This a tourist trap, I know! But there are some reasons to visit this area and see why this area is so packed with tourists. There are countless souvenir stores that sell exactly the same things (magnets, t-shirts, jackets, mugs etc) at exactly the same prices. So, what’s the good thing about this commercial hell that focus only on tourists? All these stores are all together here and the rest of the city is souvenir free :)
This is the place where you can visit Wax Museum, Ripleys Museum, Aquarium of The Bay, take the boat for a cruise or the Alcatraz tour, see the sea lions and take nice pics of Alcatraz or the Golden Gate bridge at the backdrop! We visited it on our first day in San Francisco and we didn’t regret it.
We spent some time near the sea lions, we took several photos of them (pics 2-3) while they were playing by climbing each other (ok, they don’t have much space to move there). You can easily watch them over K-Dock in Pier 39, it was back in 1989 just after the earthquake when the sea lions gathered here at this dock, they weren’t more than 50 but because of the protected environment their population grew to more than 300 in a few months! During summer they migrate south to Channel Islands but during winter you may see more than 600 here! The Marine Mammal Center has a small kiosk with friendly staff that explain any question about them.
Then we left the funny, curious (and smelly) sea lions and we continued along the shore (pic 4) while checking the buildings from the other side (pic 5). Fishernans Wharf covers a long area from Pier 35 till Ghirardelli Square to the west. Of course, Pier 39 is the most popular by far as it has most of the stores inside the Pier 39 mall. It also houses several restaurants (that we avoided), but most of them have nice bay view but they are expensive while the cheaper ones have bad quality. I also think it was the only place we spent money for small silly souvenirs for all our friends and we enjoyed the rest of the days without worries about them :) If you stay for 2-3 days in SF don’t come here but if you stay more it’s worth to spend 2-4 hours (including the cruise and the museums of course)
This is one place as a tourist in San Francisco you will want to visit. However, we as locals claim we wouldn't be caught dead here. Pier 39 is one of those "Touristy Places that you take your out-of-town relatives to. San Francisco would not be San Francisco with Pier 39! Pier 39 has a carnival/fair type atmosphere, there souvenir shops, snacks booths, arts, jewelry, and t-shirt shops. Pier 39 also has live bands and music. It even has a Merry-go-Round for the children. This is also the place to buy a ticket and cruise around San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz Island by boat.
Although much of Fisherman's Wharf is a tourist trap, there's one place that we really did enjoy and that was the Musee Mecanique at Pier 45, one of the world's largest privately owned collections of mechanically operated arcade machines. The museum is free to visit but if you want to see the machines in action, you need to plunk down a quarter or two or find the machines already in action. We were greeted by the creepy Laffing Sal at the entrance, already cackling loudly, and worked our way through, stopping to arm wrestle and watch such macabre arcade games as the French execution and Spanish Inquisition, the unpolitically correct Opium Den and the elaborate circus. There's even one of those fortune telling machines like there is in the movie "Big", but that scares me, who wants to be a 13 year old in a 30 year old body??? Now maybe if it was the other way around.....
San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf is home to several of the city's tourist attractions, including the Maritime Museum, Ghirardelli Square and The Cannery. There are plenty of souvenir shops and seafood restaurants around, but very few locals whom I've been told tend to avoid the area as much as possible! But I did enjoy walking around Fisherman's Wharf, even though we didn't stop by any of the museums or restaurants (I'm not much of a fish/seafood fan, so I much preferred having lunch in the nearby North Beach area).
We first went for a walk around the Maritime National Historic Park, where we were treated to a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and spent some time watching people fish in the SF Bay. We then walked around Hyde Street Pier, home to the National Maritime Museum. You need tickets to go on board the historic ships that are docked at the pier, but visitors are allowed to walk around the pier and take pictures of the ships for free. The same goes for Pier 45, where you will find the USS Pampanito, a World War II submarine, and the USS Jeremiah O'Brien, a World War II cargo ship. So the whole area may have little to do with the "real" San Francisco, but I still think it's worth stopping by, if only for the lively atmosphere and beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay.
There is a lot activity at the Fisherman's Wharf. It has artists painting a sketch for you in 10$, souveniers, has a beautiful bay front with boats docked, and a bright sun can do wonders to your energey levels. try it or your money back!!
Located on Pier 45 at Fisherman's Wharf is the very quirky Musee Mechanique. The museum is filled with old 'penny arcade' games, or to make I sound more impressive, the museum is home to one of the world's largest collections of antique arcade machines and mechanically operated musical instruments.
The museum is so worth a visit, especially as admission is free. It will cost you to operate the machines though - between 25 and 50 cents each.
