Biking up 60-degree hills or jabbing at a spinning globe of San Francisco is a disappointing way of exploring the sights of the city. Today's Groupon injects wisdom into your local wanderlust: for $50, you get a 2.5-hour tour from GoCars (a $103 value). GoCars are little, sunshine-yellow storytelling cars, acting as magic transport eggs by safely cradling up to two passengers (ages 5 and older) through a narrated, GPS-guided tour of such San Francisco treats as the Golden Gate Park, Japanese Tea Gardens, Crissy Fields, Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf, and virtually any part of San Francisco a tourist or explorist might want to see.
GoCars navigate the city terrain, describing the significance of historic sights (Fort Mason, The Painted Ladies of Alamo Square) and cultural landmarks (Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Bridge) as you zoom past (with a zoom limit of 35 mph) with haste or slowly saunter by for photo ops. GoCar lets you explore at your own pace or choose from three different narrated tours routes. Most tours can meet at any of GoCar's three locations.
- *Downtown San Francisco: * Navigate through North Beach, Chinatown, Union Square, and the Financial District for sights of the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge while humming Petula Clark.
- *Urban Parks: * A hearty voyage along the coast to the Golden Gate Bridge and back through Golden Gate Park, then past Twin Peaks, Alamo Square, and Baker Beach.
- *The Mister SF Tour: * See the city from the perspective of one of its gurus, Hank Donat, as you travel through diverse neighborhoods, cultural landmarks, movie locations, and more on this audio tour. This tour is ideal for locals and those looking for a slightly more intimate delving into their hometown.
Multilingual GoCars are fluent in Italian, Spanish, French, German, and English thanks to engineers devising a way to fit five translators into the vehicle's carburetor. These co-pilot cars invite you to make detours and food stops, giving riders the freedom to shape their own tour according to their camera wants, appetites, and traveling intuition. You must be 21 or older to rent a car, and rental requires a credit card for a security deposit of $300 with insurance or $400 without, which is fully refunded at the end of the tour. Optional insurance for the GoCar is available for an additional $12.
Tours that extend beyond 2.5 hours will be charged extra in 15-minute intervals. Driving a GoCar on bridges or freeways is not permitted.
GoCar was named one of the [coolest inventions] in Time magazine. It was also reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle. Yelpers give it a 3.5-star average, while more than 200 TripAdvisors give it 4.5 owl eyes.
- 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. – Julian Guthrie, San Francisco Chronicle
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.