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Things to do in San Francisco at Night

A Guide to San Francisco After Dark



San Francisco Ferry Building at Night

©2008 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

Like any big city, San Francisco has its share of typical evening fare: theatre and performing arts, fine dining and nightclubs, but it's often difficult to find things to do if you don't enjoy those typical after-hours pursuits or are traveling with a family. We stayed up late in San Francisco to find a few things you might enjoy.

Things to Do in San Francisco After Dark

  • Bay Lights: At sunset, the glittering light sculpture on the Bay Bridge turns on, transforming the span into a constantly-changing, nearly-hypnotic light show. It could easily be the best show in town.

  • Take an Evening Tour: Vantigo's City Lights Tour is no pack-'em-in-like-sardines experience. Instead, you'll ride around in a cute, restored Volkwagen van that seats 6 max. In 2 hours, you'll see the city at its sparkly, glittery best. Beer, wine and snacks are included in the very reasonable tour price.

  • Alcatraz at Night: I often discourage people from taking the Alcatraz tour during the day because it takes up too much time that could be spent elsewhere, but not only does this tour push part of your trip into the evening hours, it also includes special programs and activities not offered during the day and is limited to just a few hundred visitors per evening. Operates year-round, Thursday-Monday evenings. Reservations required.

  • Summer Nights Only: Summer brings a few evening activities that you can do any other time of year.

  • Beach Blanket Babylon It's the longest-running musical revue, famous for their enormous hats, a good place to let your hair down and not think much for a while.

  • Take a Segway Tour: Why let your feet get tired when you can take a Segway Human Transporter to explore the cityscape at night. This tour is more fun than you can imagine any time of day. This tour runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Reservations required.

  • Go Ghost-Hunting: The San Francisco Ghost Hunt promises to introduce you to San Francisco's most notorious ghosts. Seven days a week. Walk-ups accepted.

  • Take a Foodie Tour: On a Local Tastes of the City tour, you'll sample the city's best coffee, Dim Sum, and other foods on a two-hour culinary tour. Reservations required.

  • Discover Something New: We love Goldstar for deeply discounted tickets to a variety of performance events and other things to do and you might discover something there that you hadn't thought about doing before. Get all the details in the Guide to Using Goldstar

Just in case you see it listed somewhere else, we didn't forget City Guides' North Beach at Night tour. While the leaders of this tour have done a lot of research about the area, we'd rather watch paint dry than listen to their pedantic, school-lecture-style narration.

If you'd like to visit some nightclubs but don't know where to go or just need some company, try one of the city's Three Babes and a Bus.

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