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Embrace Your Inner Hippie on San Francisco’s “Magic Bus”

May 16th, 2011 · No Comments · Activities

Magic Bus San Francisco Psychedelic What do you get when you take a straightforward city bus tour and throw in beatniks, music, politics and drug references? Not your average daytrip, that’s for sure. The Magic Bus will fill you with nostalgia for the sixties, whether you were there at the time or simply co-opted mom’s record collection and stole her bellbottoms. This ride may not show you all of San Francisco, but it does give riders a firsthand glimpse into history, and that makes it something very special indeed.

The tour is split between observations of modern life in the city and a multimedia show on the retractable window shades of the bus. Sure, you miss some of the sights along the way while the movie plays – but then again, how many street musicians can outperform the Beatles?

Three Reasons to Jump On the Magic Bus

1. You hit the hot spots in San Francisco. As you roll through some of the city’s most notorious neighborhoods – Chinatown, North Beach, Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park – the shades are raised and you can drink up the scene. Instead of a one-liner about every building and bump in the road as you whiz through, you’ll get a personal feel for the places that defined a decade.

2. It’s more fun than your high school history lesson. When you want to be transported to another time and place, no one does it better than a trained crew of actors and performers. Founder Chris Hardman tells the sixties story through news clips, classic music and a focus on the feeling of the era. It’s a Ken Burns Disney ride. It’s time travel. These guys believe that passing around fake acid (candy) and flowers is a lot more fun than bombarding you with dates or subjecting you to a dry presentation about the significance of the people mentioned in the videos. They couldn’t be more right.

3. It’s not a tour, it’s an experience. The tour appeals to many San Francisco first timers, but even locals will get a kick out of this trip. The Magic Bus is about more than seeing the city. It’s a theatrical experiment brought to you by Antenna Theater, the same people who popularized Walkman tours way back in the 1980s. Who knows – 20 years from now you could find yourself saying that you that were there, that you took one of the first truly avant-garde city tours in the country. Or, at the very least, you‘ll have an interesting story to tell your friends back home about that time you took a bubble-blowing bus tour.

Admission to The Magic Bus will run you $40 ($35 for students and seniors), but feel free to wax poetic about what that sum of money could have purchased back in the good old days. You can purchase advance tickets at and then catch the Magic Bus at San Francisco’s Union Square at Geary Street (across from Macy’s). Enjoy a day of peace, love and history on the time-traveling Magic Bus!

The Magic Bus operates:
Friday: 12:00pm & 2:00pm
Saturday: 1:00pm & 3:00pm
(Although be warned: the psychedelic sixties aren’t always known to arrive promptly)


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