The San Francisco Bay Area has a lot of famous attractions that attract visitors from all over the world. The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Muir Woods, San Francisco Cable Cars and the Palace of Fine Arts along with historic neighborhoods like Haight-Ashbury and North Beach see a huge amount of tourists every year. However if there is one area of the city that seems to be filled with visitors all year long, it would be Fisherman’s Wharf and the infamous Pier 39. Every major city seems to have a fun area for tourism that a lot of locals seem to avoid, but whether you are on vacation or live in the Bay Area, Pier 39 has a lot of fun and interesting things to see.

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As you walk through Fisherman’s Wharf, en route to Pier 39, you will see lots of storefronts selling souvenirs, food stands selling Dungeness Crab and Clam Chowder, restaurants, bars, museums and more. Entering Pier 39, you will be greeted with crowds of people, cool shops, and lots of fun activities. The wooden pier is located right on the San Francisco Bay, surrounded by boats and offering beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Alcatraz Island and more.

One of the most popular attractions right next to the Pier are the Sea Lions that hang out on the floating, wooden docks through most of the year. The story behind the sea lions makes it even more interesting to see them lying in the sun, without a care in the world. The thing is, they were not always hanging out in that spot. In fact, the docks next to Pier 39 were previously used to dock boats, however shorty after the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 the sea lions just started arriving out of the blue with no obvious explanation. At first it was a small group, but over the years, the population grew, reaching 1,700 in 2009. Regardless of the reasons, it seems like they are here to stay and they remain a popular attraction for visitors to the city.

Another popular feature on Pier 39 is the large carousel. The San Francisco Carousel, which was made in Italy, pays homage to the city of San Francisco with hand-painted renderings of famous landmarks like Coit Tower, Lombard Street, The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. With traditional organ music playing, over 30 hand-painted animals to ride and an array of 1,800 lights, it is truly a beautiful addition to the area.

The 45-acre waterfront attraction is a great place to spend the day. With over 90 shops and 14 restaurants, there is truly something for everyone at Pier 39.

Popular Attractions at Pier 39

Dining Options

  • Boudin Bakery Cafe
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
  • Crepe Cafe
  • Dreyer’s Ice Cream
  • Trish’s Mini Donuts
  • Wipeout Bar & Grill
  • Pier Market Seafood Restaurant
  • The Hook
  • Chart House
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • Luau Lounge Tiki Bar
  • Illy Caffe

Shopping at Pier 39

  • Alcatraz Gift Shop
  • Aquarium of the Bay Gift Shop
  • Bliss
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop
  • Chocolate Heaven
  • Candy Baron
  • Christmas in San Francisco
  • Fairy Tales
  • Hidden Dragon
  • Houdini’s Magic Shop
  • Krazy Kaps
  • Magnetron
  • Only in San Francisco
  • SF City Wear
  • The Fudgery
  • Under the Golden Gate

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