Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco.
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The name “Fisherman’s Wharf” stems from the Italian fishermen who dominated the neighborhood during the mid-1800s – and the area is still home to San Francisco’s fishing fleet – but boats bursting with the Pacific’s edible bounty are only one reason millions of visitors descend on the area every year.

Tucked along the northeastern edge of the city, Fisherman’s Wharf today is awash in museums, souvenir shops, seafood restaurants, and scenic vistas of the Bay, and routinely ranks as one of the top reasons people visit San Francisco – and one of the top places locals tend to avoid.

On its western edge, a massive Ghirardelli sign looms over the Ghirardelli Square shopping plaza – the 1890s headquarters of the famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Company – where sugar junkies still devour signature sundaes and big bricks of fudge at the official confectionery store.

The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park entices history buffs with its museum and several restored docked sailing vessels, while die-hard swimmers brave the cold waters – but thankfully not the sharks – in the enclosed Aquatic Park.

Waves of out-of-towners spill eastward to Pier 39, a shopping center built entirely on a pier that teems with arcades, amusement park rides, an aquarium, more souvenir shops, seafood restaurants, and front-row views of the illustrious prison-turned-attraction Alcatraz Island and the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge.

These incredible vistas, however, must compete with the scores of sea lions lounging on the docks and in the waters below, sometimes in groups that exceed one thousand loud and boisterous flippered frolickers.

Nightlife along Fisherman’s Wharf is quiet once the shops are shuttered and the cable cars call it a day, making it a great place for a romantic walk along the endless piers – one of the few free activities available in this part of town.


Where to Go in Fisherman's Wharf

  • * Pier 39 All Ages / All Types / Arcade Games

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