If you’re looking for a unique and exciting city tour you need to add one of the San Francisco fire engine tours to your itinerary. It ticks that box and then some!
Seeing the best of San Francisco on a vintage fire truck is definitely a memorable experience, but is it worth the money? Is it a bit too gimmicky?!
A San Francisco Fire Engine Tour Review
Disclosure: I was gifted my tour experience.
So what happens on one of these San Francisco fire engine tours? Well, you get to see the main city sights from the backseat of an open vintage fire truck. It’s a novelty experience, rather than one for comfort, and a whole lot of fun.
It’s not a tour for you to get perfect pictures of the sights and to hear a super informative narrative. This one is a city tour to enjoy and laugh about; one that will make you smile. The San Francisco backdrop is an added bonus.
You can choose to wear one of their authentic fireman jackets, which just so happen to offer the very best wind and chill protection. Those jackets really do keep the blustery air out, especially during winter and on the night time tours. They also make for a fun photo.
There are tours throughout the day, as well as different themed tours.
The Holiday Lights Fire Engine Tour
As I visited in December I opted for the Holiday Lights Tour, taking in the city’s best Christmas decorations.
Expect to ride a decorated truck, to see lots of Christmas spots in the city and twinkly lights, and to sing carols.
This tour is only available in the evening once it’s dark, so that you can see the festive lights. The tour leaves at 1745, 1945 and 2130, and lasts around 75-90-minutes.
You’ll see downtown San Francisco, The Embarcadero, and Union Square. But sadly not the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Holiday Lights Tour costs $37 per person. And I think it’s worth it for the festive novelty experience.
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The Classic San Francisco Fire Engine Tour
If you’re visiting San Francisco outside of the festive period or want to see the city during the daytime then go for the classic tour.
You’ll see Fisherman’s Wharf, the city streets, Fort Baker on the outskirts of Sausalito and up to the Marin Headlands. The classic city tour also takes you across one of San Francisco’s most treasured possessions – the Golden Gate Bridge.
This one departs throughout the week at 1100, 1300 and 1500. It costs $64 for an adult ticket, $54 for teens and $44 for children.
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Why Choose This Fire Engine Tour?
These city tours are different, not just because of the super cool truck – look at it, just look at it! – but because they’re very small. Due to the size of the fire engine you’ll only ever be in a maximum group of 14 people.
The tour guides are down to earth, chatty, fun locals. My guide seemed to be channelling a Jess from New Girl kinda vibe, which certainly made for an entertaining evening.
She’d burst into her own songs midway through a story and seemed to see the truck as her own open air stage. People on the street stared, cheered or waved – sometimes all three. It should have been embarrassing, but it was so awkward that it just became hilarious.
If you’re in need of some light hearted fun this tour should be on your list. It’s such a novel way to see the city of San Francisco. Admittedly my photos don’t the trip the justice it deserves.
Vintage trucks look amazing, but they hardly have any suspension. Every time you think you can get the shot the truck bumps up in the air or wobbles to the side.
Tip: Leave your camera at home and just enjoy the ride.
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The tours start at The Cannery in Fisherman’s Wharf. And you should aim to arrive around 10-15 minutes beforehand. Most fire engine tours of San Francisco last 90-minutes.
You definitely need to book ahead as they’re very popular, especially for the themed ones. And obviously as the trucks are so small there are very limited tickets. That also means that it’s best to travel light – there’s not much room for any bags, let alone bulky ones.
Travelling with kids? Bear in mind it is an open truck on busy roads. You won’t be able to strap a car seat in or anything like that.
What’s the most unique tour you’ve been on? X
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Big thanks to San Francisco Fire Engine Tours for hosting my visit.