Fisherman's Wharf

#18 in Best Things To Do in San Francisco
Fisherman's Wharf picture1 of 2
Fisherman's Wharf2 of 2
Mike Roqué/Flickr

Key Info

Jefferson Street

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

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. Many of the city's top tours either depart from or offer tours of Fisherman's Wharf. For more information on Fisherman's Wharf, visit the area's website

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More Best Things To Do in San Francisco

California Academy of Sciences1 of 26
Golden Gate Bridge2 of 26
Type
Time to Spend
#1 California Academy of Sciences

Attention all traveling families: recent visitors said this is the perfect place to bring kids in San Francisco. The California Academy of Sciences brims with plenty of things to see, including an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and even a rainforest. 

The Steinhart Aquarium is home to about 40,000 animals representing more than 900 different species, including a penguin colony from Africa, a swamp with an albino alligator, a shark lagoon and a separate 100,000-gallon tank that mirrors the ecosystem of the California coast. Meanwhile, the Osher Rainforest houses 1,600 animals, including 250 free-flying birds and about 100 reptiles and amphibians in its four-story complex. The Morrison Planetarium is known for its 75-foot-diameter screen, which screens "Tour of the Universe" shows daily. And the Kimball Natural History Museum boasts dinosaur fossils, an interactive science exhibit and a unique earthquake simulator. 

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Anne Petersen/Flickr
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