Fodor's Expert Review Pier 39

Fisherman's Wharf Marina/Pier/Dock
Free
Farmer's Market, Pier 39, San Francisco, California

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).

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 most of the animals here are males.

At the Aquarium of the Bay (415/623–5300 or 888/732–3483, www.aquariumofthebay.org, $27.95,... READ MORE

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).

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 most of the animals here are males.

At the Aquarium of the Bay (415/623–5300 or 888/732–3483, www.aquariumofthebay.org, $27.95, hrs vary but at least 10–6 daily) 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.

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Marina/Pier/Dock Family Free

Quick Facts

Beach St. at Embarcadero
San Francisco, California  94133, USA

www.pier39.com

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