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Fun on Fisherman's Wharf

16 Nov 2006  Twentieth Wedding Anniversary
4.0 of 5 bubbles based on 3 votes

Several days in the historic Fisherman's Wharf area along the San Francisco waterfront.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: San Francisco
  • Category: Recent trip
  • Traveler type: Sightseeing, Shopping, Never been before
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers , Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Stroll The Waterfront

    Walk down Jefferson and watch the activity on the commercial fishing boats. Note the humorous names of the sport fishing boats: Sole Man, Bass Tub and so on. Pick up the free maps and pamphlets - they'll come in handy and they have coupons. A plethora of stores line the street, from high end art galleries to maritime themed gifts, camera stores and t-shirt shops, interspersed with restaurants, a Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum and a wax museum. By Pier 45 there are take away stalls selling crabs, oysters and whatever else comes off the boats.

  • 2. The Cannery
    The Cannery, San Francisco, California

    On Jefferson Street between Leavenworth and Hyde is the group of buildings once used by Del Monte to can fruits and vegetables. It now has courtyard bistros and intriguing boutiques, with whimsical sculptures in the corners. There is a seasonal Farmers' Market and periodic live music

  • 3. Chocolate Heaven
    Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco, California

    There are two chocolate shops, one at each end of the square. As we entered, we were presented with a chocolate caramel wafer. There is a counter selling hot chocolate and sundaes and a wide variety of chocolate packages. A number of other stores are also located here, surrounding the mermaid fountain in the center. A band was playing when we were there. One of the Lori's Diners is also here.

  • 4. Lunch
    Nick's Lighthouse, San Francisco, California

    At the end of Taylor Street near Pier 45, behind the street stalls, is Nick's Lighthouse. Try to get a table by the rear wall where you can look out at the fishing boats bobbing at their moorings. If you can't, there's plenty to look at on the walls and dangling from the ceiling. A giant model airplane hangs over the center tables and smaller models of of all manner of fanciful flying machines hover over other tables. The walls are covered with ship models and paintings of sea battles. Clearly sea food is featured, but you can also get burgers, steaks, soups and salads.

  • 5. Vintage Street Car Ride

    At Jones and Beach Street get on one of the restored trolleys ($1.50 exact change) and ride along the Embarcadero, a wide palm lined boulevard. Get off at Sansome Street.

  • 6. Coit Tower
    Coit Tower, San Francisco, California

    Go down Sansome Street to the Filbert Street Steps. This steep climb leads to the top of Telegraph Hill, the highest spot in San Francisco, and Coit Tower. On the way up, you may see some of the wild parrots that live there. The tower was built as a memorial to the fire fighters in the 1906 earthquake. Enjoy the depression era murals on the ground floor, and take an elevator to the top for the best views in town.

  • 7. Pier 39
    Pier 39, San Francisco, California

    Shops, restaurants, a theatre and an aquarium sit on a pier extending into the bay. But first, walk along the western side to the end and watch the sea lions. Their barking can be heard all along the harbor. They indulge in mock fighting, cuddling and 'hauling out' onto the docks provided for them, making a fascinating show. As many as several hundred could be there at one time. They've been coming since shortly after the 1989 earthquake; plentiful herring and protection from sharks keeps them coming back. When you're through watching them, there is a wealth of other things to do. An outdoor stage features magicians and other performers, a bungee trampoline thrills the adventurous, video arcades and a turbo ride are available, and a myriad of shops and eateries abound. The Aquarium of the Bay has thousands of marine species including sharks and sting rays.

  • 8. Dinner On The Pier
    Scoma's, San Francisco, California

    At the end of Pier 47, surrounded by the fishing fleet, is Scoma's, arguably home to the freshest seafood around. From a coffee and breakfast shop in 1965, it has grown into a large and thriving restaurant. You'll probably have to wait, since they don't take reservations, but it will be worth it. In additiion to sea food, they serve steak, risotto and pasta. There is also valet parking.

