Pier 39 San Francisco offers visitors a wide array of shopping, dining and exploring options not found anywhere else in California. If you are planning a visit to this historic city by the bay, look no further than this guide for the best in what to see and do on the pier.
What is Pier 39 San Francisco?
Pier 39, one of the largest tourist destinations in the city, is a shopping district containing over 110 stores and 12 restaurants, serving up some of the best seafood and California cuisines while giving you a spectacular view of the bay to dine by. Pier 39 is also your docking point for explorations to Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman%27s_Wharf.
This visitor extravaganza is nestled near still functioning bay piers, giving it that authentic feel that San Francisco is known for. It is also home to an official California Welcome Center, which can provide information for you regarding the entire city of San Francisco, as well as various locations throughout Northern California worth visiting.
If you are a newbie to San Francisco, or if you are a return guest looking for the perfect gift for a friend or family member, you don't have to look any further than Pier 39. San Francisco boasts a wide variety of shopping options, and plenty of specialty shops can be found right here. The Alcatraz Bookstore is home to historical books and videos about Alcatraz, as well as hilarious apparel and silly souvenirs themed after this famous prison island.
The Aquarium of the Bay gift shop is also popular, especially with tween girls, thanks to its wide array of seashell-constructed jewelry boxes, windchimes and charm bracelets. You can find anything beautifully ocean-themed at this store, and the prices are perfect when you have a lot of special people to shop for.
Lastly, check out a California favorite - Bare Escentuals - for mineral makeup, lotions and fragrances that will compliment your day under the San Francisco sun perfectly.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is one of the pier's most popular restaurants, featuring a wide variety of seafood options themed after the popular movie Forrest Gump. The restaurant is set out right in the bay, giving you gorgeous water seating, and artifacts from the film are scattered throughout the restaurant.
The Crab House is another popular favorite. Try the "Killer Crab®", for which the Bay Area is known, or indulge in a crab Caesar salad if you are looking for something a little lighter. The Food Network recently profiled the Crab House, and it continues to get rave reviews from locals and tourists alike.
If you are looking for perhaps an already familiar and tasty favorite, visit the San Francisco Hard Rock Café, full of rock and roll memorabilia and plenty of good eats. The selection of food choices is divine, and it is never a dull moment with their great music and full service bar.
What to Do
Surely Pier 39 San Francisco is more about just shopping and eating, as it offers attractions not found anywhere else. Take a trip on the Blue and Gold Fleet if a ferry ride around the bay interests you. Narrated tours are available, giving the entire family a chance to learn more about San Francisco's unique history. You can also pay a visit to Angel Island via the ferry, where you will find hiking trails, premier picnic spots, and a chance to relax and reflect upon the beauty surrounding you.
The Aquarium of the Bay is another great opportunity to explore San Francisco from a whole new angle. With over 20,000 stunning marine animals, you will see the smallest of fish and most ferocious of predators. Contact the ticket office of the aquarium on the pier to find out about special family packages and discount days. Pier 39 also offers a peek at impressive street performers, a chance to take a romantic walk along the docks, as well as a fun observation of the local mascots - dozens of lazy and loud sea lions! San Francisco is truly a place that has it all, and there is no better way to experience that than to visit Pier 39 and its surrounding areas.