Through the skies of San Francisco, a helicopter tour

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San Francisco is without a doubt one of America’s most hip cities. On my recent visit to the foggy city, I was invited by San Francisco Helicopter Tours to get a view from above. The chance to look down on America’s most intense hipsters was too good to pass up! Plus, it’d be my very first time in a helicopter.

Turns out, San Francisco is a pretty cool and level-headed city. Even if the city is peppered with steep hills and winding roadways. And viewing San Francisco from above—in the co-pilot seat of a helicopter, no less!—is an awesome experience. Everyone knows the city has its fair share of fog, but when you’re literally flying through it, the sky is less eerie and much more majestic.

Rather than wax poetic on the beauty of San Francisco from above, click listen, scroll down and enjoy…

Dolores Park!

The Pier!

Transamerica Pyramid—San Francisco’s tallest skyscraper

Boats in the San Francisco harbor

Lombard Street—arguably the world’s most crooked street

Alcatraz

Sausalito

The Golden Gate Bridge hidden by the fog

The Bay Bridge—not a view you’re probably used to!

Golden Gate Bridge from below…

Have you ever been in a helicopter before? I found the experience pretty exhilarating. At just 30 minutes in the air, it was still pretty special. And the views were incredible.

Blogs published by Adam Groffman • Please note some posts do make me some money, but I never sacrifice my integrity in exchange for a favorable review. Read the full disclosure policy.

21 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. It really makes you want!! But just one question: how much does it cost? Is it expansive? Affordable?
    Thanks!

    • Hey – Yeah, helicopter tours are usually pretty expensive. I see it as a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I wouldn’t do a helicopter tour unless you really love the city you’re visiting.

  2. San Fran looks incredible. I could almost definitely get over the fear of hurtling to my death in a tiny tin box just to see underneath that bridge.

    • Hahahahha Molly! I have to admit the helicopter ride wasn’t so scary for me. But there was one moment where I had a funny feeling in my tummy just because the way it moves. It was so cool, though!

      And you’re right to point out about going under the bridges. I forgot to point out what a unique experience that was—and totally unexpected.

  3. I love San Francisco so much. How lucky to be able to see it from this angle!

  4. Awesome, awesome, awesome… just returned from SF and absolutely fell in love with the city. Would love to see it by helicopter sometime. Great shot of the Ferry building…

    • Thanks DJ. This was one of the first times I was able to explore a lot of the city and really loved it, too. Hope you get to spend more time in SF in the future!

  5. San Francisco has to be the most photogenic city in the world!

  6. Supercool! I’m going to be there this weekend. I don’t know how I’d do in a helicopter though. :)

    • Ohh! I hope you have a fun weekend in San Francisco. I imagine it must be CRAZY during Halloween!

  7. Nice shots. I did a helicopter tour in Maui. It was amazing. We saw cliffs and waterfalls that are virtually impossible to get to any other way.

    • Wow, Reid, that sounds really fantastic. I loved flying through the San Francisco harbor and around the city skyline, but I imagine a helicopter tour somewhere more naturally scenic would be really interesting.

  8. Wow, what a great opportunity you’ve gotten there!
    I’ve only seen San Fran from the ground, but who knows, one day :)

  9. Wow! That looks amazing. I’ll have to do this if I ever go back. I’m surprised your pictures weren’t so shaky! How did you get such incredible shots?

    • I’ll second that! Love the shots, and would love to know how you got such great pics in the helicopter.

  10. Wow, how lucky you’ve been, the pictures are breath-taking! You must probably have experienced a great feeling of freedom for being able to explore this huge city from the above and to see every single part of it at a glance!

    • Thanks Clay – it was a super cool experience to see San Francisco from above.

  11. Adam, that is so amazing. I’d love to do a helicopter tour sometime. I love the feeling of flight, especially in small planes and gliders, but I’m trying to imagine how it is in a helicopter, which must move so differently! Beautiful photos, as always!

    • Thanks for the compliment on my photos, Justin! I was so nervous going up in the helicopter with my new camera, because I had no clue what settings I would need to get through the fog, but I managed….

      And I’m like you—I just love the feeling of flying, of moving in the sky. It’s so weird/exciting/exhilarating/incredible… Helicopters do indeed move different. Lift-off and landing were especially weird…and when it wobbled in the sky, too.

      • The feeling of flight gets me to sleep. Like, every single time. I wonder if it would be the same on a helicopter…I might be the first person who ever sleeps on one of those things

        • Hahah, Federico. Well, helicopter flights are really short, usually, so unless you fall asleep quickly, I think you’d have a hard time.

          But, yeah, I fall asleep quite a bit on flights…and buses and trains and cars and while cooking dinner….

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