Pier 39, San Francisco
Whose idea was this?? Just like Fisherman's wharf...a complete waste of time. If you couldn't tell by looking at the place, I don't know what it'd take for you to figure it out.
Unique Suggestions: Run through...and check out the sea lions.
Fun Alternatives: Take a hike around the Presidio or around Golden Gate Parks' many sights to be seen. If you are going to invest your time, you might as well see something nice and unique to the area.
Things are not cheap in San Francisco, especially at the Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, the most popular attractions. You may think the excellent and fresh seafood should be cheap since they are so abundant, but these things are rather expensive if you want to enjoy a nice lunch. And other things, like gifts and other items, are reasonably expensive.
Unique Suggestions: Have some light seafood "snack" at these areas. For a big, full meal, go to Chinatown, where you can also eat great seafood (but not with the atmosphere as at Fisherman's Wharf). Things are much cheaper in Chinatown compared elsewhere.
Here is a picture of said seals, which languish all day by Pier 39. What a life it must be. But then I don't think I'd be very keen to swim in the chilly waters that surround the bay area. Been there done that at Stinson Beach. Brrrrrr
Unique Suggestions: ... you can't help but look. Pier 39 has all kinds of shops and restaruants built for tourists, but the one thing I couldn't look away from was not man-made. It was the loud, smelly sea lions on the docks next to the pier. You've probably heard about them, and you may have seen them on TV. But watching their antics live and in-person is not to be missed.
SF is full of tourist traps. I guess this is true of any big city. Pier 39 is one of the biggest and best the city has to offer. Now although it's a tourist trap you'll probably spend some time there anyway if you're from out of town. Heck, I've even ended up there a few times and I should know better. In all, it's not that bad. The only thing to be aware of are the shops and the inflated prices. You're especially going to get it if you try to ear at pier 39 or anywhere around it (like Fisherman's Warf). You're likely to have a better meal at a better price somewhere else in the city.
Unique Suggestions: Take a walk to the end of the pier which is more of an outdoor shopping mall than anything else. Along the way you may want to duck into a shop or two just for the heck of it. It's also a great place to people watch and you'll probably be able to catch a live show or two. There's always something entertaining going on. At the end of the pier you'll have a great view of the bay and Alcatraz.
The only reason to visit here to say you've done it. But once there you will find it is full of overpriced or nasty restaurants and tacky souvenir shops. If you want a tee shirt buy it from one of the stalls on the other side of the road up towards the cable car station on Mason. Quality is no better but its cheaper.
Pier 39. It's full of over priced shopping and it's next to a pier. sure, it's cool to see the seals, near pier 39, but only tourists actually but stuff there. unless you like hollywood novelty- the hollywood store has a lot of that- but you could find better cheaper stuff online. There's a merry go round in the center bur the one in children's playground in golden gale park is much better. If you'll be in San francisco for a while it might be worth it just to see what it is, but if you have limited time, don't waste it.
Pier 39 is bogus. In my opinion anyway. I went when it was (surprise) raining. Everything was damp, an old dirty lady was smoking really awful cigarettes right next to me (i dont mind smoke but these were awful!) AVOID the bathrooms at the very least.
Everywhere along the Embarcadero (odd numbered piers north of the Ferry Building along the waterfront) from the Financial District and Market Street clear over to Van Ness Avenue and Ghirardelli Square is becoming touristy with Pier 39 being ground zero.
Unique Suggestions: If you are a first visitor, defintely check out the area as there are still a few redeeming qualities such as Pier 45 with its older wooden constructed ships, the U.S.S. Pampanito (World War II Balao Class Submarine) and the Sea Lions that can be seen from Pier 39 are always fun to watch for a while...
Just next to Pier 41, is Pier 39. A definite tourist trap that is vibrant and colourful, and filled with all sorts of small shops and places to eat.
We had our dinner at one of the restuarants there, overlooking the Sea Lions hangout place. It offered us a good view of the place, and it was perfect to watch the sunset. The food was not too bad too.
Pier 39 along fisherman's Wharf is a mish-mash of restaurants, entertainment and souvenir shops. Everything here is expensive, especially food, and the price doesn't necessarily reflect quality. On the upside, there are usually some very good street entertainers around here that are well worth watching.
I wouldn't exactly say that Pier 39 is a tourist trap. However, other areas of Fisherman's Wharf seem to have more of a marine atmosphere and the Cannery looks a bit like the old factory. Pier 39 is simply an area of restaurants and t-shirt shops.
I really enjoyed this area! Walk into Pier 39, where there are 100's of stores where you can buy gifts/souvenirs. Yes, you will spend WAY more then planned, but you can't leave this beautiful city without a T-Shirt, keychain, postcards, that show you have been to the city by the bay! Also there, Marine World, Game rooms..and much much more fun! Beautiful views of Alacatraz, the bay. The sea lions napping. Absolutely love this part of San Francisco :)
One of the places I didn't like was Underwater World, the aquarium from Pier 39. The Monterey Bay Aquarium (down San Francisco) is much better nice and big. Even though there's a tunnel under the water, the Aquarium of Underwater World is not very interesting. Anyway, for those interested in the sea world and animals go and visit it, although it's better to see the sea lions outdoors at Pier 39, and it's free!
PIER 39. Basically its busy, expensive, with loads of tourist shops and theme rides. Too much like Disneyland for me. There are better things to do if you want to see the real San Francisco.
Fun Alternatives: Anything but this.