Fisherman's Wharf is a great place to grab some crab, fresh out of the pot, or you might choose clams, or other fish dishes. Fisherman's Wharf is a step back in time for tourists. It is found at the end of the boat docks wharfside. Goodies can be bought on the go, and you eat as you walk along the fishing boats and shops.
Here's a major tip for the budget conscious. The food being served outside freshly cooked is in some cases the same food served inside the restaurants for a lot more money. Save some cash and eat on the go.
If you just got off a cable car head for the water, and then follow the flow of tourists. You can't miss it.
Nearby are some great exhibits, one an old arcade, and look for Laughing Sal, she's a local curio, and there is a World War II submarine called the Pampano, and you can actually go inside. Both of these activities are at the end of Fisherman's Wharf.
There is a small charge for going inside the submarine, but only for maintenance, not for profit. Affordable and worth it. The arcade is free.
Shown here is along the walkway of FW.
Fisherman’s Wharf is admittedly besieged by hordes of tourists and is chuck full of cheap trinket shops offering hideous souvenirs for the folks back home, but despite the obvious trappings, there is a hokey charm to this ode to the maritime history of San Francisco. With its world class views and some tasty seafood on offer, one cannot go to the city by the bay and not at least stroll the promenade once to see what all the fuss is about. You can’t avoid it if you want to hop a ferry to Marin County or visit Alcatraz, and if you go during the week, early in the morning, it still retains a bit of its historical past. Breath in the salty air, feel the fog on your face and smile. Remember, you’re in San Francisco.
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.
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.
Probably the most famous inhabitants of SF - the sea lions! There's always a big crowd watching, and most of the day the sea lions don't really move at all. So here comes my secret tip:
Every morning (I guess...) some people are cleaning the wooden platforms. During the cleaning, the sea lions have to leave the platform and they are swimming and playing and diving - great to watch them actually do something and there are not too many people around.
Well you decide for your self ,but in my opinion it is a must do ,or a must see activity.
'' Bones '' was SPECIAL , very boney looking fellow ,he just wanted to dance with you .well he found the right person in Hansi
I am always interested in a nice Dance.
I do think that my friend '' Bones '' favored the ladies over the men but I migh be wrong there ,anyways '' Bones '' and Hansi had a great time during our little get together.
(don't forget to slip '' Bones '' a few bucks )
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.
Besides all the seafood vendors along the water, the restaurants, the shops of all kinds, there is the WAX MUSEUM. Sure, it's a little corny, but it can also be interesting. So, as you stroll along the many blocks of the wharf area, you may want to take a look at some celebrities in wax.
The museum features a large collection of wax models that look like significant figures throughout time. The characters are separated by category. You will see famous American and international humanitarians, generals, dictators, scientists, artists, world leaders, athletes, movie scenes, musicians & others
Wax figures of celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, O.J. Simpson, Marilyn Monroe, & Elvis Presley are there.
Admission: Adult $12.95; Child(4-11)$6.95; Senior(55+) $10.55.
Fisherman's Wharf is a harbour for fishing boats - at least it used to be, and you can still watch some fishermen bringing home their haul if you stand up early in the morning.
But over the years Fisherman's Wharf also became one of the most touristic sites of San Francisco. You'll find a lot of restaurants, shopping centers, entertainment places and shop where you can buy every kind of kitsch.
A lot of boats start their tours onto the Bay from the piers at Fisherman's Wharf (including the ferry to Alcatraz).
Near one pier there's a platform where seals take a sunbath. So if you go there with kids they will enjoy it.
This is one of the must see places in SF, for people watching, shopping, food too. It's got seafood restaurants, & plenty of shops to browse in. Some shops have maritime themes too. You can get some good views too. It can be a little crowded and yeah, it's quite touristy, but is one of the first places to go when in SF.
My advice: spend a few hours here, then move onto one of the many surrounding neighborhoods.
Though Fisherman's Wharf is touristy, it's worth walking around. Though I would try to avoid the tour guide salesmen, the giftshops and the Ripley Believe it or Not Museum. The views of the water are nice, the food can be good, and the old cutter ships and submarine on view are interesting. I highly recommend the clam chowder sold in many of the restaurants. The Musee Macanique, (off the beaten path tip) is highly unusual and free. Walk west towards Ghiradellii Square and you'll run into the Maritime National Historical Park. (off the beaten path tip) Much more authentic and less touristy. Refer to my tourist Trap tip as well.
Known for its historic waterfront, delicious seafood, spectacular sights and unique shopping, FISHERMAN'S WHARF offers a wide array ot things to do for everyone.
The "Powell & Hyde Sts." cable car took us down to within walking distance of Fisherman's Wharf.
This arcade and music box museum used to be on the other side of the city at Seal Rock, but it has recently been moved to the end of Fisherman's Wharf. Entrance is free and visitors will view an immense number of antique machines that make music mechanically. It is fascinating to see the number of ways inventors of the past used to make music. You will also see player pianos, and games of old.
In particular at the entrance you will see Laughing Sal and she is famous to all San Franciscans. You can see a photo of her below.
If you have children, this is another "field trip" experience. They will be very interested in this exhibit.
Hint: bring coins to make the music boxes,etc. work.
You could spend about an hour in this place trying out the machines and listening to other instruments of music play their tunes.
The Fisherman's Wharf area is the main tourist area of San Francisco. There are plenty of tourist type shops, restaurants (including a number of seafood restaurnats), and hotels.
The wax museum and Pier 39 as well as ferries leaving for Alcatraz are alll located here.