United States: Pier 39 at the Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco


We took a leisurely stroll around San Francisco and explored Pier 39 at the Fisherman’s Wharf. Pier 39 is a popular tourist destination with lots of specialty shops hauled at the dock of the Pier. First time tourists in the beautiful city of San Francisco should definitely take a visit to Pier 39 and the Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s just a single destination that just cooks up so many wonderful experiences! I think tourists and SF residents have varying opinions about the place, but I speak as a tourist, and as a tourist, I had fun visiting the pier!

The location is a natural beauty! Pier 39 is nestled between the hills of NorthEastern San Francisco with covered hills rising above the shoreline and water crashing over Alcatraz Island.

Three things lured me to love Pier 39:

1. Pier 39 has also become a home to the California Sea Lions, super adorable sea animals that I will always love!

I learned from a field trip that the distinct differences between seals and sea lions is the presence of hind flippers. Seals don’t have any back flipper at all, while sea lions were created to have hind flippers thus giving them more flexibility for movement making them capable of walking on land. 

2. Pier 39 offers a magnificent view of the Island of Alcatraz

Alcatraz is often referred to as “The Rock”, an island developed as a military garrison and prison with immense fortifications for maximum security prisoners. But at present, Alcatraz is already an abandoned prison which has already been opened for tours.


3. Pier 39 has an oh so beautiful sunset complemented by sailboats on the docks.

The best things in life are free, so they say.  For me this is the best part, watching the water, feeling the wind, watching the sunset with the colors of the sky doing a parade and dance of colors until it finally settles down and calls it a night. 

There are just so many things to do in Pier 39 because it caters to various and different kinds of random entertainment. Specialty shops and souvenir shops are ubiquitous on all areas of the wharf, hence, boredom will never even dare to visit you. Starving will also be an event unlikely to happen because of the different stalls catering to all hungry stomachs. For the record, clam chowders sold by the kiosk vendors is a must-try, they say (though I wasn’t able to personally sample it because I did not know it yet at the time of my visit).

They say, this is the best clam chowder ever!

Some call Pier 39 a “tourist trap” because of the high costs of almost everything around the area. From parking fees, food, souvenirs, and the like. But as long as there will be eager tourists willing to spend to spend for the sake of a beautiful experience, it will always be business as usual for all the stall owners. After all, tourism will always be a lucrative business venture. But like always, at the end of the day, it will be the sole decision of a tourist if he/she will let himself or herself fall in a tourist trap. For us, we did not (maybe just the parking), because we just decided to just do sole sightseeing around the area.

But nevertheless, I would still recommend any tourist to pay the Fisherman’s Wharf and the Pier 39 a visit!


About Mia G.

Teacher Mia. A Happy Girl. Chaser of dreams. Believer of living out each beautiful dream. A Full-time Preschool Teacher with a part-time job of being a happy traveler and wanderer. Co-founder of Destination Getaways Travel and Tours! A Proud Filipina who wants to travel the world one place at a time, one breathtaking moment at a time. Join the personal accounts of my adventures and misadventures and random experiences in our big and beautiful classroom-- the world. Share my experiences on spontaneity, excitement, adventure, travel, exploration, gastronomic encounters, and everything in between!

4 responses »

  1. Fisherman’s Wharf, and Pier 39 in particular, get a very bad press from the media and guide book writers who turn their nose up at its easy, tacky atmosphere. But, as your post demonstrates, it is in a beautiful setting and, above all, FUN! Great photos too!

    • At the end of the day, it will still greatly rely on the person’s personal take on the place. For us, we did not let ourselves fall into the “tourist trap” they keep on associating Pier 39 with. We enjoyed it still nevertheless! SF is just so amazing! Thank you for appreciating the photos! 😀

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