Pier 39, San Francisco

4 out of 5 stars 4 Stars - 118 Reviews

The Embarcadero at Beach Street (415) 705-5500

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  • fat sea lions
    fat sea lions
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  • The cityscape of San Francisco seen from Pier 39
    The cityscape of San Francisco seen from...
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    The Coit Tower and Transamerica Building
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  • sunshine9689's Profile Photo

    Live Music Performances

    by sunshine9689 Updated Jul 2, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Music lovers, if strolling along the Embankment sounds more like a tourist trap to you, then stopping by Pier 39 for some live music performance can be a nice getaway.

    DAYS: Almost every day.
    HOURS: at 12.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm, 5pm, 6.15pm, 7.30pm, 8.30pm, 9.35pm, 10.40pm.
    MUSIC: Bolivian, saxophone, Spanish guitar, jazz, world music, singing, etc.
    LOCATION: Entrance Plaza.

    Check the website`s calendar for more details.

    NOTE: There are also Street Performances like magician, juggler, geek tricks, etc. For details, check this calendar.
    LOCATION: Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water Center Stage.

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    • Music

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    See the Seals...Eat Fresh Fish...

    by wilocrek Written May 28, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    Pier 39 is one of the most popular tourist attraction in S.F. for a reason...it has it all! The location is perfect...right on the waterfront with a view of Alcatraz on one side and the city of S.F. on the other. The Pier is jam packed with shops offering everything from cheap t-shirts to high end glass blown products! The best part of the Pier is all the wonderful smells, particularly the smell of seafood that seems to come from every direction. And of course after a good meal nothing beats watching the seals fight each other for positioning for the best spots on the wooden barges that they call home!

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  • SailorRoar's Profile Photo

    Sea lions at Pier 39

    by SailorRoar Written Apr 2, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sea lions at Pier 39 (2007)

    A lot of people will warn you about Pier 39, also known as Fishermans Warf. Ok it is a tourist machine where you can get a lot of cheesy souvernirs, but it if you go past all that, to the end og the pier you will get to meet the sea lions that have infested the marina. You will also get a good view of Alcatraz, Golden Gate and San Francisco bay. So go to Pier 39, you can see 3 of San Francisco most famous attractions from the same place, and you can pick up a souvernir and some fantastic pancaces all at one place ;)

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  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo

    Visit Pier 39

    by SteveOSF Updated Feb 22, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The City from Pier 39

    Pier 39 is a popular tourist destination. Shops, restaurants, street performances, an arcade, virtually reality rides, and the Aquarium by the Bay rest upon the old Pier.

    Many shops line the old pier. Many are oriented towards tourists and sell gifts and souvenirs. Art galleries are also found on the pier. A variety of places to eat are situated on Pier 39. Many cater to tourists and can be a bit over priced. Yet Pier 39 can be a fun place to wonder through and explore its various offerings.

    In addition to the above attractions, the pier offers splendid views of the Bay. It is well served by the historic F-Line Streetcars.

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    Our Resident Sea Lions @ Pier 39

    by poetjo Written Jan 30, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pier 39
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    Pier 39 located in the Fisherman's Wharf district of San Francisco is the family friendly destination for tousits. It hosts dozens of restaurants and cafes from your high end seafood fare right down to the always popular hot dog stands. There's something for everyone. To visit go to www.pier39.com

    Live music from pop, to jazz to country entertain visitors on the main plaza on a daily basis along with magicians, jugglers and fire eaters in the backstage by the merry-go-round which is a big hit for children. The shops are numerous and sell souvenirs as well as clothing and specialty items year round. There is also a small arcade for young and old alike which houses skee ball and video games.

    The ever popular sea lions take up residence along the wooden piers right by Pier 39 and are now celebrating their 10th Anniversay this year. These wooden piers which once docked many a vessel have now been vacated to accomodate the sea lions. They are a huge attraction for tourists and locals alike.

    Pier 39 is a people watching mecca as well as a shutterbugs dream spot. Contrary to popular belief it is not any more expensive to shop or eat than anywhere else in the city. You can easily spend an entire day there and spend maybe $7.00 to $8.00 if all you do is grab a hot dog and coke and don't spend your time shopping. It's fun for the whole family.

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  • bladedragon's Profile Photo

    San Francisco's Premier Bay Attraction

    by bladedragon Written Jan 3, 2008
    Sea lions

    A festival marketplace with more than 110 stores, 12 Bay view restaurants, and a variety of fun-filled attractions for all ages including, our world-renowned sea lions, street performers and live daily entertainment.

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Marine Mammal Center Pier 39!

    by machomikemd Updated Oct 22, 2007

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    fat sea lions
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    California sea lions are naturally curious. The flipper-footed opportunists scrounge for any food they can find, even a fisherman's catch. And that can lead to trouble. The Marine Mammal Center rescues ill, orphaned and injured animals, nurses them back to health, and returns them to the wild. It also serves as a bio- monitoring station and education facility for Bay Area students.

    Shortly after the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, these playful sea lions started arriving in droves, taking over K-Dock in the PIER 39 West Marina (this is due to available dock space, a plentiful herring supply in the Bay and the protected PIER 39 marine environment). K-Dock is now officially designated a "Watchable Wildlife" viewing area by the California Watchable Wildlife Project. The viewing deck, with seating in front of K-Dock, affords visitors the opportunity to comfortably watch the sea lions.

