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Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

Updated on January 8, 2017
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Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco

What is there to see at Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco? I say plenty if you venture a few blocks in all directions. There is enough to keep you busy all day.

This area of San Francisco is crowded and looks touristy but the back drops and bay water give it an unique look. There is the feeling that you are visiting the one-of-kind city near the dock of the bay. Not once do you feel like you are in an enclosed area reserved only for paid admittance.

On Rodeo Drive you do not feel like stepping into a store. Each side of the entrance has a suited young man. How can you browse and maybe buy something? I have experienced that one time. No thanks, Beverly Hills, is not for me. On the other hand I have visited Fisherman's Wharf, at least, on five occasions.

The Row designated One Fisherman's Wharf looks a little shabby, at this point in 2010. The original seafood marketers are on the sidewalk, and the two or three higher end restaurants badly need updating to invite the new younger crowds in. The round cafe across the street needs work, too. It certainly isn't an artist's enclave, but the city definitely hosts the vibe and I come away feeling entertained. The digital photos I brought home from Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco are enjoyable. Many of the pictures are posted here.

Pigeons and Boudion Bread Dining at No.8 Fisherman's Wharf by Paperfacets

One fisherman's Wharf
One fisherman's Wharf

One Fisherman's Wharf

One Fisherman's Wharf may not seem very inviting. As you look down toward the water the whole sidewalk is lined with seafood vendors. Seafood displayed and cooked in all methods. This is where you might buy a couple of oysters or fried clams to munch or buy the crab or lobster that you want to prepare at home.

There is a lively business going here, but it is attractive to only the die hard seafood lover. Between the outdoor stands and the buildings are the entrances to the older dining establishments that were famous in the fifties and sixties. It is true that Fisherman's Wharf is all about eating seafood. They are located on the second floors for the views. The one we dined at, No. 9, had fabulous chowder and crab legs at a good price. It looked rather tired and dated but the service and drinks were good. It did not have outdoor dining that is popular now, but we had a window table with a view.

No.9 Fisherman's Wharf/Fisherman's Grotto Restaurant
No.9 Fisherman's Wharf/Fisherman's Grotto Restaurant

The Wharf Is for Working Boats

Look at the fisherman's boats from a dining table, at No.9 Fisherman's Wharf, think of Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Old boats that belong to seasoned fisherman or their sons. Romantic.

On the street beyond is the crowds walking in both directions and restored electric street cars stopping to eject riders and take new ones on. The over done entrances to the Rainbow Cafe and The Wax Museum calling out with faux theme structures and bright colors.

Above right are boats docked at One Fisherman's Wharf. You can tell these are fisherman's boats by the tall net booms on each side. Someone had to tell me that. This is the view from Fisherman's Grotto Restaurant.

No.9 Fisherman's Grotto - Official Web Page

Visit No.9's webpage before going to the Wharf or having dinner there. The wharf may seem dated but this establishment's website is updated and excellent. History of No.9 started in 1935. If you think you might go to Fisherman's Wharf do not skip the Web links here. Te area may be more interesting to you.

No. 9 Fisherman's Wharf
No. 9 Fisherman's Wharf

Long Time Restaurants

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Many of the older buildings have a modern streamline look. At this restaurant the signs let us know "since 1957".

No.8 in the background to the left is Alioto's. The one time Mayor's seafood restaurant.

Fisherman's Wharf Eateries

Boudin Bakery at Fisherman's Wharf
Boudin Bakery at Fisherman's Wharf

Just Walking Was a Pleasure

One Fisherman's Wharf is a bit run down but there is plenty else to see within a half mile. There is a lot of renewal and Boudin Bakery has a new establishment with store, bakery and restaurant. A big window on the sidewalk gives you a view of the bread being made and a baker giving information by way of a speaker to the outside. Here you can see how the animal and seafood shapes are done.

Nice landscaping along the sidewalk toward Pier 39. Here you can get a ferry to anywhere in the bay by Bay Cruises and Ferries.

No matter which way you turn there is a view of the hilly city or the calm bay with glimpses of the white Oakland Bay Bridge or the bright orange Golden Gate Bridge.

This is western American culture at its peak.

The Small Ferry Port - One Block From Fisherman's Wharf

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Bay Cruise FerryAnother Bay Cruises Ferry and sea loinsRestaurant shuttleQuirky eatery. Eat with under water port hole views.Long time residence colony of sea loins. The city decided to let them stay.Boardwalk pier look towards Coit TowerTwenty years in residence. Catamaran Tours offered.
Bay Cruise Ferry
Bay Cruise Ferry
Another Bay Cruises Ferry and sea loins
Another Bay Cruises Ferry and sea loins
Restaurant shuttle
Restaurant shuttle
Quirky eatery. Eat with under water port hole views.
Quirky eatery. Eat with under water port hole views.
Long time residence colony of sea loins. The city decided to let them stay.
Long time residence colony of sea loins. The city decided to let them stay.
Boardwalk pier look towards Coit Tower
Boardwalk pier look towards Coit Tower
Twenty years in residence. Catamaran Tours offered.
Twenty years in residence. Catamaran Tours offered.
Board Tours for Alcatraz Island here at Fisherman's Wharf
Board Tours for Alcatraz Island here at Fisherman's Wharf

The Electric Car Comes in All Styles and Colors - Restored Electric Cars

Electric Cars At Fisherman's Wharf
Electric Cars At Fisherman's Wharf

The refurbished electric cars roll by in every color. They come from various cities around the U.S. The cars make the area fun and colorful and highlights the history that is still present. No sterile suburban mall look with all the same corporate stores.

