San Francisco Fisherman Wharf
Welcome to the Fisherman’s Wharf!
If there’s one part of town that visitors — both first-timers and many-timers — equate with San Francisco, it’s Fisherman’s Wharf.
Fisherman’s Wharf is a world famous tourist attraction and a thriving and vibrant local neighborhood and commercial area. More than 75 percent of San Francisco’s visitors include Fisherman’s Wharf on their itinerary. It is considered as a delightful outdoor area where you’ll not only find many fishing boats and seafood restaurants, but also a whole range of attractions such as historic boats, a submarine, several museums and plenty of shops. The wharf at San Francisco has always been a very lively area.
The area has long been famous for producing a wide variety of ocean fish, but is also well known for its wonderful population of Dungeness crab. Through the years, the opening of crab season in November has been accompanied by a festive celebration and before the advent of restaurants and sidewalk eateries in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, fishermen would bring their catch ashore, cook them in boiling pots of water, and sell them to hungry passers-by.
The Wharf is best known for being the location of Pier 39, the Cannery Shopping Center, Ghirardelli Square, a Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, the Musée Mécanique, the brand new interactive wax attraction Madame Tussauds San Francisco, The San Francisco Dungeon, the Aquarium of the Bay, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and the National Liberty Ship: S.S. Jerimiah O’Brien. The Wax Museum was opened in 2000 and is featuring likenesses of hundreds of stars and famous historical figures. The Aquarium of the Bay is fascinating, providing the opportunity to walk through clear tunnels and observe local marine life, including sharks, bat rays, and other indigenous sea animals. Specialty shops and restaurants line the Wharf including PIER 39 and Anchorage Square shopping complexes. The world famous Ghirardelli Square has been converted to an open-air center filled with fun shops and restaurants.
Other attractions include the Hyde Street Pier, the USS Pampanito, a decommissioned World War II era submarine, and the Balclutha, a 19th-century cargo ship. Nearby Pier 45 has a chapel in memory of the “Lost Fishermen” of San Francisco and Northern California. There is a sea lion colony next to Pier 39. They “took-up” residence months before the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989. The sea lions lie on wooden docks that were originally meant for docking boats.
Seafood restaurants are aplenty in the area and some of the restaurants go back for three generations of the same family ownership. Many of the dishes available at these restaurants are based on the seafood dishes which today’s fishermen’s parents, grandparents or great grandparents prepared in their native Italy, or in their San Francisco homes.
The Wharf plays host to many San Francisco events, including a world-class fireworks display for the Fourth of July, and some of the best views of the Fleet Week air shows featuring The Blue Angels. In 1985, the wharf was used as a filming location in the James Bond film: A View to a Kill.
Today, as in the past, the fishing fleet is operated by the grandsons and great-grandsons of these past generations. The cable cars still run by providing the scenic ride which is the preferred mode of transportation for most of the millions of people who visit Wharf annually. Though boats have changed through the decades, the aptly-named Fisherman’s Wharf has remained at the heart of the city’s fishing industry.
The Wharf is proudly unique among the scenic waterfront attractions of the world. The Fisherman’s Wharf of today rests on land created from the rubble of buildings destroyed in the earthquake and fire of 1906. What could not be destroyed was the love of the sea, generations of fishing skills, and traditions expressed in good things to eat and drink. The Wharf is truly a place to start your San Francisco experience.