    Arriving early in the morning ensures you a front-row view of the sea lions basking off the pier, but if you're here to shop -- and make no mistake about it, Pier 39 wants your money, pure and simple (I should include this in my tourist traps)

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Memories! Nice to Lounge Around Here.

    by machomikemd Updated Oct 22, 2007

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Many Memories and Clam Chowders Here!
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    Pier 39 has a number of quality stores targeted at San Francisco tourists (maybe I should Include this in my tourist trap tips hehe). A variety of gifts, gourmet foods, and handmade items can be purchased at the Pier 39 mall. PIER 39's location provides the picture perfect backdrop for postcard views of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz, Angel Island on San Francisco Bay and the City skyline. It is a festival marketplace featuring 110 specialty shops and 13 full-service Bay view restaurants serving fresh seafood, California cuisine, and casual fare.

    Ride the carousel or watch the sea lions. There are more than 25 one-of-a-kind gift stores that carry automobile, Hollywood, and rock 'n' roll memorabilia, as well as flags of the world, Russian dolls, collectible knives, hammocks, kites, and more. But tha is not all. You will find more than 30 more stores, including the famous Na Hoku to shop for clothing, jewelry and toys. It is a great place to pick up high-end San Francisco souvenirs (really thinking of putting this as a tourist trap).

    I have a different tip for the Famed Pier 39 Sea Lions, pls see it!

    Hours: Open daily, shop hours vary
    Cost: No admission fee

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  • Gypsystravels's Profile Photo

    The sea lions at Pier 39

    by Gypsystravels Updated Sep 18, 2007

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    Awwww....aren't they cute
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    Since 1990 the sea lions have been spotted out in PIER 39's West Marina. Every winter the population of these sea lions can increase by over 900 most of them males. They migrate south during the summer months for breeding season but you can still see a small group at the pier during this time.

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  • uysijessa's Profile Photo

    the sight, sounds AND smell of sea lions

    by uysijessa Written Aug 15, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    sea lions galore!

    as you head out to the north end of pier 39, you'll hear the boisterous, cacophony of frolicking sea lions long before you see them. these "wild" pinnipeds loll upon the marina docks, piling on top of each other and entertaining visitors with their antics. marine mammal center volunteers are on hand to explain their wily ways.

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  • heryanta's Profile Photo

    Not as much fun as I imagined

    by heryanta Written Aug 10, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pier 39 is a famous tourist spot in San Francisco. It has restaurants, shops selling souvenirs, food stalls, street musicians and you get a view of the Bay and Alcatraz.

    Before I went there I kept hearing from everyone that I have to visit it when I make it to San Francisco; so I set aside half a day when I was planning on my trip.

    I got there, spent an hour walking around, and got bored :p

    I suppose it will be a lot more fun if you are taking children there; as you can do a picnic, have them play in the arcade, eat cotton candy, etc.

    It is still a place worth visiting as it is a famous spot in SF, but don't plan on spending half a day like me :p

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  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    See the Sea Lions

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Mar 26, 2007

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    There is a huge group of about 150 sea lions next to Pier 39. Sea Lions are a type of seal, recognized by their external ears, ability to walk on land, and their barking. The sea lions seem to be San Francisco's top attraction, as people are often lining the pier 5-10 deep to watch them play or watch them sleep on the floating docks (exciting!). I could not believe the crowds here on a sunny weekend afternoon.

    The California Sea Lion is distinguished from other sea lion species by the males' large forehead, hence the scientific name Zalophus californianus literally meaning "California Big Head". Or as Diablo magazine puts it, Zalophus is "Latin for those lazy mounds of blubber you see lolling around the Fisherman’s Wharf docks, crooning nonsense to the crowds."

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  • Muya's Profile Photo

    Barking in the sun !

    by Muya Written Mar 1, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sea lions at Pier 39

    It used to be a busy area where goods were unloaded. You’ll find now mainly restaurants and shops around a central promenade with a merry-go-round.
    And of course the huge colony of sea lions, the main popular attraction. I loved to watch them argue for a place in the sun, and hear them bark…but I never imagined they had so many things to tell…what a noise !!!

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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Pier 39

    by Tom_Fields Written Jan 2, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pier 39
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    Pier 39 is one of San Francisco's most popular tourist destinations. It's an excellent place to find out about what this great city has to offer, and to sign up for tours. It's also very good for a lunch, some shopping, and just to relax after a day's walking.

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  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo

    The Sea Lions

    by XenoHumph Updated Dec 20, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sea lions at Pier 39, San Francisco, California

    Do I repeat myself here?? Go see the sea lions! They are an absolut blast, extremely funny, and you can see them up close. They are a little noisy and smelly, but that's part of the whole experience. The city of San Francisco left a dozen of floating wood platforms for California sea lions to rest on. Everybody is happy, the sea lions because they have a place to stay, the boaters of the surrounding Marina as the sea lions do not invade their docks!
    Do not miss my sea lion travelogue!
    If you want to know more about pinnipeds, such as the difference between a sea lion and a seal, go to http://www.pinnipeds.org/species/species.htm.
    And if you cannot make it to San Francisco anytime soon, but cannot wait to see them, go to a webcam of the sea lions (I discovered that on VT Member Sims1 San Francisco page)!

    Besides the sea lions, Pier 39 is a mega tourist trap, full of souvenir shops and too expensive restaurants (you pay for the view)!

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Zoo
    • Family Travel

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