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.
Formerly known as Colquhoun Glass Works, the seeds of Half Moon Bay Art Glass were sown in 1977 when artist Douglass Colquhoun Brown stepped off a tall ship in the English Channel. Discovering the art of etched glass in France, Brown became instantly smitten with the craft, and vowed to learn it upon his return to the states. After honing his skills creating scientific glassware for Silicon Valley, the artist expanded into more decorative objects such as jelly fish lamps, orchids, and seasonal glass pumpkins ideal for the jack-o-lantern-averse. Located on the site of a winery, Half Moon Bay Art Glass teaches glass-blowing classes suitable for first-timers of all ages, 12 and up.
Half Moon Bay Kayak Co.'s fleet of colorful plastic shells slices through the glimmering waters of Pillar Point Harbor, carrying crews of paddlers past playful harbor seals and chattering pelicans. Co-owners Doug Connor—who has conquered rushing rapids as a member of the United States Wildwater team—and Chris Manchester—who has kayaked along thousands of miles of coastline, including the world's second-largest barrier reef—channel their passion for paddling into a range of kayak and standup-paddleboard rentals, lessons, and tours. With expeditions to locales as far-flung as Honduras and Mexico, Half Moon provides sea explorers with exotic open-water explorations as well as local excursions to Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, San Gregorio State Beach, and next-door neighbors' unattended kiddie pools.
Named the best domestic airline for three consecutive years by both Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler, Virgin America boasts a fleet of all-new Airbus A320 and A319 planes that house a cavalcade of cabin comforts, including custom leather seats with a spacious 32-inch pitch in economy class, and international-grade white leather seats with a 55-inch pitch in first class. All seats also come equipped with 9-inch video touchscreens with keyboards and remote controls, 110-volt power outlets, and almond-butter churns. A pioneer of in-flight WiFi (for an additional fee), Virgin America allows tech-loving travelers to stay connected while lapping up the luxury of the airline's 12-shade cool pink-and-blue mood lighting, which creates an atmosphere that the Los Angeles Times compared to "an airborne discotheque."