Visiting Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco

Visiting Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf

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San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf; Pacifica, CA. CC BY-SA 2.0
Source: Flickr: footloosiety

Visiting Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular tourist destination in San Francisco,
CA.  It’s on the eastern side of the city bordering the San Francisco
Bay and is littered with hotels, parking structures, restaurants, and
tourist shops and services.  This is one of the first few places that I
take out-of-towners – most recent being my in-laws for my wedding this
past March 2010.
So, why is this section of San
Francisco called Fisherman’s Wharf?  Historically, the Gold Rush had
brought in a mass of people to San Francisco – and it just so happened
that this section of San Francisco was where all the dungeness crab were
easily being caught.  Because of this, many fishermen stayed at this
popular wharf to catch seafood to sell to locals or to provide for their
In the 1970’s, Fisherman’s Wharf was transformed into
the tourist destination that it is today.  But, if you ever have the
chance to visit, you can still spot fleets of fisherman catching local
fish and crab for many Bay Area restaurants. 

Seafood & Sourdough Bread Bowls

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CC BY-SA 2.0
Source: Flickr: kckoenig


Fisherman’s Wharf offers a variety of good food, most notably the Dungeness crab which are caught fresh from the San Francisco Bay. 
Another popular San Francisco treat that I recommend are the clam
chowder bowls which you can order at virtually any restaurant at the
wharf; large hollow sourdough bread filled with locally made clam
chowder… it keeps you nice and warm during cold and foggy San
Francisco days!  Seafood is the prime seller here, but that doesn’t mean
restaurants don’t offer other choices for those who want red meat,
chicken, and even non-meat varieties.
Discover the rich chocolate
of the city by venturing to Ghirardelli Square on the northeastern side
of Fisherman’s Wharf.  Once the home of the original Ghirardelli
chocolate factory, the brick square now offers a variety of chocolate
squares and ice cream for visitors to enjoy in the seating area or
outside of the square.  Just a word of advice from a local (myself!): no
matter what time you go, there’s going to be a long waiting line – but
trust me, it’s worth it.


I will admit it: Parking is expensive down here.  Because of that, find
the participating restaurants or attractions of various parking
structures to get your parking validated – that way, you either get free
parking or a deeply discounted parking rate for patronizing local
partners.  There will be a list of surrounding locations where parking
is validated with larger structures printing lists on additional
discounts on the back of your parking ticket.
While walking along
Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll notice many tourist shops where visitors can
buy souvenirs, stands offering fresh crab, sea lions along Pier 39,
street performers (the World Famous Bushman who hides in bushes scaring
unsuspecting pedestrians, dancers and musicians, magicians, caricature
artists, and human statues that scare unwitting pedestrians). 

The World Famous Bushman – YouTube: ayumash

Popular Events at Fisherman’s Wharf include:
1. 4th of July: Many locals and tourists squeeze together at the Wharf to celebrate independence and catch a breathtaking fireworks display over the San Francisco Bay.
2. Fleet Week: The Blue Angels air show is highly popular in San Francisco and draws over one million people around the shores of the city to catch a glimpse of the show. Fisherman’s Wharf is home to one of the best views of the Blue Angels air show and the wharf fills quickly during the day. Attendees can check out the jets and the ships that ground in the bay. (Click for more info.)

America’s Cup 2012-2013 was also hosted in the Bay from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge in October 2012 during Fleet Week, attracting millions of people to Fisherman’s Wharf, the Marina Green, Fort Mason, and Crissy Field.

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Fisherman’s Wharf – Pier 39. CC BY-SA 2.0
Source: Flickr: The-O

Popular Places to go:
1. Pier 39
2. The Ferry Building
3. Embarcadero Center
4. San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park
5. Ripley’s Believe it or Not
6. The Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf
7. Ghirardelli Square
8. Aquarium by the Bay
Many tour services are also found here and are offered by several companies to choose from. Popular tours include: San Francisco landmarks, Alcatraz, Napa Valley Wine Tours, Yosemite, Muir Woods/Sausalito, and more.
* For a list of current events at Fisherman’s Wharf to guide your next visit, check out:

* OR you can purchase a GO card, which discount admission tickets to popular destinations at: