Fisherman’s Wharf – What You Need To Know BEFORE You Visit

(Last Updated On: May 10, 2023)

Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular tourist attraction located in San Francisco, California. It encompasses the northern waterfront area of San Francisco and offers a variety of attractions to visitors. Some of the most notable attractions in the area include Pier 39, the Cannery Shopping Center, Ghirardelli Square, a Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, the Musée Mécanique, Wax Museum at Fishermans Wharf, and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Visitors can also enjoy a wide variety of dining options in the area, from family-owned restaurants to fast food chains.

In addition to the many shops and restaurants, Fisherman’s Wharf also offers a number of other attractions. The Hyde Street Pier, the USS Pampanito, a decommissioned World War II era submarine, and the Balclutha, a 19th-century cargo ship are all open for visitors to explore. Pier 45 has a chapel in memory of the “Lost Fishermen” of San Francisco and Northern California. Another must-see attraction is the sea lion colony next to Pier 39. There are also many events in the area throughout the year, including a fireworks display on the Fourth of July and views of the Fleet Week air show featuring the Blue Angels. It’s also worth noting that Pier 45 and the USS Pampanito and SS Jeremiah O’Brien are National Historic Landmarks.

History of Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf gets its name and characteristics from Italian immigrant fishermen who came during the gold rush of the mid to late 1800s. They settled near the wharf and fished for local delicacies and dungeness crab. Over time, the wharf became the center of operations for San Francisco’s fishing fleet. Despite redevelopment in the 1970s and 80s, the area is still home to many active fishermen and their fleets. In 2010, a $15 million development plan was proposed to revitalize the area for tourists. However, on May 23, 2020, a four-alarm fire burned a fish-processing warehouse on Pier 45, resulting in partial collapse and damage to two other buildings. Thankfully, no injuries were reported, but the fire was a significant setback for the area. The wharf remains an important part of San Francisco’s history and culture, and it continues to be a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

Fisherman’s Wharf Key Information

  • A San Francisco landmark created from the rubble of buildings destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire
  • The wharf is home to fishing boats passed down through generations, which are powered by a combination of gasoline, diesel, and modern technology
  • Visitors can take a ride on the historic cable cars and explore the 49-Mile Scenic Drive created by the Downtown Association of San Francisco
  • During harvest season, a priest blesses the fleet of boats that catch the famous Dungeness crab
  • Visitors can also learn about the history of the area by following the Bayside History Walk, which features historic signs
  • The wharf offers a variety of activities and attractions, including shopping, museums, Umbrella Alley, bike rentals and tours, cruises, and restaurants
  • Special features include the Sea Lion Center and Escapology escape game.


  • Tamara M

    Hey there! My name is Tamara, welcome to my little world! I’m a 20-something-year-old from Toronto, Canada (though I’m rarely there) and I’m super passionate about exploring the world, photography, and cooking delicious plant-based recipes. I created this blog to share my favorite places, adventures, restaurants, accommodations, and travel tips with all of you and keep a bit of a travel diary for myself.

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