- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Fodor's Northern California 2014
Mobile AppDownload Fodor's City Guide App for FREE!
Pier 39 Review
The city's most popular waterfront attraction draws millions of visitors each year who come to browse through its shops and concessions hawking every conceivable form of souvenir. The pier can be quite crowded, and the numerous street performers may leave you feeling more harassed than entertained. Arriving early in the morning ensures you a front-row view of the sea lions that bask here, but if you're here to shop—and make no mistake about it, Pier 39 wants your money—be aware that most stores don't open until 9:30 or 10 (later in winter).
Brilliant colors enliven the double-decker San Francisco Carousel ($3 per ride), decorated with images of such city landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street.
Follow the sound of barking to the northwest side of the pier to view the sea lions that flop about the floating docks. During the summer, orange-clad naturalists answer questions and offer fascinating facts about the playful pinnipeds—for example, that all the animals here are males.
At the Aquarium of the Bay (415/623–5300 or 888/732–3483 www.aquariumofthebay.org $18, June–Sept., daily 9–8; Mar.–May and Sept.–Oct., Mon.–Thurs. 10–7, Fri.–Sun. 10–8; Nov.–Feb., Mon.–Thurs. 10–6, Fri.–Sun. 10–7) moving walkways transport you through a space surrounded on three sides by water filled with indigenous San Francisco Bay marine life, from fish and plankton to sharks. Many find the aquarium overpriced; if you can, take advantage of the family rate ($50 for two adults and two kids under 12).
The California Welcome Center (415/981–1280 www.visitcwc.com Daily 9–7), on Pier 39's second level, can help you reserve tours and plan your time in the city.
Parking is across the street at the Pier 39 Garage (With validation from a Pier 39 restaurant, one hour free before 6 pm, two hours after 6 pm), off Powell Street at the Embarcadero.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
Hello all! Read more
Long time lurker but only recently joined to get some advice about my up coming Canada trip so thought id share my USA experiance.
4 of us (21-25years old) flew in to LAX mid to late August, picked up Read more
Hello, we're spending spring break in San Diego in a condo on Mission Beach. Read more
· News & Features
Book a night at one of these stylish, independently owned boutique hotels, located near major airports, ... Read more
As 2013 comes to a close, there's no slowing down for the Bay Area's restaurant scene.... Read more
With the cornucopia of cultural and tourism options in San Francisco, a fall weekend will fly by faste... Read more