I guess the Fisherman's Wharf is on everybody's list who are first time visitors. It is pretty cool, with all the fresh seafood you can handle and the cool restaurants overlooking the wharf and boats to Alcatraz. But after an hour or so it crosses the boundry of fun commercialism and becomes pure cheesy and over the top tourism. I usually can handle a half day here at most. I must say the fresh seafood is excellent though.
Cable Cars run along three different routes roughly every ten minutes. The two main lines, Powell/Hyde and Powell/ Mason, start off at the busy intersection of Powell and Market and vaguely make their way towards the popular destination of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. This is the most popular and historic route of the Cable Car. The other San Francisco cable car route is the California/Van Ness line which starts at California and Market and continues on until Van Ness. The Powell/Hyde line actually ends up close to Ghiradelli Square where you can shop or eat. San Francisco's famous Cable Car has enormous cable wheels, which pull 11 miles of cable at 9.5 miles per hour. The cable cars move by clamping onto it and stop by their release.
* Cash: Pay the conductor on the car (no transfers accepted or issued)
o Adult: $6.00 each way
o Youth: $5.00 each way
o Senior and Disabled: $5.00 each way ($1.00 9pm-7am)
o FastPass: Monthly unlimited riding, also good on BART within SF
+ Adult: $60.00
+ Youth: $30.00
+ Senior and Disabled: $30.00
o All-Day Pass sold by conductors on the cars
+ One Day: $13.00 (cable cars only, not buses or electric streetcars)
+ Effective 01-April-2006: One day: $11 (good on all Muni vehicles, like the Passport,
but only sold on the cable cars)
o Passports: A good deal for visitors or locals. Can be purchased online in advance.
+ One Day: $13.00
+ Three Days: $20.00
+ Seven Days: $24.00
* City Pass: A seven-day Muni pass plus admission to several local attactions.
o Adult: $55.00
o Youth (5-17): $44.00
The Main branch of the world famous Boudin Bakery here in fisherman's wharf has a museum inside that is a tribute to the World Famous San Francisco Soudough Bread started during the gold rush years of the 1850's by the founder, Isildore Boudin to feed the hungry gold prospectors and the rest like they say is History. The Museum is on the Right Side and the Bakery is on the left side when you are facing the Bakery. Admission is free.
Hours of Operation:
Wed - Mon 11:30 - 6:00pm
according to their website:
The Boudin Museum & Bakery Tour
How can one batch of bread beget millions of loaves over a period of more than 150 years? The story begins back in the California Gold Rush, when a family of French bakers, the Boudins, combined the tangy “sour” dough favored by the miners with traditional old-world baking techniques, creating the original San Francisco Sourdough French Bread. Ever since then, San Franciscans have kept up a steady demand for Boudin's bread, insisting that its characteristics remain the same year after year – a dark-golden crunchy crust, a soft chewy center, and a distinctively tangy flavor.
To make sure each loaf of bread is consistent from batch to batch, our bakers have employed an ancient baking secret – the “mother dough” – a combination of wild yeast and lactobacillus, cultivated with a mixture of water and flour, which has been divided and replenished every day since the bakery’s Gold Rush beginnings. Taking the place of commercial yeast, a portion of the mother dough is used to leaven the bread each day, giving each batch of dough the same flavor profile as the last, dating all the way back to the very first loaves baked in 1849.
Boudin’s self-guided Museum & Bakery Tour tells the story of our bakery (and Boudin's famous bread) as it unfolds against the backdrop of the San Francisco's history and personalities, from the Gold Rush to modern times. See a display of miners' and bakers' tools dating back to the mid-1800’s, hundreds of historic images and artifacts, and a 100-foot timeline chronicling major events in the city and in the bakery.
Through exhibits in the interactive science section, you'll learn why sourdough is sour and how the "mother dough" has survived for more than 150 years. A video game tests your skills as a baker, and a quiz determines your bread-type personality (find out if you’re more like a loaf of walnut bread or a sweet baguette…). The bakery also gives a nod to other San Francisco originals – including the popsicle, chop suey, the martini, the mai tai, and Irish coffee.
