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Pier 39 (San Francisco)

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2 Reviews

There is something for everyone at PIER 39, San Francisco's Premier Bay Attraction, a festival marketplace with more than 110 stores, 12 Bay view restaurants, and a variety of fun-filled attractions for all ages including, our world-renowned sea lions, street performers and live daily entertainment.

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    • More +
      17.11.2011 21:33
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      lots of fun for everyone

      Pier 39 is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco. Many a guidebook looks down its nose at the area in general because it is quite brash and in your face, but I really enjoyed the lively atmosphere of the pier and the holiday feel that it gives you when you are there. There is plenty to do here and, unusually, not all of it costs an arm and a leg. The pier is a fun place to spend a couple of hours in the sun and most importantly it offers fabulous views of the surrounding bay.

      The pier is free to enter and most of its shops and attractions are open from 10am until 9pm during the week and from 10am until 10pm at the weekends. At the entrance is the aquarium, which draws in thousands of visitors each year. You can buy discounted tickets for the aquarium at the kiosks near the pier entrance. Beyond the aquarium is the pier itself. Old fashioned in style, the design is obviously meant to make you feel like you've stepped back in time to a fairground type experience. The pier is wooden and pleasing on the eye. We enjoyed walking up and down, popping in the occasionally souvenir shop and grabbing a bag of pick and mix sweets (note to self, avoid the salt water taffy in future, sweets just shouldn't have salt in them). To complete the holiday atmosphere there is a carousel in the middle and a stage where you can often catch buskers performing shows that are suitable for all the family and a lot of fun to watch.

      The best thing about the pier though in my opinion is the group of sea lions that have set up camp on the docks at the side. It's not completely clear why the sea lions moved to the docks here almost thirty years ago, but they have since made it their home and the numbers have steadily increased over the years. There is a viewing area on the bottom level of the pier where you can watch the sea lions and learn a bit about them from the interesting displays along the side. This area gets very busy though throughout the day and we much preferred to get a quieter, bird's eye view from the upper level. In all honesty, the sea lions don't do that much, but they are very noisy and fascinating to watch none the less, especially when one rolls over in his sleep, fall off the dock and scares the others in the process, which is what happed one day when we were there!

      The other great thing about Pier 39 is that you can get some fabulous views of Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge if you walk right down to the end. The pier is pretty much the nearest point to the old prison without being on a ferry and it makes for particularly eerie viewing when the famous mist is hanging over it. There are benches down here too so you can spend a happy afternoon people watching and enjoying the sun.

      If you are looking for something to eat, you'll find it in abundance on Pier 39. There are various options depending on whether you want a light snack to walk and eat, or a full meal. There's a nice chilled out restaurant / bar called Wipeout near the entrance of the pier that does huge portions for a reasonable price or you can try Bubba Gump's Shrimp Shack at the other end for a Forrest Gump themed meal complete with great views over the bay.

      Pier 39 is far from being a San Francisco cultural highlight, in fact it is in stark contrast to the rest of the famously hip city, but you can have fun by the bucket load here and you really should pay a visit.
      Pier 39 is far from being a San Francisco cultural highlight, in fact it is in stark contrast to the rest of the famously hip city, but you can have fun by the bucket load here and you really should pay a visit.

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      • More +
        29.10.2009 00:03
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        Great Attraction

        When in San Francisco you have probably heard that the place to go is Pier 39. We spent a whole day here in this area and we were not disappointed at all. It is an amazing place and is the busiest pier in San Francisco or it appears to be anyway. This is where you will find all of the tourists and I will attempt to tell you why.

        Location
        Pier 39 is in San Francisco and is located on a coast. It is well sign posted on San Francisco maps and everybody will be able to tell you how to get there. Its place where it is, is called Fishermans Wharf and there are signs to it around San Francisco. The maps you can get do show you all of the walking roads and is very easy to follow. We were located in Union Square and it took us about half hour to have a leisurely walk to Pier 39.

        If you don't want to walk then there are plenty of trams that take you straight there and you should be able to find a tram pick up station very close to wherever you stay. There are also tour buses that will all take you to Pier 39.


        Appearance
        When you first look at Pier 39 it looks like any Pier you would find here in the UK. Wooden slats to step on and little shops, a few rides and lots of people. It doesn't look on first impressions like it is anything special but it is. The Pier39 sign and crab statue welcome you and you do get an immediate homely, safe and buzzing atmosphere feeling which is lovely.
        Now lets take you through what exactly is there to do.


        Sea Lions
        These were the main reasons I wanted to go to pier 39 as I had heard that there are a lot of sea lions there. They are fabulous. You can hear them from most places on the Pier and when you walk up to see them they are everywhere. There are lots of wooden platforms in the sea and they just all lie on them and hug and fight with each other. I was watching them for about half hour and I could have stayed longer but my husband got bored.

        Alcatraz
        From pier 39 you get a great view of Alcatraz Island and the Alcatraz prison. We were going on a cruise over to Alcatraz that evening so we were excited but it does look amazing. With our camera we got some really good photos and you can see all of the ships taking people over to see it.

        Shops
        There are so many shops at Pier 39 that I could have stayed there for ages and we returned a few times to get different things. A lot of them are quite unique little shops that I hadn't seen yet in America and some of them were ones that are everywhere. I will tell you that there is everything here so wine, chocolate, souvenirs, clothes, pictures, books and loads more. I will tell you about a few of my favourite shops now.

        Chocolate Heaven had to be my absolute favourite. You walk in and it was huge. Everything in Pier 39 is nice inside and very clean with lots to buy which is dangerous for somebody who likes to spend money like me. This shop was full of chocolatey goodness which included San Francisco trams full of chocolate and chocolate rocks and all sorts. I think these are quite famous in America but the shop was ace.

        Del Sol was a good shop and sold lots of colour changing merchandise so we got our nephew clear keyring that changed to blue in the sun. Another great souvenir shop was only in San Francisco which sold everything San Francisco branded that you could think of. I managed to buy T shirts, flececes, pens and magnets to take home to people so it was great.

        Eating
        There are plenty of places to get some lunch or tea at Pier 39. The place we ate at was like a snacky place for lunch which was Chowders. They sold clam chowder which is famous here and also Boudin bread which I had never tried before but it was quite yummy and is also a speciality here. It cost us around $12 for lunch so not that bad really.

        For more dishes you can choose from Hard Rock Cafe, Bubba Gump shrimp and the wipeout bar and grill. They all look great and the menus are tempting and even when you walk past you can smell it all and it is lovely. We didn't get to eat in any of the restaurants though due to time but they all looked great and are all quite close together so you can look at the menus and take time to decide where to go.

        What Else?
        There is a an aquarium here which we didn't go to but it looked quite nice. We also had street dancers around everywhere which were amazing to look at and there is lots of entertainment in the form of statue people and all sorts. There is also a small fair ground with some carousels and there are some 4D rides too.

        In Conclusion
        Pier 39 is purely a very busy pier with lots to offer for everybody. It is basically a lot of fun and because of the sheer amount of people and what there is to see you get a lovely atmosphere to walk around with. We spent a whole day here and then spent another half day here and there was just so much to keep us entertained. I loved it and would recommend it to everybody as it is a must see sight in San Francisco. You will not be disappointed.

        Thanks for reading.

        xxx

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      • Product Details

        There is something for everyone at PIER 39, San Francisco's Premier Bay Attraction, a festival marketplace with more than 110 stores, 12 Bay view restaurants, and a variety of fun-filled attractions for all ages including, our world-renowned sea lions, street performers and live daily entertainment.