narration from the tour’s expert pilot truly are the icing on the cake, teaching passengers all about San Francisco and its fascinating history as they pass through the very sights they discover. .

Related: This San Fran Aquarium is Home to the World’s Oldest Fish

About This San Francisco Helicopter Tour

  • Tour name: San Francisco Vista Grande Helicopter Tour
  • Program: Morning and afternoon flights
  • Transportation: Pickup and drop-off at two central San Francisco locations – Fisherman’s Wharf at the Zephyr Hotel or Union Square at the Hilton Union Square
  • Duration: 25-30 minute helicopter flight (allow 2 hours total including pickup and drop-off)
  • Number of passengers: The helicopter can accommodate four to six passengers
  • Discounts: A reduced rate applies for children from 2 to 12 years old and infants travel free

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All passengers must present valid photo ID when boarding the helicopter. Don’t forget to bring one!

Cancellation Policy

  • Reservations can be canceled for a full refund up to 24 hours before the tour.
  • There is a minimum of 4 passengers required per flight. Cancellation may occur if there are not enough passengers to meet requirements. In this case, customers are offered an alternative or a full refund.
  • This incredible experience needs good weather. If the tour is canceled due to bad weather, customers will be offered an alternative date or a full refund.

So, now that the basic trip details are complete, it’s time to delve into the world-famous sights, landmarks, attractions, and areas of San Francisco that guests on this epic California sky tour can experience.

Related: The cheapest time to visit San Francisco (and other budget tips)

San Francisco Bay

On this unique city tour like no other, gravity defiers can admire the magnificent San Francisco skyline and bay above mere mortals on the ground. A large tidal estuary, San Francisco Bay lends its name to the San Francisco Bay Area, a stretch dominated by the massive cities of San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland. This area of ​​the city has achieved a revered status, and every human on earth can recognize its iconic bridge, historic cable cars and aesthetically appealing Victorian architecture that is synonymous with what is known around the world as one of the most major cities on the planet.

Caps Marins

On the helicopter list are the Marin Headlands and the California Coast, which tourists can soak up at altitude. The Marin Headlands boast rich histories of past and biological diversity and are an area famous for its stunning geology, misty coastal prairie ecosystems and checkered history. The hilly peninsula at the southern end of Marin County also forms part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area – one of the most visited attractions in this section of the region’s national park system.

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The Presidio of San Francisco

The Presidio is a famous 1,500-acre park located on a former military post and now serves as a prolific outdoor recreation center for nature lovers and adventurers. Home to forested areas, many miles of trails, a golf course and scenic viewpoints, it’s a wonderful place to get your feet on the ground, let alone see its splendor from the sky. Other highlights of this area include the lush, grassy terrain of Crissy Field, complete with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Civil War-era Fort Point, the much-loved sands of Baker Beach, as well as as many historical buildings, fortifications and the oldest national cemetery. on the West Coast.

Golden Gate Park

Seeing Golden Gate Park from a great height is unbeatable – and most never see it that way. As the third most visited park in the United States, this urban park remains in the ranks of American favorites, consisting of 1,017 acres of public land. This expansive area is also home to the stunning Japanese Tea Gardens, the oldest Victorian glass and wood greenhouse in the Western Hemisphere, and the famous California Academy of Sciences.

Fisherman’s wharf

Most California residents and visitors made their way to Fisherman’s Wharf on the northern waterfront. However, how many saw it as a point on the coast above the ground? Not many, that’s for sure. This former site of the city’s harbor is one of San Francisco’s most popular tourist areas, a gorgeous, plush spot with souvenir shops and food stalls serving crab and clam chowder in bread bowls sourdough. The postcard views of the bay aren’t bad either.

