One of San Francisco’s busiest and largest tourist attractions, PIER 39 and nearby Fisherman’s Wharf is a must do for tourists and locals alike. So, grab your camera, wear some comfortable shoes and a jacket and enjoy all the beauty that Pier 39 has to offer! Here’s my top 7 things to do in and around this area.
1. PLAY, EAT, AND SHOP!
Surrounded by waterfront dining, street performers, live music, shopping and tons of carnival-like dessert stands, the epicenter of Pier 39 has everything you could ever want or need. Souvenirs? Check. Funnels cakes? Check. A store especially for left handed folk? Check!
2. FORBES ISLAND
This floating restaurant offers a once-in-a-lifetime fantasy dining experience. Set between Piers 39 and 41, Forbes Island is equipped with a 40ft lighthouse, an elegant underwater dining room, full bar, and wine cellar. With perfect views of the San Francisco bay, go have lunch on their white sandy terrace and dinner in the one of the main dining salon which is filled with antique nautifacts, a large fireplace and underwater portholes.
3. THE SEA LIONS AT PIER 39
One of the main attractions of Pier 39 are the sea lions. These local “sea-lebrities” lounge out on floating docks before hauling out into the bay to feed or to mate. There are as many as 900 sea lions that visit Pier 39 in the winter, due to the ample supply of herring available. Click here to learn more about the sea lions and watch them live on the Sea Lion Webcam, managed by the Sea Lion Center.
4. HYDE STREET PIER
Just a short walk down from Pier 39, the Hyde Street Pier was originally the main auto ferry terminal before the Golden Gate Bridge was built. Since then, the pier is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. There are several historical ships anchored to the pier, some available for self-guided tours or assisted tours.
5. ALCATRAZ ISLAND
No visit to San Francisco is complete without a ferry ride out to the infamous Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz, originally built as a military fort with prison facilities, is most well-known for its use as a maximum security federal prison from 1933 to 1963. Given the high security and the location of Alcatraz in the cold waters and strong currents of San Francisco Bay, the prison operators believed Alcatraz to be escape-proof and America’s strongest prison, known to have held such notorious criminals, including Al Capone.
6. FERRY TO THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
Jump on a ferry and be astounded by the beauty of San Francisco’s prized jewel, The Golden Gate Bridge. At every turn, you can find a ferry company selling tours and ferry tickets departing from Pier 39. The ferry route varies from company to company, but the most common route is a 1 hour ride taking you up close and personal with the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the Bay Bridge. Be sure to bring a jacket! It can get pretty windy out on the Bay!
7. CABLE CAR RIDE
Probably the most fun you’ll have in San Francisco, albeit so cliché, is take a ride on a cable car. The lines may be long, but it’s worth the wait. You can grab a cable car on one of the two routes. The “Powell-Mason” route goes from Market Street down to Fisherman’s Wharf and vice versa.
Share your own San Francisco recommendations with our readers in the comments below!