Watch our bakers at work from a catwalk above the demonstration bakery itself. Signs along the way identify the bakery's different machines and describe their function in the baking process. You'll see flour pumped from the outside silo into the mixer, where it's blended into dough, tossed from the mezzanine level to the ground floor, then hand finished and baked into one of more than 12,000 loaves each day.
An observation window at street level provides a great view of Boudin's bakers sculpting bread into unique shapes such as turtles and crabs. End the tour at the tasting room, where you can sample different kinds of breads and dipping oils.
I imagine that it would be an absolute near impossibility to visit San Francisco without visiting Fishermans Wharf, known the world over for its marvellous seafood restaurants.
I must say although I had plenty of time for my visit here there just seemed to be so much to fit in..as anyone knows that has visited this City. This is such a vibrant palce with all sorts of venues for ,fod music cocktails ar all of the previous.. I was taken by my friends whom had promised me the most amazing seafood meal experience to a small upstairs Restaurant..
( I can't remember the name) and there we had the most memorable seafood dinner that I have had anywhere in my travels or at home. oh! the local Californian wine was most enjoyable also...
From Shrimp Louis to Dungeness Crab, Fisherman's Wharf is known for its fresh seafood. But the big sign overlooking the tourist parking lot gives a clue to which is most important sea food here. Both signs feature the distinctive shape of Dungeness crab, one of the treasures of the West Coast fish market, and the symbol of the Golden Gate fishing industry. But for a cheaper version of the Dungeness crabs for locals like me, buy it at Costco where the price is 50 to 75% cheaper than here in touristy Fisherman's Wharf!
Native to coastal waters from southern California to the Aleutians, Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) is the main commercial crab species south of Alaska. It's a fairly large species, weighing about a pound and a quarter apiece in the minimum legal size (6-1/4 inches across the carapace, or upper shell) and running up to about 3 pounds. Most of the catch is consumed close to home, but some gets shipped to other parts of the country both fresh and frozen. It's hard to beat Dungeness crab in its plainest form, just plucked from the shell and eaten with good bread and white wine. But there are plenty of other ways to use the delicious meat, often in combination with other seafoods. Dungeness usually runs from $9.00 per pound to almost $15 per pound, here at the Fisherman's Wharf while in Costco it is just $ 5.99 a pound). Eating Dungeness Crabs here at the Wharf is a Certified Tourist Trap!
The common name of Dungeness crab comes from the town of the same name on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, which in turn was named after a point on the English coast near the strait of Dover.
Fisherman's Wharf is overwhelmed by lots and lots of tourists and reinvented daily as a chaotic carnival of commercialism, replete with remarkably uneven shops and restaurants (an exception will be the Hooters hehehe, i'm biased0 and though I may seem writing negatively, I still like the wharf to it's romantic Ambiance! (hey I sometimes go here on my lonesome and just buy some clam chowder, munch some boudin bread or lobster claws and just sit around and reminisce with my ipod classic in hand), Hey, this is Still the perfect spot to snap shots of quintessential San Francisco sights, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Presidio, Alcatraz, Sausalito.
The Wharf starts roughly from Ghirardelli Square east to Pier 35. It is best known (or Notorious Tourist Trap for others!) for being the location of Pier 39, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the Cannery Shopping Center, Ghirardelli Square and lots of small clam chowder and seafood stands hence is the center of tourist haven in the bay area!
The Ferry Building, one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks and is prominent among the Embarcadero Area, stands on the original site of the 1875 wooden Ferry House. The building that presently exists was originally built in the late 1800’s. Construction commenced in 1896 and the building opened in 1898. Long since then, many incredible San Francisco merchants inhabit the Ferry Building with great fresh choices of food, wine, grocery items and other amazing delectibles.
