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Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco
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 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.
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 Grotto-Fisherman's Grotto Restaurant
You are greeted with the voice of Tony Bennett singing "Welcome to my world. Won't you come in?" 2010 is their 75th Anniversary Year. The food is good.
Long Time Restaurants
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
- Modern Art Deco Eatery - Francsican Crab Restaurant
From this Franciscan page go to their FB page for the latest news and events.
- Alioto's History
The sidewalk stands were the first eateries at the wharf. Here is a quote from the Alioto website. Go there for more history. "What grew to become an institution in San Francisco dining actually began as a fresh fish stall, founded in 1925 by Nunzio
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 WharfClick thumbnail to view full-size
There are many Internet sites for tickets. This one has many of them all together so it is easy to compare and pick the best one for your visit.
- The Official National Park Service Website for Alcatraz Island
If you plan on going to The Rock be sure to visit this web site.
The Electric Car Comes in All Styles and Colors - Restored Electric Cars
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 RestoredClick thumbnail to view full-size
SF Has a Line of Streetcars from Around the World
- Streetcars | Market Street Railway
The restored streetcars have a story. Many of the colorful cars are from around the world. A working Museum. Learn more.
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.
A good choice for style and comfort, because you are stepping out into San Francisco.
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 ModesClick thumbnail to view full-size
List to Modes of Travel
For Segway riding and touring, Google segway sf
Many companies to choose from.
Fisherman's Wharf Hotels and Hostels
- Argonaut Hotel and Cannery Row
Seafaring décor and original brick walls from the cannery give this hotel at the NHP charm.
- San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Hostel
Located in the Fort Mason Golden Gate National Recreation Area just west of Fisherman's Wharf. There are Hostels at SF City Center and Downtown, as well.
And Finally the Fisherman's Wharf Attractions
The Paid Attractions are here too. Bring the kids.
- Wax Museum At Fisherman's Wharf
I have not visited a Wax Museum in any city. Skipped this one too.
- Aquarium of the Bay
An institution partnering in the "Change for the Bay" program.
- Musee Machanique
Free Admission. Have quarters to play the mechanical amusement machines. A collection.
- Anchorage Square
One place to get your bearings at Fisherman's Wharf. Information on how to spend your money on attractions. Watch your wallet. Figuratively speaking.
From the Aquatic Park Bathouse - and InsideClick thumbnail to view full-size
Bathouse is an Art Deco GemClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Official Website SF Maritime NHP
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.
- Maritime NHP in San Francisco
Located where the Cable Car turns-a-round. Just west of here is the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Youth Hostel.
All images by Sherry Venegas
© 2010 Sherry Venegas