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.
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)
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
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.
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.
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
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."
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 !!!
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.
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)!
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