It was opened to the public in 1898, when getting around the bay area via ferry was the only way. The Italian looking clock tower and long building sitting on the bay was an impressive sight. It survived earthquakes and the decline of ferry service in the bay area. Today it's been reborn and is once again the gem it was in years past. The shops are all high end, and currently they are not overrun with knick-knack or T-shirt shops like other places in the city. You will find cheeses, breads, Italian ice cream, caviar bars, chocolates, wines, flowers, mushrooms and teas and coffees. There are wonderful floral shops, kitchen stores, bookstores and much more. It is full of rare and unusual finds, a perfect place to find a one-of-a-kind gift.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, the area in the back of the Ferry Building hosts one of the BEST Farmer's Markets in California. Farmers from Napa and Sonoma bring in their produce to sell. You will find flowers, fruits and vegetables that are the top of the line. Everything has just come off the farm or out of the bay. Even if you are only here for a visit, stop by and take a look. I suggest getting some bread, fruit and cheese and sit by the water and enjoy a great snack with a world-class view.
Open Daily 10am-5pm
Our grandson wanted to see a shark, so we paid a visit to Aquarium of the Bay.
Not only did we see a shark or two gliding by the glass-enclosed tunnel (picture 2), but had a hands-on encounter with a tiger shark at the 'touch pool'.
Starfish and rays were in open tanks to encourage touching, as well (picture 5).
The tunnel was an interesting feature as we moved through the aquarium, seeing starfish splayed on the side of the glass, radiant moon jellies, curious crabs, small colorful fish and slow-moving giants (pictures 2-4).
I think this attraction appeals more to children under 12, but I would think it depends on the individual. Our grandson was expecting to see more species, but we enjoyed the challenge of picking out the various ocean creatures as they moved about the tank. See additional pics.
These presentations are scheduled throughout the day:
Dive Encounter-ask questions of the animal care staff (11:30 am daily)
Bat Ray and Skate Feeding-learn how and what they eat (12:30 pm daily)
Nemo and Friends-learn about the coral reef (1 pm daily)
Sevengill Shark Feeding-how do the divers feed these creatures? (1:30 pm Thurs. & Sun.)
Shark Talk-a hands on presentation of sharks: friends or foes? (4:30 pm daily)
Grab a Bite-watch the feeding (3pm Tues., Thurs. & Sun.)
Tide Pool Feeding-just what DOES a star fish eat? (3:30 pm daily)
Please check the website the hours and admission fee.
This is an impressive collection of old vessels, each one of which has each played a role in California history. It's a must-see for any maritime historian. Here are some of the vessels at the pier.
The ferry boat Eureka, built in 1890, hauled passengers and cars between San Francisco and Marin County for many years, prior to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The square-rigged clipper ship Balclutha carried cargo all over the world, mostly between San Francisco and Europe. Built in Wales in 1886, she was registerd in Hawaii, while it was an independent kingdom. She was the last ship to fly the Hawaiian flag.
The coastal schooner C.A. Thayer hauled lumber up and down the West Coast. She was also used for fishing. Built in 1895, she was the last commercial sailing vessel on the West Coast when she made her last voyage in 1950.
The sailing scow Alma hauled cargo along the Sacramento River, and other rivers in central California.
Fisherman's Wharf is sought after by the tourists that flock to San Francisco like seagulls to the fishing boat. Some say this is a large tourist trap, but I kinda like the off beat atmosphere of the area. Starting off as an Italian Dungeness Crab Fishing Fleet port, the boiling pots of crabs attracted more and more people until most restaurants at the Wharf now have boiling pots outside selling crabs whole as well as that first taste the tourist wants, a crab cocktail. You can arrive via the famous cable cars that climb halfway to the stars walk around and then sail out to visit Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Starting at Ghirardelli's Square where you can cool off with a hot fudge sundae to watching the seals down at Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, sitting between the two, might have a little reminder of San Francisco for you. The sourdough bread at Boudin's Bakery to the crab cocktail in front of the wharf's restaurants are all wonderful memories of Fisherman's Wharf. Why? I think because food satisfies the soul. If you like a cocktail, stop in the Fisherman's Grotto bar and relax looking at a beautiful mural painting of Venice, Italy. Say hello to the barman, Johnny, from travelgourmet. Johnny has been a fixture almost as much as the boiling pots. Tourist Trap, yes. Tourist Destination, yes.
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