Located along the San Francisco Bay, just north of North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the top tourist areas in the city. While you won’t find a lot of locals in the area, it is one of the busiest areas of the city, especially during the summer months. Its waterfront location and large amount of cool attractions makes it a great place to check out if you are visiting San Francisco.
The streets of Fisherman’s Wharf are lined with shops, restaurants, tourist kiosks, bars and more, so even if you aren’t planning on seeing anything specific, it is a great place to spend the day. However, you may want to plan ahead if you want to check out some of the more popular activities.
Perhaps the most popular place in the Wharf is Pier 39, a waterfront shopping area, perfect for people of all ages. The area is always busy with visitors shopping at over 90 stores, grabbing food at one of the 14 full-service restaurants or snacking around at some of the unique food kiosks and cafes. The end of the wharf looks over the San Francisco Bay with amazing views of Alcatraz, The Golden Gate Bridge and more. And speaking of Alcatraz, Pier 39 is where you grab the Alcatraz Cruises ferry to tour the famous federal penitentiary. Another fun feature of Pier 39 is the two-story carousel that features hand-painted San Francisco Attractions, 1,800 sparkling lights and 30 animals to ride. If that isn’t enough for you, there is also a very special feature right next to Pier 39, the San Francisco Sea Lions! These massive, barking sea creatures randomly showed up after the 1989 earthquake and took over the docks.
While you could probably spend a full day at Pier 39 alone, there are plenty more things to see and things to do in Fisherman’s Wharf. If you are into museums, you can check out the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, The Cartoon Art Museum, Musée Mécanique and more. If you are in the mood for some grub, you will have quite a few options. For a quick, uniquely San Francisco meal, you can’t go wrong with the many seafood stands selling fresh Dungeness Crab & Clam Chowder or stopping by Boudin Bakery to try some of the famous San Francisco sourdough bread. An, of course, if you haven’t been to an In-N-Out Burger, you should definitely stop by the famous California burger joint. If you are in the mood for a sit down meal at a restaurant, the infamous Alioto’s is always a good choice as is Forbes Island, which is the only floating restaurant in SF. After your meal, skip the dessert and head over to Ghirardelli Square. The famous chocolatier has a shop where you can purchase a variety of chocolates, or grab a tasty ice cream sundae.
If you are in the mood for a drink, there are some great bars in the area as well. However, if you want to try something spectacular, you need to check out The Buena Vista’s famous Irish Coffee. In fact, the small bar/restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf is credited with bringing the Irish Coffee to America after one of the owners tried one of the alcoholic coffee drinks while on a layover in Ireland. Just outside of the Buena Vista is one of the more popular spots to hop on a cable car to take a ride on the last manually operated cable car system in the world.
Needless to say, Fisherman’s Wharf has a huge amount of things to do and things to see. If you are visiting San Francisco, you should definitely add it to your list and enjoy some of the best that San Francisco has to offer.
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