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The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco's Fisherman’s Wharf
by San Francisco Bucket List
Fisherman’s Wharf is a crowd-pleasing staple for natives and newcomers alike in SF. The pier and surrounding area (between Beach Street and the Embarcadero) is filled with an abundance of shops, eateries, famous boat tours, museums, and marine life—including the foggy city’s unofficial mascots: a colony of adorable sea lions.
From a tour through a psychedelic Mirror Maze to bread bowls of world-famous clam chowder at the Blue Mermaid, we’ve got you covered on what not to miss at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Where to shop
Houdini's Magic Shop
Visit the delightfully kitschy long-standing magic shop where you can stare into a mesmerizing spinning wheel, or flip through a book of card tricks.
Where: Pier 39, Beach St
For more information on Houdini’s Magic Shop.
Wild Wilder West:
Shop western-style leather boots, cowboy hats, and “the most American-made vintage western wear west of the Pecos” at Wild Wilder West.
Where: Pier 39
For more information on Wild Wilder West.
Shopping on Jefferson Street
Buy gifts, souvenirs, sportswear, live spray-painted art, and more along Jefferson Street, which includes the Wharf Store.
Where: The Wharf Store at 398 Jefferson St
For more information on the Wharf Store.
Art to see
See a variety of art styles in this collection of over 35 local, national and international contemporary artists. From superheroes in stone to large scale oil paintings.
Where: 211 Jefferson St
For more information on the ZK Gallery.
Academy of Art University Galleries at The Cannery
See the emerging artists of the students, alumni, and staff from the Academy of Art at this historic brick building three blocks west of Pier 39.
Where: 2801 Leavenworth St
For more information on the Cannery galleries.
Cartoon Art Museum
This small and lively art museum specializes in the world of comics and cartoons and is one of only a handful of museums in the U.S. to do so.
Where: 781 Beach St
For more information on the Cartoon Art Museum.
What to eat and drink
This iconic SF spot serves freshly caught Pacific seafood brought to the pier by local fishermen on small boats, right on the waterfront.
Where: 1965 Al Scoma Way Pier 47, Fisherman's Wharf
For more information on Scoma’s.
Blue Mermaid is a nautically-themed restaurant in the historic Haslett Building, locally loved and known for its crab cakes, and cioppino, and three types of chowders.
Where: 495 Jefferson St
For more information on Blue Mermaid.
Franciscan Crab Restaurant
Eat seafood favorites from Dungeness crab, oysters, mussels, and more at Franciscan Crab Restaurant. Offering 20-foot windows for panoramic seafront dining, with views out to the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge.
Where: Pier 43 1/2
For more information on Franciscan Crab Restaurant.
Seafood Stands at Fisherman’s Wharf
Though it's a fun way to go, you don’t need a reservation or fine dining setup to enjoy the pier’s fresh crab. You can also enjoy the crustastion harvest (and other seafood items) at several different stands along Taylor Street. From Tarantino’s Crab Stand to Alioto’s—you’ve got a food court of freshly caught options.
Appropriately placed on the border of Fisherman’s Wharf and the Italian-steeped lively neighborhood of North Beach, this sidewalk cafe serves Italian specialties like wood-fired pizzas, with a fresh seafood twist.
Where: Inside the Hotel Zoe at 2455 Mason St
For more information on Pescatore Trattoria.
Boudin Bakery (Museum + Tour)
Take a tasty tour of the famous sourdough bread baking process at this flagship location for Boudin, and enjoy their full-service waterfront restaurant serving fresh seafood, farm-raised meats, locally sourced vegetarian entrees, and of course, clam chowder in a homemade bread bowl. It’s $3 to enter the museum, or free if you go to the sit-down restaurant (not the downstairs order counter).
Where: Pier 39, The Embarcadero
For more information on Boudin at the Wharf.
This iconic chocolatier retail and dining complex sells Ghirardelli chocolate gifts, wines, and world-famous hot fudge sundaes. There are also two brewpubs, McCormick & Kuletos (serving steak and seafood), Pico for Latin food, the Cheese School (a soup and sandwich joint with a cheese emphasis), and the Palette Tea house for dim sum.
