Fisherman's Wharf

#18 in Best Things To Do in San Francisco
Fisherman's Wharf picture
Fisherman's Wharf
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Mike Roqué/Flickr

Key Info

Jefferson Street

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Fisherman's Wharf is so tourist-laden that some travelers might prefer the quieter, more authentic attractions nearby (like the Castro or Golden Gate Park). But if you're looking to explore all of San Francisco – from its alternative underbelly to its mainstream attractions – Fisherman's Wharf really is a must-see. This waterfront neighborhood features a laundry list of things to do, as well as a few popular San Francisco sites. One of these is Pier 39. The Pier features plenty of shopping and restaurant options for tourists and is also famous for offering sweeping views of the bay, as well as the can't-miss attractions that call it home, including Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Though while you're there, don't miss an opportunity to snap a photo of the sea lions who have a habit of sunbathing on buoys near the docks.

The Wharf also houses plenty of family-friendly attractions and activities, including a Madame Tussauds wax museum, Ripley's Believe It or Not!, the San Francisco Dungeon and the Aquarium of the Bay, the last three of which can be found on Pier 39. Those with an interest in history will want to explore the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and its Maritime Museum. When you start to feel peckish, head over to Ghirardelli Square, which is home to the original Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate shop. There's also Boudin's, another San Francisco institution. Boudin's is the original creator of sourdough French bread as well as the oldest bakery in the city of San Francisco. 

Recent visitors agreed that Fisherman's Wharf is very touristy, but enjoyed the area's fun atmosphere regardless. Many visitors were impressed with the sheer amount of options available at the Wharf, appreciating that they had plenty of choices for dining and shopping. Though some were put off by the crowds and overpriced food. 

Fisherman's Wharf is accessible 24 hours per day, though the neighborhood's businesses have their own hours of operation. To reach Fisherman's Wharf, get off at the Jefferson Street & Powell Street or Stockton & Beach Muni Metro Stop. You can also get to the area via cable car on either the Powell-Hyde line or Powell-Mason Line, both of which stop at Union Square. For more information on Fisherman's Wharf, visit the area's website

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More Best Things To Do in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge
California Academy of Sciences
Type
Time to Spend
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#1 Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge's vaulting, orange arches amidst the rocky seascape of the San Francisco Bay have made it one of the West Coast's most enduring symbols and the city's most popular tourist attraction. The bridge's name, "Golden Gate," actually refers to the body of water it spans (the Golden Gate Strait that connects the Pacific Ocean with the San Francisco Bay), and was built to make travel between San Francisco and Marin County an easier feat. 

There are plenty of great spots to capture a snap of the majestic bridge. But if you want a truly postcard-worthy shot, head to the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point, situated high on a hill overlooking San Francisco. If you have extra time, make sure to explore the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The actual span of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area encompasses multiple places in San Mateo (south of San Francisco), San Francisco and Marin Counties (Alcatraz and Muir Woods included), but notable parts of this recreation area can be found just a stroll away from the Golden Gate. From the bridge, travelers will find some scenic, bayside trails, some of which lead to secluded beaches, including Kirby Cove and Black Sands Beach. If you really want a trek, journey to the Point Bonita Lighthouse for sweeping views of the bay, found at the very tip of the Golden Gate Strait.

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John Lund/Tom Penpark/Getty Images
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