  • 9. Rock 'n Roll Breakfast
    Johnny Rockets, San Francisco, California

    You might not think of the 50's retro chain Johnny Rockets as a breakfast place, but the one at 81 Jefferson servers up omelets, bacon, sausage, homefries and other breakfast staples. Put a nickel (that's right, five cents) in the tableside jukebox, spin some oldies, and have a milkshake with your pancakes.

  • 10. Fort Point National Historic Site
    Fort Point National Historic Site, San Francisco, California

    When the Golden Gate Bridge was being planned, it was redesigned to preserve this historic fort. Built in 1853, on land blasted away to bring it close to sea level, it now sits directly beneath the bridge. In addition to astonishing views looking up, there is a stunning panorama of the city and marina district. The fort houses antique cannon and a comprehensive museum of military life in the second half of the 19th century. Best of all it's free!
    (There are many ways to get there: cab, rent a bicycle, a Gocar, or even a Segway.)

  • 11. Sourdough Snacks
    Boudin Sourdough Bakery and Cafe, San Francisco, California

    Since 1849 Boudin's (pronounced bo deen) has been baking San Francisco's signature sourdough bread. You can watch for free from a mezzanine, or take a $3.00 tour. Lunch can be had by a fireplace in the ground-floor Bakery Cafe or in the more upscale Bistro Boudin on the 2nd level.

  • 12. Historic Ships
    San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, San Francisco, California

    Since the gold rush, San Francisco has been one of the great ports of the world. At historic Hyde Street Pier, you can get a feel for what seafaring was like in earlier days. As you walk toward the historic ships moored here, you'll pass ongoing restoration projects of small craft, and artifacts such as a monstrous paddlewheel. Buy a Boarding Pass for $5.00 and begin with the Eureka, an 1890 sidewheel ferry with an antique auto collection onboard. Continue to the Hercules, a steam powered tug (said to be haunted) then go up the ramp to the Balclutha, a giant square rigged tall ship. Plan to spend several hours and become immersed in antother time.

  • 13. Coffee Connection
    Buena Vista Cafe, San Francisco, California

    All this time traveling may leave you feeling the need for a pick-me-up. Cross the street to the Buena Vista Cafe, birthplace of Irish coffee on this side of the Atlantic.They also have a long list of other specialty drinks, a wide beer selection and a full menu. They even serve breakfast.

  • 14. Crab Craving
    Franciscan Crab Restaurant, San Francisco, California

    In a building shaped like a ship, beside the water on Pier 431/2, you'll find the Franciscan. Ascend the stairs, lined with photos of celebrities who've eaten there, and come into a dining room with twenty foot ceilings surrounded by glass. Sit where we did and you'll look out at the Red & White Line ferries Royal Prince and Princess of the Harbor. The local Dungeness crab is their specialty but other seafood, chicken, prime rib and pasta are served. Their Sizzling Skillets are tasty. The crab chowder comes in a sourdough bread bowl and the deserts are worth making room for.

  • 15. Street Scene

    In the area along Jefferson between Mason and Powell, there is a constant display of street performers. On various nights we heard an Andean band, saw a unicyclist juggling torches, and watched a young man named Miguel Sanchez create what can only be called artwork using cans of spray paint. We watched him do a complete painting in a matter of minutes, bought it ($15.00 with matte) and intend to frame it and hang it in our home.

  • 16. Other Fun Things
    Cable Cars, San Francisco, California

    There is a cable car turn-around at the end of Hyde Street. It will take you up Russian Hill and on to Chinatown. Have some dim sum!

  • 17. Cast Off

    There are many ferries along the waterfront that go to Sausalito, Angel Island and Alcatraz. Others cruise the bay. Blue & Gold at Pier 39 and Red & White at Pier 431/2 are most convenient. Hornblower on the Embarcadero does dinner cruises.

  • 18. Clip Clop

    You could take a horse drawn open carriage ride around the wharf. The cowboy hatted drivers will give you a fifteen to twenty minute jaunt for $20.00 apiece. Blankets are provided on chilly days.