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Best Things to do in Fisherman’s Wharf

Ah, San Francisco. The city I grew up around and visit regularly is also the reason I find it hard to leave the Bay Area. Sure, housing prices are skyrocketing and it’s hard out here for a millennial but that doesn’t mean I won’t find a way. Most of the beauty in San Francisco can be found just off the beaten path, but sometimes it’s nice to visit the popular places like Fisherman’s Wharf.

Some of the best things to do in Fisherman's Wharf attract tourists from all over for many different reasons. What attracts you? Things to do in San Francisco | What is Fisherman's Wharf | San Francisco Travel Tips #sanfrancisco #travel #fishermanswharf

Some of the best things to do in Fisherman’s Wharf attract tourists from all over for many different reasons. What attracts you?


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Like many other cities in the US there are plenty of things to do in San Francisco. There are activities that educate and entertain, amuse or provide sustenance and just overall make your visit a great time.

Many of the activities in San Francisco are enjoyable all year long but spring and summer make for a better visit. Just remember, you’re in the city of love and friends are around every corner. Most of your first visit will be focused on Fisherman’s Wharf and that’s fine.

Pier 39

Pier 39 is just a few steps away from Fisherman’s Wharf proper and is also the busiest part of the area. The crowds here, especially on a nice sunny day get a bit crazy. You can find food, shopping, and even a merry-go-round at the center of Pier 39. Like many places in San Francisco, parking can be a bit difficult.

Pro tip: most cities offer free meter parking on the weekends, but this part of town is an exception. Parking meters run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So find parking at a garage nearby.

Be warned, parking is a bit pricey, though if you park at Pier 39 parking garage (located just across the street from the Pier) you can get validation and a free hour of parking along with it. If you enter after 6 p.m. you can get two hours free with validation at participating restaurants. 

Some of the best things to do in Fisherman's Wharf attract tourists from all over for many different reasons. What attracts you? Things to do in San Francisco | What is Fisherman's Wharf | San Francisco Travel Tips #sanfrancisco #travel #fishermanswharf
Photo Credit: Fishermans Wharf

The Aquarium

Located literally on Pier 39 is The Aquarium of The Bay. Here, you will find an amazing showcase of sea life that is often found in the actual bay nearby.

Walk through tunnels surrounded by sharks and fish or head upstairs to get a hands-on experience with some starfish. It’s like you’re stepping into the actual bay that’s just a few feet away. 

Ghirardelli Square

Ok, there’s some debate here about if this is a locals spot or a tourist attraction. Either way, it’s awesome. You can, of course, get Ghirardelli chocolate in its many different forms and flavors but there’s more.

Wine, live music, great lunches, shopping, dinners all located at the square. The square is a bit of a walkaway from Fisherman’s Wharf but there are plenty of Ubers in the city.

Restaurants to Try

You just aren’t doing it right if you visit Fisherman’s Wharf and don’t have any of the fresh seafood. Even if you don’t normally like seafood, give it a shot here because it’s fresh. One of the best parts about eating at a restaurant in this area is the view that often comes along with your meal.

Fog Harbor Fish House has one of the best views, some good food and is a must try. One of the many unique dining experiences you will find is Forbes Island. Let’s just say there is a boat ride required to get to this restaurant. 

The Museums

San Francisco is known for being a bit eccentric, which is why I love it. The passion from the people that are from many different parts of the world, clashing together creates some pretty amazing stuff.

Some pretty weird stuff, but still amazing. That’s why Places like Musee Mechanique, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and the San Francisco Dungeon all fit right in. If you want to get away from Fisherman’s Wharf you can head to Golden Gate Park for a more fine museum experience. 

Bush Man and Friends

Bush Man was a big deal for a while and still is for visitors to San Francisco. There’s just something about a man, dressed as a bush, hiding in plain sight and then scaring people randomly that feels San Francisco. Along with him, there are other street performers that create art in many different ways and some of them are must-see.


It wouldn’t be a vacation destination without a few attractions to see nearby. If museums aren’t really your thing, you can check out any of the other attractions in the area. 

  • Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze!
  • 7D Experience
  • Bay Cruises
  • Sea Lions
  • Magic Shows
  • Hyde Street Pier
  • Sailing
  • Bike Rentals
  • Sight-Seeing Tours
  • Caricatures
  • Musical Stairs
  • Whale Tours
  • Rocket Boat
  • Wine Tasting
  • GoCars Tours

I love San Francisco and you will too; and while Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-do for tourists you’ve gotta see the rest of the city. How about hunting down some cupcakes or searching for some of the best tacos? Spend a day or two at Fisherman’s Wharf and then venture off deeper into the city.

Don’t forget to pack your travel essentials for a day out and about!


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