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.
Fresh, steamed Crabs, standing under a tarp to get out of the rain, warming up over the steam - okay it doesn't sound that cool but believe me it was. I've heard Fisherman's Wharf can be crowded and touristy but considering I was a tourist I thought I'd give it a go and considering it was pouring rain I figured it wouldn't be that busy and I was right. The walk from Chinatown was perfect.
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.
Fisherman's Wharf is absolutely a tourist trap, however if you must go here is the insiders/local version:
Start at Pier 39 - walk out to visit the sea lions. they are pretty phenomenal! do not buy chotchkes, churros, cheesy t-shirts.
Continue along the waterfront to Pier 45 turn right and head out along the docks to the Fisherman's and Seaman's Memorial Chapel. This is a tiny little chapel that actually has full Latin mass on sunday.
Continue along the waterfront to Taylor Street, turn right and go straight back to the Musee Mecanique. Awesome museum housing loads of classic penny arcade games and relics from Playland at the Beach. http://www.museemechanique.org/ Play a couple games...time to eat!
Head back out Taylor Street to the crab pots - have them steam a fresh one for you while you watch..locals really do buy their crab here.
If you want to continue...head further west on the waterfront towards Aquatic Park.
What do you expect to see at fisherman’s Wharf? Hope you are ready to see souvenirs shops, restaurants and other shops to make you expend your money LOL
Here you can get the typical 3 t shirts for 10 dollars or the fleece with San Francisco logo (yes we do not expect SF to be so cold!!!!!!! Even Stacy decided to buy one LOL), and thousands of other souvenirs to take back home (well I will admit that at least there were not as tacky as at the rest of the places I had been!)
It covers from Pier 39 with the Sea lions and shops till the Pier 45 with Pampanito submarine and Alcatraz views.
Of course if you go to San Fransico you have to go to Fisherman's Wharf. It is sort of touristy, but it is also the home of a lot of great restaurants and bars and the view of the bay from there is spectacular. You can pick yourself up a seafood snack at a street cart or sit and sip a beer while gazing out at the Golden Gate and Alcatraz.
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