10 Things to Do at FISHERMANs WHARF and PIER 39, San Francisco
When one mentions Fisherman’s Wharf, the first thing that comes into mind is the city of San Francisco. If anyone asks me to spend a day anywhere in San Francisco, I would gladly take a stroll at Fishermans Wharf and Pier 39 in a heartbeat. The stench of the ocean doesn’t bother me and pelicans flying all over the Pacific Ocean are things you don’t see every day. Fisherman’s Wharf is where I can see the best of the San Francisco fog. I love the foggy weather and wish I can take it home with me.
There are a lot of activities you can do at the Fishermans Wharf and Pier 39. The place is so whimsical I highly recommend anyone to spend the entire day in that area alone. You can opt to go downhill from Lombard Street’s zigzagged street at Russian Hill or stop by Fishermans Wharf from your trip to the Golden Gate Bridge onboard Presidio Avenue bus. But either way, Fisherman’s Wharf will always enchant you in many ways than one and channel your inner personality.
Here are some sights, sounds, flavors, and scents that define the best out of Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39.
1. Beyond a tourist, become the photographer.
With the Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge in the horizon (and if the fog luckily descends), anyone can become the photographer, channel inner creativity, and take the best photos. I enjoyed snapping memories and hope to relive it when I get home.
2. Eat oyster cocktail at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Forget the Maine Lobster Rolls because you can get the original ones in Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, and the crabs might get too messy for you, but don’t shy away from Oyster Cocktails. In fact, try to stay away from fancy restaurants and go street food instead. I loved this simple oyster cocktail served with tomato sauce and vinegar that a couple of Vietnamese street sellers enthusiastically served me. Eat at the sidewalk and immerse in the culture of the Fisherman’s Wharf.
3. Buy trinkets at souvenir shops.
It might sound touristy but buying some San Francisco cable car figurines and I Love SF shirts are things you can take home with you, and even buy Chocolate Heaven bars by the bulk. But then you can always stop by Boudin Bakery & Cafe for more unique choices like a magnet shaped into a bread loaf.
4. Watch Boudin Bakers mold sourdough bread loaves
Of course you can always eat Boudin Bakery’s famous Clam Chowder in sourdough bread, but you can take home with you the clam chowders anyway and the sourdough bread is quite robust you might as well have it to-go. The Bakers Hall at Boudin Bakery & Cafe serves as a living museum for one of San Francisco’s legacy businesses and one that’s rooted deeply in history. Just make sure to say hi to the bakers so they’ll wave back at you.
5. Grab an In N Out Burger and eat at the North Beach
Skip eating at the diner and grab your In N Out Burger to go, as your burger will taste even better as you watch surfers beat the North Beach waves. Watch out for your fries though as the pigeons might eat them!
6. Bask in the melodies of talented street performers.
From rappers, to percussionists, jazz trombonists, to capoeira dancers, and silver painted robots, everyone gets a free Cirque du Soleil-like dynamics in San Francisco to entertain tourists and locals alike. It’s best to leave a tip and know that creativity spins a great deal of passionate threads that becomes contagious. I’ve never felt more alive than hearing the beat of the drums coinciding with my own heart beat.
7. Munch tiny donuts at Trish’s Donuts
Head over to Pier 39 and buy a bucket of Trish’s Donuts if you can finish the whole thing. These donuts are fresh and hot from the oven sprinkled with cinnamon sugar that’s really addicting.
8. Watch the sea lions at the K-Dock
Experiencing the sea won’t be complete without enjoying the company of sea lions at K-Dock. Sea Lions might yelp and scream on top of their lungs while swiping each other, but again this is something you won’t see everyday. Capture them with your camera too. It’s so beautiful seeing them as a community.
9. Ride the Catamaran sails and sail underneath the Golden Gate Bridge
When the Alcatraz tours go fully booked, it’s best to ride the Adventure Catamaran Sails as an alternative. There’s also the San Francisco Sailing Company offering a 90 minute tour for only $45 per person. You get to ride around the Alcatraz, Sausalito bridge and under the Golden Gate Bridge, while getting hands-on pointers from experts of maneuvering the helm. My tip? Ride on their last sailing hour at 6pm so you can experience the sunset in San Francisco.
10. Eat fresh cherries at Pier 39
Biscoff’s cookie won’t simply cut it, and I would recommend you to go organic. Pier 39 has this fruits and vegetable market that sells amazingly fresh and plump cherries (and peaches!) which costs around $10.99 per pound for the red cherries and $11.99 for the yellow cherries.
These are just some of the best things you can do at the Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, and each person has their own thing. Some would rent a bike for an hour or two and ride the entire Fishermans Wharf strip, but everything would go past in a blur and you won’t get to appreciate every sight and sound you encounter. Some might enjoy the thrill of San Francisco Dungeon and be spooked in manmade entertainment, but when in Fisherman’s Wharf, going natural is the way to go. I love walking and taking my time to absorb everything and if that’s your fly, then these top 10 things to do should be on your list when in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39.