Pier 14

Offering some of the Best Views in the Bay Area!

If you keep walking south/southeast along San Francisco’s Embarcadero, you will eventually stumble upon Pier 14, with its public artwork, open, breezy walkway, welcoming chairs and stunning views of the Bay Bridge, the East Bay, Treasure Island and if you walk all the way to the end, the San Francisco Skyline. Essentially a breakwater to protect the Downtown Ferry Terminal, Pier 14 underwent an extensive makeover in 2006 and when the renovation was complete, it became one of the best places to walk, jog, people-watch, and contemplate the universe in the city.

Contemplation was included because no matter what time of day you happen upon Pier 14, you’re virtually guaranteed to see person after person standing at the rail or seated in one of the chairs staring off into space, oblivious to everyone and everything around them. This place lends itself very well to such mental vacations, as the aforementioned views are exceptional, the place is blessedly free of the touristy shops and noise of the other piers and the sounds of the wind and the water seem to swallow all other noises.

Veteran visitors say that the further you venture out onto the Pier’s 637-foot length, the smaller you feel. Indeed, it is common to see people taking advantage of this perception by praying, meditating, and otherwise transporting themselves from the here and now. These same veterans also make a point to stake out a good spot at the end of the Pier on a regular basis in late afternoon, as it is a superb place to watch the lights on the Bay Bridge and the city’s skyscrapers blink on as the sun goes down. While the views are glorious when the weather is clear, the Pier takes on a very different feel when the fog rolls in from San Francisco Bay. When visibility drops to the few feet in front and behind you, the crowds flee and the few intrepid souls venturing out onto the Pier can feel like the only people in the world.

Pier 14 is located at the base of Mission Street, where it intersects with the Embarcadero. There is no fee to enjoy this finger of metal and stone on the waterfront and while the official hours are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., you can find people strolling, necking, fishing and otherwise gazing wistfully out into space at all times of the day and night. If you’re planning a visit to the Bay Area or want to give visitors from out of town a unique perspective on the city-by-the-Bay, dress warmly and head down to Pier 14 for a while. Just don’t be in a hurry, as the place pretty much wills you to linger and drift away…