There is such a zany collection of machines and games - from giant fortune tellers, to sex appeal meters, to arm wrestlers, to the original Sega Monaco GP racing game.
We spent close to an hour amazing at the various machines, watching them in action, and playing some old favourite arcade games.
Fisherman's Wharf is a busy tourist attraction and also the name of a neighbourhood of San Francisco. Located by San Francisco Bay, it really does have that 'tacky, touristy' feel about it, with plenty of souvenir shops and cheap eateries to keep families happy.
Beside its scenic bay side location, there are some must-see attractions in this area. I adored the Musee Mechanique (see separate tip), which is fun for all ages. Also loved watching (but not smelling!) the sea lions at Pier 39 (see separate tip).
Many specialty stores and you can get San Francisco memorabilia there.
It got too crowded during Christmas Holiday and if you don't mind walking, park your car on the street couple blocks before Pier 39, it's free for 2 hours.
It seems like at every visit to San Francisco we end up eatting at Fishermans Wharf. Rob loves seafood and theres tons of places to eat around here. We also love to walk around in this area. You can also take excursions from here.
A very popular place is Pier 39. There is food and great shopping here.
This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco. The stretch of the Wharf consists of coast side row of seafood restaurants, street vendors, souvenir stores, and beautiful ocean view. When in the dockside, do not forget to eat the ultimately delicious bread bowl soup that they are famous for. Take awesome shots of the sight and if on a budget stroll around the many souvenir shops. Pier 39 located on the Wharf itself, host a lot of attractions as well, restaurants and the well-known barking sea lions. Getting there is easy, cable cars and public buses are readily available and inexpensive.
(MAN MADE ORIGINALLY TO ATTRACT TOURIST)
this adds dimension and thrill in touring San Francisco Since you are doing it in style via a Cable Car on Wheels (as compared with "bland tour buses") and the 2 1/2 hour trip only costs $ 29.
Daily Departures starting at 10am - Tours depart every 45 minutes to 1 hour
The Motorized Cable Car Goes to Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Street, Palace of Fine Arts / Exploratorium, Fort Point, Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio, Japantown, Union Square, Chinatown and Little Italy North Beach and with other photo-ops along the way.
Although it's lot of fun, the crowds in Fishermans Wharf can get overwhelming. Take a break and walk down to the water and enjoy the view. Then walk back up and have a yummy treat at Ghirardelli Square.
Enjoyed walking on the Wharf, lots of interesting gift shops, restaurants and people watching. I particularly enjoyed watching the seals perform on the rocks and all of the interesting people watching them.
Our hotel on the Wharf was in a good location as was as Dante's seafood restaurant.
If you walk to the east end of Fisherman's Wharf and then turn left along the dock you will discover the U.S.S. Pampanito, a submarine that was in the Pacific in World War II. Submarine Veterans of WWII run this exhibit and it is well worth the hour you will spend aboard. There is also a small museum and of course, souvenirs.
During the war and for a time after the exploits of these subamarines were kept secret. Therefore, little credit has been given to these boats and what they did for our country. Now we know that they cleared the seas of Japanese shipping and the Japanese army was desperate for supplies. Japan also was very short on food and oil, due to the submarines sinking the ships which supplied their economy.
While on board you are able to use headphones and hear a description of the Pampano and its war patrols. You may get lucky and there will be a subvet on board. You are able to view the entire submarine, and if you have children with you, this is a GREAT field trip. You will come away knowing how dangerous it was to be aboard one of these boats and why so many of them did not return. The men who lived aboard not only had to be brave under depth charging, but they also had to be able to get along with each other for many weeks at a time.
Groups arrange to sleep overnight on the sub, and another ship, the aircraft carrier Hornet over in the Alameda harbor. (On the other side of the Oakland Bay Bridge)
This submarine has a great history and I urge you to make a visit.
Admission price is minimal since it is run be volunteers, not a profit making business.
Fisherman's Wharf is the most popular area in San Francisco for visitors. Covering a roughly three by ten block area, this neighborhood has historic waterfront, fresh seafood, Pier 39, a public fishing pier, two cable car lines, and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This area also has a lot of touristy crap like a wax museum, trinket shops, and the ever-popular Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum (no, I don't believe it!).
This is a great area to try the city's famous hugeness, strangeness, ungenerous Dungeness crab. We stopped in during the early afternoon and bought a few crab sandwiches ($6.50 each) and two cokes (around $1.25 each). The sandwich was very good with plenty of crab meat and very tasty bread. We enjoyed our sandwiches at the small counter along the side of the stand where we watched the workers steam live crabs in the midst of the flowing masses of tourists.
Just a few blocks up Hyde Street you can get some awesome views of the Bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge while on your way to Lombard Street.