Fisherman’s Wharf

Ask a San Franciscan their opinion about Fisherman’s Wharf and you are likely to get an earful of complaints about its cheap souvenir shops, pointless museums and throngs of tourists. But like it or not, the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood is a San Francisco must-see. The secret to enjoying the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood is to avoid the wax museums and cheap t-shirt stands and focus on finding its gems: the city skyline views, a fresh Dungeness crab cake and the world famous sea lions.

Where it’s At

Fisherman’s Wharf is situated on the northernmost point of the San Francisco Peninsula, right along the bay and runs from Pier 39 to Municipal Park and between Van Ness Avenue and Bay Street. You can get there via the Powell/Mason and Powell/Hyde cable cars.

What to See

The neighborhood’s biggest draw is also one of the city’s biggest attractions, and it isn’t even actually part of the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood. Of course we are talking about Alcatraz Island, the infamous island prison known as ‘The Rock’ that floats on the choppy waters of San Francisco Bay and was once the home of such prisoners as Al Capone and Robert ‘The Birdman’ Stroud. Alcatraz is accessible from Fisherman’s Wharf via tours, but be sure to call and reserve well in advance as they tend to sell out fast.

Back on shore, Pier 39 is not to be missed. Located on the Embarcadero, this is a two-story complex that is home to an array of shopping, museums and other attractions – including the San Francisco Aquarium. But the Pier’s main draw is actually outside on the old docks, where you will find the always entertaining sea lions barking and flopping around in the San Francisco sun.

Where to Eat

As this is Fisherman’s Wharf, it is only appropriate to feast on some of the city’s world famous seafood. For this, head straight to Pier 39’s Building F and its Pier Market Seafood Restaurant. Here you can choose from a menu that includes clam chowder, Dungeness crab, swordfish and seafood jambalaya. If seafood isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there’s a wide variety of chicken and steak dishes too.