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Thursday, January 7, 2010

See San Francisco the Unconventional Way

Sometimes it's fun to play tourist and do the things your visiting friends and family do when they come see you. Or perhaps you just want to shake things up a bit and get around the hometown in something other than a minivan.

Here are four fun ways to see San Francisco.

By Segway: If you have kids ages 12 and up (or can leave them at home), check out a Segway tour. You might scoot around Alcatraz, Sausalito, the San Francisco waterfront, Palace of Fine Arts, Ghirardelli Square, or Lombard Street aboard one of these two-wheeled space-age scooters. They're a little awkward to ride at first, but the tour includes practice time on these gyrating machines.

By kayak: See the City by the Bay, from the Bay. Try to catch a fly ball during a Giants’ game (from the water!) or check out the Ferry Building from the vantage point of the ferries. If you have kayaking experience, try paddling under the Golden Gate Bridge or past Alcatraz. City Kayak welcomes kids 12 and older on its trips, which depart from both the outfitter’s Pier 39 and South Beach locations.

GoCar Tours: This yellow two-seater convertible looks like a go-kart but is fitted with a GPS that narrates a tour while guiding you around town. Strap on a helmet and zip through downtown San Francisco, urban parks, or get an “insider” tour of the city. You’ll pay by the hour.

Bike Tours: If you don't have a bike, you can rent one for a solo trip (or join a guided tour) from an outfitter like Blazing Saddles or Bay City Bike. If you’re worried about burning and shaking thighs, rent an electric bike instead. A fusion between bicycle and scooter, this contraption will get you around without polluting the air. Either way, the popular excursion is to bike the Golden Gate Bridge from Fisherman’s Wharf to Tiburon.

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