Carefully refold your map, un-dog-ear the pages of your guidebook, and place your tiny tour guide in protective cellophane wrapping—you won't need them to discover the buxom bounties of SF with this Groupon: a 2.5-hour GPS-guided GoCar tour that "just might be the nation's next big tourist sensation," according to USA Today. Time magazine named GoCar one of the coolest inventions of 2004.
If you're tired of biking up 60-degree hills, or making awkward conversation with Gavin Newsom at Don't Walk signs during a 2.5-hour tour of the city, a GoCar tour is the perfect alternative. GoCars are little, sunshine yellow Storytelling Cars, acting as magic transport eggs, safely cradling you through a GPS guided tour of Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, Crissy Field, and pretty much any part of San Francisco you might want to see. GoCars navigate and show you the way, describing the significance of historic sights (Fort Mason, The Painted Ladies of Alamo Square, Point Loma lighthouse, Rosecrans National Cemetery) and cultural landmarks (Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Bridge, USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, San Diego Zoo) as you zip past them.
Choose from four different narrated tour routes: Golden Gate Park and More; Golden Gate Bridge and Back + Chinatown/Downtown Loop; Downtown, Park, Zoo, and Old Town Tour; and Point Loma and Beaches Tour. Or blaze your own trail: GoCars can go wherever you want, and they can park so you can stop for photos, take detours on foot, grab coffee, or stop at a printer to pick up copies of your annual report.
You must be over 21 to rent a car, and rental requires a credit card for a security deposit that is fully refunded at the end of the tour. Driving a GoCar into the ocean for a better look at those sweaty, bleating sea lions is neither safe nor permitted, nor is driving on bridges or freeways. The car does stop at the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point where you can park and walk the span. The cars hold a maximum of two people (prices are per GoCar, not per person).
- It is one thing to cruise down the winding part of Lombard Street in a regular car. It is another to take the hairpin turns - paved brick road below, screeching green parrots flying above - in a sporty yellow GoCar, a fiberglass three-wheeler with the engine power of a scooter...As we descended, the GPS guide noted that Lombard is actually not the crookedest street in San Francisco - that distinction goes to Vermont Street in the Potrero neighborhood - but it is the "prettiest windiest street." – Julian Guthrie, San Francisco Chronicle
- "That was wild," she declares, whipping off the motorcycle helmet that is mandatory for renters. "I want a franchise." – Gene Sloan, USA Today
More than 50 Yelpers give GoCar four stars:
- Holy Crapitos!!! I want a Go Car of my own! That was the best sight-seeing, tourist activity I have ever experienced. – Amie B.
- How can you not like romping around san francisco in a go cart? I don't like tours but this was fun. – a t.
- Have you lived in NorCal for most of your life and never rode on a cable car, or muni, visited Alcatraz, seen the Lincoln Memorial, or Japanese Garden? GoCar tours (go for the Urban Park one) give you the opportunity to explore the best that SF has to offer and MORE. – Thuy H.
Smiles Per Gallon
As with most marketing ventures, GoCar went through a number of rejected names before settling on its sublimely straightforward moniker. Here's a list of just a few from the discard pile:
- Professor Benita Garabaldi's Urban Tourist Transport Solution Series Mark 9: "The Gamechanger."
Even before you climb inside, the GoCar is clearly a car with a personality. The petite, three-wheeled two-seater has a hood that slightly resembles an eager-to-please smiley face, and an open top that seems custom-made for letting the breeze ruffle your hair. Then the real fun begins: built with the company's own software and a compassion for the voiceless robots of America, a talking GPS system guides two-seater GoCars through the city streets of San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon with cheerful, info-rich narration. Second only to having a knowledgeable local jog alongside your minivan, tours zip along at drivers' own pace and accommodate as many pit stops as time allows.