Where: 900 North Point St Ste F301
For more information on Ghirardelli Square.
San Francisco Brewing Co.
Check out this innovative craft brewery, restaurant, and outdoor beer garden in one. Sip locally-made brews around a fire pit, then play a round of one of the outdoor games.
Where: 3150 Polk St
For more information on SF Brewing Co.
The Cheese School of San Francisco
Enjoy a cheese-focused market and new American eats at the Cheese School of San Francisco, or attend one of their open classes to learn about all things cheese.
Where: Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point St Suite #K201
For more information on the Cheese School of SF.
Square Pie Guys
Would you assume you could get Detroit-style square-crusted, pan-baked pizza with your chocolate delights in Ghirardelli Square? You should, because there’s a full-service pizzeria with dine-in options.
Where: 845 Beach St
For more information on Square Pie Guys.
Enjoy margaritas, housemade blue tortillas, grilled halibut, and fresh fish tacos at this outdoor patio within the Ghirardelli complex.
Where: 900 North Point, Unit J101
For more information on the Barrio.
Buena Vista Cafe
Fun fact: did you know Irish coffees were invented in San Francisco? Try the original recipe at this century-old bar: a mix of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and aged cream. Located just to the left of the Powell-Hyde Cable Car’s last stop in Fisherman’s Wharf.
Where: 2765 Hyde St.
For more information on the Buena Vista Cafe.
Fog Harbor Fish House
Grab a bib and dig into chowder-filled bread bowls and piles of Dungeness crab meat at this huge outdoor dining spot on Pier 39.
Where: 39 Pier
For more information on the Fog Harbor Fish House.
Cioppino’s is named for its favorite dish: a rich, saucy seafood soup, being loved and served for over a century now. It also has a prime location overlooking the entire SF Bay, and great crab cakes for the table.
Where: 400 Jefferson St
For more information on Cioppino’s.
What to do
Set Sail on the San Francisco Bay
See some of SF’s most iconic attractions up close, with a sail around Alcatraz Island and underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, all while admiring the city’s skyline behind you.
For more information and tickets to the SF sailing attractions.
Play games at Musée Mécanique
Start with a vintage classic: this 20th-century penny arcade is one of the largest in the world, with over 300 coin-operated games to try.
Where: Pier 45 at the end of Taylor Street, Fisherman’s Wharf
For more information on Musée Mécanique.
Tour the USS Pampanito
Tour a restored World War II Navy vessel that once made six patrols in the Pacific—now a museum and historical landmark.
Where: Pier 45 (1-minute walk from the Musee Mecanique).
For more information on USS Pampanito.
See the ships at Hyde Street Pier
Along the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf, Hyde Street Pier houses a variety of old-fashioned ships (tours available) and a scenic view of the water.
Where: 2905 Hyde St
For more information on Hyde Street Pier.
Ride the Carousel: Take a spin on the famous carousel! It was handcrafted in Italy, features 1,800 twinkling lights, plays a symphony of traditional organ music, and has over 30 different hand-painted animal seats.
Where: 39 Pier 39
For more information on the SF Carousel.
Find your way through Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze
Wander through the neon doorways and columns of this technicolored mirrored maze—delighting and confounding adults and children for over a decade now. Found halfway down Pier 39 on the 2nd floor.
Where: Pier 39, 0-11 Beach St
For more information on Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze.
Play the Musical Stairs
Make your own music on this interactive flight of piano note stairs, created by artist/inventor Remo Saraceni, who also created the floor piano in the Tom Hanks movie, Big.
Where: Located in Building O on pier 39, leading to the second floor.
For more information on the Musical Stairs.
Lounge at Aquatic Park
Aquatic Park is a unique public park at the head of Van Ness Avenue, where concrete steps meet the water, and visitors can see open vistas of the bay all the way out to Alcatraz Island.
Where: 700-898 Beach St
For more information on the SF Aquatic Park.