The Electric Streetcar Restored

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Put on Your Walking Shoes

Wear the flats for West Coast walking on the streets. You will walk all day at Fisherman's Wharf and you do not want tired, bloated or hot feet.

Clarks Women's Haley Red Flat
Clarks Women's Haley Red Flat

A good choice for style and comfort, because you are stepping out into San Francisco.

 
SF Cable Cars
SF Cable Cars

Travel Modes at Fisherman's Wharf

Choose walking as a mode of travel or there are the double decker buses, little yellow bathtub cars, Segway type one person vehicle, and bikes galore. The old type electric cars are a new addition to San Francisco transportation. Those are very colorful. Two blocks over from One Fisherman's Wharf is the cable car turn-a-round.

Plenty Travel Modes

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List to Modes of Travel

For Segway riding and touring, Google segway sf

Many companies to choose from.

And Finally the Fisherman's Wharf Attractions

The Paid Attractions are here too. Bring the kids.

From the Aquatic Park Bathouse - and Inside

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The opening of the circular port with Alcatraz Island beyond.Historic drawing of the circular port, built in the early thirties for the residents of San Francisco.Bath house and viewing staircase toward the back of the circle.Aerial photo with Coit Tower in rear.From street level looking at an historic ship.
The opening of the circular port with Alcatraz Island beyond.
The opening of the circular port with Alcatraz Island beyond.
Historic drawing of the circular port, built in the early thirties for the residents of San Francisco.
Historic drawing of the circular port, built in the early thirties for the residents of San Francisco.
Bath house and viewing staircase toward the back of the circle.
Bath house and viewing staircase toward the back of the circle.
Aerial photo with Coit Tower in rear.
Aerial photo with Coit Tower in rear.
From street level looking at an historic ship.
From street level looking at an historic ship.

Bathouse is an Art Deco Gem

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The lobby of the bath house is painted with WPA murals of the oceanic variety.Porch facing the port.Inside lobby. Art deco stone walls to 5 feet high.Brass staircase and murals.Ceiling light fixture.Mural.Restored art deco Ladies Room
The lobby of the bath house is painted with WPA murals of the oceanic variety.
The lobby of the bath house is painted with WPA murals of the oceanic variety.
Porch facing the port.
Porch facing the port.
Inside lobby. Art deco stone walls to 5 feet high.
Inside lobby. Art deco stone walls to 5 feet high.
Brass staircase and murals.
Brass staircase and murals.
Ceiling light fixture.
Ceiling light fixture.
Mural.
Mural.
Restored art deco Ladies Room
Restored art deco Ladies Room

The Official Website SF Maritime NHP

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Over 10 ships to explore and learn about.

The park issues The Maritime News every three months with the latest going on in the park.

WPA Work

WPA Work
WPA Work

All images by Sherry Venegas

© 2010 Sherry Venegas

Is Fisherman's Wharf your kind of place?

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  • IanTease profile image

    IanTease 3 years ago

    It was 2011 that I was there, really enjoyed all the sights, sounds and tastes of Fisherman's Wharf

  • LikinTrikin LM profile image

    LikinTrikin LM 5 years ago

    Was in SF many years ago.. We'll be visiting again and spending a few days in September.. Thanx so much for the helpful info.

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    MsSanFran 5 years ago

    If you want to see some cool vintage pictures look at the pictures on the wall in The Franciscan restaurant. I can't remember offhand the actors names but there are lots of cool famous people pics from about 20 years ago. Fun! Scoma's is also a great restaurant too!

  • KimGiancaterino profile image

    KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

    One of the things I miss most about living in the bay area is the excitement of visiting San Francisco. Fisherman's Wharf is a must-do, simply for the food, and the tour of Alcatraz is worthwhile too. I spent a lot of my childhood there (San Francisco, not Alcatraz), so the memories are special. Congratulations on being chosen for the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase. Happy new year!

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    anonymous 6 years ago

    Congratulations for being included in The 2010 Giant Squid Showcase by the SquidTeam! How cool is that! Happy New Year, Squidhugs from Kathy

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    anonymous 6 years ago

    I have been here once with the whole family. We loved it. A bit chilly though.

  • PNWtravels profile image

    Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

    Absolutely! I love Fisherman's Wharf and your lens really captured the fun and spirit of being there.

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    grannysage 6 years ago

    Lovely,lovely,lovely.I have a love affair going with San Francisco and I've only been there once. Fisherman's Wharf was the one place I got to see for my all too short visit (business trip). I bought a huge fishing float I have hanging in the living room. My grandfather was a commercial fisherman so I feel identified with that. I don't know why the city draws me so much. Maybe a past life.

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