San Francisco is known for its embracement of diversity and this is reflected in its many famous districts, each of which have their own distinct character and attractions that celebrate the cultures and personality of San Francisco. If you have time visit them all, each has something unique to offer!
Fisherman’s Wharf is a waterfront district where you’ll find such attractions as an outdoor market located on a pier, sea lions, the best seafood restaurants, unusual museums, and more.
Where to Find Fisherman’s Wharf:
Fisherman’s Wharf is bounded by Bay, the Embarcadero, Powell and Kearny streets. It’s adjacent to North Beach. The F-Line streetcar comes to Fisherman’s wharf if you are looking for an excuse to take the historic streetcar. San Francisco’s other famous method of transportation also comes here with two cable car lines terminating in Fisherman’s Wharf.
What to do in Fisherman’s Wharf:
On Pier 39, the outdoor market that takes place next to the water and always has a festive vibe. Check out the seafood stalls with fresh fish. Around the pier you’ll find seafood restaurants, street vendors, and souvenir stores. There are also many street performers here to entertain you with everything from mime to music, but the most loved performers can be found west of the pier, where a colony of seals who have decided to make the floating wooden platforms there their home. Look over the rails to see the families of seals as they roll about, play, make a lot of noise and swim. From nearby Pier 33 you can take a ferry out to Alcatraz Island, which should be on any visitor to San Francisco’s must do list. There are also sightseeing boat tours and charters available from the piers here.
Other popular areas are Aquatic Park and Ghirardelli Square. At Aquatic Park you can picnic, stroll the paths, play bocce ball, or visit the Maritime Museum. Ghirardelli Square is across from what was once the Ghirardelli chocolate Factory originally opened by Domingo Ghirardelli who came to San Francisco to look for gold but instead ended up making chocolate! Visit the Chocolate Manufactory & Soda Fountain which has old fashioned chocolate which you can taste in the form of chocolate sundaes, hot chocolate, or other treats.
A few uncommon museums can be found in Fisherman’s Wharf: Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the Wax Museum and the Guinness Museum of World Records, and the Aquarium of the Bay where you can walk through clear acrylic tunnels as sea creatures swim around you in the gigantic fish tanks. Check its website for further details: http://www.fishermanswharf.org/
Food and Drink on Fisherman’s Wharf:
They say there are 3 things you must try while in Fisherman’s Wharf - Dungeness crab, sourdough bread and Irish Coffee. You’ll find the Dungeness cracked crab at stands along the pier, each with their crab pots boiling the crabs right there for you. The best time for is mid- November through mid-June during the San Francisco Dungeness crab season when it is fresh and taken straight from the local waters.
The Irish coffee can be found at the Buena Vista Bar, 2765 Hyde Street. The result of experimentation and thorough research among its creators in the 1950’s, it is said to be the most perfect cup of Irish Coffee you’ll find anywhere – they even went to San Francisco’s dairies to come up with a special way to make the cream in order to achieve the desired “floating” effect. These days the bar serves up over 2000 of them per day.
The third must try – sourdough bread – is the result of 19th century bakers Louis Boudin and his son, Isidore combining French baking techniques with Mexican sourdough traditions when they lived in San Francisco during the Gold Rush. Even as new yeasts and bread making techniques arrived they kept their technique and their original sourdough culture and today the bread is legendary. Watch the sourdough technique and visit the sourdough museum at Bistro Boudin at 160 Jefferson Street then taste it served in sandwiches, or with soups, chili and salads.
Enjoy your trip to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California!