The diaries of Lewis and Clark are filled with cantankerous laments about having to tour the wilderness by foot and the startling lack of trailside fast-food options. Equip yourself with a discoverer’s eyes and an amphibian’s powerful hind legs with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get an adult ticket to your choice of the San Francisco by Night or the Holiday Lights 90-minute tour (a $40 value each) from Mr. Toad’s Tours, a family-owned-and-operated sage of city sights. The San Francisco by Night tour is available until November 24, and the Holiday Lights tour is available between November 26 and January 2.
Mr. Toad specializes in small, personalized tours that offer a better overview of the bay area than the Full House intro. Instead of the modern vehicles frequently sighted touring urban landscapes, Toad tours take place in pre-1930s vehicles that run on propane, the power behind grills and floating cities. The nimble rides can easily navigate the hilly cityscape along the route.
The San Francisco by Night tour is a beautiful evening jaunt around town, highlighting cinematic and historical landmarks such as Ghirardelli Square, the Palace of Fine Arts, Chinatown, and Crissy Field, where you can watch the sun set the Golden Gate Bridge on fire. The Holiday Lights tour focuses on the neighborhoods that have correctly decorated themselves with lights, tinsel, roasting chestnuts, and Santa impersonators. Tours depart from Fisherman’s Wharf at the corner of Mason and Jefferson. Call ahead to book your tour and arrive 20 minutes early to avoid missing the send-off, subsequently ruining everything forever.
As anyone who has gone on a historical tour only to learn more about the guide’s love life than the landmarks can attest, the guide can make or break the experience. Every Mr. Toad driver is passionate about the tours and possesses enough obscure knowledge about the city to slam through 10 rounds of San Francisco Jeopardy sweat-free. After the tour, leave your heart or other extraneous appendage on the seat so that future sightseers will know they’re in for an unforgettable experience.
Mr. Toad’s Tours gets a near-perfect 4.5-star average from Yelpers and an average of five owl eyes from TripAdvisors, whose ratings put Mr. Toad fourth of 639 listed attractions in San Francisco: > * [The tour guide] was full of interesting facts and little-known information about the history, architecture, and characters of San Francisco, and the small group setting felt very comfortable and personal. Both my little ones enjoyed themselves as much as my mom and I did! – TeacherBelle, TripAdvisor > * Would absolutely take another tour with this company! Thanks for the fun time. – Anastasia E., Yelp
Mason St. & Jefferson St.
San Francisco, California 94133Get Directions