golden gate park fountain bike tours

From the Golden Gate to Alcatraz: A Bike Tour of SF’s Iconic Historical Sites

July 13, 2023

There’s no better way to see the best of San Francisco than by e-bike! Exploring the different parks, sights, and neighborhoods is much easier when you have the best of both worlds: beat the traffic with a bike but power through hills and long distances with a motor assist. Now that you have your trusty source of transportation to get you around the city, it’s time to build your list of iconic San Francisco sights to bike to on your day of exploration. San Francisco is packed full of unique side streets, creative street art, historical buildings, bike-friendly streets, and jaw-dropping city and coast views. How do you see it all?

Booking a guided bike tour is an easy way to check several gorgeous views off your list. But if you want to take on the city solo, you can rent a bike and build your own tour! Looking for a comprehensive list of San Francisco landmarks? We curated several favorite bikeable spots to experience as you take SF by e-bike. Here is our list of the best San Francisco Sights To See By Bike!

Top 10 Best Bikeable Landmarks in San Francisco

1. Golden Gate Bridge

Location: Presidio of San Francisco

couple biking past golden gate bridge san francisco bike tours

It shouldn’t be surprising that the Golden Gate Bridge is first on a list of San Francisco historical landmarks – especially when discussing bikeable landmarks! The Golden Gate Bridge is the #1 must-see of our city and is best seen by bike! Whether you catch it on a clear, blue-skies day for endless city views or (most likely) a day obscured by a mysterious fog, experiencing this famous bridge by bike will be one of the most fun and memorable activities you experience in the city. 

2. Golden Gate Park

Location: Golden Gate Park

golden gate park bike tour san francisco bay city bike

This expansive park is so much more than your standard neighborhood green. Full of museums, gardens, live music spots, picnicking greens, ponds, gazebos and more, Golden Gate Park can take hours to peruse. The entire park is over 1,000 acres, so we recommend you look at a map and make a game plan before you get there. 

We recommend an early morning bike ride for this area to save some cash! Many attractions, like the Japanese Tea Garden and Botanical Garden, cost money to enter, but if you show up early enough, you may be able to get in for free.

3. Coit Tower

Location: Telegraph Hill

coit tower san francisco skyline

If you’ve been curious about the slender, white column peeking up on Telegraph Hill, you’ve seen a glimpse of Coit Tower. This unique historical landmark was built in the 1930s and is filled with unique art and (if you are willing to take on the 324 steps) stunning 350 SF views from the top. This tribute to Lillie Hitchcock Coit represents a love for the arts and pride in our beautiful city. 

Want to explore on a budget? The ground floor of the Coit Tower is free, so you can lock up your bikes and check out the beautiful murals housed in this unique tower.

4. Palace of Fine Arts

Location: Marina District

the water ponds in front of the Palace of Fine Arts

If you’re looking for a bike stop to enjoy some truly stunning architecture, the Palace of Fine Arts is a beautiful break. This stunning collection of structures will immediately catch your eye as a place to visit. Constructed for the World Fair in 1915, it was built to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal and the beginning of a new prosperous San Francisco. 

You can enjoy the gorgeously designed and manicured grounds, stunning water features, several sculptures and the chance to stand among giant columns and artful structures.

5. Battery Chamberlin

Location: Presidio of San Francisco

an old battery cannon over the san Francisco bay where you can view the golden gate bridge

Battery Chamberlin is a wind-battered, pine-scented area with a lot of history, and the neighboring Baker Beach is right nearby with a famous perspective of the Golden Gate Bridge. This battery’s claim to fame is holding the last “disappearing guns,” weapons designed to shoot and drop out of sight after firing. Replicas of these original guns are available for visitors to view at the battery. 

Thanks to the beauty of this area, it’s a popular spot for engagements, photo shoots and windswept beach hangs. Bike down here to take a beach walk and post with a famous San Francisco view.

6. Fisherman’s Wharf

Location: Fisherman’s Wharf

fisherman wharf sign

A quintessential San Francisco must-see spot, Fisherman’s Wharf is a crowded yet fun place to peruse by bike. Fisherman’s Wharf is a bustling tourist attraction located on the waterfront with shops, restaurants, and historic sites. You can bike along the waterfront promenade, visit the famous Pier 39 and its resident sea lions, and enjoy views of Alcatraz Island.

7. Lombard Street

Location: Russian Hill

aeirl view or lombard street

Warning: only take this one on if you’re ok with some enthusiastic twists and turns! Widely known as the “crookedest street in the world,” Lombard Street is a scenic hill that you should attempt at least once during your stay! Driving down the street can be busy and a little stressful. 

So, a bike is a great option if you’re up for the downhill challenge! It can be crowded with tourists, and biking down the famous zig-zag section can be a thrilling experience. The gorgeously-manicured foliage surrounding the street is the perfect thing to focus on as you navigate the zig-zags.

8. Mission District

Location: Mission District

two people on a tandem bike on a guided bike tour

If you want to see history painted on the walls of the city, head to the Mission District. With bike-friendly streets and tons to look at, this is a great, stress-free neighborhood to roll through on your bike tour of San Francisco. The Mission District is known for having dramatic street art covering residential and commercial buildings from top to bottom. With vibrant and thoughtful designs, the result is a truly unique and stunning neighborhood best explored by bike!

9. Alamo Square

Location: Alamo Square

Riding Bikes Through the Residential Areas- San Francisco - Bay City Bike

Full House fans, this one’s for you! Alamo Square is a must-visit landmark known for its picturesque row of Victorian houses, including the famous Painted Ladies. If you haven’t heard of the Painted Ladies, they are the series of brightly painted Victorian houses you see any time you look up “iconic San Francisco sights.” You can bike to the top of the hill and admire the stunning cityscape with Victorian houses in the foreground. This is also a great spot to stop for a picnic or park hang out and pretend you are the intro to a classic 90’s sitcom. 

10. Angel Island State Park

Location: Angel Island

Angel Island State Park

If you want to escape the city for some more open-air biking, Angel Island State Park is an underrated gem of a bike route. You need to take a ferry to this island (which is a great activity in itself) and explore the natural beauty of this tiny state park. With tons of trees, coastal vistas, and city skyline views, it’s a perfect place to take a step away from the crowded streets of San Francisco and enjoy some wide open spaces. 

Keep in mind this isn’t a short little excursion – Visiting Angel Island for a bike ride should be considered at least a half-day trip, if not a full one!

golden gate park fountain bike tours

It’s time to hope in the saddle for the best history lesson you’ve ever had! With endless historical landmarks in San Francisco to discover, you are sure to get your fill of San Francisco stories! So, if you need help planning your adventurous San Francisco itinerary, reach out to our team! We are happy to show you the best of the city from the seat of a bike. 

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