Fisherman’s Wharf is quite possibly San Francisco’s most popular tourist attraction. Lying largely along the waterfront at the northern tip of the city, between Hyde and Taylor streets, it offers up a colorful, festive jumble of seafood restaurants and eateries, and souvenir shops, amusement venues and museums.
Exploring the Wharf
At the wharf, Pier 39 ranks among the top draws, enticing visitors to its two-level marketplace that’s filled with shops and arcades, including a carousel, and which also features an IMax-type theater and, for marine life viewing, the Underwater World.
Among others are the turn-of-the-century Hyde Street Pier with its historic fleet of ships and boats, including the Eureka and the Balclutha; and the National Maritime Museum, itself housed in an Art Deco-style building dating from 1939 and resembling an ocean liner. Museum displays are centered around the city’s history as both a sea and inland port.
Ghirardelli Square and The Cannery
Two other places of particular interest in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, located on the inland side of Beach Street, are The Cannery, a 1907 brick building that now houses a first-class shopping complex as well as the Museum of the City of San Francisco, where you can view various artifacts relating to the city’s history; and Ghirardelli Square, consisting of a group of industrial brick buildings, dating from 1864, where pioneer chocolate manufacturer Domingo Ghirardelli first located his chocolate factory in 1893. You can now visit chocolatiers here, and sample the famous Ghirardelli confections.
The Embarcadero, an esplanade that runs along the waterfront at the northeastern corner of the city, begins where Fisherman’s Wharf ends, and continues southward past Pier 1, the Financial District’s Embarcadero Center and Market Street to China Basin. The foremost attraction here is the Ferry Building, a 3-story ferry terminal with a 235-foot clock tower, dating from 1898, located at The Embarcadero and Market Street. The building now houses a marketplace with gourmet food stalls, wine bars and eateries.
Also visit the nearby Rincon Center on Mission Street between Spear and Steuart, in the restored, 1938 lobby of which you can view 27 murals by artist Anton Refregier, depicting the state’s history and painted during the Work Projects Administration era.
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