Ryan Curtis loves local history, sunshine, and exercise, and he just happened to be clever enough to combine all three into a career. As the owner of Roam Local, he offers—and leads—private and semiprivate walking tours that explore the hidden stairways, alleyways, and gardens of San Francisco. As groups walk, hidden terraces with stunning views as well as famous sights come into view, usually from unexpected angles. That perspective often creates stunning photo opportunities that can’t be found on postcards, such as the Golden Gate Bridge before it’s infused with its morning coffee. As your guide walks and talks, they supplement their information with an interactive iPad presentation and San Francisco’s other standout: its balmy weather.
The cable car is an important piece of San Franciscan history, but you don't have to go to a museum to see one. Instead, you can ride one yourself thanks to the California Street Cable Car Line. Used for private charters and holiday tours, the company was started in 1958 by Arnold Gridley and now has a fleet of over 20 vintage-inspired vehicles. Each one was built using the original cable car blueprint, which means solid oak benches, brass rails, and a sepia conductor at the helm. These iconic features have led to numerous appearances in numerous TV shows, movies and commercials, from Nash Bridges to The Hulk and ads for Pepsi.
Since 2004, Super Jet Limo's smartly dressed chauffeurs have transported clients in a fleet of stylish town cars. They drive travelers to and from San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. In addition, they facilitate sightseeing tours and provide transportation for special events, such as proms and weddings. In the case of the latter, they'll even outfit limos with customized Just Married signs.
On a sunny afternoon, a small plane speeds down a runway and takes to the sky, its occupants gazing down at the streets of San Francisco, sailboats speeding through the bay, and the coppery sails of the Golden Gate Bridge. A small tour group or a student pilot sits in the belly of the plane, marveling at the thrill of flight.
Hayward Flight’s staff of FAA-certified instructors and pilots shares that experience with everyone—from young children to aspiring airline pilots—during scenic tours and private plane rentals. Pilot training classes emphasize sophisticated simulator practice and in-air flight, and students can earn private and commercial pilot licenses behind the controls of the Hayward’s fleet of Cessna aircraft and domesticated dragons.
Clad in revealing outfits, Tokyo Playground's beautiful waitresses don't adhere to the quiet formalness normally associated with Japanese dining. Then again, at Tokyo Playground, neither does anything else. Helped by its scantily clad waitstaff, the restaurant instead throws on the mantle of a rowdy American sports bar, pairing Japanese cuisine with upbeat music and sports broadcast on HDTVs. Like a dolphin's toy box, the menu is predominantly filled with sushi—36 specialty rolls include the Fiesta roll with spicy tuna, sweet fried tofu, and avocado. Forgoing the roll, the nigiri and sashimi selection includes live giant clams and spanish mackerel. Bento boxes pair sushi or teriyaki entrees with rice and salad, and a chef's-choice sushi combo gives the chef license to pair rolls thought up on the spot. Of course, pockets of the menu highlight the sports-bar angle with snacks such as the japanese nachos covered in spicy ground tuna. To wash it all down, the bar slings sake bombs made from hot sake and Sapporo.
Segway Off Road strips the wheels off of timid city Segways, replacing them with rugged off-road tires ready to explore the rambling wilderness that still sprawls just outside San Francisco. Their tours send riders rolling right into the heart of these outdoorsy sites, tackling trails in the Redwoods or exploring the history and shops of Jack London Square’s waterfront. The adrenalin tour ramps up the action, taking experienced riders on a high speed zip through the meadows and trails of the Redwood Forest. Special tours test rider’s mettle and imagination, challenging them with everything from marathon sessions in the Redwoods to rousing games of Segway polo.
In addition to keeping their fleet ready for wilderness excursion, Segway Off Road's resident mechanics also trick out and customize personal Segways with upgrades including gold plating, hyped-up motors, and wheel spikes to take out cyclists competing for road space.