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the Golden Gate Bridge

As one of San Francisco’s top tourist attractions (and, of course, its most iconic), this bright red bridge is plastered on nearly every postcard in the city. The Golden Gate Bridge is also one of the most famous suspension bridges in the world, spanning the iconic Golden Gate – the mile-wide strait that connects San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. When completed in 1937, it was the tallest and longest suspension bridge on the planet and quickly became revered as a symbol of the country’s power and progress. It also set a modern precedent for suspension bridge design around the world – and helicopter passengers on this tour can savor its legendary status from a unique perspective that very few get to savor.

Coit Tower

Named after Lillie Hitchcock Coit – a wealthy eccentric and patron of the San Francisco fire department – ​​Coit Tower is a recognizable white concrete flute rising from the top of Telegraph Hill in Pioneer Park. A landmark of San Francisco’s skyline since its completion in 1933, it’s one of the city’s deafening buildings and commands attention as flyers pass above its towering presence marking the striking skyline of the city.

The Transamerican Pyramid

This futuristic 48-story skyscraper was the tallest building in San Francisco’s majestic skyline from 1972 to 2017, after which the Salesforce Tower took its crown. Always an awe-inspiring feature to marvel at, the Transamerica Pyramid exudes AD 3000 appeal and turns heads, especially when viewed from the sky.

Related: Skyscraper Museum: Learn More About Them While Seeing Them in New York

The Salesforce Tower

Formerly known as Transbay Tower, this gargantuan 1,070-foot office skyscraper sits in the South of Market district of downtown San Francisco. Completed in 2018 when it stood out and won the title of tallest building in the city, the Salesforce Tower towers over the Transamerica Pyramid by 216 feet. Moreover, not only is it the tallest skyscraper in the city, but it is also the seventeenth tallest tower in the United States.

The Embarcadero

The Embarcadero is the famous boulevard that runs along the San Francisco waterfront from the Bay Bridge, past the Ferry Building and down to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. As one of San Francisco’s best walks, its beautiful bay views, miles of sidewalks, and abundance of restaurants, shops, and attractions can all be adored from the sky while cruising above this famous place on city map.

Related: Guess What? The best time to visit San Francisco is not in summer!

The San Francisco Bay Bridge

San Francisco’s Oakland Bay Bridge is locally referred to as the Bay Bridge and is a famous bridge complex that spans San Francisco Bay. Part of Interstate 80 and serving as a direct route between San Francisco and Oakland, approximately 260,000 vehicles cross its two bridges each day. The bridge is indeed one of California’s most recognizable landmarks, and flight sighters on this epic San Francisco tour can witness its mighty structure taller than anyone else.

Angel Island State Park

Angel Island State Park is the largest natural island in the San Francisco Bay. Not only does it feature some of the best views in the surrounding Bay Area, it also boasts 740 acres of pristine parkland, as well as beautiful picnic areas, scenic hiking trails and stunning beaches – tourists in flight are therefore guaranteed to see it all from above will be a superior feast for the eyes.

Related: A Bit of China in California: What to Do in San Francisco’s Chinatown

Alcatraz Island

Helicopter flight tourists will also get a bird’s eye view of tiny but world-famous Alcatraz Island – a puny speck in the sea with a big story, located just 1.25 miles offshore from San Francisco. . Developed in the mid-19th century, the island had flagship facilities, a military complex and a military prison. From 1934 to 1963, Alcatraz operated as a federal prison where some of the most dangerous civilian prisoners were incarcerated. Among the most famous occupants of the notorious prison were George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Al Capone and Robert Stroud – known as the “Birdman of Alcatraz”, which served as the basis for the film of the same name.

Why book a helicopter tour in San Francisco?

Why is this helicopter tour one of the best experiences in San Francisco? Easy answer: Passengers can see the city’s best sights and attractions from a literally otherworldly perspective most people never get to see – the bird’s eye view. As the ultimate way to experience some of the Golden State’s most famous areas in a short amount of time, soaring through the skies and soaking up California’s landscape and captivating coastline from a different perspective puts this trip into the realm of the elements. from the to-do list. To all budding James Bond readers: this one’s for them!

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