San Francisco is full of iconic landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Lombard Street, the Painted Ladies. But for me, I always remembered a teacher of mine showing us photographs of the sea lions sprawled over wooden planks floating in the sea. Nothing beats a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39.
San Francisco’s Famous Pier and Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike with some amazing seafood restaurants and lots of attractions and activities dotted around the place. Pier 39 can be found on the Wharf and is home to some great things to see and do. This is where you will find the Sea lions and a center that supports and cares for them.
Shops at Pier 39 & Fisherman’s Wharf
There are so many shops in and around the Pier that you can spend hours browsing. There is even a Christmas shop full of San Fran-inspired Christmas decorations! We also headed into a chili shop that offered hundreds of spicy delights – Calum enjoyed the samples but enjoyed watching my head explode with one gruesome finger dip of a sauce.
We did get ourselves some clam chowder – a must whilst in San Francisco! Served in a big ball of sourdough bread; it was awesome! As expected there is a load of seafood places around the Pier to visit as well as a few bars for the adults.
Things to do on and around the Pier
We jumped on a Blue and Gold Fleet Cruise from the Pier, taking a tour along the river and getting an up-close view of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also visit the Aquarium on the Pier but we were short on time so missed that one.
Around the Fisherman’s Wharf area, you will also find a Ripley’s Museum, Madame Tussauds, and San Francisco Dungeon (a version of the horrific London Dungeons). These are all great for family days out but we wanted to explore as much of the city as possible so decided against these during our visit.
We were staying near Union Square and used our Hop-on Hop-Off bus ticket to get down to the Pier before exploring the rest of the city afterward. This area is a must and a nice neighborhood to stay in – we may book a few nights in a hotel in this area of the city for our next visit.
One thing we loved about San Francisco was how there were so many romantic things to do!
We recommend using Big Bus Tours when visiting San Francisco, you can Hop-on and Hop-off unlimited times and visit all of the popular destinations, including Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39.
Book a bus tour to see everything San Francisco has to offer with Big Bus Tours
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- We LOVE this camera for our travel photography.
- For a cheap, easy, and compact camera, we use this to vlog and take photographs.
- We use this travel drone (but make sure to check drone laws in your chosen destination first).
- This is our favorite travel insurance because it covers so many activities and travel situations that could arise on longer trips but also offer year coverage.
What to pack
- No matter where we travel, I always take these trusty hand sanitizers and a mini first aid kit.
- We love these toiletry bags (especially great for smaller bathrooms) and choose a laptop bag like this as our hand luggage.
- We keep our devices charged on long travel days with these lightweight battery packs and bring these worldwide travel adaptors on all our trips.
- I still struggle not to overpack so stick to using an expandable suitcase like these and always take my trusty luggage scales to avoid being charged at the airport.