Summary: Explore the colorful attractions, restaurants and shops of this historic fishing district.
Location: Fisherman's Wharf is located along the San Francisco Embarcadero and Jefferson Street, For more information on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, call (415) 674-7503 or visit online.
Price Range: $$
This world-famous fishing district, known for its plentiful harvests of Dungeness crab, is packed with things to do.
Take the city's famous cable cars down to the Hyde Street Pier, where you can explore the wharf's colorful attractions, seafood restaurants and museums.
Most of the sights are located along Jefferson Street, which is where you'll find the historic seafood stands serving up San Francisco's famous boiled crab and hot clam chowder, served in a sourdough bread bowl.
If you're craving more of that fabulously chewy sourdough, head over to Boudin Bakery across the street, where you can watch and talk to artisan bread makers as they create San Francisco's legendary sourdough loaves before your eyes.
On Pier 45, you'll find the privately owned Musee Mecanique, which is home to dozens of old-time penny arcade games, from the 1958 Bimbo Box to the cackling Laughing Sal — a former relic from Playland at the Beach on San Francisco's waterfront. Be sure to bring along a handful of quarters, and enjoy the show!
Just next door is an historic flotilla of ships at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. Although the pier is free to walk, you can pay extra to board these turn-of-the-century ships, including the 1886 square-rigger Balclutha, which once sailed the Europe-to-San Francisco grain trade. Other highlights include the 1890 steam ferryboat Eureka, 1891 schooner Alma and 1907 steam tug Hercules. Nearby, you can tour the USS Pampanito, which sank six ships during World War II.
Fisherman's Wharf is home to several daily bay cruises, bike rentals and sightseeing tours. You can explore the city on a GPS enabled San Francisco GoCar, zip through the wharf by Segway with Electric Tour Company, or join a cycling tour with Blazing Saddles across the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Blue & Gold Fleet also departs here daily, offering excursions to popular destinations including Angel Island, Monterey and Carmel. Daily tours to Alcatraz depart from Alcatraz Cruises on Pier 33.
For a bit of touristy fun, head to Pier 39 — a shopping and restaurant complex filled with souvenir shops and the occasional live shows. Go ahead and succumb to its guilty pleasures, from a ride on the double-decker carousel, to glimpse at the barking California sea lions on K-dock. These playful pinnipeds arrived here in 1990, and have been a major crowd pleaser ever since. Although their numbers come and go throughout the year, there are always a few hanging out. Upstairs, Aquarium of the Bay offers a glimpse at more than 20,000 ocean creatures.
If you have a sweet tooth, don't miss Ghiradelli Square, where you can indulge in San Francisco's famous chocolate creations, or do a bit of shopping. Built in 1907, the Cannery is another good bet — where you'll find some adorable sidewalk cafes and boutiques.
There are plenty of great San Francisco hotels to choose from, but if it's a waterfront location you're after, book a room at Fairmont Heritage Place, The Radisson Fisherman's Wharf or The Argonaut. The Radisson is great for families, complete with a heated pool and fabulous location just steps from Pier 39.