- Travel and Places
About Visiting Fisherman's Wharf-Pier 39 in San Francisco, CA.
Almost like any tourist destination, Fisherman's Wharf area, offers a variety of things to do for several hours. Once you have done it, then you can see other areas of the city that interest you.
Fisherman's Wharf comprises of a series of monster-like piers along the Embarcadero, a road that hugs the bay on the east side (the west side has the Pacific Ocean). Much of the core of the city with its skyscrapers are very close by, even the famous Transamerica skyscraper. The Golden Gate Bridge is not close by and neither is Golden Gate Park. The whole area can be walked in an hour or two, but the center of attention tends to in the Pier 39 area because of the many mall-like stores and the SF Aquarium. West from Pier 39, one encounters more shops, a wax museum, a park, a cable car hub, two WW2 naval ships- a transport ship and a small submarine, each can be inspected and boarded for $12.
Visitors from abroad are always SHOCKED about the weather in SF. They arrive in summer and think it will be warm, so they where skimpy clothes and then freeze. The weather in SF is always unpredictable because of the Pacific Ocean and the bay. It is common for the west side of the city to be much colder or foggy than the east side. One should expect some wind and cold temps until Noon or so. The afternoons offer the best chance for a mild climate, assuming you have sun. So, always where a heavy layer of clothing that you can take off later, that is what locals do.
If you visit this area by car, beware that parking is costly and hard to find. You may rather take a taxi, walk, to avoid the hassle and crowds. If you are in an outlying area, take the ferry, which takes you near Pier 39. It is fun and fast. Just make sure the ferry is available from where you are at. Taking the bus is another alternate, it make take a lot longer, but the option is there.
Fisherman's Wharf is home to local entertainers that display their talents. Its random. Artists just come, set up, and play. You can hear excellent flamingo guitar playing or a woman belting out a pop song that makes you wonder if she is an artist incognito. You can hear jazz. Its all free! At some point, you get hungry. The ONLY classy place that offers great food at reasonable prices (for this tourist trap, LOL) in a laid-back atmosphere is Boudin's. They make the best ever bread in a many animal shapes. I recommend the clam chowder bread bowl plate for $15. You get a huge bread bowl with great clam chowder. When the soup is gone, just eat the bowl! The bakery is downstairs and the restaurant is upstairs. All other places to eat pale in comparison. You may get lucky with a window seat and have a view of Alcatraz.
For kids and teens, there is an old school (I mean very old school) mechanical museum that one can experience games before electronics came, in fact, some of these games are from the 30's. Yeah, it is funky, but amusing. The was museum is pricey to enter, but the wax figures are utterly realistic and you can take your photo with them and brag how you met a movie star!
At Pier 40, where the ferry docks, there is also an indoor mall area hosting lots of small shops or coffee houses. Just so its clear, there is NO beach at all in the whole area for you to catch some sun. You only need between 2-4 hours to do this tourist destination and locals in the area visit occasionally. It is a very international place- one will hear a wide variety of languages spoken as you mix and mingle with others. Like seeing the Golden Gate Bridge or walking across it, going to Fisherman's Wharf is on the list of things to experience while in San Francisco.